How to Start an LLC in Missouri (2024 Guide)
Wondering how to start an LLC in Missouri? We’ve got you covered.
To get started, you'll need to pick a suitable business name, choose a registered agent, and file your Articles of Organization with the Missouri Secretary of State ($50 processing fee).
You can do this independently, consult with a business attorney for specialized legal guidance, or join the other 65% of our readers and hire a specialized Missouri LLC formation service (recommended).
Northwest ($29 + State Fees)
LegalZoom ($249 + State Fees)
How to Form an LLC in Missouri in 6 Steps
In order to form your LLC in Missouri, there are certain steps you’ll need to complete:
- Name Your Missouri LLC
- Choose a Registered Agent
- File the Articles of Organization
- Create an Operating Agreement
- Get an EIN
- File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Step 1: Name Your Missouri LLC
Before you get started, you will need to pick a suitable name for your Missouri LLC.
This will need to comply with all applicable naming requirements under Missouri law and be both succinct and memorable, as this will make it easily searchable by your potential clients.
1. Important Naming Guidelines for Missouri LLCs:
- Your name must include the words “limited company” or “limited liability company.” Keep in mind that these can be abbreviated (e.g., LC, LLC, etc.).
- Your name cannot contain the words “corporation,” “incorporated,” “limited partnership,” “limited liability partnership,” “limited liability limited partnership,” “Ltd.,” or any abbreviations of those words.
- Your name cannot contain any language that implies that your LLC was formed for any reason not outlined in its formation documents.
- Your name cannot include language that implies or suggests that your LLC is affiliated with a state or federal agency. Examples of such language include “FBI,” “Department,” and “State.”
- Your name must be sufficiently distinguishable (i.e., unique) from all existing business names registered with the Missouri Secretary of State.
For more information, have a look at Missouri’s official naming guidelines for LLCs.
2. Is the name available in Missouri?
To check whether your desired name has already been taken by any other Missouri business entities, you can perform a Business Entity Search on the Missouri Secretary of State's website.
If you’re not going to start your LLC right away, it might be a good idea to consider reserving your name for up to 60 days. You can do this by filing Form BE-1: Application for Reservation of Name and paying the $25 filing fee.
For more information, you can have a look at our Missouri LLC Name Search guide.
3. Is the URL available?
You should check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to create a business website right away, this is an extremely important step as it will prevent others from acquiring it, potentially saving you both time and money in the long term.
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Once you have verified your name is available, you may now select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you.
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If you need additional information before getting started, you can have a look at our in-depth comparison of the Best LLC Services in 2024 instead.
FAQ: Naming a Missouri LLC
LLC is short for “limited liability company.” It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while still providing personal liability protection for your assets. Read our What is a Limited Liability Company guide for more information.
Or, watch our two-minute video: What is an LLC?
You must follow the Missouri LLC naming guidelines when choosing a name for your LLC:
- Include the phrase "limited liability company" or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Do not use words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, State Department, CIA, etc.).
- Receive the proper licensing when using the words such as lawyer or doctor.
If you are having trouble coming up with a name for your LLC, use our LLC Name Generator. That will not only find a unique name for your business but an available URL to match.
Most LLCs do not need a fictitious name or DBA. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name and you can accept checks and other payments under that name as well. However, you may wish to register a DBA if you would like to conduct business under another name.
To learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA guide.
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Missouri
After you find the right name for your LLC, you will need to nominate a Missouri registered agent. This is a necessary step in your Articles of Organization, which is the official document used to register your LLC with the Missouri Corporations Division.
What is a registered agent? A registered agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving important tax forms, legal documents, notice of lawsuits, and official government correspondence on behalf of your business. You can think of your registered agent as your business’s primary point of contact with the state.
Who can be a registered agent? A registered agent must be a resident of Missouri or a business that is authorized to operate in the state. You can choose to act as your own registered agent, work with a business attorney, or use a registered agent service.
Keep in mind that your registered agent’s address will need to be a physical street address (a P.O. box cannot be used).
FAQ: Nominating a Registered Agent
Yes, as long as you are a resident of Missouri. If you’re planning to go down this route, keep in mind:
- Your registered agent’s address needs to be a physical address (cannot be a P.O. box)
- Your registered agent’s address will become publicly available
Using a professional registered agent service is an affordable way to manage government filings for your LLC. For most businesses, the advantages of using a professional service significantly outweigh the annual costs.
For more information, read our article on Missouri registered agents.
Step 3: File the Missouri LLC Articles of Organization
To register your Missouri limited liability company (LLC), you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. You can do this online or via mail.
Before getting started, you will need to have the following information on-hand:
- The name of your LLC
- The purpose for which your LLC is being organized
- The name and address of your LLC’s registered agent
- The management structure of your LLC
- The duration of your LLC (can be a fixed number of years, perpetual, etc.).
- The names and addresses of all LLC organizers
- The LLC’s principal office address (optional)
- The LLC’s effective date of filing (can be up to 90 days after submitting your formation documents)
File the Articles of Organization
OPTION 1: File Online With the Secretary of State
- OR -
OPTION 2: File by MailDownload Form
Filing Fee: $50 online, or $105 by mail, payable to the Secretary of State (Nonrefundable)
James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center
P.O. Box 778
Jefferson City, MO 65102
For help with completing the form, visit our Missouri Articles of Organization guide.
Note: If you're expanding your existing business to the state of Missouri, you'll need to register as a foreign limited liability company (LLC).
FAQ: Filing Missouri LLC Documents
According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s website, the average processing time for an LLC’s Articles of Organization is between three and five business days for online filings and between five and seven business days for filings carried out via mail.
An LLC is referred to as a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. A foreign limited liability company must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.
Read our What Is a Foreign LLC article to learn more.
The minimum cost to start a Missouri LLC is $50 online or $105 by mail. Keep in mind that you may need to incur additional fees (e.g., if you decide to reserve an LLC name, which will cost an extra $25).
To learn more, read our guide on the cost to form a Missouri LLC.
Step 4: Create a Missouri LLC Operating Agreement
In Missouri, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are required to have an operating agreement per Revised Statutes Section 347.081 of the state's legal code.
What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.
Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all LLC owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.
For more information on operating agreements, read our Missouri LLC operating agreement guide.
FAQ: Creating a Missouri LLC Operating Agreement
No. The operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference. However, many other states like Missouri do legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement in place.
Step 5: Get an EIN for Your Missouri LLC
You can get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for free. It is used to identify a business entity and keep track of a business’s tax reporting. It is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for the company.
Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number is required for the following:
- To open a business bank account for the company
- For federal and state tax purposes
- To hire employees for the company
Where do I get an EIN? An EIN is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after forming the company. This can be done online or by mail.
FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: You do not need an SSN to get an EIN. Learn more here.
Get an EIN
Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS
- OR -
Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935
FAQ: Getting an EIN
An SSN is not required to get an EIN. You can simply fill out IRS Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. Then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Learn more about applying as an international applicant.
All LLCs with employees, or those with multiple LLC members, must have an EIN. This is required by the IRS.
Learn why we recommend always getting an EIN and how to get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.
When you get an EIN, you will be informed of the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.
However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by choosing the S corporation (S corp) status. To learn more, read our LLC vs. S Corp guide.
Step 6: File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Beginning January 2024, LLC owners will need to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Existing LLCs can file their report any time between January 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025, while new LLCs must file their report within 90 days of formation.
This contains similar information to that of your Articles of Organization, such as your LLC name and member information, and can be filed online for free. Failure to file an accurate report on time can result in a $500 per day fine.
Note: There are certain filing exemptions, such as for large companies (i.e., more than 20 full-time employees), tax-exempt entities, and publicly traded companies.
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Maintain Your Missouri LLC
While there is no requirement for Missouri LLCs to file an annual report, there are still tax compliance requirements at the federal, state, and local levels.
Sort Out Your Taxes
In addition to the federal taxes your LLC is liable to pay, there are a number of taxes you’ll be required to pay in Missouri, which can vary depending on the nature of your business.
Below are some of the most common taxes in Missouri:
In addition to any federal income tax responsibilities, there are two main income taxes imposed at a state level in Missouri that owners of LLCs based in this state need to be aware of, including:
- Individual Income Tax: For Missouri LLCs with a default tax structure, its members will be required to pay this tax on the salaries they receive from the companies profits at a rate that varies between 2% and 4.95%.
- Corporate Income Tax: If your LLC has elected to be treated as a corporation for tax purposes, it will be subject to corporate income tax at a flat rate of 4%.
While you can use the aforementioned paper forms to file your LLC’s tax return by mail, using the Missouri Department of Revenue's MyTax Missouri system is generally much faster and more accurate. Regardless of how you choose to file, both of these state income tax returns are due each year by April 15.
Sales and Use Taxes
Sales tax in Missouri is imposed on the sale of tangible property and taxable services at a base statewide rate of 4.225%, though local areas can apply their own additional sales tax rates up to a maximum of 5.875%.
Sales tax returns can be filed electronically using the MyTax Missouri platform, although how often you’ll need to submit a sales tax return will vary depending on your LLC’s previous payment history and annual sales volume:
- Monthly: If you collect $500 or more per month.
- Quarterly: If you collect $500 or less per month.
- Annual: If you collect less than $200 per quarter.
Note: If your LLC will be selling a physical product, it will likely need to register for a seller's permit through the Missouri Department of Revenue website.
Steps After LLC Formation
After forming your LLC, you will need to get a business bank account and website, sort all required business licensing, and get business insurance, among other things.
Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.