Your business is growing, and you’re planning an expansion to other states. It’s a good problem to have!
But it’s not quite as simple as choosing another location. Because each state has different rules and requirements for business operations, you may need a “foreign qualification” in each state where you plan to do business.
It’s a common misconception that foreign qualification is only for businesses operating outside the U.S. But in this case, “foreign” refers to any business operating in a state that isn’t the state where the LLC was originally formed.
For example, if your LLC is registered in Washington and you are looking to open a second location in Kansas, you may need to complete a foreign qualification in Kansas before you can expand there.
Important Note: If you’d like to save time and have the foreign qualification paperwork taken care of for you, many of the best LLC services can handle this task for you.
What happens if I fail to foreign qualify before doing business in Kansas?
Foreign qualifying is essentially asking permission to do business in the state of Kansas. And the notion that “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission” doesn’t apply here. Failing to foreign qualify before starting a business in Kansas yields consequences that are far costlier than registering in the first place.
If you fail to foreign qualify, your LLC will be prohibited from bringing any action or lawsuit to Kansas courts. Additionally, you will be liable for all the LLC taxes, fees, and penalties your LLC would have paid during its time in Kansas had it been properly registered.
But transacting unauthorized business won’t completely cut you off from activity in Kansas. For example, you would still be allowed to defend an action in court, and your existing in-state contracts would still be considered valid.
Still, penalties and fees can add up over the years and being left without any legal standing is a scary prospect, so it’s best to avoid the risk and foreign qualify right away.
Read over the Kansas LLC Act, Section 17-76,126 for more information.
What is considered “doing business” in Kansas?
We’ve established why you shouldn’t do business without a foreign qualification. But what exactly does it mean to “do business” in Kansas? The state’s LLC Act doesn’t give specific direction on the topic, but other state and tax laws consider an LLC to be “doing business” and required to foreign qualify if:
- Your LLC maintains offices, warehouses, stores, or any other type of physical presence in the state.
- There are representatives, like salespersons or agents, operating on behalf of your LLC in the state.
Taxes are unavoidable. And depending on your LLC’s size and income, you may be required to pay specific business taxes in Kansas. By foreign qualifying, you’re letting the state know you could be eligible for these taxes. While it might seem like a fiscally wise idea to avoid as many taxes as possible, failing to foreign qualify could lead to larger tax-related fines down the line. It’s important to always stay on top of your LLC’s taxation requirements to avoid any unwelcome surprises.
If you’re unsure whether or not you need to file for a foreign qualification in Kansas, we suggest seeking legal counsel.
Could I be exempt from foreign qualifying in Kansas?
The foreign qualification, however, isn’t a hard and fast rule for all LLCs performing any kind of action in Kansas. Certain actions do not qualify as “doing business” and therefore don’t require a foreign qualification. Some examples are:
- Defending or settling an action or proceeding in a Kansas court
- Any activity concerning internal affairs, like holding LLC member and/or manager meetings
- Maintaining bank accounts
- Selling products or services through independent contractors
- Facilitating orders taking place outside the state before they turn into contracts
- Creating or acquiring indebtedness, or collecting debts
- Transacting business in interstate commerce
- One isolated transaction – not in a series of similar transactions – completed within 30 days
After examining this list (as well as the more detailed one in Section 17-7303 of the Kansas Statutes) check to see if your business activities in Kansas appear there. If your only activities are present, you likely won’t have to foreign qualify. But if you’re unsure, it’s best to seek legal advice.
How to Foreign Qualify Your LLC in Kansas
Foreign qualification in Kansas is simple if you know where to find and send your forms. If you or your legal counsel has decided to foreign qualify your LLC in Kansas, make your way to the Secretary of State Business Forms page. The one you’re looking for is Form FA: Application for Registration of Foreign Covered Entity.
You’ll notice that there’s no option for online filing. This means you’ll need to download the form and fill it out electronically (using Adobe Acrobat) or by hand. The form itself contains detailed instructions for its completion, but for a quick reference, here’s the info you’ll need:
- Your LLC name (exactly as it appears in the records of your home state)
- State where your LLC was formed and its date of formation
- Date you began doing business in Kansas (if different from filing date)
- Kansas resident agent name and address
- Fiscal year earnings
- Nature of your business activity in Kansas
Also required is a Certificate of Good Standing from the state where you formed your LLC. To obtain one, contact the state government.
Have your checkbook ready, too. The fee for foreign qualification in Kansas is $165. Along with your finished form and Certificate of Good Standing, include a check or money order made payable to “Kansas Secretary of State.”
Additional fees might apply as well. Depending on how long you’ve been doing business in Kansas at the time of the filing, you may owe annual report fees. See page 3 of the form for more information.
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information and materials, package it up and mail or hand deliver it to:
Kansas Secretary of State
Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 S.W. 10th Ave.
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1594
You may also fax your documents to (785) 296-4570, but it will cost you another $20.
After your form is in and your fee is paid, sit back, take a deep breath, and pat yourself on the back. Your LLC is foreign qualified and you’re embarking on another chapter in the life of your business.
Name Requirements to Remember
As you work to meet all of the Kansas foreign qualification requirements, don’t lose sight of their business name restrictions. If your name isn’t compliant, you won’t be able to register and do business there. Your LLC name must:
- Use a term that’s indicative of its business type, like “limited liability company,” “limited company,” “L.L.C.,” “L.C.,” “LLC,” or “LC”
- Be distinguishable from every other business entity name on record with the Kansas Secretary of State (perform a Kansas LLC name search to make sure the name you want is available)
You can also reserve your Kansas business name if you’re not quite ready to foreign qualify your LLC.
Should I hire a service to file my Kansas foreign LLC?
Considering all the work that goes into expanding your business to a new state, you’ve likely got a lot on your plate. Rather than trying to juggle everything yourself, you can bring on an individual or company to help you secure your LLC’s Kansas foreign qualification.
For example, business attorneys understand all the legal nuances involved, providing peace of mind that the job will get done correctly. But if you go this route, be sure you have the budget for it. Lawyer fees for Kansas foreign LLC qualifications can be a prohibitively expensive option for businesses operating on tight budgets.
If you’re operating on a limited budget, but still want to have your Kansas foreign LLC professionally registered, go with an online business service provider. There are plenty of reputable companies that can help you out with Kansas foreign qualifications, but here are a couple of our favorites:
- MyCompanyWorks ($99): MyCompanyWorks is one of the only service providers offering foreign qualifications for less than $100. This company receives excellent customer reviews and has a great track record of success, making it a smart choice for a wide range of entrepreneurs.
- IncFile ($149): IncFile offers a free LLC formation service that we have always appreciated, and its pricing for foreign qualifications is a reasonable $149. IncFile has the best customer feedback reputation in the industry, with tens of thousands of positive reviews available online.
- Northwest Registered Agent ($225): Northwest is more of a premium service, with the best customer support in the industry, in our opinion. They also include a year of their namesake registered agent service with every foreign qualification. There’s a reason Northwest is our #1 pick among the best registered agent services!
Frequently Asked Questions
When Is the Best Time to Foreign Qualify an LLC?
We think you should foreign qualify your LLC before you begin conducting business in a new state. If you don’t, your business could be subject to a broad range of fines and penalties for operating an LLC in a state where you don’t have permission to do so.
How Long Does It Take Kansas to Process a Foreign Qualification?
Unlike most states, Kansas does not provide any guidance regarding foreign qualification filing turnaround times, at least not that we could find. In general, this state typically processes business filings in a couple of weeks.
Where Can I Learn More About the Kansas LLC Licensing and Permitting Requirements?
Chances are, you’ll require at least one license or permit to operate your LLC in compliance with Kansas state law. For more information about business licenses and more in this state, check out the state’s convenient Licenses and Permits page.
Do I Need to File an Annual Report for My Foreign LLC in Kansas?
Yes. Whether you operate a domestic or foreign LLC in this state, you are required to file a Kansas LLC Annual Report.
What Is the Total Expected Cost of Operating an LLC in Kansas?
The overall costs of operating a Kansas LLC can vary considerably based on the specifics of your business. However, we created a helpful guide to help you identify and plan for every expense your LLC will face in this state.
Should I Use an LLC Service, Hire an Attorney, or Foreign Qualify My Own LLC?
The answer to this question lies in your personal preferences, but we can give some general pointers. An attorney will cost the most by a mile, but also provides expertise you won’t find with the other options. The DIY route is free of charge but can require quite a bit of legwork and provides no peace of mind that the process is being completed correctly.
Using an LLC service means your business will be foreign qualified by professionals who know what they’re doing, while also costing significantly less than a lawyer. This “best of both worlds” attribute is what makes LLC services our preferred option.
How Do Online LLC Services Work?
Using an online LLC service removes much of the hassle from the foreign qualification process. With these services, all you need to do is provide them with the name, location, and industry your business operates in, along with some info about yourself and your Kansas resident agent.
The service then registers your Application for Registration with the state to qualify your LLC to do business in Kansas.
Are LLC Service Websites Legit?
Absolutely. There are quite a few reputable companies offering LLC formation service and foreign qualifications these days, including the two options we discussed earlier: MyCompanyWorks and IncFile.
In fact, while we certainly have our opinions about which ones offer the best pricing and features, every one of the incorporation services we discuss on this website is entirely legitimate and trustworthy.
Need to save time?
Let’s face it, there’s never enough time in the day, especially when you’re running a company. And properly registering your LLC in Kansas involves research and time, time that you could be using to continue growing your business.
If the thought of paperwork, fees and state correspondence makes your head spin, consider using a service like Northwest Registered Agent to foreign qualify your business. Services like Northwest ensure that your forms are filed correctly and on time, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in penalties, not to mention a bunch of time and stress.
Foreign Qualification in All 50 States
We break down the Foreign Qualification filing process in detail in all 50 states. View all of our Foreign Qualification guides below.
- Alabama LLC Foreign Qualification
- Alaska LLC Foreign Qualification
- Arizona LLC Foreign Qualification
- California LLC Foreign Qualification
- Colorado LLC Foreign Qualification
- Connecticut LLC Foreign Qualification
- Delaware LLC Foreign Qualification
- D.C. LLC Foreign Qualification
- Florida LLC Foreign Qualification
- Georgia LLC Foreign Qualification
- Hawaii LLC Foreign Qualification
- Idaho LLC Foreign Qualification
- Illinois LLC Foreign Qualification
- Indiana LLC Foreign Qualification
- Iowa LLC Foreign Qualification
- Kentucky LLC Foreign Qualification
- Louisiana LLC Foreign Qualification
- Maine LLC Foreign Qualification
- Maryland LLC Foreign Qualification
- Massachusetts LLC Foreign Qualification
- Michigan LLC Foreign Qualification
- Minnesota LLC Foreign Qualification
- Mississippi LLC Foreign Qualification
- Missouri LLC Foreign Qualification
- Montana LLC Foreign Qualification
- Nebraska LLC Foreign Qualification
- Nevada LLC Foreign Qualification
- New Hampshire LLC Foreign Qualification
- New Jersey LLC Foreign Qualification
- New Mexico LLC Foreign Qualification
- New York LLC Foreign Qualification
- North Carolina LLC Foreign Qualification
- North Dakota LLC Foreign Qualification
- Ohio LLC Foreign Qualification
- Oklahoma LLC Foreign Qualification
- Oregon LLC Foreign Qualification
- Pennsylvania LLC Foreign Qualification
- Rhode Island LLC Foreign Qualification
- South Carolina LLC Foreign Qualification
- South Dakota LLC Foreign Qualification
- Tennessee LLC Foreign Qualification
- Texas LLC Foreign Qualification
- Utah LLC Foreign Qualification
- Vermont LLC Foreign Qualification
- Virginia LLC Foreign Qualification
- Washington LLC Foreign Qualification
- West Virginia LLC Foreign Qualification
- Wisconsin LLC Foreign Qualification
- Wyoming LLC Foreign Qualification