Do you have a dream of owning and running your own business, but don’t know where to start? A limited liability company (LLC) might be the answer you’re looking for. At ZenBusiness, we’re ready to help you start, run, and grow your small business. Check out our comprehensive guide below to learn more about starting an LLC in Missouri, and how we can help you succeed.
Step 1: Name Your Missouri LLC
Brainstorming names for your new business can be a fun process, but keep in mind there are rules you’ll need to follow. When thinking about how to name your LLC, remember the following guidelines set forth under Missouri state law:
- The name must be distinguishable from any other already registered domestic or foreign entity in Missouri.
- The name must contain “Limited Company,” “Limited Liability Company,” or one of the following abbreviations: “LC,” “L.C.,” “LLC,” or “L.L.C.”
- The name can’t contain the following words: “corporation,” “incorporated,” “limited partnership,” “limited liability partnership,” “limited liability limited partnership,” “Ltd.,” or any abbreviations of these words.
- The name can’t have any words or phrases that imply or indicate the LLC is organized for any purpose other than what is stated in its Articles of Organization.
- The name can’t imply that the LLC is a governmental agency.
You can conduct a Missouri business search to find out if the name is available, and we’ve created a step-by-step guide to make things easier.
If you’ve decided on a name but you aren’t ready to register your LLC, you can reserve it with the state for up to 180 days. If you’re confused by the reservation process, we have a business name reservation service that can handle it for you. As part of the service, we also check to see if your desired name is available.
Another thing to consider when naming your Missouri LLC is if it will translate easily to a domain name for your company’s website. This is just another service we offer to help you build your business.
Missouri law also requires you to complete a Fictitious Name Registration with the Secretary of State if you or your company will be doing business under a name that’s different from your or your company’s true name. It’s also known as “Doing Business As” (DBA) registration. This form allows you to market your business under a name other than an official legal name. You can file online or by mail, and it must be renewed every five years. Take a look at our Missouri DBA page for more information.
Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent in Missouri
A business or individual who handles all legal correspondence for your LLC is known as a registered agent. All LLCs in Missouri must have a registered agent. Failure to register or maintain an agent can result in fines and/or dissolution of your LLC. Your Missouri registered agent must have a physical Missouri address or be an entity that’s authorized to transact business in the state, like the registered agent partners ZenBusiness works with. The benefits of our registered agent service include:
- Discreet receipt of legal notices (as opposed to being served a lawsuit in front of a client)
- Ability to move your office location without having to update your registered agent address with the state
- Freedom to leave the office, as the registered agent must be present at the office during all normal business hours
You’ll need to include agent information on your Articles of Organization form that will be filed with the state. Missouri also allows you to change your registered agent at any time if necessary.
Step 3: File Missouri Articles of Organization
To officially start your LLC, you’ll need to file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. To complete your Articles, you’ll need the following details:
- Company name
- Company purpose(s)
- Registered agent name and address (no P.O. boxes)
- Events that may cause the LLC’s dissolution
- Names and street addresses of all organizers
- Name and address to return the filed document
- Signatures of all organizers
Filing official government documents like this can be intimidating, which is why we’re here. If you opt for one of our business formation plans, our team can handle the filing for you to make sure it’s done quickly and correctly the first time.
If you have us file your Articles of Organization, once the state approves your LLC all of the relevant paperwork will be available from your ZenBusiness dashboard, where you can keep it and other important paperwork digitally organized. You’ll also want to keep your Articles in a safe location along with your other important documents, such as your operating agreement, member certificates, contracts, compliance checklists, transfer ledger, etc. We offer a customized business kit to help you keep these important documents organized and looking professional.
Now, consider an address for your new business. Giving your address to so many people can be unsettling for some business owners, especially if you’re running your business from your home. In the instances where you’re not required to give the registered agent address or official principal address for your business, a virtual business address can come in handy. With our virtual business address service, we supply you with a physical street address where you can have your mail sent without divulging your real address to more people than necessary.
Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement
Missouri requires all LLCs to have an operating agreement. This agreement is an internal business document that details how the business will run and much more. The document doesn’t have to be filed with the Secretary of State or any other governmental agency. A comprehensive operating agreement should include:
- Conduct rules and regulations for the company’s affairs
- Rights, powers, and duties of employees, members, and managers
- Voting structure for business decisions
- Income and loss allocations among members
The agreement may also include the appointment of a manager or managers and details on the scope of their authority. If you’re unsure as to how to start creating an operating agreement for your Missouri LLC, we offer a customizable template to help get you started.
Step 5: Apply for an EIN
To pay your federal taxes, you’ll likely need to apply to the IRS for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). It’s like a Social Security number for your LLC, not only helping the IRS identify your business, but also helping you obtain things like a business bank account.
You can get your Missouri’s LLC’s tax ID number through the IRS website, by mail, or by fax, but if you’re unfond of dealing with that particular government agency, we can get it for you. Our EIN service is quick and eliminates the hassle.
Once you’ve secured your Federal Employer Identification Number, you’ll be able to open a business bank account. Having separate accounts for your business and your personal banking is critical for sorting out your finances at tax time and helps you avoid mixing your personal assets with business assets.
To help new business owners out, we offer a discounted bank account through our partners. This allows for unlimited transactions, online banking, a debit card, and more. When you want to authorize others in your business to use the account, we offer a banking resolution template to simplify the process.
Finally, if you need further help managing your new business’s finances, try the ZenBusiness Money App. It can help you create invoices, receive payments, transfer money, and manage clients all in one place.
Missouri LLC FAQs
How much does it cost to start an LLC in Missouri?
There are a variety of fees associated with starting an LLC in Missouri, but you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars depending on factors such as your method of filing, whether you choose to reserve your business name, etc. Note that fees change over time, so you should check the Secretary of State website for the most recent fee schedule.
How is a Missouri LLC taxed?
On the federal level, a Missouri LLC is taxed based on the company’s classification for federal income tax purposes. Single-member LLCs default to sole proprietorship classification, while multi-member LLCs default to a partnership classification. There is a wide variety of state, local, and federal taxes that your Missouri LLC will need to pay. A qualified tax professional can help you make sure you stay in compliance, or you can use the free accounting assessment included in some of our formation packages.
You’ll also need to make sure your LLC has all the licenses and permits it’s required to have by law. Unfortunately, because licensing varies by industry and location and can occur on the federal, state, and local levels, there’s no central place to check to see if you have all the licenses and permits you need. You’ll have to do some research.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to do all this research, or if you just want the peace of mind to know that your business has all the licenses and permits it’s legally required to have, our business license report service can do the work for you.
What is the processing time to form my Missouri LLC?
The processing time to form an LLC in Missouri varies due to many factors. However, it’s faster to file online than through the mail, which typically takes three to six business days for processing.
Do I need to file my operating agreement with the state of Missouri?
No. While Missouri DOES require an LLC to have an operating agreement, it doesn’t require you to file it with them.
What tax structure should I choose for my Missouri LLC?
An LLC can be structured as a partnership, disregarded entity (like a sole proprietorship), or corporation. Consult with an expert in tax laws to decide which tax structure best fits your Missouri LLC’s needs.
Which licenses and insurance are required for an LLC in Missouri?
Some types of businesses require special licenses or certifications to operate legally. Check with your local town, city, and/or county authorities to determine if your LLC needs any licenses or permits on the local level. Missouri has a page to help you determine what state licensing you may need. Remember that licensing can also happen at the federal level and is often industry-specific. As for insurance, Missouri requires LLCs with five or more employees to carry workers’ compensation. Any vehicles used for work purposes must be covered by commercial auto insurance. Additional insurance coverage, such as general liability insurance, might be recommended based on your business.
Does a Missouri LLC require an annual report?
No, Missouri LLCs do not have to file an annual report.