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If you’re eager to launch a new business in Kansas, completing the legal requirements may be the least exciting piece of your plan. No one particularly likes cutting through red tape, and business formation processes can seem complicated at first.

Thankfully, forming a limited liability company (LLC) in Kansas can actually be fairly straightforward and relatively affordable. The key is knowing how to proceed and taking several simple steps in the appropriate order. 

With a clear understanding of the state’s LLC formation requirements, you can launch your new company quite quickly—and navigate the bureaucracy as painlessly as possible. That’s where this guide can help, showing you exactly what you need to do to form a new LLC in Kansas. 

Offering step-by-step instructions, we’ll explain how to approach the process efficiently, completing each requirement before moving on to the next stage. We’ll also discuss how the right LLC partner can support you through this process and provide value to your company once it’s up and running.

Once you’ve formed your new Kansas LLC, you’ll be able to focus clearly on your true priority: making your company grow. Let this guide simplify LLC formation for you, and start doing business sooner.

The 5 steps to form an LLC in Kansas:

In Kansas, forming an LLC entails registering your new business with the secretary of state. This process enters your new company into the public record and provides the information necessary for the state to regulate and communicate with your company.

To file the necessary paperwork, first, you’ll need to make a few important decisions. And once you do formally establish your business in Kansas, you’ll have some other boxes to check, such as forming an Operating Agreement and registering your company with the IRS.

No need to feel overwhelmed by these requirements: Below, we’ll break them down into five simple steps. By taking care of each component, you’ll have a new LLC in no time.

An infographic that explains how to form an LLC in 5 Steps

Step 1: Name Your Kansas LLC

It’s not just about branding: Without a distinct name, your business does not exist in the eyes of the Kansas state government. Accordingly, you’ll need to decide what to call your business before you proceed with forming your LLC.

To some, this step may seem simple: Perhaps you have a name in mind already or want to use your own name in the title of your business. However, you’ll need to keep two official requirements in mind when picking a company moniker. 

  • Your LLC’s official name must be unique in the state of Kansas. If a business is already using the name you prefer, you’ll need to go with another option. To check if a name is available, go to the Kansas Business Center website and use its handy search tool. You can also consult a more specific list of naming requirements to ensure that your chosen name will satisfy state standards. For example, you can’t use slight changes in spelling or punctuation to mimic another business’s name.
  • The final words of your company name must be some form of the phrase “LLC.” You have plenty of options in meeting this requirement: You can spell out “limited liability company” or write out “limited company” instead. You can go with the standard “LLC” or punctuate it formally as “L.L.C.” However you choose to write it, the phrase must come at the very end of your company name (e.g., “Todd’s Bakery LLC”).

Once you have a name selected, it’s wise to reserve it. That way, no one can grab it before you can form your business. To do this, you’ll need to complete a “Temporary Reservation of Business Entity Name” form, which will save your chosen name for 120 days. Within that window, you’ll have ample time to finish forming your LLC.

To save time, you can file the form online for a fee of $30. You can also mail it to the Kansas secretary of state, but this approach is slower and costs $35. 

Something else to think about when it comes to your LLC name is whether you want to use a DBA. A DBA or “Doing Business As” is another name to call your business. Because there is no state-level procedure on how to file a DBA, you’ll want to check with your local government on how to register your DBA.

Note this is around the same time you’ll want to think about trademarks. Visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to see whether your business name or logo is trademarked, and then register your trademark with the Secretary of State if it is available.

Step 2: Appoint a Kansas Resident Agent

As in every state, Kansas requires new LLCs to designate a registered agent as part of the business formation process. The primary purpose of a registered agent is to receive documents related to legal proceedings on behalf of your business. Simply put, if your business is subpoenaed or sued, the state of Kansas needs to know how to get the paperwork to your LLC’s leadership. In Kansas, the official term for a registered agent is “resident agent,” although these terms mean the same thing. A resident agent may be a person or business entity, but they must have a “registered office” address in the state of Kansas. This address cannot be a PO Box because legal documents are often served in person. Many entrepreneurs assume they should serve as the registered agent for their own business and use their business location as the registered office address. Unfortunately, this approach can have serious downsides. Some benefits of hiring an outside registered agent service include:

  • Privacy: If your company is delivered a service of process, it won’t be in front of customers. 
  • Avoid personal information being public record: If you work from home and don’t have an office, your home address won’t need to be public record. 
  • Flexible hours: Because a registered agent is available during traditional hours, you can work whenever you’re most productive in growing your business.

Step 3: File Kansas Articles of Organization

Once you choose a name and a registered agent, you’ll have all the information necessary to file the formal paperwork with the Kansas secretary of state. Thankfully, the paperwork is pretty painless: The official document is just three pages long.  The official name of the form is the “Limited Liability Company Articles of Organization,” and you can file it through the Kansas secretary of state website for a fee of $160. For those inclined toward an old-school approach, you can also mail it in for a cost of $165.  To complete the form, have the following information handy:  

  • Your LLC’s name
  • Your resident agent’s name and address
  • Mailing address for your business (can be different than the registered address)
  • Tax closing month (most businesses select December to stay on the calendar year)
  • Signature of the authorized person (such as an owner of the LLC)

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

Kansas law does not require new LLCs to have Operating Agreements before being formed. However, it’s highly advisable to create one anyway, whether you’re operating alone or with other partners.

Operating Agreements clearly define the terms of ownership and management, providing additional protection and options for everyone involved. Without an Operating Agreement, you’ll be subject to Kansas’ default rules for LLCs, which may not fairly reflect your business.

Here are just a few of the benefits an Operating Agreement offers to business owners:

  • An Operating Agreement helps further separate your business from your personal assets in the eyes of the courts, sheltering your savings from legal liability.
  • Operating Agreements can help prevent and resolve the conflict between multiple stakeholders, clearly indicating each partner’s powers and privileges. 
  • Potential investors and lenders typically wish to review the Operating Agreement before making any financial commitments to an LLC.

Step 5: Apply for an EIN

After officially forming your new LLC in Kansas, you’ll probably need to register with the federal government. Specifically, you may need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). An EIN functions much like a Social Security number for your business, allowing you to perform key tasks, such as hiring employees and paying taxes. 

If you operate your LLC alone, you probably don’t need an EIN for your business. However, if your LLC has any employees or multiple partners involved, you need to obtain an EIN. Moreover, even if an EIN isn’t technically required for your LLC, it may help in important ways, such as allowing you to open a business bank account or obtain financing.

Thankfully, you can apply for an EIN through the IRS website and have it issued immediately. Better yet, the application process does not cost anything to complete.

How much does it cost to start an LLC in Kansas?

As mentioned earlier, the cost of filing the LLC Articles of Organization is $160 online or $165 by mail. If you reserve your business name before filing, you can add (online) or (by mail) to that sum. Therefore, state fees for forming an LLC in Kansas typically amount to $190 to $200.

Of course, that dollar figure doesn’t account for the value of your time as you navigate the process. Plus, if you decide to draw up an Operating Agreement or hire a registered agent service, you’ll need to spend more for those.

What are the benefits of an LLC in Kansas?

There’s a reason that so many entrepreneurs start LLCs: This business structure affords plenty of protection without a ton of complex requirements. Compared to corporations, LLCs can operate far more flexibly and avoid certain kinds of taxation. 

Kansas is no exception: An LLC is a great choice for small business owners across the state. The benefits of forming a Kansas LLC include:

  • Protection of your personal assets from legal liability and business debts.
  • Empowering flexible management and ownership structures tailored to the nature of your business and the individuals involved.
  • Fewer reporting requirements than corporations.
  • Exemption from “double taxation”: Owners pay only personal taxes, rather than paying taxes on corporate profits and individual earnings.

How is a Kansas LLC taxed?

As mentioned above, LLCs provide the benefit of avoiding “double taxation”: The business does not pay taxes on its income, but the individual members (owners) do. Federal taxes, administered by the IRS, are assessed for each member according to their share in the LLC (unless the owners elect to file as a corporation instead). 

At the state level, Kansas takes a similar approach to taxing LLCs. Unless it elects to file as a corporation, an LLC is not taxed as a business entity. However, LLC members are required to pay a number of taxes, depending on their work nature.

Kansas business taxes may include: 

  • State employer taxes (if you have employees)
  • State sales tax (if you sell goods)
  • State unemployment tax (if you have employees)
  • Taxes pertaining to certain products (e.g., liquor or tobacco)
  • Taxes for using certain minerals or other public resources
  • Limited Liability Entity Tax (LLET)

To understand your state tax burden, the first step is to create an account with the Kansas Department of Revenue Customer Service Center. You can fill out a questionnaire to help indicate which state taxes you’ll need to pay.

Kansas LLC FAQs

  1. What is the processing time to form my Kansas LLC?

    If you file online with the Kansas Secretary of State, your Articles of Organization are typically approved within 24 hours. If you choose to file by mail, however, approval typically takes three to five business days.

  2. Do I need to file my Operating Agreement with the state of Kansas?

    No, you do not need to file your LLC’s Operating Agreement with the state of Kansas. However, it is still prudent to create one, even if you are the sole proprietor of your new LLC.

  3. What tax structure should I choose for my Kansas LLC?

    Most entrepreneurs elect to have their LLCs taxed as LLCs at the state and federal levels. This means that owners pay state and federal taxes on the income they earn from the business, but the LLC does not pay taxes as an entity. If an LLC has multiple members, the IRS classifies it as a partnership, requiring each partner to pay taxes on their fair share.rnrnSome LLCs (particularly those with very high earnings) may choose to file taxes as corporations. This option has some distinct advantages, which you can learn more about here. In evaluating these options, it can be extremely helpful to get advice from qualified accounting professionals.

  4. Does Kansas allow a Series LLC?

    Kansas law does permit the formation of a Series LLC structure, in which several separate LLCs operate under one overarching “umbrella” LLC entity. The individual LLCs (sometimes called “cells”) may have different members, assets, and obligations. In theory, individual cells and the umbrella LLC are insulated from the debts and legal liabilities of the others, providing value protection for certain small businesses.rnrnTo designate a new business as part of a Series LLC, you can fill out a corresponding form and pay a $100 fee.

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