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Missouri LLC For Beginners: No Attorney Required

Missouri LLC For Beginners: No Attorney Required

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Missouri LLC For Beginners: No Attorney Required

Starting a business requires completing a lot of steps, and one of those is deciding on the business structure.

A popular choice in Missouri is the Limited Liability Company (LLC), but it can be intimidating to form an LLC for the first time. With our guide, will guide you through the process and you’ll learn how to form a Missouri LLC without an attorney.

Related: Guide to starting a business in Missouri

What’s an LLC?

The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a popular business structure (also called a business entity) for companies starting in the state of Missouri, primarily because of the personal liability protection and has the potential to save money on taxes.

Unlike a sole proprietorship or partnership, where the small business owner can be held personally liable for lawsuits against the business, the LLC is a separate legal entity that protects the business owner’s personal assets. So, if the LLC is sued, the owner’s personal assets are usually protected.

Besides liability protection, the Limited Liability Company provides several other benefits over the sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation because of the multiple tax options, ease of administration, and management flexibility.

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What are the steps to Form a Missouri LLC?

Step 1: Choose an LLC Name

Before you can register your LLC with the state of Missouri, you need to make sure that the name you want to use is available. This step is important because the name of each LLC must be distinguishable from other entity names registered in the state of Missouri. The Missouri Secretary of State makes it easy to to a Missouri LLC name search, so you can quickly check to see if your LLC name is available.  

In addition to the name being unique, the entity designator (identifier used at the end of the business name) can only be one of the following names or abbreviations:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Liability Co
  • Limited Company
  • LLC
  • L L C
  • L.L.C.
  • L. L. C.
  • LC
  • L C
  • L.C.
  • L. C.

A comma may be used after the business name and before the designator.  “Gateway Graphic Design LLC” and “Gateway Graphic Design, LLC” are both acceptable.

There are a few other naming guidelines to be aware of in Missouri, such as not using words that may imply the business is part of a state or federal government agency, like the name of a state department, FBI, or Treasury.

Also, unless additional paperwork is filed with the state, a business can’t use words such as bank, university, or any licensed professional such as an attorney or doctor unless the business is licensed to provide those services and a licensed individual is part of the LLC.

If you plan to use a different name from the one that you register (perhaps you want to run multiple businesses under the LLC), you can use a fictitious name (sometimes referred to as a trade name, assumed name, DBA, or Doing Business As name).  To register a fictitious name, file the Registration of Fictitious Name with the Secretary of State.

You may also want to see if a domain name is also available to have a matching website address.

Step 2: Appoint a Missouri Registered Agent

In Missouri, every LLC will need to designate a registered agent. A registered agent is simply an individual or company with a Missouri street address who will be responsible for any legal correspondence. This commonly includes the receipt of legal documents, such as lawsuit notifications, on behalf of the business.

While many LLC owners opt to fulfill this role themselves, some owners choose to hire registered agent services like Northwest Registered Agent. Utilizing a registered agent service ensures that your LLC adheres to state requirements while offering an added layer of convenience and confidentiality since the owner’s personal address isn’t disclosed in public records.

Related: What is a Missouri registered agent?

Step 3: File the Missouri LLC Articles of Organization

The paperwork to officially create an LLC in Missouri is called the Articles of Organization. To submit the paperwork, either file online through the Missouri Secretary of State’s website.  If you would rather file by mail, download the Missouri Articles of Organization (Form LLC-1)

Related: How to fill out the Missouri Articles of Organization

There are a few sections and terms that people can have trouble with when filling out the Articles of Organization. To help get your LLC started right, I’ll go over the common sections that cause the most questions.

Domestic or Foreign LLC: Most new businesses are going to select Domestic as this refers to the initial state of formation. Some businesses will need to file for a Foreign LLC if they have significant activities in another state, such as operating a warehouse or employing staff.

Related: What is the difference between a Domestic LLC and Foreign LLC?

Duration: In this section, you can indicate how long it will remain in existence.  Most LLCs will choose a Perpetual duration; however, some businesses (usually investment-related) will have a specific closure date.

Managed by:  This section asks if the LLC is Member-Managed or Manager-Managed.

  • Member-Managed LLCs have an active involvement in the day-to-day operations of the business.
  • Manager-Managed LLCs are hired by the members to run the LLC, similar to a CEO of a corporation.

Most LLCs are member-managed.

Purpose: Provide some basic information about what the business does.  You will need to provide some basic information; otherwise, the LLC filing will be rejected.  If you want to keep the business purpose more open-ended, you can add “and engage in any lawful business activity for which a Limited Liability Company may be organized in Missouri” in addition to the original purpose statement.

Effective date: If you want the LLC to start on today’s date, leave this field blank, otherwise enter a date less than 90 days in the future to start.

Series LLC: A Missouri Series LLC provides liability protection across multiple asset groups or businesses, each of which would be protected from liabilities from the other series. The Series LLC is not a common choice and is most common with real estate investment companies. 

Organizers – An LLC Organizer is someone involved with the formation of the Articles of Organization.  The Organizer may or may not become an LLC member, such as a mentor, attorney, or accountant, but the initial members will all be listed as organizers.

Step 4: Prepare an LLC Operating Agreement

Most states do not require an LLC to have an operating agreement, but it is required in Missouri under Missouri law, Statute § 347.081.

The operating agreement is a legal document that governs the framework of an LLC.  This document covers items like ownership rights, member responsibilities, how profits and losses are distributed, and more.

Related: Missouri operating agreement template

If you are worried about making a mistake when forming your LLC, or just don't want to deal with filling out state paperwork, an LLC formation service will help guide you through the process. My top recommended services include:

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What To Do After Starting A Missouri LLC

Once the LLC has been formed, there are a few additional steps to take care of. Below is a list of the most common tasks.

Obtain an EIN

If the LLC will hire employees or is owned by more than one member, an EIN is required. 

The EIN or Employer Identification Number (also referred to as a Federal Employer Identification Number, FEIN, or Federal Tax ID Number) is a unique 9-digit tax identification number assigned to a business by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Similar to a social security number for an individual, the EIN identifies business entities for tax purposes.

How much does an EIN cost in Missouri?

There is no cost for the EIN when registering through the IRS. The number is available immediately when applying through the IRS website; however, you can also register by phone, fax, or mailing IRS Form SS-4.

Related: How to apply for an EIN

Open an LLC Bank Account

Opening a bank account for your LLC is important for liability protection as the account separates the business’s funds from the member’s personal funds.

Several documents will be needed to open a business bank account, such as:

  • A banking resolution is a document that authorizes the members to open a business bank account on behalf of the LLC.
  • Copies of the original formation paperwork from the state showing the creation of the LLC.
  • Driver’s licenses of the members.
  • In some circumstances, a Missouri Certificate of Good Standing may be needed to prove the LLC is active and in good standing with the state.

Related: How to open a business bank account for your LLC

Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Depending on what your business does and where it is located, there will likely be various business licenses and permits, so your business is in compliance to start. Some common registrations include:

  • Business license: There isn’t a statewide business license, but many cities require businesses to obtain local licenses before they can start.
  • Professional license: Certain types of businesses such as barbershops, accountants, salons, and others must be licensed to offer their services.
  • Sales tax license: To sell products and certain services, a sales tax license from the Missouri Department of Revenue will be necessary.

Related: What business licenses are needed in Missouri?

File the Beneficial Owner Information Report

Beginning in 2024, any individual who owns at least 25% or has “substantial control” of an LLC or corporation in Missouri or any other state must file the Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) form with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). BOI reports are filed electronically through FinCEN’s website.

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Missouri LLC FAQs

How much does it cost to start an LLC in Missouri?

The Missouri Secretary of State filing fee to start an LLC is $50 for online filings and $105 for mailed-in forms.

How long does it take for an LLC to be approved in Missouri?

Missouri LLCs formed online are processed immediately, while mailed-in forms can take up to 1-2 weeks.

Do you have to renew your LLC every year in Missouri?

Unlike most states, there is no annual report, and the LLC renewal fee in Missouri is $0.

Can you use a PO Box for your LLC in Missouri?

A PO Box can only be used as a mailing address for the LLC. A physical street address in Missouri must be used for the Registered Office and Registered Agent.

What is the difference between LLC and LC?

LLC and LC both refer to entity designators that can be used at the end of a Limited Liability Name in Missouri.

Related: What Do LLC, Inc., Co., and Ltd. Mean?

Missouri LLC For Beginners: No Attorney Required

Missouri LLC For Beginners: No Attorney Required

2 Responses

    1. Hi Morgan – The charter number will either be on the Articles of Organization after they are returned by the state after filing, or it will be on the state’s business entity database. If you just filed the LLC, it may take a few days for it to show up.

      Here is a link with instructions on how to search in each state -https://startup101.com/is-your-name-available-how-to-do-a-free-llc-name-search/

      Hope this helps!

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