Montana Incorporation Services
To start a corporation in Montana, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. You can file the document online. The Articles of Incorporation cost $70 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Montana corporation. However, to actually ready the corporation to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a Montana Corporation Guide:
Montana Corporation Filing Options
Skip the state fees! Get a Montana 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 Montana corporation today. Includes Montana incorporation and maintenance walkthrough and company document creation. All for free.
Pay in Full
Includes Montana corporation, business address & free mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, lifetime support from local Corporate Guides® and a year of registered agent service.
Montana Articles of Incorporation Requirements
To form a Montana corporation, you must complete and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. The document is an example form only—Montana requires filings to be done online. The requirements for online filings are explained below.
Montana has moved most of its business filings online, so the first step will be online registration. To make an account, you’ll need to provide your name and email address and create a password. Once in your account, you’ll need to provide a little more information, including a zip code.
Want your business to start right away? Skip this section. If you want to start on a specific date, you can list an effective date up to 90 days in the future. Tip: Most corporations skip this section.
There are a few different types of corporation you can choose from: Benefit, General, Close, Professional or Close Professional. Most corporations are “General For Profit Corporations.”
Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Company,” “Limited” or an abbreviation of one of these words. Most corporations keep it short and sweet with “Corp” or “Inc.”
Choose either “existing agent” (like Northwest Registered Agent LLC) or “new agent” (like yourself or someone in your corporation) and enter their name. Tick the box to confirm that your registered agent has consented to serve this position. Tip: If you haven’t guessed already, we recommend Northwest for all your registered agent needs.
If you chose “new agent,” you’ll need to enter the Montana street address where the agent will be available to accept legal notifications for your corporation. This information will become part of the public record of your business.
Where would you like the state to send your corporation’s mail (besides legal notifications—those go to your registered agent)? Tip: Keep things simple with one business address for everything. When you hire Northwest as your registered agent, you can use our Montana address as your mailing address.
How long do you want your business to exist? If you want your corporation to continue indefinitely, choose “perpetual.” Otherwise, enter a future end date or the number of years to exist. Tip: Most corporations choose “perpetual.”
You can skip this box if you choose—it’s not required to submit your Articles. If you want to include a purpose, it can be general (“engage in any lawful activity in the State of Montana”) or specific (“restore and repair motorcycles”).
You can note if your corporation is a tribal business associated with one of the tribes listed in the drop down menu. If not, skip this section—it’s optional.
Your incorporator signs and submits your Articles of Incorporation and must include their name and address. Your incorporator doesn’t have to be a director or anyone in your corporation. Tip: We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest.
If you want, you can choose to list the name and address of your Montana corporation’s directors, but this is optional.
Click “Add Share Class.” For the share name, choose “Common,” “Preferred” or “Other” and then list the number of shares you’re creating. Next to “Share Par Value,” list the value of each share. “Par value” is also called “face value”—it’s the price listed on stock certificates, and it’s typically the lowest value at which a share will be traded.
How much does it cost to start a Montana corporation?
Montana’s Secretary of State charges $70 to submit Articles of Incorporation. Need it expedited? Add on $20 for 24-hour processing or $100 for 1-hour processing.
Hire Northwest to form your Montana corporation and your total, out-the-door cost is $295 ($315 for 24-hour filing). This includes state filing fees, a full year of registered agent service and all the business forms you need to open a corporate bank account.
How long does it take to start a Montana corporation?
Expedite your filing for the fastest processing times. For 1-day processing, fork over an extra $20. Or, if you really need it fast, you can shell out $100 for 1-hour processing. Standard processing time is 5 days.
If you hire Northwest to start your corporation, we file online and typically have your expedited Montana corporation formed within 24 hours.
Does a Montana corporation need a registered agent?
Yes, your corporation must have a Montana registered agent. Agents accept legal notices for your business. They must list their name and office in your public Articles of Incorporation, and they have to be available at their office during business hours. Starting a business, however, shouldn’t mean making all your personal information free for the taking or giving up your freedom to come and go when you need to. You should be able to drive a few hours to pick up supplies or meet with a potential investor—and not have to worry about missing a process server.
Your agent doesn’t have to be someone in your corporation. You can hire a registered agent service like Northwest. We’ll list our address in your Articles, and we’ll scan and send you any legal notifications the same day. We work hard so you have the time to work harder on what means more to you—your business.
Create Bylaws for Your Montana Corporation
Do I need bylaws?
Yes, your Montana corporation absolutely needs bylaws. Not only are your bylaws essential to organize your corporation, they will also affect how you conduct business with other people and organizations, from lenders to investors.
Why are corporate bylaws important?
The people within and outside your corporation need to know how decisions and changes are made (and who has the authority to make these decisions or changes). For example, who can approve a contract? Who can open a corporate bank account? Do all board members have to agree in order to pass a resolution? How are board members and officers selected? How long do they stay? How are they replaced? What voting rights are there for different classes or series of shares? The answers to these types of questions are what make up your bylaws.
Do I have to write bylaws?
Because your bylaws are so critical, we give you free corporate bylaws when you hire Northwest to form your Montana corporation. We’ll give you other key forms as well, from resolutions to meeting minute templates. We’ve spent years refining and developing our forms to ensure our clients have everything they need and can start out on the right foot. Take a look at the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.
Get an EIN for Your Montana Corporation
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Yes, your Montana corporation will need to obtain a federal tax ID (also called an EIN or FEIN). You’ll use this ID number on your federal tax filings and a variety of other paperwork—from your application for a corporate bank account to registrations for local licenses and permits.
To get an EIN, you can file an application with the IRS for no fee. If you’d rather skip filling out yet another application, you can hire Northwest to get your EIN for you. Just add on EIN service during checkout when signing up for our Montana incorporation services.
Open a Bank Account for Your Montana Corporation
To open a corporate bank account, you will need to bring the following to the bank:
- A copy of the Montana corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
- The Montana corporation’s bylaws
- The Montana 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 Montana corporation need a business license?
The state doesn’t have a general business license, but most Montana cities require some sort of business license. These licenses vary quite a bit.
Bozeman, for example, charges a flat fee of $50 for the majority of businesses. Billings, on the other hand, has an ordinance requiring a “business license tax.” Essentially, you’re required to get a license to conduct business in the city, and you receive the license once you’ve paid your annual tax.
File Montana Corporation Reports
What is a Montana Annual Report?
Your Montana Annual Report is an online form you submit to the Secretary of State each year. The report confirms or updates your Montana corporation’s ownership and contact information. The report and $20 fee are due by April 15th. Miss your deadline? There’s a $15 late fee, and if your report remains unfiled, the state can dissolve your corporation.
Northwest can help you avoid annoying late fees and penalties. When you hire us as your registered agent, we’ll help you stay in compliance by sending you report reminders. If you’d prefer to let us take on this extra task entirely, you can hire us to file your Montana Annual Report for your corporation for $100 plus state fees.
How much does a corporation in Montana cost each year?
$20. This is the filing fee for the mandatory Montana Annual Report.
Pay Corporate Taxes
What are the taxes for a Montana corporation?
The Montana corporate net income tax rate is a flat 6.75%. There’s a minimum tax of $50.
Montana is one of the few states that doesn’t have a sales tax. Although a few specific products and services are taxed (like tobacco and car rentals), customers generally pay 0% sales tax at the counter.