Kentucky Filing Fees

What are the Business Filing Fees in Kentucky?

Starting a business in Kentucky means paying a variety of government filing fees. We’ve compiled the most common ones here so that you’ll know what to expect.


Entering into the world of entrepreneurship is fun and exciting. You have so many great ideas and so many things to do. One thing you must be sure to do is pay your Kentucky business filing fees. Statutory business entities are those that must register with the state. These include corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and limited partnerships (LP).

These entities need to pay Kentucky business filing fees in order to stay compliant with the state. Common law entities, such as sole proprietorships and general partnerships, don’t have to register with the state. But there may still be some licensing or permit requirements to pay attention to. If this sounds confusing, don’t worry. Let’s take a look at what kinds of fees you might need to pay for your Kentucky business, and how we can help. 

Step 1: Pay your Kentucky business’s initial filing fees

Initial filing fees are the costs of registering your business with the Kentucky Secretary of State. You can file online, in person, or by mail. Each business entity requires a different formation document.

  • Limited Liability Companies require Articles of Organization
  • Corporations require Articles of Incorporation
  • Limited Liability Partnerships require a Certificate of Limited Partnership
  • Limited Partnerships require a Statement of Qualification 

Each of these has their own Kentucky formation fees. The standard filing time for registering your business is three weeks, but can be expedited to two days for an additional fee. There are several reasons that you could be in a hurry to get your business up and running. Get things done faster with our expedited filing service

Step 2: Reserve your Kentucky business’s name 

There is a lot that goes into choosing a business name. Reserving your business name as early as possible helps to make sure you get the name you want. Make sure to take into consideration all legal naming requirements in Kentucky. Names cannot be confusing, misleading, or too similar to other businesses. Some business types require the entity type to be in the legal name, such as “LLC” or “Corp.”

Reserve your business name with the Kentucky Secretary of State Business Services Division. Business names can be reserved for 120 days. You must file an application by mail, as there is no online option for reserving Kentucky business names. When reserving your name, you will have to pay a filing fee. Make checks out to the “Kentucky State Treasurer.” 

Make sure your business name is available before submitting your application. Or, you can make it easy on yourself and let us do it through our convenient name reservation service

Step 3: Reserve a “doing business as” name in Kentucky

File your Kentucky DBA (doing business as) name, also known as an “Assumed Name,” with the county clerk at the county level for sole proprietorships, or with the Kentucky Secretary of State for statutory business entities. 

DBAs are used most commonly by sole proprietorships because the official name of the business is the name of the actual business owner. Rather than “Jane Doe” as a business name, Jane may prefer to use the DBA “Jane’s Carpet Cleaning.” 

Statutory entities may also choose to use a DBA in situations where they may want to expand their product line or services in different directions under the same company umbrella. Learn more about DBAs and why you might need one.

Step 4: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An employer identification number (EIN) is used to identify business tax accounts. You must have one to pay taxes. Your EIN can be acquired for free through the IRS, but we can take that step off of your plate and secure your EIN for you. 

Step 5: Draft an operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or partnership agreement for your Kentucky business

These operational documents are not required by the state but are crucial to the health and wellbeing of your company. Each entity uses a different document for the purpose of detailing the inner workings of the company:

  • Corporations use Corporate Bylaws
  • Limited Liability Companies use an Operating Agreement
  • Limited Liability Partnerships use a Partnership Agreement
  • Limited Partnerships also use Partnership Agreements 

Depending on the entity type, this document may include management structure and roles, shareholder profit and loss dividends, exit agreements, dispute resolution, and more. If you are forming an LLC in Kentucky, consider using our operating agreement template to ensure you don’t miss any important information that could come back to bite you later. 

Step 6: Apply for your Kentucky business’s necessary licenses and permits

Kentucky business filing fees don’t include a general business license. Most businesses will need licenses or permits to operate. These are dependent on the type of business, industry, activities, and location. For instance, a contractor will need a much different set of licenses and permits than a veterinarian. These licenses and permits usually require a Kentucky filing fee and must be renewed periodically. Determining what you need for your business can be a tedious process. We can do it for you with the help of our partners who provide a Business License Report according to the specifications of your company. 

Step 7: Pay registration fees for out-of-state businesses

Businesses are required to register with the Kentucky Secretary of State before commencing business operations in Kentucky. Businesses incorporated in another state will apply for a Kentucky Certificate of Authority. This prevents the business from needing to incorporate a new entity. Some states also require a Certificate of Good Standing in order to operate, but Kentucky doesn’t. 

Step 8: Check Kentucky’s annual report requirements and fees

Kentucky business filing fees include paying for an Annual Report. This document verifies all pertinent information with the state. Kentucky doesn’t charge late fees for failing to file a Kentucky Annual Report — however, your business may be administratively dissolved or revoked, which is certainly worse. Don’t stress out about missing your deadline. Check out our annual report service and keep track of all your upcoming administrative filings. 

Step 9: Keep your Kentucky business legally compliant

Things change and that’s not always bad. If your business makes changes to location, business structure, members, dividends, or a number of other foundational elements, you’ll need to amend your formation document. File this paperwork with the Kentucky Secretary of State. Multiple documents may be needed to complete all the amendments. Make sure that you stay compliant, complete all changes, and pay all fees. Or you can make it easier on yourself and learn more about our Worry-Free Compliance service, which includes two amendments annually (you only pay filing fees). 

Let us keep your Kentucky business running smoothly

Starting a business is rough enough, but worrying about paying all the right fees can feel overwhelming. Let us help you keep your business on the right track with our many formation and compliance tools and services. You don’t have to go it alone.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.


  • What happens if I can’t pay my fees to the Kentucky government?

    Depending on which Kentucky filing fees are owed, your business may be administratively dissolved or revoked.

  • Who receives the fees for forming my Kentucky business?

    The Kentucky Secretary of State.

  • What is usually the biggest fee I will pay when I form my Kentucky business?

    Check with the Secretary of State for current fees. Registration is often the biggest Kentucky business filing fee.

  • What payment methods can I use to pay my LLC or corporation filing fees to the Kentucky government?

    Fees may be paid by cash, check made payable to Kentucky State Treasurer, Electronic Funds Transfer (ACH) if filing online, or debit or credit card issued by an approved issuer.

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