Missouri Incorporation Services
To start a corporation in Missouri, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Corporations Division. You can file the document online or by mail. Together, the Articles of Incorporation and Initial Report cost a minimum of $81 to file. Once filed with the state, your articles formally create your Missouri corporation. However, to actually ready the corporation to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a Missouri Corporation Guide:
Missouri Corporation Filing Options
Skip the state fees! Get a Missouri corporation and the best of our services today. Includes EIN, hassle-free maintenance, business address & mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, local Corporate Guide® service, and everything you need to operate at full capacity.
Do It Yourself
Sign up for a free account and use our online tools to start your Missouri corporation today. Includes Missouri incorporation and maintenance walkthrough and company document creation. All for free.
Pay in Full
Includes Missouri corporation, business address & free mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, lifetime support from local Corporate Guides® and a year of registered agent service.
Missouri Articles of Incorporation Requirements
To form a Missouri corporation, you must complete and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Corporations Division. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
Your name must include “Corporation,” “Company,” “Incorporated,” “Limited,” or an abbreviation of one of these words. Tip: Most corporations keep it simple with “Corp” or “Inc.”
You can list a business (but not your own) or an individual Missouri resident (such as yourself). Tip: We’re fans of Northwest.
This Missouri street address is where your agent will will be available to accept legal notifications. Tip: When you hire Northwest as your agent, our Missouri address will be your registered office address.
If you have fewer than 30,000 shares or if the par value of all of your shares is less than $30,000, you just have to tick a box. Have more than 30K shares or $30K in par value? For each class or series, list the number of shares, their par value, and any rights or limitations. Par value is the “face value” (the price listed on stock certificates) and is typically the lowest value the at which the share will be traded.
Your incorporator signs and submits your Articles. Incorporators must include their name and address. Your incorporator doesn’t have to be a director or anyone in your corporation—just someone you authorize to submit your Articles. Tip: We’ll be your incorporators when you hire Northwest to form your Missouri corporation.
How long do you want your Missouri corporation to exist? If you want it to continue indefinitely, choose “perpetual.” If you’d prefer to put a self-destruct timer on your business, list the number of years you want to exist. Tip: Most corporations are perpetual.
Don’t worry, the question isn’t as existential as it sounds—the state just wants to know what sort of business activities you’ll engage in. You can simply list a general purpose (such as “to engage in any lawful activity in the State of Missouri”). You can list a more specific purpose if you’d like, but it’s not mandatory.
This section is optional, but if you’d like to list the number of directors on the board of directors, you can include the number here.
When do you want your Missouri corporation to begin? If you skip this section, it will begin upon filing. If you’d prefer to start on a specific day (maybe at the beginning of a tax period), you can list an effective date up to 90 days in the future. Tip: Most corporations skip this section.
How much does it cost to start a Missouri corporation?
If you have less than $30,000 in authorized capital, your filing fee is $58.00. The fee increases by $5 for every additional $10K in authorized shares. If you file online, there’s also a variable credit card processing fee ($1.75 for most Articles of Incorporation filings).
You’re also required to file an initial report within 30 days, which is another $45 ($21.25 online).
Hire Northwest to form your Missouri corporation and your total, out-the-door cost is $306. This includes your state filing fees, your initial report, a full year of registered agent service and all the corporate forms you need to open a business bank account.
How long does it take to start a Missouri corporation?
File your Articles of Incorporation online for the fastest approval, typically within the same day. Have some time to kill? Mail your Articles of Incorporation. After a week or two, someone will take the time to manually enter all your information into the system and process your filing—you’ll get your approval in about 5-10 days.
If you hire Northwest to start your corporation, we file online and typically have your Missouri corporation formed within 24 hours.
Does a Missouri corporation need a registered agent?
Yes, your corporation is required to have and maintain a Missouri registered agent. The position sounds pretty straightforward—registered agents accept legal notifications on behalf of the corporation—so some people opt to be their own agents. The job, however, comes with a host of unique challenges. First, a registered agent has to list a registered office, which becomes part of the permanent public record of the Missouri corporation. Data sellers, solicitors, and general busybodies can access this information, so you could lose some valuable privacy. Also, registered agents need to be regularly available at their registered office. If you’re always on the go (or even if you just plan to take time off here and there), this could be tough.
Instead, many people forming a corporation in Missouri hire us to be their registered agent. Our address goes on the Articles of Incorporation, and we’ll be ready and waiting to accept, scan and send any legal notices ASAP. Our clients can stay on top of their business, whether they’re at the office or off biking Katy Trail.
Create Bylaws for Your Missouri Corporation
Do I need bylaws?
Yes, your Missouri corporation will need bylaws—they’re one of your corporation’s most important documents. Bylaws are the internal rules you set for your business, and what you set in writing will greatly affect how your corporation operates.
Why are corporate bylaws important?
Essentially, your bylaws will answer a series of questions about the people and processes in your Missouri corporation. Who’s on the board of directors? What is the scope of their powers? How long will they stay, and how will you choose new board members? Do you need all board members in order to vote on a resolution? What authority and responsibilities do officers have? Are there different classes of shares with different voting rights? Those inside your corporation will depend on the bylaws to define the extent of their roles in the business. People and organizations outside your corporation (such as lenders or potential investors) will want to look at your bylaws as well. You will likely need to present your bylaws to your bank to show you have the authority to open a corporate bank account.
Do I have to write bylaws?
Your bylaws are critical for getting your Missouri corporation organized and operational. That’s why Northwest gives you free corporate bylaws when you hire us to form your Missouri corporation. We know what kinds of topics and questions corporations need to address, and we’ve spent years refining and improving our forms. We also give you other free corporate forms, like resolutions and meeting minute templates. Let us help you start out on the right foot. Check out the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.
Get an EIN for Your Missouri Corporation
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Absolutely. Your Missouri corporation must obtain an EIN for federal tax filings. You’ll also need your EIN for other common paperwork, from business licenses to local tax registration. Even opening a corporate bank account typically requires an EIN.
You can fill out the IRS’s application for an EIN for no cost. Or, you can let us do the heavy lifting and hire Northwest to get your EIN for you. Just add on EIN service during checkout when you sign up for our Missouri incorporation services.
Open a Bank Account for Your Missouri Corporation
To open a corporate bank account, you will need to bring the following to the bank:
- A copy of the Missouri corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
- The Missouri corporation’s bylaws
- The Missouri corporation’s EIN
If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open corporate accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does a Missouri corporation need a business license?
The Show-Me State doesn’t require a general, state-level business license. However, cities and counties often have their own licensing requirements. For example, if you conduct any business in Branson, you’ll need to shell out between $50 and $300 each year for a city business license.
File Missouri Corporation Reports
What are the Missouri Initial and Annual Registration Reports?
Your Missouri Registration Reports must be filed with the Missouri Corporations Division. Missouri Statutes (§351.120) require an initial registration report to be submitted within 30 days of incorporation and then annual reports thereafter.
The annual filing fee is $21.25 online (including the $1.25 processing fee) and $45 with a paper form. (In Missouri, many paper filings are significantly more expensive—the state has a clear preference for online filings.) If it’s easier to remember, you can file a Biennial Registration Report instead—you’ll still pay for two years of reports, but you’ll only file every other year. Another way to make things easier? Hire Northwest to form your Missouri corporation and/or act as your Missouri registered agent, and we’ll file your reports (including the initial registration) for you.
How much does a corporation in Missouri cost each year?
At least $21.25. This is the price to file your Missouri Annual Registration Report online.
Pay Corporate Taxes
What are the taxes for a Missouri corporation?
The Missouri corporate net income tax rate is a flat 6.25%. The state sales tax is 4.225%. However, local areas can tack on substantial sales taxes of their own, so it’s not uncommon to see total sales taxes at double the state rate. To give you an idea of what customers actually pay at the counter, below are the sales tax rates in the 5 biggest cities in Missouri:
Kansas City: 8.6%
St. Louis: 7.95%