How to Register a Business in Kansas

by Jennifer Kiesewetter in
silhouette photo of grass field

TLDR

  • Primarily rural, Kansas has miles of space ready for your agriculture, aerospace, biotech, logistics, or manufacturing startup. Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita can support you if you need a city location, providing solid entrepreneurial cultures.
  • When you register a business in Kansas, you'll need to satisfy several requirements, allowing you to start your company legally and compliantly. Before registering, though, it’s a good idea to map out your business, including your location, your ideal customer, and your marketing and sales approach, to name a few topics. You can do this by drafting a business plan.  
  • Before you register your startup in Kansas, you must first determine your organization's legal entity structure. When deciding upon your start-up’s structure, it’s a good idea to discuss your options with your accountant or attorney, as they can advise you in detail about the ownership, management, and tax benefits and drawbacks of each structure.
  • In addition to choosing your startup’s structure, you'll also have to choose a name. When picking a name for an LLC, corporation, or limited partnership, you’ll need to distinguish it from any other business names already registered with the State. You can check for available names by visiting Kansas’s name availability database.  
  • After choosing your startup’s name, you need to identify a resident agent (called a “registered agent” in other states). A resident agent is “an individual or another entity that has the responsibility for accepting service of process on behalf of a business entity. A resident agent can be an individual, or other entities as provided in Kansas law.”
  • Finally, after completing the above steps, it's time to submit your formation forms to Kansas’s Secretary of State. For new or converting entities, the State of Kansas provides sample forms for your use or review. Any formation documents can be filed electronically.
  • If you founded a startup in a state other than Kansas, but you’d like to conduct business in Kansas, you’ll have to register your business as a foreign entity.

If your startup needs a little wiggle room (spatially that is), Kansas may be the State for you. Primarily rural, Kansas has miles of space ready for your agriculture, aerospace, biotech, logistics, or manufacturing startup. Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita can support you if you need a city location, providing solid entrepreneurial cultures.

Kansas is home to more than 250,000 small businesses, making up 99.1 percent of all companies in the State, employing 50.5 percent of Kansas employees. According to the Kansas Department of Commerce, “Kansas has been committed to the development of a comprehensive network to support research, facilitate commercialization and promote the adoption of new technologies in the State. The State has a variety of tools to support and promote new technology for companies, whether they are in the early stages of their business or more mature in their operations. This helps fuel a strong culture of entrepreneurship in our state.”

As you’re launching your startup and exploring where to locate your new business, this article will explore registering your business in Kansas.

When Do You Need to Register a Business in Kansas?

When you register a business in Kansas, you'll need to satisfy several requirements, allowing you to start your company legally and compliantly. Before registering, though, it’s a good idea to map out your business, including your location, your ideal customer, and your marketing and sales approach, to name a few topics. You can do this by drafting a business plan.   

To help guide you in drafting your business plan, you can check in with the U.S. Small Business Administration or SCORE, which focuses specifically on small businesses and startups.

Once you’ve identified some of the basics about your business’s operation, it is then time to register your startup. Below, we've broken the Kansas requirements into an easy step-by-step process.

Determine Your Startup’s Entity Structure

Before you register your startup in Kansas, you must first determine your organization's legal entity structure. When deciding upon your start-up’s structure, it’s a good idea to discuss your options with your accountant or attorney, as they can advise you in detail about the ownership, management, and tax benefits and drawbacks of each structure.

Further, your chosen business entity determines the next steps in registering your startup. For example, in Kansas, you can choose to register as a corporation, a limited liability company (LLC),  a limited partnership (LP), a limited liability partnership (LLP), a general partnership (GP), or a sole proprietorship. To learn more about Kansas’s permissible entity types, you can visit the Secretary of State, which gives you additional information on each of the above entity types as well as the registration rules applying to each.

If you choose to organize as a sole proprietorship, you are not required to file any forms with the State of Kansas. Unlike other states, you are not required to file a fictitious name (or “doing business as” (DBA)) name for your sole proprietorship. You may use a fictitious name, but you do not register that name with the State.

For general partnerships, you have the option of filing an application of authority with the Kansas’ Secretary of State. However, not filing any forms with Kansas does not interfere with the legal establishment of a general partnership.

On the other hand, if you choose to register your startup as a corporation, limited liability company, or limited partnership, you must follow specific steps to register your business. For example, you may choose a corporation as your startup’s structure. However, if you structure your startup as a corporation, you’ll need to file an Articles of Incorporation form with Kansas’ Secretary of State, along with a filing fee of $90.

Choose Your Startup’s Name

In addition to choosing your startup’s structure, you'll also have to choose a name. When picking a name for an LLC, corporation, or limited partnership, you’ll need to distinguish it from any other business names already registered with the State. You can check for available names by visiting Kansas’s name availability database.  

Suppose you’re not ready to register your business in Kansas, but you want to preserve your startup's name. In that case, you may reserve your business name for up to one hundred twenty (120) days after filing a name reservation form with the Secretary of State’s office. Note that a name reservation does not permit you to conduct business in Kansas; it simply preserves your startup’s name for future use.

Identify Your Registered Agent

Next, after choosing your startup’s name, you need to identify a resident agent (called a “registered agent” in other states). A resident agent is “an individual or another entity that has the responsibility for accepting service of process on behalf of a business entity. A resident agent can be an individual, or other entities as provided in Kansas law.”

All resident agents must have a registered office as well. In Kansas, a registered office of the physical address of the resident agent. A PO. Box is not sufficient.

Submit Your Formation Forms

Finally, after completing the above steps, it's time to submit your formation forms to Kansas’s Secretary of State. For new or converting entities, the State of Kansas provides sample forms for your use or review. Any formation documents can be filed electronically.

Let's look at a specific example. If you choose to register as a for-profit corporation, you will file an Articles of Corporation with Kansas’ Secretary of State to create your startup. For a limited partnership, you’d file a Certificate for a Kansas Limited Partnership. In addition to your formation forms, you’ll also want to check if any additional forms are needed at the city, county, or state level, such as one for a business license.

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Business in Kansas?

Depending upon your chosen entity for your startup, you will have your initial filing fee payment, any additional annual filings, and any taxes. For example, you must pay a $90 filing fee for registering a corporation or $85 if you file online. For LLCs, your fee is $75, whether you file by paper or online. For limited partnerships, your fee is $165 (or $160 if you file online). You can check Kansas’s Secretary of State’s website for more information on filing fees.

Additionally, most business entities must file an annual report in Kansas, accompanied by another filing fee. For example, corporations must file an annual report with the Secretary of State, costing $55 annually. Limited liability companies also require the filing on an annual report, with the same filing fee as a corporation.

You’ll also need to register your startup with Kansas’ Department of Revenue to pay any applicable business taxes. To understand how much you’ll owe, you should consult with a qualified accountant familiar with Kansas’s tax rules.

How to Register a Business in Kansas that Started in Another State

If you founded a startup in a state other than Kansas, but you’d like to conduct business in Kansas, you’ll have to register your business as a foreign entity. Whether a business is a domestic or foreign entity depends upon where the startup was formed and which state governs its management and operation. For example, a startup that is registered in Kansas is a “domestic” startup. A startup that is registered in Delaware, but conducts business in Kansas, would be considered a “foreign” startup.

To register as a foreign entity in Kansas, if your startup is a corporation, then you’d file an Application for Registration of Foreign Covered Entity with a filing fee of $115. If your startup is an LLC, then you’d also file Application for Registration of Foreign Covered Entity; however, the filing fee is $165.  

What Resources Does Kansas Provide Founders?

The State of Kansas offers numerous resources to startup founders, including business incentives as well as tax credits and financing. For example, helping to spur business growth in Kansas, the State offers programs, including:

We can help!

At AbstractOps, 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. If you're looking for help registering your Kansas startup, we can get your documentation ready, overall shepherding this process to ensure it's done right. Drop us a note at hello@abstractops.com.

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