How to Start an LLC in Kansas

Written by Nikki Winston – CPA, updated on

Interested in starting a limited liability company (LLC) in Kansas?

Good idea! Kansas has a reasonable cost of living and attractive tax rates. If you plan to hire employees, you’ll have access to a talented workforce. Ample startup resources are available through the Kansas business center.

If you want to launch a new business in the Sunflower State, you’ll have to complete several administrative formalities. These include preparing company incorporation documents, business license applications, and tax registrations.

In this guide, we show how to form an LLC in Kansas.


Steps to start an LLC in Kansas


Step 1: Choose a business name for your Kansas LLC

Get started by selecting a name for your Kansas LLC. You might already have some ideas floating around. You’ll need to verify they meet Kansas naming requirements as well.

Every Kansas LLC name must:

  • Be different or distinguishable from existing businesses
  • Include Limited Liability Company, Limited Company, or a similar abbreviation

Once you have some ideas, head over to the Kansas Secretary of State name search tool. You can check to see if the name you want is available.

Name availability tool
Name availability tool. Source: Kansas Secretary of State.

Name reservations

Kansas allows you to reserve available business names for up to 120 days. This lets you prepare other formation documents without worrying that someone else will take the name.

To reserve a name in Kansas, file a name reservation form. The filing fee is $35 if mailed or $30 if filed online.

Form TSA to register your trademark in Kansas
Form TSA to register your trademark in Kansas. Source: Kansas Secretary of State.

Trade name

You can operate your business under a name that’s different from the LLC’s legal name.

This is known as using a trade name or doing-business-as (DBA) name. It’s a popular tool used by many business owners.

Unlike other states, you do not have to register your trade name with Kansas authorities.

You can register a state trademark in Kansas to add some protection and legitimacy to the trade name. Apply for a trademark/service mark registration with the Kansas Secretary of State. The filing fee is $40.

Step 2: Select a registered agent

You’ll have to choose a registered agent before filing your formation documents. A registered agent is a person or entity you appoint to receive legal documents on behalf of your LLC.

If your business gets sued, the notices go to the registered agent. It may also receive other official correspondence, like tax documents.

A registered agent must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a physical business address in Kansas (not a P.O. Box)
  • Be available during normal business hours

As the business owner, you can serve as your own registered agent. Savvy business owners choose to outsource registered agent responsibilities to free up their time during the day. Many find the cost to be worth it because:

  • You won’t have to be available every day at the registered office address
  • You can keep your address out of the public record, protecting your privacy
  • You’ll avoid potentially embarrassing situations, like being served with a lawsuit in front of customers

You’ll pay about $100 annually for a professional registered agent service in Kansas.

Step 3: File the Kansas LLC Articles of Organization

Now we’re getting to the heart of your business formation. Filing the Articles of Organization is what transforms your idea into a legal entity.

In Kansas, use Form DL to file the Articles of Organization for a domestic LLC with the Secretary of State.

If you have an LLC from another state and want to operate in Kansas, file Form FA to register a foreign LLC instead.

Kansas Articles of Organization to create a Limited Liability Company
Kansas Articles of Organization to create a Limited Liability Company. Source: Kansas Secretary of State.

On the Articles of Organization form, you must provide the following details:

  • Your LLC‘s name and address
  • Your registered agent details
  • Tax closing month

Kansas doesn’t require listing the names of all LLC members. You can include one LLC organizer.

The standard state filing fee is $165 for both domestic and foreign LLCs. Domestic LLCs can file online for $5 less and get quicker processing.

You can file your formation documents by mail at the Kansas Secretary of State‘s office in Topeka. You can also fax your documents for an additional $20.

Step 4: Get certified copies of LLC registration documents

After the Kansas Secretary of State approves your Articles of Organization, you've officially started your Kansas LLC.

Before you get too far along, get certified copies of your approved LLC formation documents. In Kansas, certified document copies are $35 plus $1 per page.

Keep these with your company's records. You may need to provide them to open a business bank account or receive business loans.

Step 5: Draft an LLC operating agreement

The next part of starting a business is creating an operating agreement. This is an internal contract between owners and managers that outlines how the business functions and handles many situations.

If you don’t have one, Kansas law will step in to resolve disputes. The results can be surprising and may not be what you have in mind. Experienced business owners use operating agreements to ensure that everything works out as they intend.

Well-drafted operated agreements include things like:

  • Duties and rights of members and managers
  • Ownership percentages and contribution amounts
  • Distribution of profits or losses
  • How to add or remove members
  • Procedure for winding down the LLC
An operating agreement is the go-to legal document in case of disputes among members.

An operating agreement is essential if your LLC has more than one member. But it’s best practice to have one in all cases. Your LLC's operating agreement doesn’t have to be filed with the Kansas Secretary of State.

You can draft your own LLC operating agreement using an online template. Or hire a corporate attorney to handle it for a fee.

Step 6: Acquire an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS

An EIN is a unique nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It’s similar to a Social Security number. The IRS uses them to track tax information and employment activities.

Having an EIN is mandatory for multi-member LLCs. Single-member LLCs classified as sole proprietorships must get an EIN if they choose to hire employees or meet other requirements.

EINs can also be necessary to establish business credit and open business bank accounts.

Apply for an EIN on the IRS website. It’s quick and free. You’ll get the EIN issued in minutes.

Costs to set up an LLC in Kansas

Kansas is a relatively inexpensive place to start your LLC. The minimum cost to form an LLC in Kansas is $160 to file your Articles of Organization online for a domestic LLC. Add $35 for a certified copy of the filing.

Other optional costs of starting an LLC in Kansas include:

  • Name reservation: $35
  • Trademark registration: $40
  • Professional registered agent: $100+ / annually
  • Articles of Organization: $165 (paper submission or foreign LLC)
  • Certified document copies: $35+
  • Operating agreement: $0 – $2,000
  • GRAND TOTAL: $195 – $2,375

Last steps

At this point, you’ve reached a major milestone. Your Kansas LLC is established and you've almost finished setting it up.

Don't forget about the last few things.

Register with the Kansas Department of Revenue

Many businesses need to register with the Kansas Department of Revenue (DOR). The exact needs depend on the activities of your operation.

You may need a sales tax permit in Kansas if your LLC provides taxable services or sells taxable products. The DOR also handles liquor taxes and employee withholding.

As part of the DOR’s business registration process, you’ll answer a questionnaire to help determine your needs.

Licenses and permits

Kansas has compiled a large list of business activities that may need approval from state agencies.

Then turn to the city and county authorities to get what your LLC needs.

For example, the City of Wichita and Overland Park have lists of available licenses and permits. You can find similar information for Johnson County and Sedgwick County.

Open a Kansas business bank account

LLC owners should open a business bank account separate from their personal accounts. Combining personal and company finances can cause disaster. If your business gets sued, your personal assets may be at risk.

A business bank account is also helpful for recordkeeping and tax information.

Kansas City Credit Union, Bank Midwest, and the Central Bank of Kansas City offer banking services for small businesses. There are many national providers as well.

Monthly fees range from free to about $25.

Other considerations

Starting a business means facing all sorts of unexpected challenges. By learning from local leaders, you can blast through barriers and discover shortcuts to success.

Connect with and learn from others through organizations like:

You should also consider purchasing appropriate insurance coverage. A general liability policy can step in to save the day during times of need.

When you’re ready to see your dreams become reality, start moving through these steps to form an LLC in Kansas. Make sure your name meets Kansas requirements, select a registered agent, and continue through the LLC formation process.

Before you know it, you’ll be able to open the doors to your new enterprise and greet your first customers.

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Last updated: May 2024
Nikki Winston, CPA

Article by:

Nikki Winston

CPA

Nikki Winston is a CPA who enjoys writing about accounting, tax, personal finance, and career advice. Catch Nikki on Twitter @NikkWinstonCPA.

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