LLC Formation in MO, Process and Costs Explained
Are you dreaming about starting a new business in Missouri but aren't sure of where to start?
In this guide we run through the step-by-step process you'll want to follow for LLC formation in Missouri. This guide covers the major steps along the way, what you need to know about each of them, and how to successfully complete those steps before moving forward.
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Naming Your Business in Missouri
The very first thing you'll need to do when it comes to LLC formation in Missouri is choose a name for your new operation.
On the surface, this might seem like a really simple process. The odds are pretty good you already have a name in mind you'd like to use for your new business, even.
Missouri LLC Naming Requirements
What you have to understand, though, is that there are specific rules that outline how businesses can be named in Missouri (especially if they are going to be LLCs).
These rules include:
- That the name for a new LLC must be 100% unique and distinguishable from all other registered businesses in Missouri;
- That the name includes the words “Limited Liability Company” or “Limited Company”, or abbreviations meaning the same;
- That the LLC name does not include the words “Corporation”, “Incorporated”, “Limited Partnership”, “Limited Liability Partnership”, or any abbreviations that may mean the same thing;
- That the new name has no words or phrases that imply a business might have been organized for any other purposes than those expressly outlined in the Articles of Organization;
- That the name does not imply that the new LLC is in any way, shape, or form a governmental organization.
To find out if your business name is valid, use the Missouri Business Name search tools provided online through the Missouri Secretary of State website.
Available names can be registered for 180 days, and unlike other states in the US these names can be reserved 100% free of charge for that full duration.
Registering an Agent in Missouri
The next thing that needs to happen for the LLC formation in Missouri process to move forward is the designation and registration of agents for that company.
Businesses need to appoint individuals or organizations as their “registered agent” before they can establish an LLC. This registered agent is going to have to be able to receive legal correspondence and papers on behalf of that LLC, acting as their agent in always.
Any LLC that does not register an LLC may find themselves being fined (severely, too) or dissolved completely by the Secretary of State.
All registered agents for LLC companies in Missouri must have a physical Missouri address or be an organization that is authorized to handle this kind of business within the state.
This is something that needs to be taking care of early in the LLC formation in Missouri process.
Taking Care of Your LLC's Articles of Organization
LLCs are not allowed to begin normal business operations until Articles of Organization have been filed directly with the Secretary of State.
These Articles of Organization need to include information like:
- The name of the company
- The purpose of the company
- The name and contact information for the registered agent
- The name and contact information for all organizers and managers
- The name and contact information to return filed documents
- Signatures of all organizers
… As well as a description of all reasons that the newly formed LLC may be dissolved in the future.
It's not a bad idea to run filling out these Articles of Organization by legal professionals that have a lot of experience with the LLC formation in Missouri process.
All of this must be submitted to the Secretary of State, too.
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Prepping Your Operating Agreement
Missouri does require all valid LLC operations in the state to have an Operating Agreement in place.
This document is designed to be an internal document first and foremost, a document used to outline the rules, regulations, and responsibilities of everyone involved in the new LLC.
Some of the things a proper Missouri Operating Agreement will include are:
- Specific rules and regulations for how the company will conduct business
- All rights, specific powers, and responsibilities of all members, managers, and employees
- Voting structures for major business decisions (when applicable)
- Profit allocations for all members (when applicable)
The state of Missouri does require this document to be drawn up and created, but it does not require it to be filed with the Secretary of State. In fact, this document doesn't have to be filed with any Missouri governmental agency at all.
Operating agreement is an internal document that will be used to govern the new LLC that is being formed. In the event of disputes between members of the LLC this document will be referred to going forward.
Registering for a Federal Employer Identification Number
Finally, LLC formation in Missouri is not complete until a business has applied for a free federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).
This EIN is used to establish business banking accounts, to better manage state and federal taxes, and to begin the hiring process for employees. Think of this as a “Social Security number for businesses” and you'll have a better idea of why this part in the process is so important.
Having separate bank accounts for your business and your personal financials is hugely important, and a major reason for LLC formation in Missouri in the first place.
There are other than offense for signing up for this kind of number with the IRS as well, but being able to establish that business banking account is such a big piece of the puzzle!
At the end of the day, the process for forming an LLC in Missouri is (generally) simple and straightforward. The whole process can be navigated from start to finish without a lot of headaches and without a lot of hassle, just by using this guide and the resources provided by the Secretary of State office in Missouri.
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