Guide to Forming a Montana LLC
Select a Name for the LLC
The first step to starting an LLC in Montana is to choose a name for your company. The name must meet the standards of Montana state law, and must be available for use.
According to the Montana Limited Liability Company Act, an LLC must use a proper business identifier as part of its name as described by the statute: “limited liability company” or “limited company” or the abbreviations “l.l.c.”, “l.c.”, “llc”, or “lc”. The word “limited” may be abbreviated as “ltd.”, and the word “company” may be abbreviated as “co.”. Business identifiers are not considered distinguishable. For example, if the company Big Rock LLC is already on file, you cannot register the name Big Rock Limited Company, because the business identifier is not enough to make the name legally distinct.
Use the link below to find out if your Montana LLC name is available.
Designate a Montana Registered Agent
To start a Montana LLC, you must appoint a Montana registered agent service. The agent receives service of process (notice of a lawsuit), as well as other important business mail and legal notices, on behalf of the Montana LLC. All documents are received, signed for, and immediately forwarded to the client.
A competent Montana registered agent also provides annual report notifications and tax reminders. You can hire us as your Montana Registered Agent for $45 a year. No hidden fees, and you can rest assured we’ll forward your documents immediately, as Montana Registered Agent Service is all we do.
File Articles of Organization
Articles of Organization are the formation documents filed with the Montana Secretary of State. This document will formally create and register your company with the State of Montana. There is a $70 filing fee to process Articles of Organization and form a Montana LLC.
Included on the Articles of Organization: the name of the LLC; the name and address of the LLC’s registered agent in Montana; the business mailing address of the Montana LLC’s principal place of business; the Montana LLC management structure; names and address of the Montana LLC members or managers.
Write a Montana LLC Operating Agreement
An Operating Agreement is the governing document for the LLCs. The operating agreement outlines the ownership of the company, its members and their interests, liabilities, voting rights, distributions, and duties. The Operating Agreement also designates the company’s management structure and operational guidelines, such as where and when meetings shall be held, buy-in and sell-out procedures, and how amendments can be implemented.
The operating agreement is not filed with any state agency. It can be relied upon to settle internal disputes and set forth the governing rules as to how the company will operate.
Get an Employer Identification Number from the IRS
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is obtained through the IRS after you start a Montana LLC. This number identifies the Montana LLC as a distinct taxable entity. It is how the IRS will record and review all of your employee witholdings for Medicare and Social Security.
Not all companies need an EIN. If you do not have employees and do not intend to request that the IRS tax your company as a Corporation, then you may not have to get an EIN. To learn more about EINs and decide whether your LLC will need one, see the link below.
Open a Bank Account in Montana
After you start a Montana LLC, will likely need a business bank account in order to process payments, make purchases, and collect debts. It is not difficult to open a bank account in Montana, but certain documents/information will be needed.
Everyone bank will have its own specific procedures and requirements, but most banks require the following: someone authorized to open the account (in person), copies of the filed Articles of Organization, the Montana LLC Employer Identification Number, copies of Montana LLC operating agreement, and copies of the initial resolution.
Helpful Links and Filing Tips
*After you start a Montana LLC, every year the company must file an Annual Report. The Annual Report is due eithe ron or before April 15. There is a $15 fee. If the Annual Report is filed after April 15, there is an additional $15 late fee. The Annual Report can be filed online or downloaded and mailed to the Montana Secretary of State.
Montana LLC Fees
|Articles of Organization||$70|
|Our Registered Agent Fee||$45|
|Annual Report Fee||$20|
|State Income Tax||1% to 6.99%|
|Corporate Tax||6.75% ($50 minimum)|
Montana LLC Advantages
- Limited Liability
When you form an LLC in Montana, you are creating a separate legal entity distinct from yourself. In the eyes of the law, this entity has certain rights, as well as certain obligations. When you acquire debts as an LLC, it is the company that is liable for those debts. Which means that, should a creditor seek legal action against your Montana LLC, the creditor will not be able to seize your personal assets (such as your home or car) to settle any outstanding debts.
- Informal Business Structure
If you start a Montana LLC, you are choosing a business structure that is more complex than a sole proprietorship but far less formal than a Corporation. An LLC does not have a board of directors, shareholders, or annual shareholder meetings. There are far fewer legal and tax requirements, and the management structure can be as small as a single individual. A Montana LLC is the ideal choice for small businesses who favor a simpler, more informal structure.
- Taxed Once, Not Twice
A Montana Corporation will be subject to double taxation: first through a state corporate tax, and second on the individual tax returns of shareholders. When you form an LLC in Montana, there is no tax at the entity level. Profits and losses pass through the company to the members, and the members pay a tax on their individual income returns. Thus the LLC is taxed only once.
Montana LLC FAQ
How Do I File My Montana Articles of Organization?
Montana’s Secretary of State’s office has gone completely online, which makes the LLC formation process much easier. In order to file your LLC formation paperwork, you will need to create a Montana ePass account. You can create your ePass here.
Your Montana LLC will be approved in 7-10 business days. Once your LLC is approved, the state will email you back your Articles of Organization (stamped and approved), and a Certificate of Filing.
Can I Expedite My Filing?
Yes. Montana offers two expedite options:
- 24 Hour Expedite: $20 fee
- 1 Hour Expedite: $100 fee
To expedite, you will need to fax your documents to the SOS, and you must pay for the filing online. Or you can deliver the documents to the SOS by hand.
Can I Reserve a Business Name for My Montana LLC?
Yes. When you form an LLC in Montana, you can reserve a business name for 120 days. You must file an Application for Reservation of a Business Name and pay the $10 filing fee. While the name is reserved, you are not allowed to conduct any business until the Articles of Organizaiton are filed and accepted.
What Happens If I Don’t File My Annual Report in Montana?
The Montana Annual Report is due each year by April 15. You may file after April 15, but there is a $15 late fee. Should a company fail to file an Annual Report by December 1, however, the LLC will be involuntarily dissolved by the SOS.
Should your company be dissolved, you will have the option of filing an Application for Reinstatement anytime during the next five years. After five years, you must form an entirely new LLC.
When I Start a Montana LLC, Am I Legally Required to Have a Montana Registered Agent?
Yes. The Montana Model Registered Agents Act (Montana Code Annotated Title 35, Chapter 7) lays out the legal requirements regarding registered agents.
Do I Need a Lawyer To Form an LLC in Montana?
No, you do not need an attorney or an accountant to start a Montana LLC.
When you sign up with us for Montana registered agent service, we provide every form you need to start an LLC in your online account.
What is the Difference Between Member Managed and Manager Managed?
A member-managed LLC is a company whose members oversee the daily business activities and make decisions about the operations of the company. Imagine a family business in which the parents or adult children are all members. They are actively involved in the company day to day, and they meet regularly to make decisions concerning loans, liens, and employee compensation.
A manager-managed LLC is a company whose members have vested the running of the company in a manager. The manager may be a single individual (who may or may not be a member) or even another company. The manager makes all of the business decisions, and the members generally are not directly involved in the company, although they receive their regular membership disbursements.
Formation Services for Montana LLCs
You can form your own LLC in Montana and just designate us as the registered agent. The Montana LLC articles of organization and filing tips are in your online account immediately after you sign up for your account with us.
- Sign up for an Montana registered agent account for $45.
- Once you sign up for our Montana Registered Agent Service, you will see the state forms you file to start an LLC and some tips on how to file right away.
- Complete the Montana LLC Articles of Organization and send them to the secretary of state.
- The Montana Secretary of State will form your LLC within 10 to 15 days (unless you pay the expedite fees) and then mail you confirmation. Once the secretary of state has filed your paperwork, your Montana LLC has officially been formed.