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Missouri Corporation Service We’re Just Not Annoying®

How to Start a Corporation in Missouri

To start a Missouri corporation, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Corporations Division and pay a $58 minimum filing fee. While this filing creates your business, it’s really just the first step to launching your Missouri corporation. The complete steps to incorporating in Missouri are as follows:

  1. File Missouri Articles of Incorporation
  2. Pay the Corporations Division a minimum of $58
  3. Wait to receive your Certificate of Incorporation
  4. Get a federal tax ID (EIN) for the corporation
  5. Create Missouri corporate bylaws
  6. Take these documents to the bank and get a Missouri corporate bank account
  7. File an Initial Corporate Registration Report with the State (within 30 days)
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Missouri Articles of Incorporation free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.

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Documents & Forms

How to File Missouri Articles of Incorporation

To form a Missouri corporation, you file the Articles of Incorporation in the following steps:
Step 1 Choose a name for your new corporation
Step 2 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent service to minimize public disclosures
Step 3 Decide how many shares to authorize and their par value
Step 4 Choose an incorporator to sign and submit your Articles
Step 5 Choose when your business will start and how long you’d like it to exist
Step 6 Declare a purpose for your corporation
Step 7 File online and pay with a credit card (fastest) or mail to the Corporations Division at PO Box 778, Jefferson City MO 65102 with a check or money order

How Long Does it Take to Start a Missouri Corporation?


Fastest and Simplest 1 Day

File your Articles of Incorporation online yourself for the fastest approval.


Almost Fastest (and some might say better) 1 Day

Let us file online for you. Just answer a few brief questions about your business, sit back, and let out Corporate Guides file everything correctly the first time.


Archaic 5-10 Days

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.

What is the Cost of a Missouri Corporation?

If you have less than $30,000 in authorized capital, your filing fee is $58. 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).

Hire Northwest to form your Missouri corporation and your total, out-the-door cost is $284.75. This includes state filing fees, a full year of registered agent service and all the corporate forms you need to open a business bank account.

How Much Does a Corporation in Missouri Cost Each Year?

At least $20. This is the price to file your Missouri Annual Registration Report online.

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What are Missouri Annual Registration Reports?

Your Missouri Registration Reports are forms you file each year to confirm or update your contact and ownership information with the Corporations Division. Missouri Statutes (§351.120) require an initial registration report within 30 days of incorporation and then annual reports thereafter. The filing fee is $20 online 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 only have to file every other year. Another way to make things easier? Hire Northwest as your registered agent, and we’ll send you reminder notifications to help you stay in compliance. Or, for $100 plus state fees, you can hire us to file your Annual Registration Report for your Missouri corporation.

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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%
Springfield: 8.1%
Independence: 7.85%
Columbia: 8.475%

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Is a Registered Agent Required for a Missouri Corporation?

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.

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Missouri Corporation Versus Missouri LLC:

When it comes to state fees, a Missouri corporation typically costs a bit more than an LLC. For instance, the minimum filing fee to form is $58 for a corporation and $50 for an LLC. Additionally, corporations with lots of authorized capital can pay significantly more to form because the filing fee increases along with the capital. Maintaining a corporation also costs more: corporations pay a minimum of $20 a year in Annual Registration Reports while LLCs aren’t even required to file these reports at all.

While they’re more expensive to form and maintain, corporations have some advantages over LLCs, particularly for large businesses. Their familiar, formal structure can make it easier to manage many people. Stocks can offer more options for raising capital and attracting investors. Corporations have also been around for much longer than LLCs, and their long legal history can provide guidance when navigating confusing business legalities. LLCs, on the other hand, are a bit simpler and cheaper, making them popular choices for small businesses. Thinking about an LLC? Here’s information on starting an LLC in Missouri.

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Do I Need a Tax ID Number (EIN) for a Missouri Corporation?

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.

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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.

Does a Missouri Corporation 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.

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.

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.

Missouri Corporation Articles of Incorporation Requirements

Business Name

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.”

Registered Agent

You can list a business (but not your own) or an individual Missouri resident (such as yourself). Tip: We’re fans of Northwest.

Registered Office

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®