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 the Sunflower state 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 will be starting an LLC in Kansas and, will launch your new company 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 get an LLC in Kansas, 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.
Here at ZenBusiness, we offer business formation plans and other services to help you start your own LLC. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps needed to form a Kansas LLC and tell you how we can help you along the way.
The primary way we can help you in the formation process is by registering your new business with the Kansas Secretary of State (SOS), which is required for becoming a Kansas LLC. 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.
Before the necessary paperwork can be filed, you’ll need to make a few important decisions. And once your business is formally established in Kansas, you’ll have some other boxes to check, such as creating an operating agreement and registering your company with the IRS.
Below, we’ll break the Kansas LLC formation process into five 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 your Kansas LLC registration.
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, try our Kansas business name search page. 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 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. We have a business name reservation service that can handle it for you. As part of the service, we also check to see if your desired name is available.
This is also the perfect time to think about how your business name will translate to use on the internet. A domain name is your website address and can be used for your company email address, too. You’ll want your domain name to be as close to your LLC name as possible, so it easily identifies you to your customers.
One additional thing to consider in the naming process is trademarks. Visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to make sure your business name or logo isn’t already trademarked at the federal level, and check the trademark search engine on the Kansas SOS website to see if any state trademarks already exist for your name or logo. If you like, you can also apply for federal or state trademarks of your own.
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 P.O. 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.
- Flexible hours: Because a registered agent is available during traditional hours, you can work whenever you’re most productive in growing your business.
- Organization: If you use our resident agent service for Kansas, we’ll accept your important legal documents and store them in your electronic dashboard so you can view, download, or print them anytime online.
Step 3: File Kansas Articles of Organization
Once you choose a name and a registered agent, you’ll have all the information necessary for filing the formal paperwork with the Kansas SOS. The official name of the form is the “Limited Liability Company Articles of Organization,” and it can be filed online or by postal mail. 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)
Filing official government documents like this can be intimidating and/or complicated for many people, which is why we are here. With our business formation plans, our professionals handle the filing for you to make sure it’s done quickly and correctly the first time.
If you do your formation with us, once the state approves your LLC, your paperwork will be available from your ZenBusiness dashboard. There you can keep it and other important paperwork digitally organized. And, once you get your physical paperwork back from the state, you’ll want to keep it in a safe location along with your other important documents, such as your operating agreement, contracts, compliance checklists, etc. We offer a customized business kit to help you keep these important documents organized and looking professional.
By now you’re realizing how often you’ll need to supply an address for your new business. That can be unsettling for some business owners, especially those running their business from home. In instances where you’re not required to give the registered agent address or official principal address for your business, a virtual business address can come in handy.
With our virtual business address service, we supply you with a physical street address where you can have your mail sent without divulging your real address to more people than necessary. We will then collect and deliver your mail to the location of your choice for a low monthly fee.
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’s 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, thus providing more shelter for your savings from legal liability.
- Operating agreements can help prevent and resolve the conflict between multiple members (owners), clearly indicating each member’s powers and privileges.
- Potential investors and lenders typically wish to review the operating agreement before making any financial commitments to an LLC.
If you’re unsure as to how to start creating this document for your LLC, we offer a customizable Kansas operating agreement template to help get you started.
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) (also known as a Federal Employer Identification Number or Federal Tax Identification Number) 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, it’s possible you may not 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.
You can apply for an EIN through the IRS website. However, if you’d like to minimize your interactions with that particular government agency, our Federal Employer Identification Number service can obtain one for you.
Once you’ve secured an EIN, you’ll be able to open a business bank account. Having separate accounts for your business and your personal banking is critical for sorting out your finances at tax time and helps you avoid commingling funds. Commingling funds can not only make your taxes more difficult but could also be used against you if someone takes you to court to challenge whether you and your LLC are truly separate entities.
We have partnered with LendingClub to offer a discounted small business bank account for your new business. This allows for unlimited transactions, online banking, a debit card, and more. When you want to authorize others in your business to use the account, we offer a banking resolution template to simplify the process.
Need to get paid? We make it easy to send custom invoices, accept credit card and bank transfer payments, and manage clients from an easy-to-use dashboard with our ZenBusinessMoney App.
Kansas LLC FAQs
How much does it cost to start an LLC in Kansas?
The state fees for forming a Kansas LLC range from $160 to $200, depending on factors such as your method of filing and whether you choose to reserve your business name. Note that fees change over time, so you should check the SOS website for the most recent fee schedule.
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,” in which 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 does not pay income tax 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.
What licenses and permits do I need for my Kansas LLC?
You’ll need to make sure your LLC has all the licenses and permits it’s required to have by law. Unfortunately, because licensing varies by industry and location and can occur on the federal, state, and local levels, they’re no central place to check to see if you have all the licenses and permits you need. You’ll have to do some research.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to do all this research, or if you just want the peace of mind to know that your business has all the licenses and permits it’s legally required to have, our business license report service can do the work for you.
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.
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 member of your new LLC.
What tax structure should I choose for my Kansas LLC?
Most entrepreneurs elect to have their LLCs taxed as sole proprietorships or general partnerships 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 income 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.
Some LLCs (particularly those with very high earnings) may choose to file taxes as a corporation. This option has some distinct advantages for certain LLCs. In evaluating these options, it can be extremely helpful to get advice from qualified accounting professionals.
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.
To designate a new business as part of a Series LLC, you can fill out a corresponding form and pay a $100 fee.