A limited liability company (LLC) is a type of business structure that protects its owners from personal liability. It’s a popular choice for small-scale businesses and has been around since 1985.
But its use has increased dramatically in the past decade, with some companies now having as many as 30,000 LLCs.
Forming an LLC in Missouri is easy.
Missouri was one of the first states to allow the LLC formation in 1977. Now Missouri-based LLCs number more than 300,000 and represent more than half of all active LLCs nationwide.
The process of forming an LLC in Missouri is straightforward and relatively simple. It is largely dependant on a single document called Articles of Organization filed with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office.
We will try to guide you through this process step by step.
STEP 1: Name your Missouri LLC
The first step is to choose the business name of your LLC.
Naming guidelines in Missouri:
- Use a suffix such as LLC, L.L.C., Inc., Corp., I, or any abbreviation of these terms.
- The name must also end with a corporate designator, like Inc, Corp, or Ltd.
- You may not use a corporate designator that could create confusion with an already registered corporation in Missouri, like Bank if you’re planning to operate a bank or Insurance if you’re planning to offer financial services.
- The name must be distinguishable from any other registered business entity operating in Missouri.
Articles of organization form can only be processed if they comply with these requirements.
STEP 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Missouri
The second step is to appoint a Registered Agent.
A registered agent is a person or business to which you will send documents to service your LLC if you are unable or unavailable.
Registered agent requirements:
- If you choose to use an LLC with an agent, your Registered Agent must be qualified as a Missouri registered agent service.
- If you use an individual agent, they must reside in the state of Missouri.
- The names and mailing addresses of your registered agent(s) must be entered on the articles of the organization.
Your registered agent(s) will receive service online or by mail for all legal documents received by the Missouri Secretary of State’s office. You are responsible for providing your agent with a copy of such documents within 10 days.
STEP 3: File the Missouri LLC Articles of Organization
The third step is to file articles of organization with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office.
The completed articles of organization are filed with the Missouri Secretary of State. In addition to the articles of organization, you will need to include a $100 filing fee or electronic authorization for an electronic filing waiver.
There are no additional requirements to file your LLC articles of organization.
STEP 4: Create a Missouri LLC Operating Agreement
The fourth step is to create an operating agreement for your LLC. The operating agreement will govern the internal operations of your LLC, including:
- your LLC name
- , how you elect your executive officers,
- how you manage cash within the LLC,
- how you allocate profits and losses in the event of a partnership dispute, and much more.
By creating an operating agreement, you establish a foundation for understanding how your LLC will operate.
The LLC Operating Agreement can be included in the articles of organization or filed separately by the Missouri Secretary of State.
STEP 5: Get a Missouri LLC EIN
The fifth step is to apply for a Federal Tax employer identification number (EIN) for your LLC. The EIN will be used with the Missouri registered agent who will serve as your Wisconsin registered agent.
Once you have paid all state fees and filed your articles of organization, you can get an EIN in the IRS’s Electronic Filing System at efiling.irs.gov/efile/efileViewScrn.action.
You will need to supply your LLC’s articles of organization, a copy of the Articles of Organization Certificate, and your EIN application to apply.
The IRS will send you a confirmation number and direct you to the IRS’s Business Master File (BMF).
The BMF is an online portal where you can upload documents for processing. The documents that you upload are verified by the IRS. You then receive an acknowledgment letter.
The IRS will use this information to conduct tax returns for your LLC.
Advantages and Disadvantages of LLC in Missouri
There are some advantages and disadvantages to using an LLC to form your business in Missouri.
- Your business has professional legitimacy. Your LLC can be used to conduct your business formally. It is a recognized legal entity in the state of Missouri as well as the federal government.
- Multiple tax benefits are possible with an LLC. An LLC can receive some tax exemptions, which means that it pays less in taxes than other types of business entities. For example, you will receive a limited tax liability because your personal assets are protected by the limited liability protection that comes with your LLC in Missouri.
- An LLC is flexible. If you are a small entrepreneur, you may want to keep your business private and shield certain information from potential competitors or customers. This can be done with an LLC. Your company’s information will be kept private if you do not include it in your Articles of Incorporation or Operating Agreement.
- LLC in Missouri can be expensive to start. Your initial expenses will include your Missouri LLC filing fees, your Articles of Organization Certificate, and the legal forms that the service provides.
- LLC’s are difficult to dissolve if you want to sell or close your LLC. In some cases, it may be difficult to dissolve an LLC if you do not want to give up control of the LLC or its assets. If you wish to sell your LLC, the state secretary will have a certain amount of time to approve a change in management.
- LLC’s can be complex and confusing. If you do not take the time to understand how your business will operate, you may end up wasting time and money on a business that does not work out. For example, if you start an LLC without a plan for how profits will be allocated or who will be involved in running the LLC, you may find yourself in a messy situation. Attorneys can help guide you through some of these issues.
How much does it cost to start a Missouri LLC?
The cost to form an LLC in Missouri is $100 and $200. You will not need to pay any additional fees for filing the papers, as the service will include all of this with your package.
The cost of your LLC package will depend on the type of services that you receive. The cost of your package may start at $100 and go up to $200, which will be used to help you file for your business license.
The package will also include legal documents, such as Articles of Organization, Operating Agreements, and a Tax ID Number application.
Separate Your Personal and Business Assets
Before you start your business, it is important to separate your personal assets from your business.
- bank accounts
- retirement accounts.
- real estate
- other equipment that is needed to help you run the LLC.
If you own a small business, you may be able to handle the process of separating your assets on your own.
You can open business bank accounts for both your personal and your business accounts. Then, you can make sure that all of your expenses are taken care of by your business bank account.
Business owners who have employees or multiple locations may want to hire a professional to help them separate assets from the beginning.
An accountant can help you set up an LLC in Missouri and help you figure out how to handle money for taxes.
1. Opening a business checking account:
Many businesses are starting to utilize checking accounts for their early operating expenses. When opening a business checking account, you will want to ensure that you have multiple layers of protection.
First, you will need to make sure that the bank has FDIC insurance. The FDIC is a government agency that insures your bank’s deposits up to $250,000.
You can also make sure that the bank you choose has no overdraft or NSF fees.
As an example, some banks will charge you financially for using their ATMs. This is a common fee that many businesses end up paying for using ATMs.
Be sure to ask the bank about any business checking fees that they may have before you decide on them as your primary business banking option.
Once you have an LLC bank account set up, you will also need to ask the bank how long it takes for your checks to clear.
Some banks may take longer than others to clear your checks, which can cause you not to have access to the full amount you have deposited for your business.
2. Getting a business credit card:
Many business owners are interested in getting a credit card for their business. These cards will allow you to charge up to a certain limit on purchases you make and get you discounts on services.
Before deciding to get a credit card for your business, you must take steps to protect your personal information.
You can open a business credit card account yourself and ask the company that offers the account if they share personal information with anyone.
Be sure to ask the company that offers your business credit card if they share personal information about you with outside parties.
You can also share your personal information with a third party that will act as a credit exchange. They will act as an intermediary between you and your business credit card provider.
3. Hiring a business accountant:
When you decide to hire a business accountant, you will need to choose a trustworthy accountant and will not share your personal information with anyone else.
Before you decide on hiring a business accountant, you must have a clear vision of what your business will look like.
You should be able to give them an idea of how much money you’ll need and the amount of money that the LLC can make in profits.
You should also tell your accountant what you wish to do with your profits. You can decide to reinvest the profits into the LLC, pay off a loan, or use it for something else.
Additionally, you should have a clear vision of what type of taxes you will be paying on your business. This can help the accountant prepare a tax return that best relates to your business’s situation.
Get Business Insurance for Your Missouri LLC
To protect your business, you will often need to purchase insurance before you open your business. There are several different types of insurance that you will need for a typical business in Missouri.
Businesses can purchase:
- liability insurance;
- property damage insurance;
- advertising insurance;
- professional liability insurance.
Before choosing an option for coverage for your LLC, do research. Understand the type of insurance that you will need to have for your business.
You should also make sure that you understand the different types of insurance that you can purchase before deciding on any particular type of coverage.
When comparing insurances, remember to compare different companies. Make sure that you know what your total cost will be throughout the year and compare those prices with other companies.
You also will want to understand which limits and deductibles are involved in each insurance plan that you choose.
When deciding on insurance for your new business, you will want to look at the agency you will be purchasing from. Make sure that you understand the policy and what the LLC is willing to cover.
Be sure that you understand exactly what services they have included in your policy.
Your policy may not include all of the following:
- business interruption insurance
- property damage liability
- advertising insurance
- general liability coverage
- professional liability coverage
- public liability coverage.
Missouri LLC Business Permits & Licenses
To open a business in Missouri, you will need to apply for an operating permit and/or a license.
When you are planning on starting an LLC, you must research the different kinds of business licenses and permits available in Missouri.
You should also learn about the fees involved with each of these licenses before deciding which one or the ones to choose.
There are more than 10 types of operating permits and licenses that you can get when starting up your business in Missouri.
Each type of license and permit gives you different rights and privileges.
The following lists the different types of Missouri licenses and permits that you can get for your business:
This license lets you do a certain type of work in a certain field. For example, some professions will require an architect’s license or a medical doctor’s license to practice their profession.
You’ll need to contact your local government office for more information on obtaining this type of license.
Some kinds of businesses will require a tax license. You’ll need to contact your local government office for more information on how to get this type of license.
Some businesses operate in a certain area based on zoning laws. To operate in this area, you’ll need a zoning permit.
This permit is for certain occupations such as hairdressers, real estate agents, and contractors.
You will need a recipe permit to sell food prepared in a restaurant or food truck. To obtain this permit, you’ll need to apply for the food handler’s license and work with the state board of health.
You’ll need a beverage permit if you want to operate a bar.
You’ll also have the option of getting other types of permits and licenses depending on your specific business operation. These various types of permits and licenses will help protect your business in Missouri.
Business Tax Registration in Missouri
To conduct business in Missouri, you are going to need to register your LLC with the Department of Revenue (DOR). If you are just starting up a new LLC, then it is important that you immediately get your LLC registered with the DOR. This registration is also required for businesses that have recently moved into Missouri or businesses expanding their current operations.
Just as quickly as you can get your business registered, it is also very important to contact the DOR to file an annual report. This report will help ensure that you remain tax compliant and help the DOR keep track of your business’s year-to-date activity.
You can find Missouri’s DOR online at https://dor.mo.gov/ or contact them at 417-836-6100 for more information about business taxes or obtain a free registration number.
Missouri Sales Tax
When operating a business in Missouri, you will also be required to collect sales tax from your customers.
Businesses that sell products or services to consumers are considered responsible for collecting sales tax and remitting it to the Missouri Department of Revenue.
Missouri Employer Taxes
When you are operating a business in Missouri, you will have to pay taxes on your employees. As an employer, you need to make sure that your business remains compliant with the tax laws. Your compliance will help offset any penalties that occur due to your noncompliance.
You’ll need to comply with state employment tax rules if your LLC has employees within the state of Missouri. This includes withholding income taxes from each employee and remitting them directly to the state department of revenue. Your LLC will also need to pay the state unemployment tax.
As you can see, starting up a business in Missouri is fairly straightforward. Once you have all of your resources and permits, you can begin working on your specific business model.
Once you are ready to start working on your specific business plan, there are several organizations that can assist you in this process.