Starting a company

How To Form A Corporation In Kentucky

Key takeaways

  • Learn to pick a distinctive name for your company that complies with Kentucky's branding regulations.
  • Know how to send your articles of incorporation and registration money to the Kentucky Secretary of State.
  • Appointing a registered representative with a real location in Kentucky.
  • Obtaining all permissions and permits required for the running of your company.
  • Know about establishing company rules and call an election for officers and directors at the organizational gathering.
  • Importance of following IRS and Kentucky Secretary of State reporting and filing obligations.

Here is a guide with a few steps to help you create a strong foundation for Kentucky corporation formation. Statistics have shown that roughly 97% of all employers and 48% of the private labor force constitute small businesses in Kentucky. The state has a history of assisting small businesses through resources.

Choose a corporate name 

The name you give your business will be its identity throughout its life. Therefore the next step is to decide on a name for your company. 

Tips for Choosing a Name

Pick a distinctive and unforgettable moniker. It must hint at the products or services you are offering. 

  • Be original: By thinking outside the box, devise a name that sets you apart from your rivals. Keep away from popular titles that might be overused in your sector.
  • Ensure simplicity: A short, memorable moniker can be more powerful than a long, complicated one. Use short, simple words that are easy to say and spell instead of lengthy, complex ones.
  • Think about your brand: Choose a name that expresses your beliefs and purpose while considering what your company stands for. Your brand's personality should be reflected in your moniker, and your target market should connect with it.
  • Use keywords: Including pertinent keywords in your company moniker can make it easier for clients to discover you. Use a keyword that accurately defines your good or service or one that is related to your business.

Name Availability Search

According to the law in Kentucky, no two businesses can register under the same or seemingly similar names. This is a crucial aspect to be kept in mind. Hence before you fill up any paperwork for the Kentucky Secretary of State, keep in mind to conduct a name search to confirm the availability of a particular name. The name also cannot have the word "cooperative" if prior approval hasn't been granted. Restricted words such as Bank, University etc must be avoided. And finally, all names must include either "limited" or "Company" or any other abbreviation of these terms.

Try and keep alternative options in case the first preference is not available. If the name is available, but you do not intend to register with the state, it is possible to file for a name reservation. In this way, no other business can take the name before you file. 

Restrictions on Name Selection

According to the Companies Act, the suggested name cannot be too similar to or identical to the name of an already registered business. The ROC will refuse the proposed name if it is similar, nearly identical, or matches a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) or business name already registered.

Appoint a registered agent

Once the most suitable structure has been chosen for your incorporation, henceforth,, the next road is to lead towards registering the company with the Kentucky Secretary of State. You need to choose a Kentucky Registered Agent and appoint them. A person or organization named as an authorized representative to accept delivery of process, letters from the government, and regulatory papers on the company's behalf. 

Who Can Be a Registered Agent in Kentucky ?

Any member of the corporation can serve as your Registered agent in Kentucky as long as the person is:

  • 18 years and above
  • Possesses a physical address in the jurisdiction in which the company is located
  • Available during normal business hours. 

You can either directly register with the state, or it can be done with the assistance of an agency specialized in it to avoid any missteps that could occur. It is important to remember that in Kentucky, the registration process varies from entity to entity. However, the information expected to be provided is essentially the same, such as basic details regarding the business, the name of the company, and registered agent information. 

Choosing a Registered Agent Service

  • Reputation and Experience: Select an authorized agent service based on how well-known it is and how long it has been in business. To gauge their degree of knowledge and client service, think about perusing internet reviews and requesting references.
  • Choose an authorized agent service that is readily accessible during regular business hours and attentive to your requirements. You must ensure they can obtain essential papers and quickly forward them to you.
  • Additional Services: Some registered agent services provide extra services like document scanning, letter sending, and conformance checking. 

File articles of incorporation

This is a crucial step when you are looking into incorporating in Kentucky. The filing can be done online, offline, with the official (Kentucky Secretary of State) or via mail. 

How to File Online or by Mail ?

Online filing

  • If you haven't done Kentucky business registration, visit the Kentucky Secretary of State's website and register.
  • "Business Entity Formation" is the option under "File Now" in the drop-down selection.
  • Select "Articles of Incorporation" and follow the instructions to enter the necessary details, including your corporation's name and location, your business's goal, and the names and addresses of the original directors.
  • Use a credit card to pay the registration charge.
  • Examine your application, then send it. A confirmation text will be sent to you once your registration has been completed.

Mailing Paperwork:

  • You can obtain the Articles of Incorporation document online at the Kentucky Secretary of State website.
  • Complete the form with the required information, such as your corporation's name and location, your company's goal, and the first members' names and addresses.
  • Make the registration charge payable to the "Kentucky Secretary of State" on a cheque or money order.
  • Send the finished application along with your money to the following address:

              700 Capital Ave #152, Frankfort, KY 40601, USA

Filing Fees

The basic filling cost comes to $ 40 plus an additional $10 organization fee for corporations with 1000 or fewer shares. If your corporation plans to issue over 1000 shares, you must contact the Secretary of State for your total organization tax fee to assist with the procedures.

Prepare corporate bylaws

The corporate bylaws in Kentucky are the rules that will govern your corporation's operations. It is what will create an organizational structure for your company. 

Importance of bylaws

A solid set of Kentucky corporate bylaws will help outline policies for appointing officers and directors, holding shareholders and board meetings, handling conflicts of interest and even eventually dissolving the business, among other issues. Corporate bylaws are some of the most critical documents you need to have. 

What to Include in Bylaws ?

It commonly includes information such as the number of directors the corporation has, how they will be elected, their qualifications, and the length of their terms.

Appoint initial directors and first board meetings

The corporation must have one or more directors. There is no specification regarding where the director must reside or age requirements. It is also not required that the names of the Directors and addresses be listed in the Articles of Incorporation. 

The corporation must hold an initial meeting where the company's incorporators join. Here the initial resolutions to organize the company are recorded. This is mainly done after the A document of incorporation and the articles of incorporation are received from the Secretary of the State.

Board Meeting Procedures

Select a convenient time and place for all board members, and then convene a meeting after sending out the schedule. Discuss and decide on various subjects during the conference, including financial reports, operational updates, and long-term strategic planning. 

Several crucial subjects must be addressed and recorded during your first board gathering. These include selecting committee members and electing officials, approving company bylaws and other administration papers, establishing a fiscal year, and issuing stock. 

Obtain an EIN from IRS

Once the business structure has been decided, the next step involves getting a Federal Tax ID number. You will get this nine-digit number when registering your business with the federal government. This is used solely for uniquely identifying your business. This is also called an employer identification number or EIN for Kentucky corporations. 

How to obtain an EIN ?

Online applications are the fastest and most practical method to obtain an EIN in Kentucky. To apply online, go to the IRS website. You will have to fill out a form with details about your company, including your name, your Social Security number, and the formal name of your company. 

Register for Kentucky state texas

When you register your business as a legal entity with the State of Kentucky, a separation will be created between you and your company. This separation is what will provide you with limited liability protection. Registration is also necessary because it helps to assess tax liability. This is a mandatory step.

Businesses that sell tangible goods or offer services may also need to register for sales tax and use taxes that are at the state level.

Kentucky business licenses and permits

It is mandatory in Kentucky that all businesses are required to file to get a general business license. Business licenses are usually by municipalities and cities. And every city in Kentucky differs in its requirements.

Comply with ongoing requirements 

The assumed name in Kentucky is valid for five years, after which it needs to be renewed. Kentucky LLC formation requires Kentucky annual reports to be filed every year by the 30th of June. Similarly, corporations must file an annual report each year by the 30th of June. A filing cost will be incurred for this, which is $15. For more information you can check out the business filing section in the Kentucky state government website.

Consider working with a business attorney or incorporation service

The best way to go about the entire procedure is to move forward with the assistance of a business attorney or an incorporation agency. With the proper knowledge and expertise, you can be guided down the right path avoiding delays and confusion.


The above-mentioned are some of the essential aspects that will determine the foundation of your corporation or business. These need to be thoroughly examined in order to manage each component effectively. Along with this, a proper system for paying additional bills such as taxes and maintaining permits is also required. This ensures that the operational aspect of the business is automated as much as possible, guaranteeing maximum success with your business endeavors.

We can help!

At Levy, we help early-stage founders streamline and automate regulatory and legal ops, HR, and finance so you can focus on what matters most — your business.

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Note: Our content is for general information purposes only. Levy does not provide legal, accounting, or certified expert advice. Consult a lawyer, CPA, or other professional for such services.

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