Let’s get started on my guide to starting a Montana Limited Liability Company. There are plenty of steps we’ll go through to get a Montana LLC started but I always recommend looking at ZenBusiness as the first step on your journey.
I also like taking a look at what Montana is known for and the top business ideas you can run with in the state based on that. I recommend starting businesses in the following category:
- Start a Yellowstone Touring Business
- Start a mineral mining business
- Start a wildlife touring business
Once you’ve figured out what type of Limited Liability Company you’re going to start, there are going to be plenty of steps you’ll need to follow so let’s get into it.
Name Your Montana LLC
There are Montana LLC naming guidelines that you’ll need to follow and the Montana Secretary of State’s office is keen on making sure you’re following them.
The traditional steps are:
- Your LLC’s name must include the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations (“LLC” or “L.L.C.”).
- Your LLC’s name cannot imply that it is organized for anything other than a legal business purpose.
- Your LLC’s name cannot be the same as, or too similar to, the name of any other business entity existing in Montana.
- Your LLC’s name must be distinguishable from the names of all government agencies and departments at state and federal levels.
There are a few additional resources I recommend checking out, specifically the USPTO website which is where you can search for trademarked names and make sure your LLC name is not already trademarked. A business name is really important and if you’re not careful with your LLC owners, you’ll find that someone already has your name or business structure and you’ll need to change your business name if that happens.
Get a Website Domain for Your Montana Limited Liability Company
I tell people after your assumed business name is completed, you’ll need to go find the digital version of it in your LLC formation process. This isn’t a traditional step but I do think your Montana business is going to transact business online and therefore need a website.
After you’ve done this, we can work on the next official step to find a registered agent for your business.
Choose your registered agent
A professional registered agent service is something that is required by Montana law. The Montana LLC documents will need to show that you have a registered agent in your service.
So what is a registered agent?
A professional registered agent service is a business or individual that has a physical address in the state of Montana and agrees to accept legal documents on behalf of your LLC. This person or company is responsible for ensuring that your LLC remains in good standing with the state by receiving and forwarding important legal documents, such as annual reports and service of process.
I recommend using a registered agent service because it’s important to have someone you can trust to handle your legal documents and keep track of them for you. It’s also important to use a registered agent service because if you don’t, you’ll need to list one of the LLC owners as the registered agent and that person will need to be available at the registered address during business hours.
You can also be your own registered agent if you want but I don’t recommend doing that for all the reasons mentioned above. The main reason is due to creating personal liability for you if something were to happen with your individual or business entity.
After you’ve setup your registered agent and have a registered agent address as a business owner you can make sure your LLC members are protected. Once you’ve setup your Montana registered agent with the Montana Secretary of State’s office, you’re ready to move onto the next step.
Prepare and File Articles of Organization
The next step is to prepare and file your articles of organization with the state of Montana. The filing fee for this document is $70 and it can be done online or by mail.
You’ll need to include the following information in your Articles of Organization:
- The LLC’s name and address
- The LLC’s purpose
- The name and address of the LLC’s registered agent
- The name and address of each member
- Whether the LLC will be managed by members or managers
- The effective date of the LLC
- The signatures of the organizers
You can find the Articles of Organization form on the Montana Secretary of State’s website.
Once you’ve completed the form, you can submit it as a professional Limited Liability Company and be ready to move onto the next official step.
Create an operating agreement
Creating operating agreements is one of my favorite things. It’s an amazing legal document that will help your personal asset protection and make sure you’re keeping track of what is going on in your business. A LLC operating agreement doesn’t have to be submitted to the Montana Secretary of State’s office with your Montana LLC articles of incorporation but it is important to keep on file.
Whether you’re setting up a foreign LLC, sole proprietorship or have a multiple member LLC, you’re going to want to have a informal Montana LLC operating agreement at the minimum as you go through the creation of your business.
After you’ve put together an operating agreement for your business, you’re going to need to make sure you’ve created a Federal Tax Identification Number.
Get an EIN for your LLC
After you’ve completed the Articles of Organization for your Montana LLC, you’re going to want to get an EIN from the IRS. This is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number and it will be used for your business banking, filing taxes and hiring employees.
It’s free to get an EIN from the IRS website and you can find it here:
The benefit of having a employer identification number is it helps you setup a tax structure, pay taxes, follow the internal revenue service guidelines, track business debts and separate personal tax returns from business returns.
After you’ve been able to setup your Montana LLCs EIN and operating agreement, it’s time to move into how to open a bank account.
Open A Business Bank Account
One of the most important things you need to do after you’ve got your EIN is open a LLC business bank account. This will help you track expenses, receipts, pay business debts and get paid by customers. It’s very important to keep good records for bookkeeping and taxes.
When you’re looking for a bank, I always recommend Lili bank because it’s so easy and helps you conduct business on the internet. Whether you’re operating a professional service, single member LLC or are just looking for how to make the most out of your Federal Employer Identification Number – a business bank account will help.
Get Small Business Insurance
After you’ve done all of these steps for the Montana Secretary of State’s office, it’s going to be really important to figure out what else you need to protect yourself with business insurance.
The most common types of business insurance are:
- Professional liability insurance
- Product liability insurance
- Property insurance
- Workers compensation insurance
These are the basics for how to start a Montana LLC and I’m here to help you make sure you’ve setup the business the way you’d like to see it happen.
Get a Business License
Even if you’re a one person LLC, it’s likely you’ll need to get some type of business license in the state of Montana. The best place to find out what business licenses and permits you need is the county or city clerk where your business will be located.
Here are some helpful links for finding out what business licenses you’ll need in Montana:
These are just a few spots but the source is going to be your local city or county department that can help you make sure you’re following the right protocol.
File an Annual Report
The state of Montana requires that you file an annual report with the Secretary of State’s office in order to keep your business in good standing. The annual report is due on or before December 31st and you can find the form here:
You’ll need to include your business name, address, the LLC’s purpose, the names and addresses of all members and managers as well as your registered agent information. The annual report is $20 to file and you can do it online or by mail. It’s pretty straightforward to file the annual report but please make sure you review everything that’s needed for the Montana Secretary of State’s office.
Pay Annual Taxes
The state of Montana does not have a general business tax but you will be responsible for paying annual taxes on your income. You’ll use your EIN to file your annual taxes with the IRS and the State of Montana. Make sure this is accurate before you move forward with anything so check with your
How long does it take to form a Montana LLC?
The whole process of forming a Montana LLC can be done in less than an hour if you do it online.
How much does it cost to form a Montana LLC?
The filing fee for the Articles of Organization is $70 and can be paid online or by check
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