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LLC Montana Experts and 5 Steps to Your MT LLC

Starting an LLC in Montana. Everything from naming your Montana LLC to getting your first sale and all the steps between. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching your business grow into the company you’ve dreamed of.

Of course, if you’ve never started a business before. You may have questions about where to start and how to form your limited liability company (LLC). Luckily, setting up a Montana LLC is a straightforward process.

We can simplify this process by helping you register your Montana LLC.

5 Steps to register a Montana LLC

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to start your LLC, going through each step in detail. We’ll also how our services can help ease the burden of launching your LLC.

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LLC Montana infographic explains how to form a MT LLC in 5 steps

This guide aims to help you set up your new Montana LLC successfully and correctly. We’ll walk you through everything. Starting with registering your new business. Securing and reserving your name. Designating a registered agent, drafting an operating agreement, and setting up a tax account with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Step 1: Name Montana LLC

Step 1: Name your Montana LLC

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make in any business is deciding on a name for your company. The name for your LLC should meet multiple criteria. It should help market and sell your brand, be memorable and distinct, and adhere to all Montana LLC naming regulations.

If you already have a name (or a few) in mind, that’s great! We suggest you compile a list of naming options before diving into this step. You’ll want to have a few options that you like before reviewing the Montana LLC naming guidelines.

When selecting a name for your LLC, you’ll need to make sure it’s unique. In other words, you have to ensure that no other company in Montana already has the name you want.

Search Your New Montana LLC name and availability

How do you find out if your name is available? You follow the instructions on our Montana business name search page. The search should bring up results for any companies with names that match your keywords. Continue with this search until you’ve found a name that’s available. Ensure that you (and all of your LLC members) agree on your new name.

Montana Requires an LLC Designator to a Company Name

Once you have your name, it’s time to add the required LLC designator to its end. In Montana, you must add an LLC designator to your name. This means you’ll add a suffix like “LLC” or “Limited Company” after your name. 

Here’s a full list of all legal LLC designators:

The word “limited” may be abbreviated as “ltd.,” and the word “company” may be abbreviated as “co.”. Keep in mind there are certain words that can’t be used in your name like “corporation.” 

Reserve a Business Name for Your Montana LLC

Now that you have your name and LLC designator, you have the option to reserve the name to prevent another company from scooping it up before your LLC is registered. If you’d rather not deal with this process yourself, we have a business name reservation service that can handle it for you. As part of the service, we also check to see if your desired name is available.

Reserve a domain for your new business

Something else to think about with your LLC name is the availability of website domains. Be sure to double-check through a domain name search on whether you’ll be able to use your business name through some sort of domain as well. We can help you reserve your website domain name once you’ve made your choice.

A few other things you want to think about are trademarks and a DBA. 

Check your new Montana LLC name with the USPTO

To ensure you’re entirely in the clear with your business name, visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to see whether your business name or logo is federally trademarked. Trademarks can also happen at the state level.

To find out if your desired business name is already trademarked and/or apply for a trademark of your own, go to the trademark section of the Montana Secretary of State website. 

File a DBA in Montana

If you want your company to do business under a name other than its original name, you can get a  “Doing Business As” (DBA) name. It’s often used when a business is unveiling a new store or product line and wants to differentiate it from the main name.

To apply for a DBA, you can use our Montana DBA page and we can handle applying for your DBA through our simplified DBA service.

Step 2: Montana Registered Agent

Step 2: Appoint a registered agent in Montana

Once your name is selected and reserved, you’re ready to decide on a registered agent for your LLC. A Montana registered agent is a person or business entity that will receive legal notices (such as subpoenas) and official correspondence from the Montana Secretary of State’s office.

Every LLC in Montana must appoint a registered agent to their company. This registered agent must have an operating (business) address in Montana and be available at this address during normal hours of operation (roughly 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time). This address must be a physical address since legal paperwork might be served here and cannot be a P.O. box.

Registered agent service for your Montana LLC

In Montana, you can serve as your registered agent. Many LLCs with few members or even one member opt to do this. However, there are some advantages to having a registered agent service in Montana, such as the freedom to leave the office.

A registered agent must be present at the office during all normal business hours, as well as the ability to move your office location without having to update your registered agent address with the state.

Step 3: Montana Articles Organization

Step 3: File Montana Articles of Organization

After your name is ready to go and your registered agent is assigned, it’s time to register your Montana LLC officially with the state. Registering your business allows Montana to recognize your LLC as an official company and communicate with your business about regulation changes and other important updates. 

To register your LLC in Montana, you’ll need to complete your Articles of Organization. This form can be accessed online through the ePass Montana portal.

You’ll want to have the below information handy to complete and file this form:

There is a fee involved to file your Articles of Organization.

All of the above being said, filing official government documents like this can be intimidating and/or complicated for many people, which is why we’re here. With our business formation plans, our professionals handle the filing for you to make sure it’s done quickly and correctly the first time. But, although we can handle this for you, we’ll show you how the process works below.

Digitally Store your Montana LLC Paperwork

If you have us handle filing your Articles of Organization, once the state approves your LLC, your paperwork will be available from your ZenBusiness dashboard, where you can keep it and other important paperwork digitally organized.

Keep your Montana LLC documents in one place

Once you get your physical paperwork back from the state approving your new LLC, you’ll want to keep it in a safe location along with your other important documents, such as your operating agreement, member certificates, contracts, compliance checklists, transfer ledger, etc.

We offer a customized business kit to help you keep these important documents organized and looking professional.

Step 4: Montana Operating Agreement

Step 4: Create an operating agreement

Whenever you’re forming an LLC, it’s good to have an operating agreement in place. Your operating agreement is an internal document that can serve as a guidebook for your company. It details how your company should be run, how operations are managed, and how decisions and voting structures work. Operating agreements can be particularly important for LLCs with multiple members.

Although operating agreements are not required by Montana law, they’re strongly encouraged. Even if you’re the sole member of your LLC, an operating agreement can help legally demonstrate how your business should be run if you are incapacitated or unable to run your business for a set amount of time.

Benefits of a Montana LLC operating agreement

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the benefits creating an operating agreement can offer your LLC:

Montana LLC operating agreement template

If you’re unsure as to how to begin creating an operating agreement for your Montana LLC, we offer a customizable template to help get you started.

Step 5: Montana EIN

Step 5: Apply for an EIN

The last step you’ll take to make your LLC official in Montana is to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). What is an EIN? Your company’s EIN is essentially a Tax ID Number (also referred to as a Federal Tax Identification Number) for your business. It helps identify your LLC and allows you to file your taxes, apply for business bank accounts, and hire and pay your employees.

You can get your LLC’s Employer Identification Number through the IRS website, by mail, or by fax, but if you’re unfond of dealing with that particular government agency, we can get it for you. Our EIN service is quick and eliminates the hassle.

While most LLCs will want to secure an EIN, you may not have to complete this step if you’re the sole member of your LLC and have no employees. While not mandatory for all self-employed individuals, securing an EIN does have its benefits. For example, once you’ve secured an EIN, you’ll be able to open a business bank account.

Open a Business Bank Account for your Montana LLC

Having separate accounts for your business and your personal banking is critical for sorting out your finances at tax time and helps you avoid commingling funds. Commingling funds can not only make your taxes more difficult, but it could also be used against you if someone takes you to court to challenge whether you and your LLC members are truly separate entities.

Banking payments and invoicing for your new LLC business in Montana

We offer a discounted bank account for your business. This allows for unlimited transactions, online banking, a debit card, and more. When you want to authorize others in your business to use the account, we offer a banking resolution template to simplify the process.

Manage your new MT LLC’s finances and client payments

For further help managing your new business’s finances, try ZenBusiness Money. It can help you create invoices, receive payments, transfer money, and manage clients all in one place.

Montana LLC FAQs

  • How much does it cost to start an LLC in Montana?

    The state fees for forming a Montana LLC costs $70 to file. It can take up to 10 business days for the state to process LLC filings. However, you can pay $20 for 24-hour processing and $100 for 1-hour processing. 

    Note that fees change over time, so you should check the Montana Secretary of State website for the most recent fee schedule.

  • What are the benefits of an LLC in Montana?

    An LLC is a common business structure that many small businesses choose when forming their companies. LLCs offer great flexibility in managing your company with minimal regulations and red tape to cut through.

    LLCs also make it easy to separate member (owner) personal assets from company finances, offering more secure legal protections.

    Here are some of the primary reasons many Montana business owners opt to form an LLC:

    • They make it easier to separate your personal assets and debts from your business finances and liabilities.
    • They offer flexible management structures, allowing you to organize and run your LLC in a way that makes sense for your industry and company.
    • They protect you from double taxation. You’ll pay taxes for your profits earned as a member on your personal taxes only.
    • They have very few reporting requirements, making them easier to manage administratively than corporations.

    These are just a few of the main benefits of forming an LLC. For more information, check out this comprehensive guide.

  • What is the processing time to form my Montana LLC?

    It can take up to 10 business days for Montana to process your Articles of Organization. Montana has options for expediting your filing for an additional fee.

    If you’re in a hurry to form your LLC and don’t want to jump through the hoops of the state’s expedited filing processes, we can handle it for you with our faster filing speeds service.

  • Do I need to file an operating agreement with the state of Montana?

    No, Montana does not require you to file an operating agreement with the state, but it is strongly recommended that you create this agreement to protect your company and its members.

  • What tax structure should I choose for my Montana LLC?

    Most LLC owners decide to have their business taxed the default way, which is as a sole proprietorship (for single-member LLCs) or a partnership (for multi-member LLCs).

    This method only requires members to pay taxes on the percentage of their profits on their personal tax returns. The LLC itself is not taxed.

    This avoids the “double taxation” that corporate shareholders pay, in which profits are taxed both at the business level and the personal level.

    Another option is to choose to be taxed as a corporation. If you have formed a large LLC or brought in high earnings, this option might make more sense.

    There are pros and cons to consider when opting to be taxed as a corporation, so you may want to consult an accountant before finalizing your decision.

  • How is a Montana LLC taxed?

    We’ve already covered that Montana LLC owners and members are protected from double taxation (meaning they’re only ta on profits on their personal tax returns, rather than on their personal and corporate filings).

    But there’s more to know about how LLCs are taxed in Montana.

    We’ll run you through the main tax requirements, but be sure to talk with an accountant or other tax specialist for more guidance.

    Here are a few tax requirements to be aware of:

    • Self-employment tax: If you’re the owner of an LLC, you’ll be considered self-employed for your taxes. This means that you’ll report your LLC business profits on your tax return and will be expected to pay into Social Security and Medicare.
    • If you choose to be taxed as a corporation: Though most new LLCs prefer to be taxed the default way (as a sole proprietorship or partnership), for some LLCs (particularly those with very high earnings), it may be advantageous to be taxed as a corporation, either a C corporation or an S corporation.  
    • To file as a C corporation, you’ll need to file an 8832 tax form with the IRS. For an S corporation, you’ll need Form 1120-S. Before deciding, consult a qualified accountant.
    • If you want to avoid tax penalties: If you want to get ahead of tax penalties, it’s important to pay estimated taxes each quarter. You have to make these payments for both your state and federal taxes.
    • If your LLC has employees, you’ll need to set up a withholding account with the Montana Department of Revenue to withhold taxes from their paychecks. You’ll need to make regular withholding payments to the IRS on behalf of your employees, and you’ll have to register for Unemployment Insurance Tax through the Montana Department of Labor & Industry.
    • If you’re worried about sales tax: Luckily, in Montana, there’s no sales tax applied to goods or services, so you won’t have to worry about setting up sales tax accounts.

    There are many boxes to check off to ensure your taxes meet state, local, and federal regulations, so you may want to reach out to a tax expert to ensure your LLC is fully compliant. 

    Also available to you is our Free Accounting Assessment to help determine your bookkeeping, accounting, and tax needs during your first year of business.

  • Does Montana allow a Series LLC?

    Few states allow Series LLCs to be formed, but Montana is one state where this is legal. A Series LLC refers to a business structure where a parent LLC is over several smaller or “child” LLCs. 

    The process of forming each LLC follows the same steps outlined above, but you might be charged additional fees.

    You’ll also be required to pay an additional fee for each Series LLC member (or child company) when filing your Articles of Organization.

  • Which licenses and permits are required for an LLC in Missouri?

    You’ll need to make sure your LLC has all the licenses and permits it’s required to have by law.

    Unfortunately, because licensing varies by industry and location and can occur on the federal, state, and local levels, there’s no central place to check to see if you have all the licenses and permits you need. You’ll have to do some research.

    If you don’t have the time or inclination to do all this research, or if you just want the peace of mind to know that your business has all the licenses and permits it’s legally required to have, our business license report service can do the work for you.

  • How do you dissolve an LLC in Montana?

    To dissolve your Montana LLC, you’ll need to close your business tax accounts and file Articles of Termination with the Secretary of State.

    For more information, visit our Montana business dissolution guide.

  • When do I file my Montana LLC annual report?

    You need to file your Montana LLC annual report by April 15 of each year. 

    We can help you with your annual report in a couple of ways. Our annual report service will help you file your annual report, and our Worry Free Compliance service not only helps with filing your annual report, but also sends you other important compliance reminders and helps you with two amendment filings each year.

Montana Business Resources

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