Last updated October 13, 2021
Articles of Organization
How to form an LLC in Kentucky
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Kentucky.
Kentucky LLC costs:
State filing fee: $40 (one-time fee)
Annual fee: $15 (every year)
★ Check out Northwest vs LegalZoom
In this lesson, we will walk you through filing your Articles of Organization with the Business Services Division of the Kentucky Secretary of State.
This is the document that officially forms your Kentucky LLC.
You can file your Kentucky LLC Articles of Organization by mail or online.
Kentucky LLC filing fee
The filing fee for an LLC in Kentucky is $40. This is a one-time fee.
The $40 LLC fee is the same for both the online filing and mail-in filing.
Note: The “LLC filing fee” (the fee to create a Kentucky LLC) is the same thing as the “Articles of Organization fee”. The Articles of Organization is the document, that once approved by the Secretary of State’s office, creates your Kentucky LLC.
How long does it take to get a Kentucky LLC?
Kentucky LLC approval time is 24 hours if you file online. It’ll be a bit longer if you’re filing over the weekend.
Kentucky LLC approval time is 2-3 business days if you file by mail. This doesn’t include mail time, so please allow a few extra days.
Note: Filing times may take longer due to the current global situation and government delays. For the most up-to-date LLC processing times, check how long does it take to get an LLC in Kentucky.
LLC University® recommendation
We recommend the online filing as the approval time is faster.
The instructions on this page only show how to file a Kentucky LLC online.
However, if you prefer to file by mail, the instructions below will still apply. Download Form KLC-1, prepare a check or money order for $40 (payable to “Kentucky State Treasurer”) and mail them to: Secretary of State, PO Box 718, Frankfort, KY 40602.
Prior LLC University® lessons
Before completing your Kentucky LLC Articles of Organization, make sure you have read the prior lessons:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)
(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)
You need to record your Articles of Organization with County Clerk
Kentucky has a funny requirement about recording your LLC (after it’s approved) with the County Clerk. More details are towards the bottom of this page.
Instructions for Filing Kentucky Articles of Organization Online
Register at the Kentucky OneStop Business Portal:
- Go to the Kentucky OneStop Business Portal.
- Click “Begin your registration”.
- Select “Citizen or Business Partner”.
- Click “Create Account”.
- Enter the required information and click “Sign Up”.
- You’ll see a note about “pending email verification”. You can close your browser tab and then go to your email inbox.
- Find the email from the state and click the activation link.
- Click “Continue to Sign in”.
- Login to your account.
- You may see a message about registering your mobile number for password recovery. If you’d like, you can enter your mobile number here. It will not be made public. It will only be used by the state to contact you about your account or to help you reset your password.
- Click “Register a new business” to begin.
Select the first option, “A business that will be formed in Kentucky”.
Then select “Limited Liability Company” from the drop down.
Click “Next” to proceed.
Check off the box agreeing to the terms and conditions, then click “Next”.
Registration Contact Information
Enter your contact information and then click “Add Registration Contact”.
The Business Formation page will appear again.
Make sure “A business that will be formed in Kentucky” is checked off at the top.
Make sure “Limited Liability Company” is selected from the drop down.
Then click the “Next” button to proceed.
Business Name Search
- Prior lesson: Make sure you have read the Kentucky LLC name search lesson before proceeding. We have some tips on how to make sure your LLC name is available.
Veteran-owned LLC is free:
Thanks to the Boots to Business program, if your LLC is owned (51% or more) by a military veteran or active-service member, including members of the National Guard, your LLC filing is free ($0).
Additionally, your Kentucky LLC Annual Report is also free ($0) for the first 4 years.
If you’re forming a veteran-owned Kentucky LLC, check off the box above the “Business Name” box.
In the “Business Name” box, enter your desired LLC name. But don’t include the designator (example: “LLC”) in the “Business Name” box.
Select your preferred designator from the drop down menu. If you’re having trouble making a selection, “LLC” is the most common.
Comma in LLC name:
You can use a comma in your Kentucky LLC name or you can leave it out.
For example, “ABC Widgets, LLC” and “ABC Widgets LLC” are both acceptable. Make sure to select the suffix with or without the comma, depending on your preference.
Check off the “disclaimer” box, and then click the “Search” button. This will make sure your desired LLC name is available for use.
If a “Business Name Available” message appears, select “Yes” and then click the “Next” button.
If a “Business Name Unavailable or Invalid due to following reason(s)” message appears, that means your LLC name is not available. You’ll need to choose a different LLC name.
- Prior lesson: Make sure you have read the Kentucky LLC Registered Agent lesson before proceeding. We have some tips on keeping your address off of public records.
If your Kentucky LLC’s Registered Agent will be a person:
Select “Individual” from the drop down.
After you make a selection from the drop down menu, it can take 10-20 seconds for the fields to appear below. The system can be a little slow.
You can leave the “ATTN” box empty. It’s not required.
Enter your Registered Agent’s contact information and then click “Add Registered Agent”.
If you hired a Registered Agent company:
Select “Business” from the drop down.
If you hired Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year):
- Login to your Northwest account and look for their Kentucky address
- Business Name: Northwest Registered Agent, LLC
- ATTN: Leave blank
- First name: Tom
- Last name: Glover
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone number: 509-768-2249
If you hired a different Registered Agent company, you’ll need to contact them regarding how to complete this section.
After you click the “Add Registered Agent” button, you may see a popup message. This is the state cross-referencing the address you entered and running it against the United States Post Office address database.
If your Registered Agent is an individual, you may see this message: “This address is not USPS Certified. Do you still want to use this address?”. We recommend clicking “Cancel” and fixing the address to make sure it’s USPS validated:
- Visit USPS: Zip Code by Address
- Enter the address and click “Find”
- You will see the correct address format at the bottom
- Use the correct address format for your Registered Agent’s address
- Note: The address doesn’t have to be in all capital letters (that’s optional)
If you hired Northwest Registered Agent, you may see this message: “Warning: Mail may be returned if sent to this address. Please double check the address and make any corrections needed.” You can disregard this message. Just click “OK”, and then click “Add Registered Agent” again.
Don’t worry, mail sent to Northwest Registered Agent on behalf of your Kentucky LLC will still be delivered.
Principal Office Address
Enter your LLC’s principal office address and click “Save”.
This address is where the Kentucky Secretary of State will send correspondence to your LLC.
Your LLC’s principal office address:
- doesn’t have to be in Kentucky; it can be located in any state
- can’t be a PO Box address
- doesn’t have to be an actual office building
- can be a home address
- can be a friend or family member’s address
- can be the address of your Registered Agent, if allowed
You may see another “Address certification” popup. You can choose to leave the address as-is, or use a USPS-validated address format, as mentioned above.
Member-Managed or Manager-Managed
- Related article: Make sure you have read Member-managed LLC vs Manager-managed LLC before proceeding.
Select how your Kentucky LLC will be managed and then click “Next”.
If your LLC will be Member-managed:
If your LLC will be Manager-managed:
What do most people choose?: Most Kentucky LLCs are Member-managed, where all the Members take part in running the business and all the Members can legally bind the LLC.
- Related article: Please see what is an LLC Organizer before proceeding. It explains the difference between an LLC Member (owner) and an LLC Organizer.
Most people are forming their own LLC. They are therefore the LLC Member in addition to the LLC Organizer.
If that’s the case for you:
- select “Individual” from the first drop down
- select “Organizer” from the second drop down
- enter your contact information
- click the “Add Business Representative” button
After you complete the above, the system may send you back to the same page. It’s kind of weird and confusing. If it does that, you’ll see your information is saved under the “My Associations” section. You may need to click “Next” again to proceed.
Delayed Effective Date
- Related article: Please take a look at LLC effective date before proceeding. If you’re forming your Kentucky LLC later in the year (October, November, or December), you may want to forward-date your filing to January.
Do you want to enter a delayed effective date and time?
• If you want your LLC to go into existence on the date it is filed with the Secretary of State, select “No”.
• If you want your LLC to go into existence at a later date, select “Yes” and use the calendar and clock icon to enter that date and time (it can’t be more than 90 days forward). The time doesn’t really matter. Just choose any time you want.
- What is a business administrator?: OneStop is an all-in-one system which has the ability to register your Kentucky LLC with multiple state agencies (if necessary). The business administrator is the one who has control of your LLC’s OneStop account. For most people, they will be the OneStop business administrator.
If you want to be the OneStop business administrator for your LLC, select “Make me the OneStop Business Administrator” and then click the “Next” button.
You can also add other business administrators (such as another LLC Member) if you’d like. Just click the “Add additional OneStop Business/Registration Administrators” button.
On this signature page, both the Organizer (the person forming the LLC, which is most likely you) and the Registered Agent must electronically sign the filing.
Select your name from the drop down (after the word “I”), then enter your full name in the “Signature” box, and enter today’s date (the date may automatically appear).
If your Registered Agent is an individual:
Enter your/their full name in the signature box and enter the date.
If you hired Northwest Registered Agent:
Enter “Tom Glover” in the signature box and enter the date.
If you hired a different Registered Agent company:
You will need to get in touch with them regarding how to sign this section.
Review all the information you entered for your Kentucky LLC. Check for any typos.
If you need to make any changes, click the “edit” links to the right of each section.
If no changes are needed, click the “Next” button at the bottom to proceed.
Note: the page may take up to 20-30 seconds to load.
- Select “Credit Card” from the drop down and click “Next”
- Enter your billing information and click “Next”
- Finalize and submit your payment to the state
Congratulations! Your Kentucky LLC has been filed for processing.
Now you just need to wait for approval.
How long does it take to get a Kentucky LLC approved?
If you filed your Kentucky LLC online, it will be approved within 24 hours (except if it’s the weekend). Once it’s approved, the state will send you an email.
If you filed your Kentucky LLC by mail, it will be approved in 2-3 business days. Allow a few extra days for mail time. Once it’s approved, the state will mail you a postcard.
Once you receive your approval notice, you can download your approved Articles of Organization online:
- Search your LLC on KY Secretary of State: FastTrack Business Organization Search
- Scroll down to “Images available online”
- Click “Articles of Organization” and download/save a copy to your computer
Tip: We recommend saving a few copies (both physical and digital) and keeping them with your business records.
Requirement to Record Articles of Organization with the County Clerk
Kentucky has an annoying and not strictly enforced law (KRS 14A.2-040) where you need to record an approved copy of your Articles of Organization with your County Clerk. The County Clerk where you record your approval must be located in the same county as your LLC’s Registered Agent.
The recording fees are usually between $9 – $15, but since there are 120 counties in Kentucky, you’ll need to call your County Clerk and verify the details. Ask to speak to the “recording department”, find out the recording fees, and get detailed instructions on how to send your approved Articles of Organization.
Next Step: LLC Operating Agreement
Once you file your LLC Articles of Organization, and it’s approved by the Kentucky Secretary of State, you can then proceed to the next lesson: Kentucky LLC Operating Agreement.
Kentucky Secretary of State Contact Info
If you have any questions, you can contact the Kentucky Secretary of State at 502-564-3490. Their hours are Monday through Friday, from 8am – 4:30pm.
Kentucky Secretary of State: Fees
Kentucky Secretary of State: Laws
Kentucky Revised Statutes: Section 275.020
Kentucky Revised Statutes: Section 275.025
Kentucky Revised Statutes: Section 274.045
Kentucky General Assembly: House Bill 367
Kentucky Secretary of State: Business Filings
Kentucky Revised Statutes: Section 14A.2-070
Kentucky Revised Statutes: Section 14A.2-040
Kentucky General Assembly: Overview of House Bill 367
Kentucky General Assembly: Kentucky Revised Statutes
Kentucky Secretary of State: Frequently asked questions
U.S. Small Business Administration: Boots to Business