The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a smart entity choice for many start-up businesses. The LLC provides personal liability protection and has the potential to save money on taxes. With a little research, you can learn how to form an LLC in Missouri without an attorney.
Unlike a sole proprietorship or partnership where the small business owner can be held personally liable for lawsuits against the business, the LLC is a separate legal structure, protecting for the business owner’s personal assets.
Besides the liability protection, the Limited Liability Company provides several other benefits over the sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation because of the multiple tax options, ease of administration and management flexibility.
Forming an LLC in Missouri can be both affordable and is simple enough for most people to start on their own. That said, it’s not a bad idea to have a legal professional like While the filing is pretty straightforward, it’s nice to have some support if you have questions, alerts when the annual report is due, forms like operating agreements, banking resolutions and more. There are companies like IncFile or Swyft Filings and others that do all of this for only $49.
To form a Limited Liability Company in Missouri, file the Articles of Organization with the Missouri Secretary of State. The LLC filing fee is $50 when filing online and $105 when filing by mail.
Approval for the LLC is immediate when filing online and 5-10 business days when filing by mail.
If you have questions, contact the Missouri Secretary of State.
HOW TO FILE THE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION AND FORM A MISSOURI LLC
The steps for filing online or by mail are largely the same. The screenshots show filing online.
- Begin by creating an account with Missouri Secretary of State.
- Next click on “Business Entity Online Filing”
- Then click on “Create LLC” Under the “LLC Filings” Section
Step 1: Domestic or Foreign LLC
First, leave the type drop-down box as “Limited Liability Company”. Next is the Domestic of Foreign drop-down box. If your LLC is based in Missouri, select domestic. If the LLC was formed in another state and wanting to do business in Missouri, select “Foreign”. Enter the choice and click “Begin”.
Step 2: Name the LLC
If you have previously reserved an LLC name with the Secretary of State, you can enter the Name Reservation Number. You do not have to reserve a name before forming the LLC.
Next, enter the name you want for the LLC. The name of the LLC also has to differ from other entity names registered with the Secretary of State. Check on available Missouri LLC names before filing to be sure the one you want is available.
Additionally, the name of the LLC must include one of the following designators at the end of the business name:
- Limited Liability Company
- Limited Liability Co.
- Limited Company
- L. L. C.
- L L C
- L C
A comma may be used after the business name and before the designator. “Cowboy Cleaners LLC” and “Cowboy Cleaners, LLC” are both acceptable.
Enter the name and click “Next: General Info”.
Step 3: General Info
Duration: In this section, you can indicate how long it will remain in existence. Most LLCs will choose a Perpetual duration however, some businesses (usually investment related) will have a specific closure date.
Managed by: This section asks if the LLC is Member-Managed or Manager-Managed.
Member-Managed LLCs have an active involvement in the day-to-day operations of the business.
Manager-Managed LLCs are hired by the members to run the LLC, similar to a CEO of a corporation.
Most LLCs are member-managed.
Purpose: Provide some basic information about what the business does. You will need to provide some basic information otherwise, the LLC filing will be rejected. If you want to keep the business purpose more open-ended, you can add “and engage in any lawful business activity for which a Limited Liability Company may be organized in Missouri” in addition to the original purpose statement.
Effective Date: If you want the LLC to start on today’s date, leave this field blank, otherwise enter a date less than 90 days in the future to start.
Series LLC: A Series LLC provides liability protection across multiple asset groups or businesses, each of which would be protected from liabilities from the other series. The Series LLC is not a common choice and most common with real estate investment companies. Click on the box if you want to form a Series LLC.
Step 4: Registered Agent
A Registered Agent in Missouri must be identified when forming an LLC. The Registered Agent can either be a resident of Missouri (Select “Reg. Agent is Individual” and click “I do not want to search” and enter the individual’s information) or a Resident Agent service (Select “Reg. Agent is Organization” and click “Search Reg. Agent” to find the address that is registered with the Secretary of State). The Registered Agent must have a physical address in the state (PO Boxes are not allowed) and act as a point of contact to receive legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc on behalf of the LLC.
Even though the business owner can be the registered agent, their name and address become public record and with that comes a loss of privacy. This is more important for some entrepreneurs, especially when they are doing business from home.
Step 5: Organizers
An LLC Organizer is someone involved with the formation of the Articles of Organization. The Organizer may or may not become a member, such as a mentor, attorney or accountant, but the initial members will all be listed as organizers.
Enter the information and click on “Save Organizer:
Step 6: Review
Review that all of the information is correct. If there are no corrections, click the checkbox that says “I acknowledge that the information provided above is true and correct”, then click “Next Signature(s)”
Step 7: Signature(s)
Have one of the organizers from Step 5 sign the Articles. Enter this person’s name, title and click on the checkbox that says “hen click “Save” to continue.
Step 8: Pay and File
Pay and file the Articles of Organization.
In approximately 5-10 business days if filing by mail or immediately if filing online, the LLC will be approved.
That concludes the basics of forming an LLC in Missouri. Remember, even though you can do it yourself, there is more to an LLC than just the filing. If you have questions, work with an attorney or a specialized entity formation company such as IncFile or Swyft Filings to make sure everything is done correctly.
An Operating Agreement is required for all LLCs in Missouri. An Operating Agreement is a legal document outlining the roles and responsibilities for the members of the LLC. In Missouri, the agreement can be oral or written. Read more about LLC Operating Agreements.
After filing the LLC, be sure to register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The EIN is basically a social security number for a business and will be needed before opening a business bank account. There is no cost to apply and it takes about 5 minutes to get. See how to apply for an EIN.
Last, before starting a business in Missouri, you may still need to apply for business licenses, sales tax permits, self-employment taxes and more in Missouri. See the Guide to Starting a Business in Missouri for more information.