The first step to forming an LLC in Kentucky is to search your desired LLC name and make sure it is available for use.
Your Kentucky LLC name must be unique and must follow certain state requirements.
Kentucky LLC Name Requirements
Before searching your LLC name in Kentucky, there are a few requirements you need to know:
1. The abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C.” must be used at the end of your Kentucky LLC name. The abbreviation “LLC” is the most common.
2. Because a Kentucky LLC is not a Corporation, your desired LLC name cannot use the word “Corporation”, “Incorporated,” or their abbreviations (“Corp.” or “Inc.”).
3. Your desired LLC name must be distinguishable. This means it must be different and unique from all other businesses registered in Kentucky.
Differences in designators, which are the identifiers at the end of a business name (LLC, Inc., etc.) do not create distinguishability.
Differences in grammar also do not create distinguishability.
- LLC, L.L.C, Inc., Corp.
- singular, plural, and possessive
- A, An, The
- and, or, &
- hyphens, slashes, periods, commas
- three vs. 3
The following examples are NOT distinguishable:
- Smith Investments, LLC vs. Smith Investments, Inc.
- Apple Farm, LLC vs. Apple Farms, LLC
- Print Shop, LLC vs. The Print Shop, LLC
- Night & Day, LLC vs. Night and Day, LLC
- Peter Paul & Mary Studios, LLC vs. Peter-Paul-Mary Studios, Inc
- Three Teachers Consulting, LLC vs. 3 Teachers Consulting, LLC
Searching the Kentucky Name Database
Kentucky has 2 ways you can search your desired LLC name:
- Call 502-564-3490 and the state will check name availability for you over the phone.
- Use the FastTrack Business Organization Search Station and search your LLC name online.
FastTrack Business Organization Search Station
1. Visit the FastTrack Business Entity Search Station
Kentucky Secretary of State: Business Entity Search
2. Search Your LLC Name
Enter your desired LLC name in the search box.
Leave out the ending “LLC” and any punctuation.
Capitalization doesn’t matter.
To be thorough, just enter the first word or two of your LLC name to ensure you see everything that is potentially similar. (Ex: If your desired Kentucky LLC name is “Johnny Apple Farm LLC”, just enter “johnny apple”).
To be even more thorough, just enter a part of the first word. (Ex: if your desired Kentucky LLC name is “Printing Solutions LLC”, just enter “print”).
3. Browse the Results
Click the “Continue” button and browse the list of existing Kentucky businesses:
If a “No matching organizations were found” message appears, that means your desired LLC name is unique and available for use.
If the results show names that are not too similar to yours (meaning yours is distinguishable), then your desired LLC name is available for use.
If your desired LLC name appears exactly as you want it in the search results, your desired Kentucky LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a unique variation.
If the search results show a name that is deceptively similar to your desired LLC name, your desired Kentucky LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a unique variation.
Tip: If you’re not 100% sure that your desired Kentucky LLC name is distinguishable, just file your paperwork with the state. If your name is not available, the Kentucky Secretary of State will send back your filing and let you know that the name needs to be changed.
Once you find a Kentucky LLC name that is unique and distinguishable, you’re ready to select your LLC’s Registered Agent. We’ll discuss this in the next lesson: Kentucky LLC Registered Agent.
And check out TRUIC’s business name generator if you need help coming up with an LLC name.
Kentucky Secretary of State Contact Info
If you have any questions, you can contact the Kentucky Secretary of State at 502-564-3490.