Montana filing fees

What Are the Business Filing Fees in Montana?

Starting a business in Montana means paying a variety of government filing fees. We’ve compiled the most common ones here so that you’ll know what to expect.


Starting a business is hard work, and it can be expensive too. In addition to start-up costs for equipment and office space, you may need to plan on spending additional money on Montana business filing fees. Knowing which fees you only have to pay once and knowing which fees are recurring will help you budget your finances.

We can help you keep track of the fees you need to pay as well as help you solve many important problems that arise while you run your business. We have the tools you need to start and run your business. With us, you have a partner you can rely on to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Montana Formation Fees

The state of Montana charges a fee to register your business with the Secretary of State depending on the business entity you choose. Anyone seeking to form a corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, professional corporation, or limited partnership will pay a fee when filing the formation documents. 

So-called “common law” business entities such as sole proprietors and general partnerships have no formation fees. Keep in mind these business types might have other fees such as “doing business as” (DBA) fees, trademark, and more. However, all businesses may incur some fees when applying for a license or permit and filing periodic reports with the government.

Step 1:  Pay your Montana business’s initial filing fees

The correct filing fee needs to accompany all formation documents when forming a statutory business. The following is a list of registered entities that require initial filing fees:

  • Articles of Incorporation for Domestic Corporations 
  • Articles of Organization for LLC 
  • Certificate of Limited Partnership 

The state assesses additional Montana filing fees for the registration of foreign (out of state) entities in Montana as well.

All fees are filed with the Montana Secretary of State. The Secretary of State maintains an online business portal called “ePass.” This is the quickest and easiest way to file your formation documents. The Secretary of State doesn’t guarantee any turnaround time unless you want to pay for expedited service. The turnaround time depends on how much work the staff has to handle on a daily basis. You should know that you have to pay an expedited filing fee for each form that you file even if you file several at once with limited exceptions.

We can take the pressure off of you with our expedited filing service. With help from us, you can have all of the documents you need on record filed fast and efficiently. Allowing us to take care of your business entity filing needs frees you up to focus on starting and growing your company.

Step 2:  Reserve your Montana business’s name

Montana has a fee to reserve a business name for all registered entities. You don’t have to reserve your business name before you file. However, reserving a name for your business prevents other people from using the name you want until you’re ready to file formation documents. 

Step 3:  Reserve a “doing business as” name in Montana

“Doing business as” or DBA fees will be assessed when you run your business under an assumed business name. Assumed business names, or fictitious business names, are usually trade names, but don’t have to be. In essence, an assumed business name is the name you want the public to associate with your business rather than its legal name.  You can learn more about assumed business names on our DBA page.

You have to renew your fictitious business name every five years. Some local governments also require you to file a DBA certificate with them even if you registered your assumed business name with the state. Check with your local clerk’s office to avoid future complications.

Step 4:  Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

The state of Montana doesn’t issue your company an EIN — the federal government does. Some states use a business identification number as well, but Montana is not one of those states. 

An EIN is a tax identification number for your business. You, or the party responsible for filing tax returns, will file your federal income tax returns with this number (check with your accountant just to be sure). Additionally, your company will file tax information using this number to report employee taxation information such as unemployment taxes.

Instead of trying to navigate through the IRS website to find the free EIN service, we can do it for you. With our EIN service, we will get you registered and have your EIN in no time. We will save you the hassle of rummaging through the IRS website so you can stay focused on your company.

Step 5:  Draft an operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or partnership agreement for your Montana business

Montana law requires corporations to draft and maintain corporate bylaws. This establishes the rules of how the corporation will operate, spell out the authority directors have, management structure, and shareholders’ rights. There is no requirement to file the bylaws with the Montana Secretary of State, however.

Operating agreements perform the same function for LLCs. They tell the LLC members and managers essentially how to structure and run the business. In the absence of an operating agreement, Montana law dictates all of the rights and obligations of the members and managers of the LLC.

Part of running a successful business is planning for future events. Well-drafted agreements and Corporate By-Laws help you plan ahead. They are extremely important, which is why drafting one yourself isn’t advisable. You could pay a lawyer to draft these documents but lawyers’ fees can be extravagant. We have an alternative for you. With our online operating agreement template, we supply you with the language and options you want for your business and you draft the document using our tools. 

Step 6:  Apply for your Montana business’s necessary licenses and permits

Obtaining licenses and permits is a necessary part of doing business in Montana. Depending on your industry, you might need licenses or permits from federal, state, and local governments to run your business. Montana doesn’t have a general business license. However, state law requires you to get numerous licenses for your business or occupation. Fortunately, the Montana Department of Revenue listed many of these licenses in an easy-to-use website. Remember that you’ll also have to look up federal and local licenses and permits as well.

We can make it easier for you to research the licenses you need. With our Business License Report, you can have an industry-specific report so you know what licenses and permits you need and where to get them.

Step 7:  Pay Montana registration fees for out-of-state businesses

Businesses organized in one state who want to open for business in another state are called forgien entities. Montana allows foreign entities to register in the state for a fee. Foreign corporations and LLCs file a document called a Certificate of Authority in Montana. They have to file this before they open for business in the state. These fees change regularly, so always check to see the latest amounts before submitting payment.

If you own a Montana business and want to move into another state, then you’ll need to get a Certificate of Fact. Some states call this a Certificate of Good Standing.  A Certificate of Fact is an official statement from the Montana government that your business is in compliance with state law. 

Step 8:  Check Montana’s annual report requirement & fees

Montana has annual reporting requirements for corporations and limited liability companies. There is a fee for filing the annual report before April 15th, and an additional late fee is charged if you file after this date.

Filing your annual report is easy. Montana companies can use the ePass system or navigate through the Montana Secretary of State’s website. This is also where you can check for up-to-date fee amounts. You can also use the ePass system if you’re making any changes to your annual report. 

We can make this even easier for you. With our reporting service, you can have your annual report filed quickly, easily, and timely.

Step 9:  Keep your Montana business legally compliant

You will likely need to make changes to vital information about your business from time to time. You must report those changes to the Montana Secretary of State so your business can remain compliant with state law. Changes you need to disclose to the Montana Secretary of State are:

  • Amendments to Articles of Incorporation or Organization
  • Change of business address
  • Change of resident agent
  • Articles of Restatement
  • Articles of Correction 
  • Articles of Merger

You have to pay a fee to file Articles of Termination as well. Some changes can be made in the annual report while others require you to file Articles of Amendment.  

Why worry about this stuff if you don’t have to? With our Worry-Free Compliance service, you can get two amendments each year where we do the work and you only pay the filing fee. If you’re only interested in filing amendments quickly and efficiently, then our Amendment Service may be the best choice for you.

We are your partner for all of your compliance needs.

Compliance with state and federal law might seem onerous at times. Instead of spending too much time worrying about compliance issues, you can use our suite tools and templates. Our Worry-Free Compliance service can help you build your business the way you want it and to keep it running smoothly.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.


  • Are there penalties for paying my fees late in Montana?

    The Montana Secretary of State charges a fee for filing annual reports late.

  • What happens if I can’t pay my fees to the Montana government?

    The state won’t accept your documents for filing if fees aren’t paid. Additionally, you could fall out of compliance with state law and the Secretary of State could involuntarily dissolve your business. Talk to the Secretary of State’s Office if you have questions about your ability to pay Montana filing fees.

  • Who receives the fees for forming my Montana business?

    The Montana Secretary of State receives the fees for forming your Montana business.

  • What is usually the biggest fee I will pay when I form my Montana business?

    Filing Articles of Incorporation or Organization have the largest fee.

  • What payment methods can I use to pay my LLC or corporation filing fees to the Montana government?

    Credit cards bearing Visa or Mastercard logos are preferred.

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