Your first consideration when choosing a name for your LLC is that it be unique from any other business in the state of Montana. You can quickly and easily do a name check on the Montana Secretary of State website business name database to verify the business name you want is available. For a $10 fee, you can reserve a name for 120 days by filing the Reservation of Business Name form online.
In order to comply with Montana state law, your company’s name must end with some form of the term “Limited Liability Company.” This can appear in several different formats from the whole phrase written out to “Limited Company,” “LLC,” or another acceptable abbreviation.
The state of Montana requires that any LLC have a registered agent for service of process. This means your LLC must have an entity that agrees to physically accept any legal papers on the company’s behalf should it be sued. This entity does not have to be an individual person. The registered agent can be any resident of the state of Montana or a business entity authorized to do business in Montana so long as the agent has a physical street address within the state.
You may want to consider preparing an operating agreement to outline the ownership and operating procedures for your LLC.
Though not required by the state, an operating agreement will set the guidelines for running your company. This does not need to be filed with the state, but it can go a long way toward ensuring your company’s success.
An IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) is required of your LLC unless it is a single-member LLC with no employees. Obtaining an EIN is as easy as completing the application on the IRS website.
It’s possible your company will need to register with the Montana Department of Revenue (DOR). Whether or not your company needs to follow this step will depend on the exact types of taxes it will be collecting and/or has been collecting from the state and whether it has employees. You can register online at the DOR’s Taxpayer Access Point (TAP).
If you have employees, you’ll need to register for Unemployment Insurance Tax through the Montana Department of Labor & Industry and also register for Employee Withholding Tax through the Montana Department of Revenue. Montana doesn’t have a general sales tax, but there are taxes on some specific products and services, such as tobacco and car rentals.
If your company is a foreign LLC, also referred to as an out-of-state LLC, wanting to do business in the state of Montana, you’ll need to follow all the steps outlined above with a few minor differences.
You will need to file an Application for Certificate of Authority of Foreign Limited Liability Corporation (you’ll need to create an account) with the Montana Secretary of State as well as a Certificate of Good Standing (also referred to as a Certificate of Existence in some states) from your LLC’s domestic or home state. The filing fee is the same: $70.
Some industries will require you to secure federal, state, and local licenses to legally operate in the state of Montana.
While there isn’t a general business license for the state, you may be required to have a business license at the county or city level, so you’ll need to check with your city/county. Do careful research to find out what licenses and permits you need or hire a professional service to do it for you.