The big sky country of Montana is an excellent place to start a business. Many businesses in Montana create a Limited Liability Company or LLC. A Limited Liability Company provides tax relief and limited legal protection. Creating a Limited Liability Company in Montana has requirements specific to the state.

GETTING STARTED

Naming the LLC

  • The first step in creating an LLC in Montana is choosing a name. The name cannot be a name of a company that is already registered in Montana. Other prohibited names include those already in use by a state or federal agency. Choose a name with an open domain name so that the domain name can be registered to the company.

Naming Guidelines in  Montana

The following is a naming guideline for businesses in Montana:

  • The name must be unique and not registered to another company.
  • The name must contain the words “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or “L.L.C.” within it.
  • Words such as “Bank” or titles such as MD (Medical Doctor) or DDS (Dentist) are restricted.  If the prospective owner of the LLC chooses a restricted word or words, it will require additional paperwork.
  • Do not use prohibited words which are used by state or federal agencies.

Is the Name for the LLC Available in Montana? (How To Search)

  • Determine if the name is available in Montana before submitting it for approval. If no name appears in the search, it may be available, provided it meets the above criteria.

Is the domain name available?

  • The prospective business owner would be wise to reserve the business’s domain name. Most registrars offer search features so the business owner can search for the right name. Choose a suffix from the many different suffixes that fits the LLC.

Select a Registered/ Statutory Agent

  • The next step is selecting a registered/ statutory agent.

What is a Registered Agent?

  • Registered agents are those who receive correspondence from the State of Montana for the business. A registered agent must have a registered street address that the State of Montana can mail official business to the LLC.

Who can be a Registered Agent in Montana?

  • Only a resident of the State of Montana or a corporation authorized to operate in the State of Montana can be a registered agent. This is often the business owner or a member of the LLC.

Filing Articles of Organization

  • Once the business owner registers a name and decides on a registered agent, he or she needs to file the Articles of Organization with the State of Montana.  Filing the Articles of Organization requires filling out a form and paying a fee.

Link to Download

Fee

  • There is a non-refundable fee of $70 USD. If the prospective owner or member wishes expedited services, it will cost an additional $100 USD.

Create Operating Agreement

  • The State of Montana does not require the prospective owner or member to create an operating agreement to register an LLC.

RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS

Getting Your EIN

  • An EIN is an employee identification number, issued by the Internal Revenue service. Sometimes it is also called a Federal Tax Identification Number. It’s a unique number issued to each business. You’ll need an EIN to open a business bank account; file Federal and State Taxes; and hire employees.
  • Before you get your EIN make sure your new business has been properly formed before applying and be wary of paid sites. EINs are free direct from the IRS.
  • The easiest way is to apply online for an EIN. Note, the IRS website has office hours, and is only available Monday through Friday, 7am to 10pm. Yes, we also agree this is one of the most ridiculous things we’ve ever seen. You can call 1-800-829-4933, between 7am to 7pm of your time zone, Monday to Friday. Snail mail: You can download the form and mail it in.

Keeping Business and Personal Accounts Separate

  • Get a business bank account for your business. This will help you protect your personal assets from potential creditors and lawsuits, and will also make life a lot easier come tax time. 
  • Get a business credit or debit card. This will help you keep your expenses separate and easier to track.

Accounting

  • No matter what business you run, accounting software and processes is a must for any small business. If you have an accountant, ask them which software they work with and recommend. A good accounting system is necessary to track income and expenses, so you can easily see if you’re making money and make filing income taxes so much easier.
  • Always try and find something that will: sync with all of your bank and credit card accounts automatically – not just downloads, but auto sync; auto-match vendors, customers and other accounts; and let you accept credit cards and ACH drafts with ease. This can be applied for online, as can unemployment

Links to relevant taxes and what to do for Montana

  • Businesses must register for applicable federal, state and local permits like health permits. The business will also have to register for Montana state taxes if it has employees.  Business owners must register their business for both unemployment insurance tax  and employee withholding tax, if there are employees.  Tax information can be found at:
  • Unemployment Insurance Tax at  Unemployment Insurance Tax
  • Employee Withholding Tax at Employee Withholding Tax.

Insurance

  • The business must register for workers compensation insurance in Montana if there are any employees, and should obtain general liability insurance. Find out about workers compensation insurance in Montana at Workers Comp.

KEEPING YOUR LLC COMPLIANT

  • The LLC may need to prove that it is in good standing within the State of Montana.  A business can obtain a Certificate of Good Standing can request it online at: Certificate of Good Standing.

Annual Report

  • To stay in good standing in the State of Montana, a business must file an annual report within Montana.

Cost

  • The cost to file an annual report in Montana is $20 USD.

Links

Deadlines

  • Business owners need to file the annual report by April 15th.

FILING A FOREIGN LLC IN MONTANA

  • If a foreign LLC wishes to do business in Montana, they can file a foreign LLC within Montana.  The cost is $70 USD and they can obtain forms at: Foreign LLC.

ABOUT HOW TO START AN LLC

I'm an entrepreneur myself. When talking to others who want to start their own business, they often get wrapped up in the nitty gritty of paperwork and forming the company. They forget that what really matters is customers, sales, and profit. That's why I created How to Start an LLC.org: a simple resource and guide so you can spend less time on forming your company, and more time on building it.

My lawyers want me to remind you that I'm not a lawyer and that I'm completely unqualified to offer legal advice. This site is meant to serve as a reference for you on your journey. If you have questions or concerns, please contact a qualified lawyer (or accountant) to help you. Also, as a general rule, never take random legal advice on the internet.