- Step 1. Naming Your Missouri LLC
- Step 2. Choose a Registered Agent
- Step 3. File Your Articles of Organization
- Step 4. Create an Operating Agreement
- Step 5. Get an EIN/Tax ID Number
- Step 6. Keeping Your LLC Running
- Missouri LLC Resources
- Missouri LLC FAQs
Step 1. Naming Your Missouri LLC
One of the most important steps in setting up your LLC is choosing a suitable name. Any name you select must follow certain naming rules, and it should be unique and distinct from any other business in the state.
Legally Required Designation
To stick to Missouri LLC naming regulations, your chosen LLC name is required to contain the phrase “limited liability company” or one of the following abbreviations:
- Limited Company
As we mentioned above, your chosen name must be unique and distinct from any other business in the state. You can ensure this is the case by performing a search on the Missouri Secretary of State’s business name database. If you see a name you like, you can file an Application for Reservation of Name.
This form reserves your chosen LLC name for 60 days, with two 60-day renewal periods, before you officially establish your business. It can be filed online or by mailing it to the address listed on the form and carries a $25 filing fee.
Additionally, you may want to search for an available domain name that matches the LLC name you choose. Purchasing a domain name ahead of time can save you stress when it comes to establishing your business website in the future or if you want to establish your business website at the same time as your LLC.
When choosing an LLC name, make sure you do not use words that could confuse your business with a government entity. This includes words like “IRS,” “Treasury,” or “State Department.”
You should also be aware that words such as “bank,” “attorney,” or “chiropractor” may require the presence of a properly licensed individual in your LLC, along with filing separate paperwork. Missouri is not a state that allows the formation of a dedicated professional LLC, but you can offer professional services through a traditional LLC or a corporation in the state as long as you meet the proper licensing requirements.
Using a Fictitious Name
A fictitious or DBA (doing business as) name is used by businesses who wish to interact with the public under a different name than their legally registered one. This can be beneficial if you wish to brand your LLC in a certain way or add an extra layer of privacy.
To use a DBA name in Missouri, you need to file a Registration of Fictitious Name with the Secretary of State’s office. This can be mailed to the address on the form or filed online through the Missouri business portal here. There is a $7 filing fee associated with this form.
Step 2. Choose a Registered Agent
Every LLC in Missouri is required to appoint a registered agent for their business. The registered agent that you appoint is responsible for receiving all communications between the federal and state government and your business. This includes being responsible for important notices about lawsuits, ongoing state compliance requirements, or tax documents.
You can appoint any Missouri resident or authorized business in the state as your registered agent. You should note that your appointee must have a valid Missouri street address that isn’t a P.O. Box; they also must be at least 18 years old and be available during regular business hours.
The state of Missouri also provides a record of service companies that can act as your registered agent in the state, so you can easily find a reputable agent service to appoint for your business.
Step 3. File Your Articles of Organization
To officially establish your LLC in Missouri, you need to file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State’s office. This document must include important information about your business such as:
- Your LLC’s name
- Your LLC’s business purpose (this must be a specific sentence)
- Your LLC’s registered agent name and address
- If your LLC is member-managed or manger-managed
- If your LLC’s duration is perpetual or not
- The names and addresses of your LLC’s organizers
- The effective date of your articles, if not immediate
- The signature of your LLC’s organizer
You may file your Articles of Organization by mail or through the Missouri online business portal. There is a $50 fee plus a $1.25 payment fee for online filing or a $105 fee for filing by mail.
To file your Articles of Organization online, you can visit the Missouri online business portal here. Simply create an account and follow the instructions to submit all your information and file your articles online. Upon submittal, you will be prompted to pay the $50 fee and a $1.25 payment processing fee.
If you want to file your Articles of Organization by mail, you need to print and fill out this form. From there, place the completed form in a secure envelope along with a check for the $105 filing fee made out to the Missouri Secretary of State. Send the sealed envelope to the address below.
James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center
P.O. Box 778
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Step 4. Create an Operating Agreement
Missouri requires LLCs in the state to draft up operating agreements; this document will remain an internal document and does not need to be filed. Your operating agreement should include clear guidelines for the management or operational structure of your LLC, the rights of any members or managers, and instructions or advisories of what to do in the case of LLC dissolution or a lawsuit.
If you do not create an operating agreement for your LLC, your Articles of Organization, and any existing bylaws automatically become the business’s operating agreement. Additionally, in the case of a lawsuit or other business conflicts, Missouri LLC law may take precedent, and this won’t be in your business’s favor.
You may also need to show an operating agreement when applying for business financing to demonstrate that your business is legally established and operating in the state.
To help you get started drafting your own operating agreement, you can use an online template. Be sure to carefully review the template and change it to match your desires and goals for your LLC’s operations.
Step 5. Get an EIN/Tax ID Number
After your LLC has been officially established in Missouri, you need to apply for a Tax ID number, more commonly known as an EIN (Employer Identification Number), through the IRS. Any LLC that has more than one member — or any single-member LLC that wants to hire employees or chooses to be taxed as a corporation — must apply for an EIN.
Your EIN is used to identify your business to the IRS on all tax documents and necessary government filings; the number acts like a social security number for your LLC. If you want to hire employees, file federal taxes, open business bank or credit accounts, or apply for business funding, you need an EIN.
It is free to apply for your EIN with the IRS, and you can file the application online or by mailing it in. Keep in mind that if you are a foreign filer or do not have a social security number, you must file for your EIN through the mail.
The quickest and easiest way to apply for your EIN is online; you will receive your number once your application is completed. Visit the IRS website to apply for your EIN for free.
You need to fill out this form when applying for your LLC by mail. If you are a foreign filer or do not have a social security number, leave section 7b blank. Mail the completed form to the address below. You can follow up on any questions with the IRS at (267) 941-1099.
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Step 6. Keeping Your LLC Running
There are some tasks that you need to keep up with to ensure that your LLC stays running smoothly, even after it is established.
File Annual Reports
Unlike other states, Missouri does not require LLCs to file annual reports. This means you will not need to keep track of annual filing deadlines or fees.
Separate Your Business Finances
Your Missouri LLC is not required to open up separate business bank accounts, but it is advisable to do so anyway. A business credit or debit account can help keep your LLC’s finances separate from personal ones, officially establishing the LLC as an independently operating business. This can protect your assets in the case of a lawsuit against your business.
You likely need to show your Articles of Organization, operating agreement, EIN, or other LLC documents to open a bank account. Compare all your options before making a choice on which bank account to open, as different banks have varying minimum required balances or credit spending limits; you want to be sure that you select what is best for your LLC’s needs.
Keep Up With Federal and State Taxes
It is important to meet all federal and state tax requirements while running your business to avoid major penalties or fines.
Federal Tax Requirements
There are several tax structures you can choose to use in your LLC that may meet different company needs; each structure comes with its own unique federal taxation. This article can help you gain an in-depth understanding of the differences between each type and help you decide which is best for you.
In general, most LLCs are taxed as pass-through entities. This means you are expected to file a Schedule C along with your individual income tax return to declare income that you receive through your LLC. When using this tax structure, you should keep in mind that you likely need to pay self-employment tax (at a rate of 15.3%), in addition to any income tax. You may also need to make quarterly estimated tax payments to avoid IRS fines; the IRS website gives more details on this.
If you want, you can choose to have your LLC taxed as a corporation, like an S Corporation or a C Corporation. You need to fill out IRS Form 8832 and IRS Form 2553 to declare this. After these forms have been processed, your LLC will be treated as a corporation and expected to file a separate corporate tax return with the IRS.
Missouri Business Taxes
While Missouri doesn’t have a general business tax requirement for LLCs taxed as pass-through entities, the state does impose a corporation tax for LLCs that elect to be taxed as S or C corporations. This tax is given at a flat rate of 6.25% of any taxable income earned by your business in Missouri and can be registered for and paid to the Missouri Department of Revenue here.
Sales and Use Taxes
If your LLC sells goods or services, you may be liable to pay sales and use taxes to the state. This tax is handled by the Missouri Department of Revenue, and more information or details on registering to pay for this tax can be found here.
State Employer Taxes
LLCs that have employees must pay withholding taxes and unemployment insurance taxes to the state. Withholding taxes are handled by the Missouri Department of Revenue, and more information about them can be found here. Information on unemployment insurance taxes can be found through the Missouri Department of Labor here.
Acquire Necessary Permits and Licenses
There is no general business license required in Missouri, but your LLC may need to obtain certain permits or licenses on a state level. You need to check with your locality’s County Clerk’s office to verify if additional licensure is needed. Additionally, if you are offering a professional service, you may need to meet certain state licensing standards. More information can be found here.
On a federal level, you may be required to obtain certain permits and licenses for your LLC, depending on the type of business you run and the services you offer. To determine if you need to meet additional federal licensure requirements, you can use the directory on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website.
Missouri LLC Resources
The below resources can guide you through each step of the process of establishing an LLC in Missouri.
- Available LLC name search
- LLC name reservation
- Available domain name search
- Fictitious (DBA) name registration
- Articles of Organization form
- Missouri online business portal
- Operating Agreement online template
- IRS EIN application
- Missouri Department of Revenue
- Missouri Department of Labor
- Missouri business licensing information
- S. Small Business Administration
Missouri LLC FAQs
The answers to these frequently asked questions may help resolve any remaining worries about starting an LLC in Missouri.
In Missouri, it costs $50 (plus a $1.25 payment fee) to file your Articles of Organization online or $105 to file articles through the mail. You may also choose to pay $25 to reserve an LLC name or $7 to register a DBA name with the state.
The cheapest way to start your LLC in Missouri is to file your Articles of Organization online without first reserving an LLC name or registering a DBA name in the state. Doing it this way will only cost $50 to get started, plus the online payment fee.
How much your Missouri LLC pays in taxes depends on the individual taxation structure you have set up. In addition to federal taxes, your business may be liable for Missouri’s corporate income tax (this is if your LLC is taxed as a corporation instead of a pass-through entity), sales and use taxes, or state employer taxes.
Be sure to meet with a tax professional or financial advisor if you have any questions about your overall tax burden.
Your LLC is not required to file state reports in Missouri, so there are no annual filing requirements or fees to keep up with.
If you are finished conducting business under your LLC, you need to file a Notice of Winding Up for Limited Liability Company with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office. This form has a $25 filing fee and should be sent by mail; you can send the completed document to the address at the top of the form.
Additionally, you must consult your LLC’s operating agreement and proceed down the agreed-upon terms to officially shut down your business. This may include notifying investors and creditors, paying off debts, or collecting LLC assets.