You’ve decided to form a limited liability company (LLC) in Missouri. But now you’re wondering just how much this business structure will cost you in legal and state fees.
Forming an LLC in Missouri (MO) assumes payments to the local authorities, namely MO Secretary of State, for obtaining company formation documents.
Beyond the above, you can incur miscellaneous expenses associated with opening a business bank account, registered agent filings (or services), LLC formation services, federal income tax (and state income tax), etc.
All of these are outlined in this guide so that you can budget accordingly!
Table of contents
- Missouri LLC formation cost: $105 or $50
- Extra Missouri LLC costs to account for
- Does Missouri have an annual LLC fee?
- What taxes do LLCs pay in Missouri?
- Conclusion: How much does an LLC cost in Missouri?
Missouri LLC formation cost: $105 or $50
To start an LLC in Missouri, you’ll need to obtain Articles of Organization from the State. The filing fee for Articles of Organization is:
- $105 for paper-based submissions
- $50 for online submissions
In both cases, you’ll be asked to provide general information about your LLC and its members. Document processing takes several business days for online submissions.
Note: foreign LLCs can only obtain articles of organization by mail and, respectively, have to pay a higher state fee.
The form has to be mailed to the:
Corporations Division, PO Box 778, Jefferson City, MO 65102
Certified copy costs
Should you need to get a certified copy of any business documents or a Certificate of Good Standing, you can request them from the Missouri Secretary of State (SOS) for:
- $10 (online)
- $25 (for faxed paper copies)
Extra Missouri LLC formation costs to account for
Note that obtaining Articles of Organization is the initial cost in forming an LLC in Missouri – whether your new business is a domestic or foreign LLC.
However, there are other costs to consider:
- Registered agent
- Operating agreement
- Business name reservation
- Fictitious name registration
- Trademark and service mark registrations
- Business permits and licenses
- Legal advice, professional formation services, or registered agent services
Registered agent fees
As part of forming your LLC, you appoint a registered agent. There’s no separate fee for designating one. If your LLC later decides to change the registered agent, you’ll need to file a form and pay a $10 fee.
Registered agent service
It’s helpful for LLCs needing an MO resident (or qualified business) that’s available to accept service of process of legal documents at a physical street address and for privacy reasons (since the name and address will become public records).
Costs vary. For example, a Missouri LLC can find one for as low as $40/year, but other services can cost up to $299/year or more.
Missouri requires all LLCs to have an operating agreement. You don’t need to file this document with the MO Secretary of State, but it should go into your LLC’s internal records.
Here’s what an LLC operating agreement should have, according to the Missouri Startup Guide:
The operating agreement is an internal document (it is not filed with the Secretary of State or any other government agency) that establishes the rules and regulations for the conduct of the company’s business and affairs, and the rights, powers and duties of the company’s members, managers and employees. An operating agreement often addresses whether the company is member-managed or manager-managed and will also address, among other things:
- The classes or groups of members and their rights and benefits;
- Voting structure for company decisions;
- Restrictions on transfer of membership interests;
- Allocation of income and losses among the members; and
- Tax elections for the company.
Professional services (e.g., legal advice) can help prepare your LLC’s operating agreement. Another option is purchasing an online template and customizing it yourself. Both will come with additional costs.
But they are optional! Some business owners feel comfortable preparing their own operating agreements.
First, do a name search to check the business name’s availability. Then, it’s a good idea to reserve the LLC name.
It costs $25 to reserve an LLC name in Missouri for up to 60 days. You can also renew your reservation twice for up to 180 days total.
Fictitious name registration
A fictitious name registration doesn’t protect other business entities from using it. Instead, it lets your LLC operate under a doing business name (DBA) that’s different from its legal one.
If you want to get a fictitious name, you’ll need to file a form and pay a $7 fee. Fictitious name registration lasts for a period of five years.
Note: This is not an area to take lightly, as there are penalties under Missouri law for operating without a DBA.
Trademark and service mark applications
A trademark and service mark application lets your LLC register a mark with the MO Corporation Section. Then, other business entities cannot use the same mark in the state for up to 10 years without your consent.
Why register a trademark or service mark?
Having one helps protect your brand and intellectual property rights. Also, a trademark prevents other competitors from mimicking your brand to poach your clientele.
Business permits and licenses
Missouri doesn’t require a state business license. But individual cities may. For example, Jefferson City requires all businesses, unless specifically exempt, to have a city business license.
Some businesses in regulated industries or professions have additional license requirements.
Check with your local licensing office for requirements in your industry. There can be strict penalties for not getting a required license, including the closure of a business.
Does Missouri have an annual LLC fee?
No, Missouri doesn’t require annual report filings for LLCs, so there’s no annual fee here to be paid. Likewise, there are no minimal annual state franchise taxes or other state fees you’ll have to budget for.
What taxes do LLCs pay in Missouri?
Federal income taxes from the IRS are calculated based on your LLC tax classification — default or elected one. For instance, the IRS can recognize your LLC as an S-corporation, C-corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship.
Most states usually don’t treat LLCs as separate taxable entities for tax purposes either. Yet, there are still certain taxes that may be due:
A state sales tax is collected on the sale of retail goods or taxable services. The state-wide rate is 4.225% in Missouri, a rather affordable one, compared to other states.
To collect and remit sales tax, you’ll need to obtain a tax ID from the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR).
Corporate income tax
If your LLC is taxed as a sole proprietorship (single-member LLC) or a partnership (multi-member LLC), the business income and losses pass through to each member’s individual tax return. So generally, a separate corporate income tax is not collected.
However, if your LLC elects to be taxed as a C-corporation, a corporate income tax rate may be collected at the state and federal levels. The Missouri state tax rate is 4% as of 2020.
A Missouri business with one or more employees needs to withhold taxes from employee paychecks. The MO state tax rate is 5.4% as of 2021. It’s in addition to federal FICA taxes, which go to the IRS.
Conclusion: How much does an LLC cost in Missouri?
While the costs will vary among different LLCs, here are a few scenarios to help give you an idea of the costs.
The cheapest DIY option: $50 for obtaining formation documents online. If your LLC has a member serving as its registered agent, doesn’t reserve a business name, or needs business licenses, then this may be the only cost. However, taxes should be kept in mind, for individual members at least.
On the other hand, a business selling goods of $100,000 per year would owe a 4.255% sales tax on those sales. If the LLC elects to be taxed as a corporation, there would be an additional 4% tax on gross receipts. It would be in addition to the initial formation cost, which is $105 if filed by paper.
Moreover, if a registered agent service is used, that could be around another $100 per year. And filing a business name reservation form could cost another $7. In this scenario, the costs would be about $212 for initial formation before the state taxes (and federal taxes). Say this is also a sidewalk vendor. Then, there will be an initial cost of $412.
Use these scenarios as examples. But know each LLC is different, and some costs, such as professional services or license fees, will vary.