Start a Corporation in Missouri
Use our free business tools below to complete your Missouri Articles of Incorporation. This is the document you file directly with Missouri’s Corporations Division to form your corporation.
If you want more, hire us to form your corporation in Missouri. We’ll get your business stood up in minutes with a free domain, website, email, business phone, and more.
How to Start a Corporation in Missouri
A Missouri corporation is a business with a legal existence separate from its owners. If properly maintained, a corporation can conduct business in its own name and has many of the rights and obligations of a natural person, including the ability to enter into contracts, sue and be sued, hold assets, and pay taxes in its own name.
To start a corporation in Missouri, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Incorporation with the Corporations Division. You can file this document online or by mail. The articles cost a minimum of $58.50 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Missouri corporation.
1. Name Your Corporation
If you’re starting a new business, you probably already know what you want to name your corporation. But you’ll need to know if your preferred name is available. To find out, visit SOS’ Missouri Business Name Search and browse until you find the perfect name for your corporation.
- You’ll also need to make sure you follow state naming guidelines. Those guidelines can be found in MO Rev Stat § 351.110 (2019). Specifically, your corporation’s name must:
- Contain “Corporation,” “Company,” “Incorporated,” “Limited,” or end with an abbreviation like “Inc.” or “Corp.”
- Be unique among approved business names in Missouri.
- Not contain any language indicating or implying it’s either a governmental agency or formed for any purpose not allowed under state law.
Can I reserve a business name in Missouri?
If you aren’t ready to file your Articles of Incorporation yet, you can reserve your business name for up to 180 days by submitting an Application for Reservation of Name and paying the $25 fee.
What's the difference between my corporation's name and an assumed business name?
The company name you write on the Articles of Incorporation will be your corporation’s legal name. Any other name your corporation uses for business is an assumed business name—also called a fictitious business name (FBN) or a doing business as name (DBA). In Missouri, before you use an assumed business name you must submit a Registration of Fictitious Name to the Corporations Division and pay the $25 filing fee.
Find out more about How to get a DBA Name in Missouri.
2. Designate a Registered Agent
What does a registered agent do?
According to MO Revised Statute § 347.030, every Missouri corporation must maintain a registered agent. Your registered agent must:
- Have a physical address (not a P.O. Box or virtual office) in Missouri.
- Be present at their address during regular business hours.
- Accept legal mail in person on behalf of your business and get it to you quickly.
Can I be my own registered agent in Missouri?
Yes, as long as you don’t mind listing your name and address on the public record and keeping regular business hours at this address.
Can I change my registered agent after I start my corporation?
Yes. You can change your registered agent in Missouri at any time by filing a Statement of Change of Registered Agent with the Missouri Corporations Division. The filing fee for this form is $10.
3. Submit Articles of Incorporation
Learn more about each Articles of Incorporation requirement below. Note that the information you provide becomes part of the public record—permanently.
Better yet, skip the form entirely and hire us to incorporate your Missouri business. We provide a free business address to list whenever possible throughout the filing to better keep your personal address private.
- Business Name: Your name must include “Corporation,” “Company,” “Incorporated,” “Limited,” or an abbreviation of one of these words. Tip: Many corporations opt to keep it simple with “Corp” or “Inc.”
- Registered Agent and Office: For your Missouri registered agent, you can list an individual state resident (like someone in your Missouri corporation) or a business that provides registered agent service (like Northwest). The registered office is the Missouri street address where your registered agent will be available during business hours to accept legal notifications for your corporation. Tip: When you hire Northwest, our address will go here.
- Authorized Shares: 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. Note that more than $30K in authorized capital will also result in an increased filing fee.
- Missouri Incorporator: 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.
- Duration: 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.
- Purpose: The state 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.
- Directors: 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. Per MO Rev Stat § 351.315 (2019), you’ll need to specify the number of directors in your bylaws if this is not listed in your articles.
- Effective Date: 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 can I keep my personal information off the public record?
The names and addresses you include on the Articles of Incorporation become part of the public record—permanently. That means that if your personal information is on these forms, it could easily wind up in the hands of marketers, who can then sell it to other companies, and so on.
In Missouri you aren’t required to include your members’ names or addresses on the Articles of Incorporation. So if you hire a registered agent who lets you use their address on this form, you’ll be able to keep your personal information completely off the public record.
How can I file Missouri Articles of Incorporation?
You can file your Articles with the Missouri Corporations Division online, by mail, or in person.
By mail or in person:
PO Box 778 / 600 W. Main St., Rm. 322
Jefferson City, MO 65102
When do I have to file the Missouri Initial Report?
Your new corporation is required to file an initial report within 3 months of registering with the state. There is a $21.25 online filing fee ($45 for paper forms). You can submit this the same way you submit your Articles of Incorporation. Alternatively, you can hire Northwest Registered Agent to form your company, and we’ll submit your Missouri Initial Report on your behalf.
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4. Get an EIN
Your federal employer identification number (commonly known as an EIN or FEIN) is similar to a social security number for your business. The IRS assigns these numbers and uses them to easily identify individual corporations on tax filings, including federal corporate income tax returns.
Why does my Missouri corporation need an EIN?
The IRS requires corporations to get an EIN for their federal tax filings, and the Missouri Department of Revenue requires an EIN for their business registration. You may also be asked for your EIN when opening a bank account, securing a loan, or applying for local business permits and licenses.
How do I get an EIN for my corporation?
You can get an EIN directly from the IRS. The application is free, and most businesses can apply online. However, if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to submit a paper application form. Can’t bear to fill out yet another application? Hire Northwest to get your EIN for you. Just add on EIN service during checkout when you sign up for our incorporation service.
5. File the Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Most US corporations are required to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). On this report, you’ll need to provide some information about your corporation, its beneficial owners, and (for new corporations) the company applicant.
A Beneficial Owner is defined as anyone with at least a 25% ownership stake in your company. This also includes anyone with significant control over company operations, such as your CEO, CFO, or General Counsel.
Your Company Applicant is the individual who filed your STATE ARTICLES/CERTIFICATE with the Secretary of State. It is important to note that corporations formed prior to 2024 are not required to include company applicant information.
You can file the BOI Report online or hire us to handle it for you for $9.
What's the deadline for filing the BOI Report?
The deadline to file your BOI Report depends on when you incorporated:
- Companies formed before 2024—January 1, 2025.
- Companies formed in 2024—Within 90 days of incorporation.
- Companies formed in 2025 or later—Within 30 days of incorporation.
What information is required on the BOI Report?
You’ll need to provide some information about the corporation itself as well as identifying information for each beneficial owner. For corporations formed in 2024 or later, you’ll need to also include information regarding your company applicant.
Beneficial owner and company applicant information:
- Full legal name
- Birth date
- Residential or business street address
- Personal identification document (such as a driver’s license or passport), including the ID number
- Legal business name
- Any DBAs or assumed business names
- Physical business address
- State of incorporation
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Will I need to update the BOI Report?
Probably. Anytime your corporate information changes (change of ownership, new CEO, change of address, etc…) you’ll need to file an updated BOI Report. Note: You have 30 days after the change occurs to file your updated report. Updates are free and can be completed online through FinCEN’s E-filing system.
Does information on the BOI Report go on the public record?
No. The BOI Report isn’t public. Unlike your Missouri Articles of Incorporation, the information on your BOI Report is only accessible to government agencies, law enforcement, and financial institutions that need to confirm customer identity.
Are there any exemptions from the BOI Report?
Yes, there are 23 classes of exemption from the BOI Report. Exemptions include (but aren’t limited to):
- Large operating companies
- Most financial companies, such as banks and credit unions
- Investment companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- Insurance companies registered with a state or federal agency
- Public utilities companies registered with a state or federal agency
- Tax-exempt entities
6. Write Corporate Bylaws
Bylaws are the internal rules you set for your business. They put into writing how decisions will be made and who gets to make those decisions. All the major organizational processes and procedures for your corporation will go in your bylaws.
For more on Missouri Corporate Bylaws (including free Corporate Bylaws templates), see our Missouri Corporate Bylaws resource.
Am I required to have bylaws for my Missouri corporation?
No. Missouri Revised Statute § 351.290 contains plenty of rules for making, amending and repealing bylaws, but it doesn’t explicitly require a corporation to have them. However, bylaws are essential for establishing the rules of your corporation and proving your credibility to investors.
What should bylaws include?
Corporate bylaws cover basic policies and procedures for issues such as company finances and management. Bylaws should cover a range of topics, answering key questions like those below:
Meetings: When and where will meetings for shareholders and directors be held? How many attendees are required to transact business? What are the procedures for voting or proxy voting? How do you call a special meeting? What actions can be taken without a meeting?
Stock: How are stock certificates issued and transferred? How is voting affected by issues such as corporate stock owners or fractional shares?
Directors and officers: How many directors must there be? Which officer positions are required? What powers do they have? How do you fill a vacancy or remove a director or officer?
Finances: What are the procedures for retaining profits, issuing dividends, and paying bills? Who can withdraw money from the corporate bank account or sign checks?
Records: Where is the corporate book to be kept? What information will be maintained? How are requests for review or access honored? Can records or copies be kept or distributed digitally?
Amendments and emergencies: Who can amend bylaws and how? Can emergency bylaws be adopted in the case of disaster?
How do I write bylaws for my Missouri corporation?
Creating bylaws can be overwhelming—where do you start? Northwest can help. We give 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 offer many other free corporate forms as well, including templates for resolutions and meeting minutes.
7. Hold an Organizational Meeting
An organizational meeting is the first official meeting of the corporation after the business is legally formed with the state. At this meeting, bylaws are adopted, officers are appointed, and any other initial business is conducted. The first meeting minutes should also be recorded and added to your corporate record book.
Are there any special rules for Missouri organizational meetings?
If the Articles of Incorporation do not name a board of directors, an initial meeting may be held by the incorporators to choose directors and adopt bylaws, or those decisions can be made by unanimous written vote of the incorporators.
Once the board of directors is established, those directors can afterwards hold an organizational meeting at the call of the majority of directors to finish any other initial business. A meeting doesn’t have to be held in Missouri, unless otherwise indicated in the Articles of Incorporation.
8. Open a Corporate Bank Account
Businesses that mix personal and business finances together risk losing their liability protections, so your corporation will need its own bank account. In addition, a corporate bank account is essential for easily accepting payments, paying bills and holding funds.
How do I open a bank account for my Missouri corporation?
To open a corporate bank account in Missouri, you’ll need to bring the following with you to the bank:
A copy of the Missouri corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
The corporation’s bylaws
The 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. The resolution would state that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation. At Northwest, we provide free corporate bank resolutions, along with many other free corporate forms, to help you get started fast.
9. File Missouri Reports and Taxes
In Missouri, corporations file an initial and annual or biennial report, and file a corporate net income tax.
What is the Missouri Annual Report?
The Missouri Annual Report is a filing you must submit either yearly or every other year. The state requires that an initial registration report must be submitted within 3 months of your company’s incorporation. On your report, you will include information about the company’s principal address and the names and addresses of officers, directors, and registered agent.
You can choose to file subsequent reports yearly or every other year. Those reports will update the information submitted in the initial report. The name and address of your registered agent can be updated on an annual or biennial report, but you’ll need to include written consent from the new registered agent.
How much is the Missouri Annual Report?
A minimum of $20.50. When filing an annual report online, there is a flat fee of $20, but you’ll also a small convenience fee, either $0.50 for paying by eCheck or $1.25 by credit card. Filing the annual report by mail comes with a $45 fee. If you choose to file biennially, the flat fees double to $40 online and $90 by mail.
When is the Missouri Annual Report due?
The filing is due within three months of the end of the anniversary month of your company’s incorporation. A business that was incorporated on March 22, 2022 would need to submit a report in time to arrive on June 30, 2023 if filing annually, or June 30, 2024 if filling biennially.
These filings can be easy to forget—which is why we send our clients automatic reminders for your Missouri Annual Report filings. Or better yet, let us file for you. With our business renewal service, we can complete and submit your annual report for you for $100 plus the state fee.
What should I know about Missouri corporate taxes?
Missouri corporations must pay a 4% corporate net income tax rate.
The Missouri sales tax is 4.225%. City, county and specialty sales taxes can be tacked on as well, making the average total sales tax 6.927%.
Do corporations have to register with the Missouri Department of Revenue?
Yes, if you conduct business in Missouri, you’re required to register with the Missouri Department of Revenue. You can register online via the Department of Revenue or by filing a Missouri Tax Registration Application (Form 2643). You’ll need your EIN before you can register.