You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, dreams of a thriving Missouri LLC, and you’re mentally prepared to make it happen.
But the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and for you, that first step is filing the Certificate of Formation.
With such grand plans, the last thing you might want to do is file paperwork, but completing the Certificate of Formation is what authenticates your LLC, making it official in Missouri. It’s perhaps the most important step in starting your Missouri LLC. Following this guide will help take the tedium out of paperwork and get your business started quickly.
But before you dive into the Certificate of Formation, you should have a few pieces of information ready to help streamline the process.
Choosing an LLC Name
Before anything else, you will need to decide on an LLC name. You must include a business name on your Articles of Organization, and if the Secretary of State deems that name unacceptable or unavailable, the document will be rejected, so make sure you nail down a good name right away.
Before you start using a particular name, make sure that it complies with Missouri’s business name requirements. This means it must use a business type identifier like “limited company,” “limited liability company,” “LC,” “LLC,” “L.C.,” or “L.L.C.” and avoid terms associated with other business types, like “incorporated,” “limited partnership,” “Inc.,” “LP,” etc. Plus, your name cannot imply affiliation with any government agency, and it must be completely distinguishable from all other names on record with the Secretary of State.
Once you’ve found your perfect name, include it on your Articles of Organization to automatically register it. In the event that you’re not quite ready to file an LLC, you can place a renewable 60-day hold on your name by submitting a name reservation request.
Choosing a Missouri Registered Agent
A registered agent is your LLC’s liaison to the state, the mediator who takes care of all your important legal, tax, and compliance documents, keeping your business in good standing. Your Articles of Organization won’t be complete without a registered agent name and address, so make sure you have one lined up by the time you sit down to complete the filing.
Your registered agent options fall into two broad categories: individual and business entity. If you want to appoint an individual – like an attorney, accountant, friend, business partner, or yourself – they must be a Missouri resident with a physical address in the state. And if you choose a business entity, like a registered agent service, it must be authorized to do business in the state.
Quick Note: If your first choice doesn’t work out, don’t worry. You can always change your registered agent in the future.
Preparing to File Your Missouri Articles of Organization
Now for the main event: the Articles of Organization. Here’s your opportunity to get your LLC officially on record and authorized to conduct business in Missouri.
Considering its vast importance to the LLC formation process, you might think that the Articles of Organization is a long, complicated document. But in reality, it’s pretty short and sweet. You’ll fly right through it in one sitting if you have the following information ready:
- LLC name
- Business Purpose
- Registered agent name and address
- Whether the LLC is managed by members or managers
- Duration (if applicable)
- Names and addresses of each organizer
- Series LLC information (optional)
- Name and address to return filed document
- LLC effective date (can be up to 90 days after filing)
That’s not so bad! The hardest part of the form is the payment, which is $105 if you’re filing a paper application and $55 if filing online.
Now that you’ve got your information ready and your payment arranged, you’re ready to put the machine in motion and file your Articles of Organization. You have three filing options: online, by mail, and in person.
If you’re itching to get your business started ASAP, file online, as it’s the quickest route. Use the Corporations Online Portal to complete the process. You will need to create an account. Then, once you’re logged in, select “Business Entity Online Filing,” then, “LLC Filings,” then “Create LLC.” Your filing will be processed immediately.
Hard Copy Filing
Download and fill out the paper application. When you’re finished, mail the form and your payment to:
State of Missouri
PO Box 778
Jefferson City, MO 65102
In Person Filing
Live in Jefferson City and need some fresh air? You can also hand-deliver your materials to 600 W. Main St., Rm. 322 Jefferson City, MO 65102.
Hard copy filings are a little bit slower than online ones, typically taking 3-5 business days.
What About Foreign LLCs?
The process outlined above works for domestic LLCs (those formed in Missouri), but what if your business is expanding to Missouri from another state? If this is your LLC, disregard the Articles of Organization and the instructions above.
Instead, you will need to foreign qualify your LLC by filing an Application for Registration of a Foreign LLC either online or by using a paper form. This will give your LLC authority to conduct business activities in the state. Don’t do any business in Missouri without first foreign qualifying! If you’re caught, there could be some serious fines and penalties in store for your LLC.
But after you’ve successfully filed your form, you’re free to get your business running.
Want Help Filing Your Articles of Organization?
Let’s be honest: you’ve got a lot on your plate. Filing paperwork can take time away from your other tasks, ones more focused on setting your budding LLC up for success.
The good news is that you don’t need to file the Articles of Organization yourself. But if an attorney is out of your price range, hiring an LLC creation service is a great option.
There’s no shortage of business incorporation services out there, but not all of them are equal. Each one offers different packages, costs, and processing times, so it’s important to find the right fit for your LLC.
While each service has optional upgrades and perks packages, on the most basic level, they will review your business information, prepare your formation documents, and submit them to the Missouri Secretary of State. They will complete everything outlined in this guide and notify you when your Articles of Organization has been filed. You won’t have to lift a finger.
There are other benefits too. Some services will include a year of free registered agent service when you hire them. Other services offer order tracking, notifications on future document deadlines, assistance drafting your operating agreement, or coverage of certain LLC formation costs.
Which is the Best LLC Service?
All you need to do now is research every service extensively and make side-by-side comparisons for each option. Easy, right? Just kidding – we did all of that for you.
And from our meticulous research of reviewing and ranking the top LLC services, we’ve drawn the conclusion that IncFile and Northwest are your best overall options.
They might not have the brand recognition of LegalZoom, the industry giant, but both have amazing customer support, affordable prices, and include a year of registered agent service.