You have big plans, but before your business can officially take off, you’ll need to make a bit of an investment.
And we’re not talking about renting office space or paying employees — before you sell a single product, there are startup costs associated with launching an LLC in Missouri.
Make sure that you consider all the possible costs associated with starting an LLC. To help you out, we’ve compiled the most common Missouri startup fees here.
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The Required Upfront Costs of Forming a Missouri LLC
Let’s start by discussing the absolute essentials. You cannot form an LLC in Missouri without first filing the Articles of Organization, as this is the document that officially registers your business within the state. This document costs $55 to file online and $105 to file by mail.
The Articles of Organization require some important information about your LLC, such as the business name you’ll use, the name and address of your registered agent, how your LLC will be managed, and more. You’ll use the same document whether you’re forming a traditional or series LLC in Missouri.
But what if you’re not forming a new business in this state, and instead you’re expanding a pre-existing LLC from another state with a foreign qualification in Missouri? In that case, you would need to file the Application for Registration of a Foreign Limited Liability Company. This document is pretty similar to the Articles of Organization, but it also requests some information about the jurisdiction where your business was originally formed. This filing also costs $105 to file by mail and $55 to file online.
Next, while there is no general state business license in Missouri, depending on the nature of your business, you may still need to obtain professional or industry-specific licenses. There are many different licenses and permits that might apply to your Missouri LLC, and some of them might cost you money when you apply for or renew them, so this is another potential expense you’ll need to keep an eye out for.
For many LLCs, these are the only upfront expenses that are required. That said, your Missouri LLC will certainly have other costs down the line, and there are some optional expenses as well. Understanding how many of these fees will apply to your business is the key to figuring out exactly how much it will cost to form your Missouri LLC.
The Optional Upfront Costs of Forming a Missouri LLC
The first optional expense for a Missouri LLC is name reservation. The only time you need to reserve a business name for a Missouri LLC is if you’re not yet ready to form the business but you want the name to be available when you are ready. It costs $25 to reserve a business name in this state, which gives you exclusive rights to the name for 60 days.
However, considering that you can simply form your business instead, the $25 name reservation fee is usually unnecessary.
Another expense that may or may not apply to your business is an LLC formation service fee. While some entrepreneurs choose to fill out and file their own Articles of Organization, and others opt for the much more expensive route of hiring an attorney to handle it, our preferred option is hiring a business formation service.
These companies can provide the professionalism and peace of mind you receive from having a true expert forming your LLC while charging significantly lower prices than any lawyer you’ll ever find. We’ll discuss LLC formation services again in a bit to help you figure out which of the many companies you should hire.
Many LLCs also hire registered agent services, and these companies also charge their own fees. Every LLC needs a registered agent, as this is the LLC’s point of contact for the state. If the state needs to send you any important documents (like service of process), they will deliver them to your registered agent, who will inform you and forward the documents to you. (If you need to change Missouri registered agents or resign as a Missouri registered agent, read our full guides on these topics.)
You may also want to secure your business domain name and website, which will add another expense to your list. We always advise our readers to claim their domain names as soon as possible after filing the Articles of Organization because it’s important to get the URL you want for your website.
Especially considering how much the business world operates online these days, getting the domain name you want is almost as important as securing your desired LLC name. The cost of a domain name can vary a bit, but for the most part, this should cost you $20 per year or less.
The Required Ongoing Maintenance Costs of a Missouri LLC
Unlike a lot of states, Missouri does not require LLCs to file annual reports; if you see any posts about filing an annual report, that only applies to corporations. Other states require businesses to file these reports, but Missouri doesn’t. But there are other expenses you may need to pay each year.
Depending on your LLC’s business pursuits, you will almost certainly need to pay some form of ongoing business taxes. For instance, if your business sells any products or services, you’ll probably need to register for sales and use taxes in order to start a business properly.
If your LLC has employees, it will also need to pay unemployment insurance tax. Based on the nature of your business, there could be additional taxes on top of these, so make sure you check with the Missouri Department of Revenue to make sure you’re paying all of the taxes you should be.
The Optional Ongoing Maintenance Costs of a Missouri LLC
Much like you can hire an LLC formation service and a registered agent service, many of these same companies offer ongoing compliance assistance. If you’d like a reputable company to handle your ongoing compliance requirements on your behalf, you’ll need to pay their service fees.
Business insurance is another ongoing expense that many, but not all, LLCs will require. It’s very difficult for us to get into much detail on this topic because there’s so much variance from business to business regarding insurance coverage needs.
Still, for example, any business that serves customers from a physical retail location should have business liability insurance to protect against common risks like slip-and-fall accidents. Depending on the nature of your business, this may be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your insurance responsibilities.
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Looking at all these fees, you might be thinking: how can I pay less? While you might be tempted to look for loopholes or find a way around them, this could cause you bigger problems in the future.
While LLCs aren’t required to file annual reports, there are still penalties for failing to file other forms and keep your company information updated. For example, you must keep the Secretary of State updated on changes to your registered agent or registered office. If you don’t, your LLC will lose its good standing with the state, which means you cannot foreign qualify in most other states, apply for business loans, renew professional licenses, and more. Spend too long without reconciling your good standing and your business can be administratively dissolved by the state and prohibited from conducting business in Missouri.
Failure to pay taxes on time will also lead to penalties, both monetary fines and loss of good standing, but the fine severity depends on the type of tax and how late it is. The Department of Revenue’s “Additions to Tax and Interest Calculator” will help you determine how much you might owe.
Planning Your Expenses
By now, your budget spreadsheet might be looking a little crowded, but have no fear! Most of these are one-time fees that you won’t have to worry about again. Plus, with all these on the books, there won’t be any surprise costs when you register an LLC in Missouri.
Soon, you’ll have these fees behind you and you’ll be forging ahead, growing your business and earning profits. As you do, make sure to keep up with any recurring fees — like business-related taxes — so your business doesn’t fall out of good standing.
The Best Missouri LLC Formation Services
Does the LLC formation process sound like a hassle? Would you rather pay someone else to form your LLC while you focus on actually growing your business? Fortunately, there are plenty of reputable LLC formation services out there that can provide professional assistance for a mere fraction of a lawyer’s fees.
There are dozens of different companies that offer Missouri LLC formation services these days, and it can be difficult to discern which of them is your best option. That’s why we put together this website as a comprehensive guide to the top-rated business formation services available online.
ZenBusiness (which has formed more than 400,000 businesses) has an inviting offer for LLC formations that is among the best options nationwide. We pride ourselves in offering the most bang for your buck in the industry.
We offer LLC formations for free (only pay your state fee). In addition, we receive spectacular feedback from our clients, with more than 10,000 reviews available online and nearly universal acclaim from our customers.
Furthermore, ZenBusiness is a public benefit corporation, which indicates that we’re focused on more than simply maximizing our profits. We have a partnership with Kiva.org to help lift people out of poverty through financial lending, and ZenBusiness also loans money to help women- and minority-owned businesses get off the ground.
It’s tough to top what ZenBusiness has to offer.
LegalZoom is the biggest name in the LLC formation service industry. They’ve been a prominent player in this market for years, and they advertise more than most of their competitors combined.
They also serve a very high volume of customers, so there’s no denying that LegalZoom is a popular service. In addition, LegalZoom has thousands of mostly positive customer reviews available online.
However, their pricing is acceptable but uninspiring. Their LLC formation packages are threadbare and lacking value compared to many of their competitors.
If you prioritize using the company with the largest volume of customers or the biggest brand power, LegalZoom is certainly worth a look.
Are you interested in receiving personalized customer support? If so, give Northwest Registered Agent a look. Northwest provides all of its clients with support from its Corporate Guides.
These highly trained representatives walk you through each step of the formation process, and you can contact your Guide at any time to ask questions or get advice.
Northwest’s pricing starts at $225, and that rate includes 12 months of their registered agent service.
While their competitors typically only scan the government documents they’re legally required to scan, Northwest scans all documents they receive on your behalf.
They provide solid overall value, and they also receive strong reviews from their customers, albeit in a smaller volume of feedback than ZenBusiness has to offer.
Key Steps for Starting a Missouri LLC
- The first step to forming a Missouri LLC is to come up with a good name for your business. You’ll want to make sure the name you want is still available and hasn’t already been claimed by another business, so you’ll need to search the state’s business database to verify its availability.
- Next, you’ll need to choose your registered agent. While you can legally serve as your own registered agent in Missouri, this role can actually be more of a hassle than you might expect. That’s why we always recommend hiring a reputable registered agent service that can handle the responsibility of this position on your behalf.
- The third step involves the preparation and filing of your Articles of Organization. You’ll need to fill out the paperwork and pay a $50 fee. Once the state processes this document, your LLC will be officially open for business!
- That’s not the end of the road for the startup process though, as you’ll also need to create an operating agreement for your LLC. Missouri legally requires all LLCs to have an operating agreement, and it’s an extremely important element of any LLC. The operating agreement is an internal document that outlines how your LLC will operate, and there are several aspects of this document that can prevent messy ownership disputes down the line.
- You will also need to acquire a federal tax ID number (also known as an EIN, or employer identification number). This is essentially a Social Security number for your business, as it is a nine-digit code used to file taxes, hire employees, open business banking accounts, and more.
- Next, you’ll need to register for any relevant taxes with the Missouri Department of Revenue, and also obtain all licenses and permits that apply to your business type. Keep in mind that, depending on the nature of your business, you might require licenses from the federal, state, county, and municipal governments.
Once you’ve finished all of these steps, you’re ready to operate a compliant business entity with the state of Missouri!
Key Steps for Maintaining a Missouri LLC
After you’ve completed all of the items in the previous section, you’ll need to focus on maintaining your LLC. The first step in this process is to open a business bank account. This will help you keep your business and personal expenses entirely separate, and it will also help immensely with your accounting and taxation responsibilities.
You should also keep detailed records of every financial transaction that takes place with your LLC. This means maintaining a file of invoices for every purchase and sale you make, along with information regarding your employees or contractors and the work they perform for your business.
As we already mentioned, annual reports are a key component of LLC maintenance in this state, and there are harsh financial penalties for delinquent reports. Additionally, you might want to hold an annual meeting to discuss goals and priorities for your LLC, although this is an optional step.
We’ve discussed many Missouri LLC costs in this article, some of which will apply to all LLCs in the state. As you can see, there are also plenty of expenses that will only affect certain LLCs. The most important takeaway is that you shouldn’t try to find loopholes to get out of paying these fees, as the consequences are potentially severe and easily avoidable.
That said, there are still some ways you can make financially smart decisions on your LLC formation and maintenance costs, like choosing an affordable business formation company to oversee your Articles of Organization filing and provide registered agent service.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before we wrap things up, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions we hear from readers regarding the LLC formation process in Missouri.
What are the state business tax rates in Missouri?
If your LLC is taxed like a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you’ll need to pay taxes on your business income at the state’s personal income tax rates (between 0% and 5.4%, depending on your income level). If your LLC is taxed like a corporation, you’re required to pay Missouri’s 6.25% corporate income tax on your business revenue.
How quickly does Missouri process LLC formations?
The Secretary of State should be able to process your LLC’s formation within 3-5 business days if submitted on paper, and they’re often able to process online formations the same day you file them.
How many small businesses are there in Missouri today?
The state of Missouri is home to nearly 465,000 small businesses. Entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and business types find that Missouri is a great place to own and operate a small business.
What are the top small business resources and websites in Missouri?
The Missouri chapter of the Small Business Development Center is a great place to start, as they offer a wide variety of tools and resources for Missouri LLCs. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Missouri District Office is another valuable resource, and the state’s Department of Economic Development also has plenty of good info.
Should I form my LLC in Missouri, or choose a state like Delaware or Wyoming?
Some people like to form their LLCs in states with favorable legal settings. For instance, Delaware is often seen as the most business-friendly state, as it has an entire court system that’s dedicated solely to business matters. As for Wyoming, this state has some of the most generous anonymity laws for LLC ownership.
However, for most people, your best option is to simply form your business in your home state. Forming in a different state can be a tremendous hassle, and it can add some unnecessary complexity to tax issues as well.
What is the absolute minimum cost to form a Missouri LLC?
The cheapest possible price tag for LLC formation in Missouri is $55, which covers the cost of filing your Articles of Organization online. All other upfront expenses for a Missouri LLC formation are optional.
How much does it cost to form a corporation in Missouri?
In many states, it’s more expensive to incorporate a business into a corporation than it is to form an LLC. In Missouri, the actual cost of a corporation depends on how much stock you’re going to issue, with the minimum fee starting at $58. The fee goes up by $5 for every $10,000 in shares.
How much does ongoing LLC maintenance cost per year in Missouri?
Since Missouri does not require annual reports, your annual maintenance expenses will vary widely depending on your business’s license requirements. Some industries require annual license renewals, others require semi-annual renewals, and other industries don’t require licenses. But licenses are the primary annual expense (aside from taxes) in Missouri.
How many small businesses are there in Missouri today?
There are currently more than 542,000 small businesses operating in Missouri, comprising all but 0.6% of businesses in the state. Roughly 46% of the Missouri workforce is employed by one of these businesses.
Cost to Start an LLC in All 50 States
We break down the LLC costs in detail in all 50 states. View all of our State LLC Costs guides below.
- Cost to Start an Alabama LLC
- Cost to Start an Alaska LLC
- Cost to Start an Arizona LLC
- Cost to Start an Arkansas LLC
- Cost to Start a California LLC
- Cost to Start a Colorado LLC
- Cost to Start a Connecticut LLC
- Cost to Start a Delaware LLC
- Cost to Start a Florida LLC
- Cost to Start a Georgia LLC
- Cost to Start a Hawaii LLC
- Cost to Start an Idaho LLC
- Cost to Start an Illinois LLC
- Cost to Start an Indiana LLC
- Cost to Start an Iowa LLC
- Cost to Start a Kansas LLC
- Cost to Start a Kentucky LLC
- Cost to Start a Louisiana LLC
- Cost to Start a Maine LLC
- Cost to Start a Maryland LLC
- Cost to Start a Massachusetts
- Cost to Start a Michigan LLC
- Cost to Start a Minnesota LLC
- Cost to Start a Mississippi LLC
- Cost to Start a Montana LLC
- Cost to Start a Nebraska LLC
- Cost to Start a Nevada LLC
- Cost to Start a New Hampshire
- Cost to Start a New Jersey LLC
- Cost to Start a New Mexico LLC
- Cost to Start a New York LLC
- Cost to Start a North Carolina LLC
- Cost to Start a North Dakota LLC
- Cost to Start an Ohio LLC
- Cost to Start an Oklahoma LLC
- Cost to Start an Oregon LLC
- Cost to Start a Pennsylvania LLC
- Cost to Start a Rhode Island LLC
- Cost to Start a South Carolina
- Cost to Start a South Dakota LLC
- Cost to Start a Tennessee LLC
- Cost to Start a Texas LLC
- Cost to Start a Utah LLC
- Cost to Start a Vermont LLC
- Cost to Start a Virginia LLC
- Cost to Start a Washington LLC
- Cost to Start a West Virginia LLC
- Cost to Start a Wisconsin LLC
- Cost to Start a Wyoming LLC