How to Check Corporation Name Availability in Kentucky

Woman doing a Kentucky corporation name search on her computer.

Before you form a corporation, you’ll need to complete a business name search with the Kentucky Name Availability Search tool to check if your corporation name is available.

We'll show you how to check corporation name availability in Kentucky in this guide.

Or, use a professional service:

4.7 out of 5 stars ZenBusiness ($49 + state fee)

Kentucky Corporation Name Search

The Kentucky Secretary of State requires all business names to be distinguishable from other business entities in the state. So, you’ll want to search and make sure no other businesses in the state are already using your name.

It is also useful to see if your corporation name is available as a web domain (URL).

SKIP AHEAD:

  1. How to Register a Corporation Name in Kentucky
  2. Kentucky Corporation Name Requirements
  3. Kentucky Corporation Name Search FAQ

How to Search Available Kentucky Corporation Names

You can search for a corporation name in Kentucky via:

  • Online database
  • Email
  • Phone

Even if the online database shows that your name is available, we recommend calling or emailing the Secretary of State for preliminary name approval.

Online Database

Once you know your corporation name meets Kentucky business name guidelines, make sure it’s available by using the Kentucky Name Availability Search tool.

Email 

You can email the Kentucky Secretary of State through their website form for a preliminary name availability screening.

Phone

You can call the Kentucky Secretary of State at (502) 564-3490 for a preliminary name availability screening.

Want to learn more about corporations? Check out our What Is a Corporation guide to get started.

How to Check Available Domain Names

When deciding on a name for your corporation, you should make sure that a similar or exact domain name is available. A matching URL will help potential customers find your corporation faster.

Find a Domain Now

How to Register a Corporation Name in Kentucky

Register Your Name

A corporation name is officially registered when you file your Kentucky Articles of Incorporation. You can hire a professional service to form a corporation for you or start a corporation yourself.

Ready to register your corporation name? Use our Form a Corporation guide to get started.

If you want to register a DBA in Kentucky, known as an assumed name, that’s a separate process that requires filing a separate form with the Secretary of State.

Reserve Your Name

While not required, you have the option to reserve your corporation name in Kentucky for up to 120 days before you register it. This prevents other businesses from registering your name until you are ready to register it yourself. 

Name reservations can be filed by mail with the Kentucky Secretary of State. The filing fee is $15.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation? ZenBusiness will get you started.

Kentucky Corporation Name Requirements

Key Guidelines

Kentucky has official requirements for its corporation names.

The name must contain the words "corporation," "company," or "limited;" the abbreviation "Corp.," "Inc.," "Co.," or "Ltd.;" or words or abbreviations of the same meaning in another language.

There are also restricted words, such as “FBI” or “Treasury,” that you cannot use in order to keep your LLC from sounding like an official institution.

Kentucky also has the following restrictions for corporation names:

  • The name cannot include the word “cooperative” without approval.
  • The name cannot contain language stating or implying that the corporation is organized for a purpose other than the one permitted by its Articles of Incorporation.

For more information, check out the Kentucky state statute on corporation names.

Distinguishability

Your name must be distinguishable from all other Kentucky business names. In Kentucky, a distinguishable name is one that is substantively different from all other existing or reserved business names in the state.

If your corporation name isn’t distinguishable, your Articles of Incorporation filing will likely be rejected.

What if my corporation name is already taken? Our AI-powered corporation name generator will give you thousands of new ideas. 

For a list of brainstorming tips, check out our guide to naming your business.

Kentucky Corporation Name Search FAQ

How do I check if a corporation name is taken in Kentucky?

You can use the Kentucky Name Availability Search tool to see if your business name is available.

You can also call the Kentucky Secretary of State at (502) 564-3490 or contact them through their web form for a preliminary name availability screening.

Learn more about business entity name availability in the Kentucky Corporation Name Search section.

Should I name my corporation after myself?

While there’s no rule against naming a corporation after yourself, most experts advise against doing this. 

One of the benefits of starting a corporation is the ability to choose a different name for your business, which can make it sound more professional.

To explore other naming options, use our free AI-powered business name generator.

What words can’t be used in a Kentucky corporation name?

Business names generally can’t include words that imply the company is a banking or financial institution or that it’s affiliated with a local, state, or federal government agency.

Additionally, Kentucky corporation names cannot include the word “cooperative” without approval and cannot contain language stating or implying that the corporation is organized for a purpose other than the one permitted by its Articles of Incorporation.

Learn more about corporation naming requirements in the Kentucky Corporation Name Requirements section.

Should I use a business name generator?

If you’re having trouble choosing a name for your corporation, a corporation name generator can help you come up with some ideas.

Do I have to include ‘corporation’ in my name?

Kentucky corporation names must contain the words "corporation," "company," or "limited;" the abbreviation "Corp.," "Inc.," "Co.," or "Ltd.;" or words or abbreviations of the same meaning in another language.

Learn more about corporation naming requirements in the Kentucky Corporation Name Requirements section.

Do I need to renew my business name in Kentucky?

Kentucky doesn't require corporations to renew their legal name, but assumed names must be renewed every five years with the Secretary of State.

Can my business name be different from my corporation name in Kentucky?

Some companies choose to operate under a name that’s different from their legal name. This can either be called a “doing business as” (DBA) name or an assumed name in Kentucky. 

In Kentucky, assumed names for corporations are filed with the Secretary of State.

Learn more about assumed names with our Kentucky DBA guide.

Does my corporation need a DBA name?

Your corporation doesn’t need a DBA name unless it plans to do business under a name other than its legal name. Learn more with our Kentucky DBA guide.