The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a popular business entity choice structure for many businesses starting in 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 for 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.

Forming an LLC in Missouri is something most people can do on their own, but it’s nice to have some support in case you have questions or get stuck.  IncFile and Inc Authority provide LLC formation guidance for only the cost of the state fees!

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

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 at 617-727-9640.

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.

  • 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 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. 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 designators 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

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”.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 an 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 have a full understanding of 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 is a unique 9-digit number for a business. Similar to a social security number for an individual, the EIN identifies business entities for tax purposes.  

The EIN will be needed in order to open a bank account, register for business licenses and permits, file tax returns, pay payroll taxes and more. 

Related: How to Apply for an EIN

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.
  • Depending on the age of the LLC, 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 a variety of business licenses and permits to register for before starting. Some common registrations include:

  • Business License – Some cities require businesses to obtain licensing before they can start. In some cases, even home-based businesses must have licensing in order to legally operate. 
  • Professional License – Certain services such as barbershops, accountants, salons and others must be licensed.
  • Sales Tax License – In order to sell products and certain services, registration with the Missouri Department of Revenue will be necessary.

Related: What Business Licenses are Needed in Missouri?

File Annual Reports

LLCs are required to file an annual report with the Missouri Secretary of State.  The annual report updates ownership information and other details.

Related: How to File a Missouri LLC Annual Report