How to Start an LLC in Mississippi

Written by Ryan Duffy – Attorney, updated on

Forming an LLC in Mississippi can be intimidating. This guide is here to slash through the red tape so you can get right to business.

These simple steps lay out the entire process of starting a Mississippi LLC. Once done, you’ll have a legal entity that shows others you mean business. LLCs also provide essential personal protection against lawsuits.

Deciding to launch a new business in Mississippi means you’ll take advantage of a low-cost area with great infrastructure. And many local incentive programs can give your new LLC a boost to get ahead.

Establish a strong foundation for your Mississippi LLC by following these steps.

Table of Contents


Step 1: Choose a name for your LLC

Selecting a name for your business is the first step in forming an LLC.

The name you choose for your Mississippi LLC must:

  • Differ from the name of any other business in the state
  • Include Limited Liability Company or an abbreviation such as LLC or Ltd

Head over to the business name search tool on the Secretary of State (SOS) website. Check to see if your prospective business name is available.

Choose a business name for your LLC

Name Reservations

If you found the name you want but aren’t quite ready to form your LLC, you can file to reserve the LLC name. This will stop others from taking it while you prepare the rest of your LLC formation documents.

Complete the Name Reservations Filing form online. Be prepared to pay a $25 reservation fee to hold the name for 180 days.

MS name reservation filing

Trade Name

LLCs can do business under a name that is different from your LLC’s legal name. Some places call this a trade name or doing-business-as (DBA) name. Mississippi uses fictitious names.

This can be a great way to sell products or services under unique brands, yet keep everything owned by one LLC.

To use a trade name for your Mississippi LLC, you must register it. Use the Fictitious Name Registration form and pay a $25 fee.

Step 2: Choose a registered agent

Like every other state, Mississippi requires all LLCs to designate a registered agent.

The appointee will be in charge of handling official correspondence. In the event of a lawsuit, the registered agent receives the legal papers. It’s an important role.

All Mississippi LLC registered agents must:

  • Be a Mississippi resident at least 18 years of age or a registered agent service provider within the state
  • Have a physical Mississippi address (not a P.O. Box)
  • Be available during standard business hours

You can be your own registered agent. But business owners can’t use the formed LLC (as a business entity) to serve as a registered agent. The registered agent must be an individual, not an entity.

Serving as your own registered agent means that your address will be in the public record. This reduces privacy and increases your junk mail. It also means you need to be around and sort through the mail without missing any critical notices.

To stay focused on other matters, many experienced owners hire a registered agent service. Your information remains confidential. And you gain a trustworthy agent to cover your LLC’s needs.

Hiring a registered agent service in Mississippi costs around $100 to $150 per year.

Step 3: File the Mississippi LLC articles of organization and request a Certificate of Formation

The previous steps were the groundwork. Now comes the heavy lifting. This step establishes the Mississippi LLC legal entity.

You’ll need to file the LLC Certificate of Formation with the Mississippi Secretary of State. While some people think an attorney must complete this step, it’s likely easier than you think.

To complete the filing, you must provide:

  • The name and address of your LLC
  • The name and address of the registered agent
  • The LLC’s effective date (immediate if left blank or any date up to 90 days from filing)
  • The NAICS code for your LLC’s business type
  • Authorized signature

You can file through the mail or use the Secretary of State’s online filing system. There’s a $50 state fee.

The approval process takes around 3-5 business days for mailed-in forms. Online submissions are faster. Mississippi doesn’t provide expedited services.

Once approved, it’s a good idea to request a “Certificate of Formation” from Mississippi. This document proves that your business exists and can help with banking needs. Get one by creating an account and paying $25.

Step 4: Create an LLC Operating Agreement

Creating an operating agreement is not required. But it’s an essential step for any multi-member LLC. And it’s good practice for single-member LLCs too.

You don’t need to file it with the SOS. It’s an internal contract between LLC members.

The operating agreement provides key aspects of your LLC’s operation, such as:

  • The rights, obligations, and responsibilities of the LLC members
  • The business structure of your LLC
  • The rules and management processes

If a solid operating agreement is not in place, your LLC will use Mississippi state law. This can be an issue should there be any legal disputes between members or third parties. It’s hard to predict the outcome.

Instead, you can make sure everyone is on the same page by having an operating agreement. It lays out the rules and helps avoid conflict. It can also protect your interests.

You can draft an operating agreement by consulting with a business lawyer. Or use an online template to save on costs.

Step 5: Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a Social Security number for a business. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses EINs for federal tax purposes.

Visiting the EIN Application page of the IRS website is quick and free. Or you can get an EIN by phone, fax, or mailing the proper form.

The IRS requires EINs for multi-member LLCs and single-member LLCs with employees. If your LLC doesn’t have any employees or other members, you may not need an EIN.

Costs to set up an LLC in Mississippi

Setting up a Mississippi LLC has low costs. The only mandatory fee is $50 to file the LLC Certificate of Formation.

Optional costs to start an LLC in Mississippi include:

  • Reserve an LLC name: $25
  • Register a trade name: $25
  • Hire a registered agent service: $100 to $150
  • Request copy of Certificate of Formation: $25
  • Attorney-drafted operating agreement: $1,000 or more
  • GRAND TOTAL: $50 to $1,245

You’ll also need to file an annual report for your Mississippi LLC. But there’s no fee for domestic LLCs, making it very attractive compared to other states which can charge up to $500.

Last steps

Once you’ve completed the above key steps, there are a few other things you want to take care of right away.

Separate finances

You need to open a separate bank account for your Mississippi LLC.

This helps to maintain LLC protections, such as limited liability and asset protection. If you mix business and personal finances, you put your personal assets at risk during lawsuits.

Local taxes and approval

Your LLC may need to register with certain agencies for taxes, licenses, and permits. The specific needs depend on the business activities involved.

Many businesses need to consider business tax needs. You should review the Mississippi Department of Revenue website. And if you hire employees, you must register with the Department of Employment Security.

Don’t overlook license and permit needs too. These can come from state, city, and county authorities.

For example, the City of Jackson and the City of Biloxi have a variety of business licenses and permits. Hinds County handles some business approval needs for LLCs in unincorporated areas.

Business community

Rather than learn from the school of hard knocks, take a note from experienced business owners. They can save you from stumbling through challenges by providing key insights.

You can get no-cost counseling from organizations such as:

Business insurance

Another final step to starting your Mississippi LLC is covering your insurance needs. It can be tempting to overlook an extra startup cost. But insurance can end up saving your business in the long run.

A general liability policy can provide wide-ranging coverage. Speak with an insurance representative to protect your Mississippi LLC.

Are you ready to turn your fiery passion into a successful business? The first task is checking your LLC name availability in the Mississippi business database. Then choose your registered agent and get ready to file your articles of organization.

By breaking down each step into bite-sized pieces, you’ll be able to form a Mississippi LLC and live your best life.

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Last updated: Jun 2024
Ryan Duffy

Article by:

Ryan Duffy

Attorney

Ryan Duffy is an attorney based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is a litigator at heart, but also has experience with business law and incorporation, with a focus on small businesses. Ryan enjoys spending time with his family and going hiking in the North Carolina mountains.

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