How to Start a Montana LLC
Montana LLC Formation – Basics & Helpful Information
This article is meant to be a general overview of the Montana LLC formation process; including information about how to start a Montana LLC and other basic issues related to Montana LLCs.
Montana LLC Filing Fees
The fee to file the Articles of Organization (to create a Montana LLC) is $70.00 plus an additional $20.00 for 24-hour processing, or an additional $100.00 for 1-hour processing.
Montana Filing Time
Regular processing time is 10 business days after the document has been received. Options for expedited processing can reduce the turnaround time to either 24-hour or 1-hour processing for an additional fee.
Montana Annual Compliance Requirements
Montana LLCs are required to file annual reports by April 15th following the year of organization and each year thereafter. The fee is $20.00 if received on time or $35.00 if received late. You can file the annual report online. A Montana LLC is not required to pay a franchise or privilege tax since income from the business is distributed to individual members who then pay federal and state taxes on the amount distributed to them.
How to Form an LLC in Montana
You can use this checklist to help guide you through the process of forming a Montana LLC:
Step 1: Decide on a Business Name
The first step in creating an LLC in Montana is naming your business. You’ll need to check with the Montana Secretary of State to make sure the name you’ve chosen is available. You can do this online via the Montana Business Search.
It is also highly recommended that you check the US Patent and Trademark Office to see if someone has a federal trademark of the business name you want (the Montana Secretary of State will not check other state’s databases or the federal trademark database). You can click here to have a comprehensive name availability search performed for you.
Your LLC name must contain the words “Limited Liability Company” or “Limited Company” or the abbreviations “L.L.C”, “LLC”, “L.C.”, or “LC”. The word “Limited” may be abbreviated as “Ltd.” and the word “Company” may be abbreviated as “Co.”. The name of the LLC must be distinguishable from any other business entity on the records of the Montana Secretary of State.See Montana LLC Naming Criteria → See More Business Name Information →
Step 2: Register your LLC with the State
Montana Articles of Organization
Your Montana LLC is formed by signing and filing Articles of Organization with the Montana Secretary of State. The Articles of Organization can only be filed by online. The Montana Secretary of State staff will examine the articles for statutory compliance and will either approve the articles for filing or reject the articles with instructions on how to resubmit the document. If rejected and resubmitted, plan for an additional reprocessing fee of 50% of the original filing fee.
The Articles of Organization must include at a minimum:
- Name of the Montana LLC
- Duration of the LLC
- Business mailing address of the principal office of the LLC in Montana
- Name and address of the registered agent
- Management structure of the LLC
- Name and address of each member or manager
- Organizer’s name
Montana Registered Agent Information
Montana requires that the LLC have a registered agent, who is an individual or a business entity the LLC appoints for the purpose of accepting service of process (lawsuit papers or legal documents) for the LLC. The LLC may not serve as its own registered agent. Montana law requires that the registered agent have a permanent, physical and mailing address on the records of the Montana Secretary of State at all times. A post office box cannot be the only address used.Read more about Registered Agents →
Step 3: Create and Sign the LLC’s Governing Document
The governing document for an LLC is called the “company agreement” or sometimes the “operating agreement”. The company agreement is to an LLC like a partnership agreement is to a partnership (or bylaws to a corporation). The company agreement governs the internal operation of the LLC and is typically a private document that is kept in the company book and the principal place of business (it is NOT filed with the state). The company agreement can address many issues, some of the more common concepts found within a company agreement are:
- Limitations on the members liabilities
- The level of consent needed to take various actions (i.e. simple majority required to add new members)
- The percentage of the LLC that each member owns
- How profits and losses are allocated between the members (typically based on ownership percentages)
- Limitations on transferability
- What each member is contributing to the LLC and what happens is such contributions are not made.
- The authority of the members, officers, managers, committees, etc.
- How meetings are conducted
One of the reasons we recommend using an LLC formation company like IncFile is that they can provide you with a company agreement in connection with their LLC formation services.
Step 4: Get an EIN
After you form an LLC in Montana, you can get the EIN. There are a few different ways to get an EIN:
- Apply Online Yourself: The IRS has an online EIN Application you can use to get an EIN. The turn around time on the EIN using this method is only a few minutes.
- Use Form SS-4: You can get an EIN the old fashion way by completing Form SS-4 and mailing or faxing into the IRS. How long does it take to get the EIN this way? According to the IRS: if you mail in Form SS-4, it will take 4-5 weeks to get your EIN. If you fax in Form SS-4 you should have the EIN back in a week if you provide a fax number or 2 weeks if you don’t have a fax number.
- Have a Third-Party Obtain: All of the LLC formation companies have the ability to get the EIN for you. The EIN obtainment charge varies by company, but it is generally between $50 and $100. If you get one of the higher priced packages, they will sometimes throw in the EIN for free.
Step 5: Get Licenses and Permits
After you create your new Montana LLC, you’ll need to determine if your business/profession requires any licenses or permits to conduct business.Read more about Montana Licensing and Permitting →
Registering a Foreign LLC in Montana
If you have a non-Montana LLC (aka Foreign LLC) and you are doing business in Montana, you may need to register the Foreign LLC in Montana. Each state has a different definition of “doing business”. In Montana, the kinds of activities that would not constitute “doing business” are outlined in the Montana Code Annotated, Section 35-8-1001.
The filing fee for the Certificate of Authority of Foreign LLC in Montana is $70 plus an additional $20 for 24-hour expediting and an extra $100 for one-hour expediting.See more about registering a foreign LLC in Montana →