Think about your LLC a year from now: raking in profits and taking Missouri by storm. 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.
While you’re making plans and dreaming big, 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.
Quick Note: If you’d like to keep your costs of starting an LLC as simple and low as possible, consider hiring ZenBusiness – a reliable business formation service. To get a better idea of the value they offer and how it works, we compared them to the two most well known services:
Bare Minimum Cost to Start an LLC in Missouri
- Optional: LLC Name Reservation Fee
- $25 for online or hard copy filings
- Required: Articles of Organization Fee
- $55 to file online, $105 to file a hard copy
Overall Missouri LLC Formation Costs
LLC Name Reservation Fee
Reserving a business name is totally optional. It’s not a required step in LLC formation. Although, if you have a great name but you’re still ironing out some details before starting your business, a name reservation can help. It costs $25 to place a 60-day hold on your name, and you can renew this hold twice for $25 each time. That said, skip this step if you’re ready to file your Articles of Organization since that will lock in your name automatically.
Articles of Organization Fee
This is the big one, the most important form that you’ll file to start your Missouri LLC. It’s the one that makes your business official with the state and allows you to commence business in the state. File the Articles of Organization either online for $55 or using a paper form for $105. Once you file this form and payment, you won’t have to do it again, so this won’t be a recurring fee.
Business and Professional Licenses
Once your Articles of Organization has been accepted, there’s one more thing to do before commencing business: licensure. Depending on the type and location of your business, it may require multiple professional licenses. Or, it might not need any. Find out which state licenses your LLC needs on the Missouri Professional Registration & Licensing page. You’ll also need to check with your local government because cities and/or counties sometimes have their own licensing requirements.
LLC Formation Service
Starting an LLC can be a complicated and time-consuming process. If you want to spend less time on paperwork and more time planning your business, you might opt for an LLC formation service. These services take care of the registration process for you, so you don’t have to spend the time on research, paperwork, and filings.
Most of these services (like ZenBusiness and Northwest) offer basic LLC formation service like Articles of Organization filing, tax consultations, and phone/email support for a flat rate, with options to pay more for premium packages with premium services like Employer Identification Numbers, Operating Agreements, and expedited filing.
Registered Agent Service
Appointing a registered agent is an important part of your LLC formation process. Your registered agent is responsible for handling sensitive legal and tax documents and keeping your business compliant with Missouri business law. In short, you need an agent you can trust.
While you can be the registered agent for your own LLC, this puts pressure on you to keep up with business filings and potential legal disputes. Sometimes it’s better to hand off that responsibility to a professional. A registered agent service ensures that your annual reports and other forms are filed efficiently and on-time, saving you from the penalties of delinquent filings and the stress of having to do it yourself.
Not all registered agent services are equal, so you’ll need to be careful in choosing one. Fortunately, we’ve done some research for you, and we recommend Northwest Registered Agent. In addition to registered agent services, Northwest also handles LLC formation — and they’ll include a registered agent free for one year when you form your business with them. We think they’re the most reliable choice, but if you’d like to evaluate all your options, check out our Best Registered Agent Services guide.
If you have questions or concerns about the LLC formation process or if it’s the best business structure for you, sometimes it’s best not to take chances and consult an attorney. They’re not cheap, but they can provide essential business advice, professional filing assistance, and peace of mind.
Some attorneys offer free consultations (usually 30-60 minutes) but will charge by the hour after that. On average, business attorneys charge between $150-350 per hour. Some will offer a flat rate for setting up an LLC, which can range from $500-2000.
Cost variations depend on the experience and location of the lawyer. There’s a multitude of business lawyers out there, so choosing just one might seem like a daunting task. Using a site like Avvo can take that stress away, though. It gives you free access to an entire database of Missouri business attorneys – locations, rates, areas of expertise, and contact info, so you can compare, contrast, and find the perfect fit for your LLC.
Foreign Qualification Fee
This only applies if your LLC was formed in another state and is now expanding into Missouri. All foreign business entities are required to foreign qualify in Missouri, or they could incur some pretty severe penalties. To foreign qualify, you will submit an “Application for Registration” instead of the Articles of Organization. You can find it through the online filing portal, and you can submit it entirely online for $50 or print a copy and mail it for $105. Like the Articles of Organization, it’s a one-time filing, so this fee won’t be recurring.
LLC Annual Fees
Many states collect mandatory Annual Reports from their business entities every year, but not Missouri. You won’t have to worry about recurring reports or fees, although you will need to make sure you keep the state updated on any changes to your LLC, including changes in registered agent, registered office, or other areas.
LLC taxes aren’t especially complicated in Missouri either. LLCs are, by default, classified as “pass-through” entities by the federal government, so they don’t file separate corporate tax returns. Instead, the owners and/or members report income and losses on their own personal returns. At the state level, Missouri doesn’t require a franchise tax or privilege tax like some other states do.
It would be nice if it were that easy, but there are certain circumstances that will require your LLC to pay specific business-related taxes. If you sell merchandise, you’ll have to pay a sales and/or use tax, and if you hire employees, a withholding tax and an unemployment tax. Register for these taxes through the Missouri Department of Revenue online system, or by completing and mailing a hard copy.
Or, if you’ve set up your LLC to be taxed as a corporation, it will be responsible for paying Missouri’s corporate income tax of 6.25%.
What If I Don’t Pay?
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.