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How To Do A Kentucky Business Name Search

How To Do A Kentucky Business Name Search

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How To Do A Kentucky Business Name Search

If you are forming an LLC or a corporation in Kentucky, the first thing you need to do is a business name search. Like all other states, Kentucky requires each LLC or corporation registered in the state to have a unique business name. You can do a Kentucky business name search on the Kentucky Secretary of State website to see if the business name you want to use is available.

Related: Guide to starting a business in Kentucky

Step 1: Visit the Kentucky Entity Name Database

Go to the Kentucky Secretary of State website.

Step 2: Search your Business Name

Enter the name you would like to use in the “Entity Name” field.  In this example, we will do a Kentucky LLC name search by looking up “The Lawn Barber.” Enter the company name and click “Continue.”

How To Do A Kentucky Business Name Search

Step 3: Review Results

When we search for a business name, some results are returned. In the case of “The Lawn Barber,” several come up. To register a corporation or LLC name in Kentucky, the name must be distinguishable from the other registered names. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name, you wouldn’t be able to register The Lawn Barber, since it’s in Active and Good Standing with the state.

Kentucky LLC Name Search Result

To find more information about each registered business name, click on the link in the “Company Name” column for a detailed report. Let’s take a look and find more information about The Lawn Barber, LLC.”

KY Business Entity Search Result

While the name “The Lawn Barber” may not be available, other variants, such as “Kentucky Lawn Barber,” are. Searching for those business names brings a result that says, “No matching organizations found” While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register. 

KY Not LLC Names Found

This wraps up the basics of searching for a business name in Kentucky.  Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names. 

What information can be found on the Kentucky business entity database?

A Kentucky business entity search can uncover several pieces of information about businesses in the state. Some of the highlights include:

  • Business Name
  • Profit or Non-Profit Entity
  • Entity Type: Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Limited Partnership, etc.
  • Status: Businesses that show Active and Good Standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date. Names of businesses not in good standing may be available to reserve.
  • Filing Date: Date filed with the Secretary of State
  • Organization Date: Businesses can elect to delay the start of their entity.
  • Last Annual Report: Every year, an annual report has to be filed with the Kentucky Secretary of State.
  • Principal Office Address: This could be the business’s physical address or an address where business records are stored.
  • Registered Agent Information:Kentucky registered agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need to be sent to the business. This agent is often one of the owners, and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information. Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent, so their home address isn’t publicly listed.  
  • Current Officers: Names of officers of the business entity
  • Individuals / Entities listed at the time of formation: Names of the initial organizers of the entity. These may or may not be officers of the entity.

Something to keep in mind is that even though each Corporation and LLC name must be unique, it may not stop someone else from using that name since small business names for a sole proprietorship or partnership are not registered by the Secretary of State and are not required to be unique.  To protect your business name, consider getting a trademark.

Related: Should I trademark my business name?

Kentucky Business Name Search FAQs

How do I find the business name of a Kentucky sole proprietorship?

Unlike corporations and LLCs in Kentucky, the names of Kentucky sole proprietorships and general partnerships are not listed on the state database. Instead, they are registered with the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located. 

Registering a name for a sole proprietorship or general partnership requires filing a Kentucky Assumed Name (often referred to as a DBA or Doing Business As name) with the County Clerk. 

How do I form a Kentucky LLC?

Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, read our step-by-step guide to learn how to form a Kentucky LLC.

While not required in Kentucky, an LLC operating agreement, which basically are the rules for how the LLC operates, is a document worth considering, especially for multi-member LLCs.

After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to register for Kentucky business licenses and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) so the business is legal to operate.

What are the naming guidelines for a Kentucky LLC?

In addition to being unique, the LLC’s name must include a special designator such as Limited Liability Company, LLC, L.L.C., etc., and it may not use restricted words such as bank or insurance unless the entity is licensed to operate as such.

Can an LLC name be reserved in Kentucky?

If you want to register a name but are not ready to form an LLC, a Name Reservation is available from the Kentucky Secretary of State that will hold a name for 120 days.

Author

  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

How To Do A Kentucky Business Name Search

How To Do A Kentucky Business Name Search

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