Start An LLC In Montana
Use our free business tools below to complete your Montana LLC Articles of Organization. This is the documents you file directly with the Montana Secretary of State to form your LLC.
If you want more, hire us and we’ll form your LLC in Montana. We’ll get your business stood up in minutes with a free domain, website, email, business phone, and more.
How To Start An LLC In Montana
Starting an LLC in Montana is a good call if you’re looking to access liability protection, numerous tax options, and a flexible management structure. As a bonus, Montana recently slashed its LLC formation fees in half, from $70 to $35, making starting a business even more affordable. You must complete all filings online, as there’s no option to file in-person or by mail in Montana.
To get your LLC started, you must fill out paperwork called Articles of Organization with the Montana Secretary of State. You can handle it yourself or hire someone like Northwest to do it for you. Once you’ve submitted the paperwork to Montana, you’ll have to take additional measures to ensure your privacy and comply with federal requirements. Here’s what you need to do.
1. Name Your Montana LLC
Your LLC journey begins with a name. There are specific Montana laws you must follow, though. The state’s rules can be found in MT Code § 35-8-103. In short, your LLC’s name must:
Include the words “limited liability company” or an abbreviation like “LLC.”
Not contain language that makes it sound like a different business entity, such as “corporation” or “limited partnership.”
Not already be taken by another Montana business. If you already have a name in mind, make sure it’s available.
Tip: Your name could be available in Montana but also trademarked federally. While you could still use the name for a Montana business, there’s a chance you’d get sued later and have to defend yourself in court. Performing a trademark clearance search can give you more peace of mind.
2. Register Your Domain Name
Your preferred business name is available in Montana. Next up, you should look to see if it’s available as a domain name. Your domain name is just the website address (for instance, ours is northwestregisteredagent.com).
Reserving a domain name doesn’t mean you must have your entire website planned out and ready to build. But you should still get that domain name registered because:
- Changing your LLC’s name is a difficult process. If you can’t find a domain name that matches or goes with your LLC’s name, you’ll be in a sticky situation.
- Registering a domain name means you can get a business email address.
Why get a business email address? It gives your business an extra layer of professionalism right from the start. Setting up an address (like [email protected]) early also makes it easier to keep your business communications organized and under control.
Tip: Hiring us to start your LLC gets means you get a domain name free for an entire year.
3. File Montana LLC Articles of Organization
Articles of Organization are the form that must be submitted to the Montana Secretary of State. Once the Secretary of State’s Office receives this paperwork, they will check it for any problems. If there are none, the state will approve the Articles and your LLC will officially be formed.
Tip: All of the information on this form becomes part of the public record. If you want to keep more of your personal information private, you can hire a professional registered agent.
You’ll need to list the following info on your Montana Articles of Organization:
Must include an indicator like “limited liability company,” “limited company,” or an abbreviation like “LLC.” The name must also be available.
Most people will check “At Will” because they plan to operate in perpetuity, aka with no fixed end date. But if you have a set end date in mind for your LLC, check “Term” and list the latest possible date that the LLC will dissolve.
A P.O. Box is fine here.
A registered agent accepts your legal mail, including any notices that you’re being sued. Once the registered agent accepts the service of process, your business is legally considered “served.” The agent is then responsible for forwarding the legal papers to you as quickly as possible. Appointing a registered agent for your business is required under Montana law.
At minimum, your Montana registered agent must:
- Maintain a physical address in Montana.
- Be available at that address during regular business hours.
- Accept legal correspondence on your business’s behalf and forward it to you right away.
For this field, you must indicate if you’ve selected a commercial registered agent, which is a business like Northwest, or a non-commercial registered agent, which is an individual like yourself or your cousin Barry.
Tip: If you meet the legal requirements, you can act as your own registered agent in Montana. If you don’t spend all day at the same place or would rather live privately with your LLC, feel free to hire a professional like Northwest to act as your Montana registered agent.
Registered Agent Physical Address
This section is only required if you’re using a non-commercial registered agent. You must list a street address, not a P.O. Box.
Registered Agent Mailing Address
Only include this if it’s different from the above street address.
LLC Management Structure
Indicate if members or managers will run your LLC.
In a member-managed LLC, the owners run the business.
In a manager-managed LLC, a hired manager or managers are in charge.
Tip: You can appoint an owner (member) to be a manager; in this case, you’d name them a “managing-member” of the LLC, and your LLC is manager-managed. This scenario is only possible in a multi-member LLC where not all members are managers, so don’t worry if it doesn’t apply to you
Member or Manager Information
List the names and mailing addresses of your members (if member-managed) or managers (if manager-managed).
Typically, only members of a Professional Limited Liability Companies (PLLC) have personal liability for business debts. But if that applies to any members of your business, you must attach a liability statement here. Tip: most people skip this part.
Only list this if you’re forming a PLLC. PLLCs are subject to increased oversight because they offer specific licensed services to the public. Doctors, dentists, and psychiatrists are some of the people who might form PLLCs.
List whoever is preparing the document. It can be a registered agent, but it doesn’t have to be.
Organizer Contact Info
List how the state should contact your organizer if there’s an issue with your LLC’s Articles of Organization.
How do you “file” Montana Articles of Organization?
When we say “file,” we just mean submitting your LLC paperwork to the Montana Secretary of State. The only way to do that is by filing forms on the Secretary of State’s website, which requires you to create an account first. It costs $35 to file. If you want your documents processed within 24 hours, you can pay an extra $20. For processing within 1 hour, you’ll need to pay pay an extra $100.
4. Adopt an Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is an internal document for your LLC that covers how the LLC operates. It explains how the LLC will do things like resolve disputes, allocate profits, and vote.
Since an operating agreement is an internal document, it means you don’t have to file a copy with the state. Legally speaking, the State of Montana does not require you to create an operating agreement at all. But if you don’t, your LLC will be subject to Montana’s default LLC laws, which gives you less control over your company.
Tip: Writing an operating agreement isn’t something you can do in just a few minutes. So we had our attorneys draft an operating agreement for Montana, and you can customize it for free.
5. Get an EIN
Your LLC probably needs an EIN (sometimes known as an FEIN). An EIN is a nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to your business. An EIN is necessary to pay taxes, as well as to do things like apply for loans and open bank accounts. Listing your EIN on forms is also also more secure than listing your personal Social Security number.
You can apply for an EIN via the IRS website. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of doing that, you can hire us to obtain an EIN for you.
6. Get a Business Bank Account
You’ll want to keep a barrier between your personal finances and business finances. If you fail to do so, a court could find that you aren’t legally separate from your LLC. To avoid such a scenario, you must open a business bank account. When you head to the bank to open your account, you’ll want to bring your operating agreement, EIN, and an LLC Resolution to Start a Bank Account.
7. File Reports & Taxes
Montana LLCs must file an annual report. But if you file one in 2024, you won’t have to pay a penny, because the state is waiving the annual fee report for that year. Don’t get complacent because the report is free to file, however. If you fail to file your annual report by April 15, you can be hit with a $15 penalty, and your business might lose its good standing with the State of Montana.
There is no statewide sales and use tax in Montana. There are also no local sales and use taxes to worry about.
8. File Your BOI Report
The last step is filing a Beneficial Ownership Information Report with a federal agency known as FinCEN. You’ll need to list information about your company’s beneficial owners, and, in some cases, company applicants as well. You can file the report yourself online or, if you’d rather not bother with that, hire us to do it for you.
*This is informational commentary, not advice. This information is intended strictly for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. This information is not intended to create, nor does your receipt, viewing, or use of it constitute, an attorney-client relationship. More information is available in our Terms of Service.