Form a Limited Liability Company in Montana
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How to Form a Montana LLC in 10 Steps
One of the most common business structure types is the Limited Liability Company, commonly known as LLC.
LLCs have a straightforward formation process. Once you create your LLC, you will have a company where more than one individual can own parts of it, all profits will be disbursed among members, exposure to liability will be limited (hence, Limited Liability Company), and tax returns won’t need to be filed separately as they are with corporations.
Ready to get started? Follow these ten steps.
1. Choose Your Company Name.
You need a company name that no other business has the rights to use. See our SunDoc article Is My Business Name Available? for help conducting your own name search, or SunDoc can run your name search for a reasonable fee. At a minimum, your preferred name must be available in the State of Montana. It is also wise to check for a registered trademark on your preferred name.
2. Understand the LLC Organizer Requirement.
In this step, your job is to choose someone to prepare and file your Articles of Organization. This individual or entity will be named as your LLC organizer. By default, you will be your own LLC organizer if you file your Articles on your own. But you can also have an attorney be your organizer, or you could choose a filing service like SunDoc. We can be named as your LLC organizer and prepare and file your Articles of Organization if you prefer.
3. Designate a Registered Agent.
You must designate a registered agent, either a person or a firm. This is required for the Articles of Organization form (see #6). For more information on registered agents and why your company must have one, see our article on Registered Agent Service.
4. Decide Your Ownership and Management Structure.
The Articles of Organization form asks whether your Montana LLC will be managed by one manager, multiple managers, or all the members. You must decide whether you want to be a member-managed or a manager-managed LLC. To help you decide, we have created guides for each method: the Member-Managed LLC or the Manager-Managed LLC.
5. Create an Operating Agreement.
It's likely that your unique entity type will require the creation of an operating agreement.
This document is extremely important in the formation of your LLC as it essentially outlines all provisions, regulations, and rules for your business. In a legal sense, it also drives your business. Some of the other roles of an operating agreement are:
- Paying out profits
- Laying out financial decisions
- Laying out functional decisions
- Managing voting
- Managing fiduciary constraints
- Managing liability
- Managing working capital
- Outlining business governance
For questions relating to the operating agreement, several quality sources of information are: Member-Managed LLC and Manager-Managed LLC. These are SunDoc guides that may assist you, but you can also ask an attorney for advice specific to your business.
6. File the Articles of Organization.
Your state will probably require you to file a form called the Articles of Organization, providing your company details. The acceptance of your Articles of Organization by the State of Montana is the moment of your company's formation.
In order to file your Articles of Organization, you will need the name and address of your company, your LLC organizer, your registered agent, and your management method. You may require the member names to be filed.
SunDoc can file the Articles of Organization for you if time is an issue or if you'd prefer to have a filing service handle your paperwork.
7. Obtain an EIN and Open a Business Bank Account.
Congratulations! You are now a registered Montana LLC. Any LLC with more than one member must file with the IRS for an EIN, Employer Identification Number, whether or not you have employees. You can file with the IRS yourself, or SunDoc can file for you.
After you have obtained an EIN, it’s a good time to open a business financial account. With this account, you’ll be able to pay for business-related expenses. You can also make any necessary reimbursements for past out-of-pocket expenses (by you or other members). Reimbursements like these can be made at any time, but remember that wise to always keep and use receipts.
After starting a financial account, it’s also smart to consult with a business accountant. This is helpful for dealing with business-related financial matters as you start out in business.
8. Pay Montana State Taxes.
If you plan to sell goods with your business in Montana, remember that sales tax will likely need to be collected. You'll also need to pay regular taxes and necessary fees to the state of Montana each year. This will probably start in your company's first year. You can learn more about tax policies in the state of Montana at the State of Montana’s tax web site.
9. Determine Necessary Licenses and Permits.
In the majority of states, business licenses or permits are required to legally run your business in your county and/or city.
Check the state of Montana’s website to see which of these you’ll need. Keep in mind that if you don’t have the correct permits and licenses, expensive fines may ensue. Even if you assume you don’t need to have these documents, make sure. You might be surprised.
10. File an Annual Report (Biennial Report or Initial List).
After your LLC has been created, you must file your Annual Report or Biennial Report. This must be filed quite soon after your LLC formation because if you miss the deadline, you face having to pay an expensive fine. It is nearly ten times more expensive to file the Annual Report late.
Locate the Annual or Biennial Report form and other essential LLC forms on the Montana business web site. If you don’t have time to file yourself, consider requesting SunDoc to file your Report on for you. We always file on time and reliably.
The purpose of the Annual Report is simply to update Montana state on the status and details of your company. You’ll need to file another report once every one to two years, depending on regulations in your state. If you make other big changes to your company, don’t be surprised if you need to file the Annual report once again.
Important Notice: It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss your potential insurance needs, or matters relating to employees. You should consult an attorney or accountant with any questions about legal or financial matters. Please note that nothing in this article can be construed as legal, tax or accounting advice.
For additional learning, please visit our LLC FAQs.
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