Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: September 23, 2023

Starting your own business in Kentucky can be accomplished by following certain steps.

You'll also need to consider the type of business structure you want to use, the capital you need to get started, and the time you'll require to succeed.

After a decade of experience helping clients establish their limited liability companies across various states, I’ll provide you with key information to help you understand the process of setting up an LLC in Kentucky.

Quick Summary:

  • To start an LLC in Kentucky, choose an available business name, appoint a registered agent, file the Certificate of Formation, draft an operating agreement and apply for an EIN.
  • After establishing your LLC, consider opening a separate business bank account and regularly file annual reports to maintain compliance.
  • An LLC offers personal assets' protection, single taxation and a more flexible management structure.

How To Start an LLC in Kentucky

Starting an LLC in Kentucky is a straightforward process, but it is important to have the necessary legal documents and take the time to do it correctly.

The following steps will ensure that you set up your Kentucky LLC correctly.

Step 1: Name Your Kentucky LLC

Writing on an important document

Naming your business is an essential step in setting up a Kentucky LLC.

You'll need to make sure the LLC name you choose is available and complies with the state's rules and regulations. The best way to do this is to search business name databases and check with your county clerk's office.

If you intend to operate under a different name, you should file a "Doing Business As" (DBA) application through the county's clerk office.

When filing, you should provide the name of your LLC, a description of the services you will offer, and the name and address of the LLC's registered agent.

If the LLC name is available, you can register it with the state by paying a $25 fee. The fee reserves the name for 180 days, after which it will become available again to other businesses.

Once you've confirmed all the due steps in business naming, you can move on to the next step in setting up your LLC.

Step 2: Find a Registered Agent

The second step in setting up your Kentucky LLC is to find and choose an LLC registered agent.

A registered agent is someone who is authorized to accept legal documents on behalf of your LLC. It is important to choose a registered agent in Kentucky who is reliable and knowledgeable about the legal requirements of a Kentucky LLC.

You can find a registered agent by researching online or asking around your local business community.

Registered agents must have a physical address in Kentucky and be available during regular business hours.

The agents must also be of age and have the correct citizenship requirements. They must also pass the Kentucky Bureau of Investigations background check.

If you hire a registered agent service, you can expect to pay an annual fee for their services. You may also choose to be your own registered agent.

Step 3: Submit Kentucky Certificate of Formation

Smiling woman reading work documents

Submitting a certificate of formation is vital in setting up your LLC correctly. It's the official document that establishes your business in the state.

This document must include the following:

  • LLC name and address of the registered office
  • Purpose and nature of the business
  • LLC members’ name and address
  • Name and address of the registered agent
  • NAICS code
  • LLC manager's signature and management, and any other information required by the state

Additionally, you will need to include a filing fee of $50. Once you have submitted your certificate, the LLC processing time in Kentucky is usually about 5 days. Upon receiving your Kentucky LLC certificate, file it with the Secretary of State's office.

Check our guide for more information on how much an LLC costs in Kentucky.

Step 4: Put Together an LLC Operating Agreement

An LLC Operating Agreement document outlines the ownership and management of your Kentucky LLC.

This document should include the following information:

  • LLC names and address
  • The percentage of ownership each member has
  • Who will manage the LLC
  • How profits and losses will be distributed
  • How decisions will be made

Take your time to put together an LLC Operating Agreement that clearly outlines the rights and responsibilities of each member. You should also review and update the document regularly.

With the help of an attorney or online resources, you can craft an LLC operating agreement in Kentucky tailored to your business's specific needs. Consult a professional lawyer if you have any questions or need help creating a limited liability company in Kentucky.

Step 5: Get an Employer Identification Number

A man holding a white card with Employee Identification Number

Once you've decided on a name for your LLC and registered with the state of Kentucky, the final step is to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). An EIN is a nine-digit number issued by the IRS that helps identify your business for tax purposes.

Applying for an EIN is easy and free of charge. Go to the IRS website and fill out the online application.

You do not need an EIN if you do not plan to hire employees. But, an EIN is a must for tax purposes of Kentucky LLC when operating as a corporation and if you have employees.

What To Do After Establishing Your LLC

After establishing your LLC, it is advisable to open a separate business bank account, determine which licenses and permits apply to your company and file annual reports.

1. Open an LLC Business Bank Account

An LLC business bank account ensures that your personal and business finances are kept separate. This makes tracking your business expenses and monitoring your cash flow more manageable.

To open a business bank account, you'll need to provide:

  • Your LLC's formation documents
  • Copy of your business license
  • And a valid ID

2. Obtain the Necessary Licenses and Permits

The requirements for licenses and permits will depend on the nature of the business of your LLC, as well as its location.

Find out which licensing jurisdiction applies to your limited liability company, federal, state or local.

You can visit the Kentucky Business License guide to verify which licenses apply to your LLC [1].

3. File LLC Annual Reports

Filing an annual report is vital in maintaining an LLC in Kentucky. It's the responsibility of each LLC member to ensure that these reports are filed on time.

The annual report includes essential information such as the LLC's name, registered agent, address, and members. You can create a management company to file the reports for you.

To file, you must have your state-issued business identification number (EIN) and pay the corresponding fee of $15. The report is due by April 15th annually.

Once you have completed the report, mail it to the Kentucky Secretary of State. Failure to file the LLC annual report in Kentucky can lead to the dissolution of your LLC.

Related Articles:

Get a DBA Name for Your LLC

Writing on a piece of paper

Operating your LLC under a different name than its legal one can be beneficial. It makes it easier for customers to remember and recognize your business. You can register a DBA or "Doing Business As" in Kentucky with the Secretary of State.

Although it isn't legally required, getting a DBA name for your LLC in Kentucky is a good idea. Banks and creditors may require it during financing applications.

Why Start a Limited Liability Company?

A paper about starting a limited liability company

There are incredibly beneficial reasons to start a limited liability company. These reasons include the following:

  • It offers personal asset protection from business debts and liabilities
  • The owner will enjoy tax benefits, as the profits are not subject to double taxation like other business structures
  • Provides a smooth transition of ownership without the need to dissolve the business

All these benefits make forming an LLC in Kentucky a desirable option for business owners.

Additionally, Kentucky offers a business-friendly environment with low filing fees and minimal paperwork.


How Much Tax Does an LLC Pay in Kentucky?

An LLC in Kentucky pays a minimum tax of $175. This tax by KY LLET serves the same purpose as a corporate income tax but is calculated differently. The tax is either $0.095 per $100 of Kentucky gross receipts or $0.75 per $100 of gross profits, whichever is lower.

Can I Set Up a Kentucky LLC on My Own?

You can set up a Kentucky LLC on your own. You'll need to file the appropriate paperwork with the Kentucky Secretary of State, obtain an employer identification number from the IRS, and register with the Kentucky Department of Revenue.

What Are the Requirements for an LLC in Kentucky?

The requirements for an LLC in Kentucky include an available business entity name, registered agent, Certificate of Formation, Operating Agreement and EIN.

Does a Foreign LLC have to Register in Kentucky?

A foreign LLC has to register in Kentucky by filing a Certificate of Authority with the Secretary of State and paying the corresponding fee of $90.

Does Kentucky Require Registered Agent Services for LLC?

Kentucky does not require registered agent services for LLC. However, you should assign a registered agent to remain compliant with state laws.

Starting an LLC in Kentucky

Starting an LLC in Kentucky is a great way to protect your business and ensure its success. Following the steps outlined in this article will help you set up your LLC correctly and efficiently.

It is possible to complete these steps on your own. However, it's always best to consult with a professional if you're unsure how to do something or about any other legal matters.

ZenBusiness, for example, provides a range of services to help you start your LLC in Kentucky.

Our #1 Recommendation


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