How to Form an LLC in Missouri

Last Updated on

Missouri LLC Quick Facts

Missouri LLC Costs

Initial Filing Fee

  • By mail – $105
  • Online $50

 

Recurring Fees – $0

LLC Processing Time

  • By mail – 5-10 days
  • Online – Immediately

Don’t want to form an LLC by yourself?

Let IncFile or IncAuthority guide you through the LLC formation process, so you know everything was done right. Only pay state fees!

Quick Reference

The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a popular business entity choice structure for many businesses starting in the state of Missouri. 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 the business owner’s personal assets.

Related: How Does an LLC Protect You?

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.

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.

Process time 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, Corporations Division at 617-727-9640.

Guide to Forming an LLC in Missouri

The steps for filing online or by mail are largely the same.  The screenshots show filing online.

Forming an LLC can be both affordable and is something most people can do themselves. Entity formation companies like IncFile or IncAuthority help guide you through the process and make sure there are no mistakes.

Related: Should you use a Formation Service, Hire an Attorney or Do it Yourself?

  • Next, click on “Business Entity Online Filing.”

How to Form an LLC in Missouri

  • Then click on “Create LLC” Under the “LLC Filings” Section.

Create LLC Missouri SOS

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.”

Related: What is the Difference Between a Domestic LLC and Foreign LLC?

Missouri Foreign vs Domestic LLC

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 LLC’s name 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. You may also want to see if a domain name is also available to have a matching website address.

Additionally, the name of the LLC must include one of the following phrases or abbreviations at the end of the business name:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Liability Co.
  • Limited Company
  • L.L.C.
  • L. L. C.
  • LLC
  • L L C
  • L.C.
  • LC
  • L C

Other naming guidelines include not using words that may imply the business is a part of a state or federal government agency such as the name of a state department, FBI, or Treasury. Also, unless additional paperwork is filed, a business can’t use words of bank, university, or any licensed professionals such as an attorney or doctor unless the business is licensed to provide those services and a licensed individual is part of your LLC.

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.”

If you plan to use a different name from the one that you register (perhaps you want to run multiple businesses under the LLC), you can use a fictitious name (sometimes referred to as a trade name, assumed name, DBA, or Doing Business As name).  To register a fictitious name, file the Registration of Fictitious Name, along with the $7 filing fee with the Secretary of State.

Register LLC Name Missouri

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.

MO LLC General Information

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 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.

You are not required to pay for a registered agent. Any individual meeting the requirements can be the agent; however, the agent’s name and address become public record, and with that comes a loss of privacy. This is more important for some entrepreneurs, especially when doing business from home or still employed.  Hiring a registered agent service like Northwest Registered Agent to be the Registered Agent will reduce unwanted phone calls and mailings.

Missouri LLC Registered Agent

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:

Missouri LLC Organizer Info

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 with the Missouri Secretary of State, Corporations Division.

In approximately 5-10 business days, if filing by mail or immediately if filing online, the LLC will be approved.

If mailing send to:
Missouri Secretary of State
Corporations Unit
P.O. Box 778
Jefferson City, MO 65102

You don't have to form your LLC by yourself or pay an attorney!

Forming an LLC is a little intimidating, especially when it’s your first time. Professional entity formation services help guide you to make sure it’s done right. Check out our reviews of popular LLC formation services to learn more.
  • Free plan offers a lot of value (state filing fees still apply)
  • Lifetime customer support
  • Free registered agent in the first year
  • Free 1-hour tax consultation
best value
  • Free plan offers a lot of value (state filing fees still apply)
  • Lifetime customer support
  • Free registered agent in the first year
  • Proactive customer service called to discuss next steps
best value
  • No free plan, but pricing is fair and upfront
  • Lifetime customer support
  • Free registered agent in the first year
  • Free business name availability check
easiest

Tasks After Forming Your LLC

Once the LLC has been formed, there are a few additional steps to take care of. Below is a list of the most common tasks.

Prepare a Missouri LLC Operating Agreement

The operating agreement is a document that governs the framework of an LLC.  This document covers items like ownership rights, member responsibilities, how profits and losses are distributed, and more.

Most states do not require an LLC to have an operating agreement, but it is still worth considering. Without an operating agreement:

  • The LLC could be subject to generic state rules that may be detrimental in the event of a lawsuit.
  • Member’s personal liability protection may be diminished.
  • Members may not fully understand their roles and responsibilities, which could lead to costly disputes in the future.

Related: Missouri operating agreement template

Obtain an EIN

The EIN or Employer Identification Number (also called a Federal Employer Identification Number or FEIN) is a unique 9-digit tax identification number assigned to a business by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Similar to a social security number for an individual, the EIN identifies business entities for tax purposes. The EIN will be needed to hire employees, open a bank account, register for business licenses and permits, build business credit, file federal and state taxes, and more.

There is no cost for the EIN when registering through the IRS. The number is available immediately when applying through the IRS website; however, you can also register by phone, fax, or mailing IRS Form SS-4.

Related: How to Apply for an EIN

Elect the LLC’s Form of Federal Income Taxation

One of the significant benefits of the Limited Liability Company is the tax flexibility it provides.  When applying for the Employer Identification Number, you will choose how the entity will be taxed for federal income tax purposes. While there are some limitations, an LLC may be classified for federal income tax purposes as a:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • C-corporation
  • S-corporation

While this may sound confusing, this refers to how the LLC is taxed, not the legal structure.

Related: How can an LLC be taxed?

By default, the taxation of an LLC is called pass-through taxation, which means the profits or losses of the LLC flow through to the members.

Single-member LLCs will, by default, be taxed as a sole proprietorship. The members can also elect to change the taxation to a C-corporation or an S-corporation.

Multi-member LLCs will, by default, be taxed as a partnership. The members can also elect to change the taxation to a C-corporation or an S-corporation.

In general, the difference between being taxed as a corporation and being taxed as a sole proprietorship or partnership the profits and losses are passed to the member’s federal income tax returns based on their percentage of ownership.  As a result, the owner will pay self-employment taxes on all business profits.  As an alternative, electing to be taxed as a corporation allows the members to take a reasonable salary and then pay payroll taxes.  Any remaining profits are distributed and aren’t subject to payroll taxes, resulting in potential tax savings.

Before electing how your LLC will be taxed, consider talking with an accountant to assess which one will be best for you. Some tax elections, such as the C corporation, may be detrimental for some people due to double taxation.

Open an LLC Bank Account

Opening a bank account for your LLC is important for liability protection as the account separates the business’s funds from the member’s personal funds.

Several documents will be needed to open a business bank account, such as:

  • A banking resolution is a document that authorizes the members to open a business bank account on behalf of the LLC.
  • Copies of the original formation paperwork from the state showing the creation of the LLC.
  • Driver’s licenses of the members.
  • In some circumstances, a Missouri Certificate of Good Standing may be needed to prove the LLC is active and in good standing with the state.

Related: How to Open a Business Bank Account for your LLC 

Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Depending on what your business does and where it is located, there will likely be various business licenses and permits so your business is in compliance to start. Some common registrations include:

  • Business License – Some cities require businesses to obtain local licenses before they can start. A good first stop is the County Clerk’s office.
  • Professional License – Certain services such as barbershops, accountants, salons, and others must be licensed.
  • Sales Tax License – To sell products and certain services, registration with the Missouri Department of Revenue will be necessary.

Related: What Business Licenses are Needed in Missouri?

Get Business Insurance

Even with the liability protection of the LLC, business insurance is important to protect the business. The most common types of insurance include:

General Liability Insurance – covers damages owed and medical expenses for accidents that happen at your place of business.
Business Property Insurance – replaces damaged, stolen, or lost business property. This includes your physical business location, equipment, supplies, and anything else you used to run your business.
Business Vehicle Insurance – covers company vehicles and may also include coverage for personal vehicles used for business-related activities. Many personal policies won’t cover your vehicle if there is an accident while being used for business purposes.
Workers Compensation Insurance – mandatory in most states if you have employees, this insurance covers medical expenses that occur because of an accident or injury that happens to one of your employees while they’re at work.

Related: 7 Types of Insurance Your Business May Need