You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, and dreams of a thriving Kansas LLC, and you’re mentally prepared to make it happen.
But the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and for you, that first step is filing the Articles of Organization.
With such grand plans, the last thing you might want to do is file paperwork, but completing the Articles of Organization is what authenticates your LLC, making it official in Kansas. It’s perhaps the most important step in starting your Kansas LLC. Following this guide will help take the tedium out of paperwork and get your business started quickly.
But before you dive into the Articles of Organization, you should have a few pieces of information ready to help streamline the process.
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Choosing an LLC Name
Before anything else, you will need to decide on an LLC name. You must include a business name on your Articles of Organization, and if the Secretary of State deems that name unacceptable or unavailable, the document will be rejected, so make sure you nail down a good name right away.
Any name you choose must adhere to Kansas’ business name requirements, so your selection must include the phrases “limited liability company” or “limited company,” or the abbreviations “LLC” or L.L.C.”
In addition, your name must be entirely unique and cannot closely resemble any business name that’s currently in use in Kansas. If you want to see if the name you want is currently in use, we recommend performing a business name search. Not quite ready to form your LLC, but want to nail down a business name? You can also reserve your LLC name with the state of Kansas, ensuring it will be available when you’re ready to form your business.
Choosing a Kansas Resident Agent
A resident agent is your LLC’s liaison to the state, the mediator who takes care of all your important legal, tax, and compliance documents, keeping your business in good standing. Your Articles of Organization won’t be complete without resident agent information, so have an agent lined up before you sit down to complete it.
Your resident agent can fall into one of two categories: an individual or a business entity. If an individual, your agent must be a Kansas resident with a physical address in the state. And a business entity, like a resident agent service, must be authorized to do business in the state.
Quick Note: If your first choice doesn’t work out, don’t worry. You can always change your resident agent in the future.
Preparing to File Your Kansas Articles of Organization
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Now for the main event: the Articles of Organization. Here’s your opportunity to get your LLC officially on record and authorized to conduct business in Kansas.
Considering its importance as the catalyst for your LLC’s business activities, the Articles of Organization is surprisingly short and easy. In fact, if you collect the required information beforehand, you should have no problem completing it in one sitting. Here’s what you’ll need:
- LLC name
- Name and address of the LLC’s resident agent
- Mailing address
- Tax closing month
- Signature of the LLC’s authorized person
Like most business filings, the Kansas Articles of Organization costs money. The filing fee for this document is $165, and you can pay by check, money order, or credit card.
When filing the Articles of Organization, use one of the four methods below.
If filing online, you will need to first set up an account with KanAccess. From there, it’s a relatively simple process as Kansas’ online business filing system walks you through each step.
Mail or In Person
For a hard copy of the application, click here. The application and a check or money order (payable to the Secretary of State), can be mailed or delivered to the following address:
Kansas Office of the Secretary of State
Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 S.W. 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612-15941
Fill out the form just as you would for a mailed or in-person filing. Applications can be faxed to Business Services, (785) 296-4570. It’s important to note that faxed documents carry an additional $20 filing fee on top of the $165 Articles of Organization fee.
What About Foreign LLCs?
The process outlined above works for domestic LLCs (those formed in Kansas), but what if your business is expanding to Kansas from another state? In this case, don’t worry about the Articles of Organization. Your LLC will take a different route.
Out-of-state LLCs must instead foreign qualify in Kansas by filing the state’s Foreign Limited Liability Company Application. This document has the exact same $165 filing fee as the Articles of Organization. It might be tempting to start doing business before you’ve foreign qualified, but resist the urge! This can lead to serious penalties and fines.
After you’ve been authorized by the state, you’re free to kick off your business activities in Kansas.
Want Help Filing Your Articles of Organization?
If you decide to use your time building your business rather than completing paperwork, but don’t want to spend the money on an attorney, an LLC formation service is a great compromise.
Lots of online incorporation services are out there but they do vary in perks offered, processing times (theirs, not the state’s), and price.
In general, a service will collect and review your information, prepare the documents, and send them to the Kansas Secretary of State Business Services. They will contact you when the Articles of Organization have been filed.
One additional benefit offered by some services is a free year of resident agent service. Others offer notifications of future legal requirements needed with the state (like annual reports), assistance drafting your operating agreement, or coverage of certain LLC formation costs.
Important Post-Formation Compliance Issues
Once you’ve successfully filed your Articles of Organization, your LLC is an official business entity in the state of Kansas. However, this doesn’t mean that your responsibilities have come to an end. There are several other steps you’ll need to take if you want to operate a compliant LLC for years to come.
Acquire a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)
While an EIN isn’t a requirement for Kansas LLCs, we strongly recommend that every entrepreneur obtains one. An EIN enables your LLC to hire employees, open business bank accounts, file taxes, and take care of several other important aspects of LLC maintenance. Even if you operate a single-member LLC with no employees, you should still have an EIN for your business.
Set Up a Financial Infrastructure
One other crucial step is to solidify the financial aspects of your LLC, first by opening a business bank account. You must have separate bank accounts for your personal use and for business purposes, as this will help you keep your personal and business assets separate, a vitally important consideration for any entrepreneur. If you commingle these assets, you leave yourself wide open for lawsuits, as it would be easy for someone to claim that your business is simply an extension of your own personality and not a separate entity from you as a person.
The other portion of this step is to set up an accounting system. This can either mean that you hire an accountant to take care of your LLC’s bookkeeping, or you could acquire high-quality accounting software like QuickBooks. Either way, you need a reliable means of keeping detailed records for each financial transaction your LLC executes. This is another vital part of keeping your personal and business assets separated, and it will also be enormously helpful come tax time.
Acquire Licenses and Permits
The next step involves obtaining any industry-specific licenses and permits your LLC may need to operate in compliance with state laws. Depending on the nature of your LLC’s business, you may require several permits or you may be able to operate your LLC without any state-level licenses.
Thankfully, Kansas makes it very easy to figure out your business’ licensing needs. All you need to do is visit the state’s Licensing and Permitting page and you’ll find the license and permit applications you require. Make sure to check with your county and locality as well, as there may also be licensing requirements for your business on these levels.
Obtain Business Insurance
This step isn’t a requirement, but it is a strong recommendation. The exact insurance policies your business needs will vary based on the type of products and services you offer, but most LLCs should at least have a general liability insurance policy to protect against common perils like slip-and-fall accidents. In some industries, you might need several different insurance policies to cover all of your financial bases, so do your research ahead of time to determine which types of insurance you should purchase.
File Your Annual Reports
Each year, every LLC in Kansas must file an annual report. This report includes some basic information about your business and keeps the state updated regarding any important changes to your LLC’s structure. The information you’ll need to file this report typically includes the LLC’s name, Kansas business entity number, tax closing date, jurisdiction of organization, and the name and address of each member who owns at least 5% of the LLC’s capital.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Filing the Kansas LLC Articles of Organization
How long does it take Kansas to form an LLC?
Kansas processes online LLC formations immediately, as you’ll be able to print a certified copy of your Articles as soon as you submit your payment. Meanwhile, hard copies typically take up to five business days to process.
Should I file my own Articles of Organization, hire an attorney, or use an online service?
This question largely comes down to personal preferences, but we do have some general insights. The DIY route can be quite a bit of work, as you’ll need to complete each step of the formation process on your own with no assistance. As for hiring an attorney, this can be prohibitively expensive for new businesses, as a lawyer can charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars to form your LLC.
You can think of business services companies as a middle ground between these options. While most of these companies charge a fee to form your LLC, that fee will be significantly less expensive than an attorney’s fee. At the same time, you still aren’t going it alone. Instead, you have an experienced professional guiding you through the entire process.
What does Kansas require for LLC formations other than the Articles of Organization?
Unlike some states, Kansas doesn’t require any related filings other than your formation articles. However, we still strongly recommend obtaining a federal tax ID number (EIN). An EIN allows your LLC to file taxes, hire employees, open business bank accounts, and more. Every LLC should have one, whether your state requires it or not.
How many small businesses are there in Kansas?
Today, Kansas has more than 255,000 small businesses. Clearly, entrepreneurs in many different fields find Kansas to be a great place to own and operate a business entity.
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