Step 1) Name Your Kentucky Corporation

Choose a Business NameThe first task to handle when starting a business in Kentucky is to choose a distinctly unique name for your Kentucky Corporation.

Make sure that this name is not similar or does not closely resemble any business entity registered with the Kentucky Secretary of State. Then, as required by state laws, your Corporation name should have any of these words: ‘Corporation’, ‘Company’, ‘Incorporated’ or ‘Limited’. Abbreviations may also be used: ‘Corp.’, ‘Co.’, ‘Inc.’, or ‘Ltd.’.

Using the Kentucky business name search tool of the Secretary of State, verify the availability of the name you have selected. Should it be available for use, you can still reserve the name for 120 days maximum using the Reservation/Renewal of Reserved Name form. You can apply for a reservation through mail or online application.

Filing Fee: $15


Step 2) File the Articles of Incorporation

Register an LLCArticles of Incorporation should be filed to the Kentucky Secretary of State to legally register your business and operate legally within the state. The following information is required upon filing this form:

Application for Articles of Incorporation when incorporating in Kentucky can be submitted online or through mail.

Filing Fee: $50 for Articles of Incorporation and an additional $10 for Organization Tax Fee when Corporation issues 1,000 or less.


Step 3) Choose a Kentucky Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentAs you can see from the previous step, Registered Agent information is required when you file an Articles of Incorporation. That said, it is a requirement to hire a Registered Agent in Kentucky. This Kentucky Registered Agent can be a person or another company that acts as a representative to accept legal notifications from the state.

The individual or company should be qualified to accept service of process and should consent to being your agent prior to registering your company. Also, a physical address of the Registered Agent is a requirement. The agent should also be at the physical address specified at regular business hours to ensure that all legal notifications are received on time accordingly.

That said, you can hire a Registered Agent service and pay up to $160/year, or get a Kentucky Registered Agent free of charge when you form your Corporation with IncFile.


Step 4) Start a Corporate Records Book

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsAlthough a Corporate Records Book is not a requirement of the state of Kentucky to start your Corporation, keeping one will organize your legal documents.

As the name of the book implies, it is a record holder of your Kentucky Corporation registration documents, your business licenses and permits documentation, minutes of meetings, and other important documents. This book can be easily purchased online through Amazon or you can visit your nearest office supply store.


Step 5) Select an Initial Number of Directors

Choose the Initial DirectorsWhen forming a Corporation in Kentucky, you need to also elect the board of directors. These directors will serve the Corporation until the first shareholder’s meeting, when the shareholders can vote for new ones.

As the owner of the Kentucky Corporation, it is your responsibility to then prepare an Incorporator’s Statement where the complete name and address of each director is written. Then, keep this document in your Corporate Records Book.


Step 6) Have a Meeting with Your Chosen Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsAfter you have elected your directors, the process to starting a Kentucky Corporation is to then conduct an initial meeting. The following agenda will be discussed and decided upon during this meeting:

For Corporations that want to have an S Corp status, this specific status should also be approved by the directors at this time. Don’t forget to record the minutes of the meeting for this initial conference and have the directors sign it.


Step 7) Handle Business Tax and Licensing Requirements

Business LicensesYour obligations when it comes to business tax and licensing requirements are also part of your Kentucky Corporation maintenance requirements, so you should take time to comply the necessities. Here are the things to do:

  1. Process your free Employer Identification Number (EIN) through the IRS website.
  2. For S Corporation status (optional), you need to file a Form 2553 Status Election.

For Kentucky business licenses, requirements are also varied depending on the nature of your business and your business structure, in this case a Corporation. Just as equally important as your business taxes, you need to fulfill every requirement for business licenses.


To-Do After Starting a Kentucky Corporation

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are officially a Kentucky Corporation. Other than those 7 steps that are based on state guidelines, here are a few additional steps based on best practices for starting a successful Corporation. Not required, but highly recommended.

1) Create Corporate Bylaws

Prepare Corporate BylawsKentucky Corporate bylaws are not a state-required document, but it facilitates for a smoother and more hassle-free business operations.

These bylaws are the internal rulebook that defines the policies and regulations to be observed in terms of business operations. This will help set the tone for your business and what it stands for.


2) Write a Solid Plan for Your Business

Write a Business PlanTo write a business plan is to lay your business’ foundation. You also do this despite the fact that it’s not a state requisite, because it can help you get the necessary funding for your business.

A dream venture no matter the viability of the plan or the passion of the owner/entrepreneur can never be fully realized without the money to fuel its operations. The next step you need to take is to write a funding ready business plan.

Take Action: Register to our free planning course or use a business planning software. Both will help you define your customers, refine your business idea, and set goals for the future.


3) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountBy opening a separate business bank account for your Kentucky Corporation you will be able to keep all finances separate. This way, you can ensure that all your personal assets will not be mixed up with your business assets, which is extremely important.

You can use the bank you keep your personal account with, just be sure to keep transactions 100% separate.


4) Build a Professional Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteThe next step when starting a Kentucky Corporation is to build a solid website. Without going into too much detail, the easiest way to do so is to start a website through WordPress.

WordPress is a free, easy to use, and customizable platform that you can get started with immediately. Learn how to build your business website through this helpful guide.


5) Continue Learning & Stay Inspired

How to Start a BusinessStarting a business in Kentucky isn’t easy. It will take time, patience, and persistence on your part so that you’re able to whether storms and keep moving forward. As a final step to bringing your idea to life and moving forward, we highly recommend subscribing to our entrepreneur interviews.

Every week we send out a newsletter that dives in and figure out what makes successful entrepreneurs tick. It’s totally free and extremely inspiring.

Take Action: Follow our free entrepreneur updates here.

Note that this guide is an informational tool and should not be used for any legal purposes. For the specifics on how to form a Corporation in Kentucky or starting a business, refer to the expertise of your lawyer.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

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