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How to Start an LLC in Montana

To start an LLC in Montana you must file Articles of Organization with the Montana Secretary of State, pay a $70 filing fee, and get an EIN from the IRS. The complete steps to forming a Montana LLC are as follows:

  1. File Montana LLC Articles of Organization
  2. Pay the Montana Secretary of State $70
  3. Print your approved Articles once they arrive in your email
  4. Get a Federal EIN tax ID for the LLC
  5. Create a Montana LLC Operating Agreement
  6. Take these documents to the bank and get a Montana LLC bank account
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Montana LLC Articles of Organization free download. This form is an example; the state has recently switched to an all-online filing system.

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Our free account and tools will walk you through starting and maintaining a Montana LLC. All for free.

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How to File Montana LLC Articles of Organization

To form a Montana LLC, you file the LLC Articles of Organization in the following steps:
Step 1 Register for a Montana ePass account
Step 2 Choose a name for your new LLC
Step 3 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent service to minimize public disclosures
Step 4 Decide what address you’d like to list publicly
Step 5 Choose how long you’d like your LLC to exist
Step 6 Choose whether members or managers will manage your LLC
Step 7 Decide who you will list publicly as the members and managers
Step 8 File online and pay $70 with a credit card

How Long Does it Take to Start a Montana LLC?

1

Fastest 1 Day

Montana only has online filing (no paper), but there are options to expedite. For speedy 1-day processing, file your Articles of Organization yourself and pay an extra $20 for expediting. If you really need it fast, you can even pay for 1-hour expediting, but you’ll have to fork over $100.

1

Almost Fastest (and some might say better) 1 Day

Hire Northwest, and we can have your Articles expedited as well. Just answer a few brief questions about your business, sit back, and let our Corporate Guides file everything correctly the first time.

5

Not Too Shabby 5 Days

Whether you file yourself or hire Northwest, you can save $20 if you forgo expediting and wait five business days for approval.

What is the Cost of a Montana LLC?

The Montana Secretary of State charges a $70 filing fee for Montana LLC Articles of Organization.

Hire Northwest, and your total, out-the-door cost is $295 ($315 expedited), including state fees.

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How much does an LLC in Montana cost each year?

LLCs in Montana have to pay $20 each year to file an Annual Report with the Secretary of State.

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What are the Montana LLC taxes?

The Montana personal net income tax rates are:

1%: $0 to $2,899
2%: $2,900 to $5,199
3%: $5,200 to $7,899
4%: $7,900 to $10,599
5%: $10,600 to $13,599
6%: $13,600 to $17,599
6.9%: $17,600+

Montana is one of the few states that doesn’t have a general sales tax—not even at the local city or county level. There are, however, a handful of taxes targeted on the sale or use of specific items or services, like tobacco and car rentals.

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Is a Montana LLC Registered Agent Required?

Yes, your Montana LLC is required to have a Montana registered agent. Some people try to save a few bucks by being their own registered agent, but hiring a commercial registered agent isn’t too spendy when you consider the privacy and freedom you gain. If you act as your own registered agent, the address where you accept legal notifications becomes part of the permanent public record of your LLC. Anyone can look up your information, including data sellers who will almost certainly sell and resell your information until your mailbox is crammed full of junk. Also, the job of a registered agent is to be available to process servers—which means you actually have to be at the address you list during business hours. Not in meetings. Not picking up supplies. Not out camping or hunting.

Hire Northwest, and our address will go on your Montana LLC Articles of Organization. We’ll be available to accept your legal notices—we’ll even scan and send them the same day, so you can stay on top of your business no matter where you are.

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Montana LLC Versus Montana Corporation:

State filing fees for Montana LLCs and corporations are the same: $70 for Articles and $20 for Annual Reports. Other costs, like taxes, depend on the choices you make as a business. Tax obligations can vary for both LLCs and corporations because businesses can choose different tax types. For example, LLCs can change their default tax status and choose to be taxed as S or even C corporations.

Without any significant cost advantages, which business entity should you choose? It really comes down to how you want to run your business. LLCs and corporations may cost the same in Montana, but they operate differently. New businesses and small business owners often go for LLCs because they’re simpler—no requirements for directors, officers, stocks, or annual meetings. Members can manage the LLC themselves, which means decisions and changes can often be made quickly. Corporations have more requirements, but they’re popular for businesses that plan to scale quickly. Interested in a corporation? Here’s information on Montana incorporation.

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Do I Need a Tax ID Number (EIN) for an Montana LLC?

You’re required to get an EIN from the IRS if you have employees or file certain federal excise taxes, like Alcohol/Tobacco/Firearms returns. You’ll need an EIN for a few other situations as well—opening a business bank account, establishing credit with vendors, and even filing some local tax forms. You may be able to use your personal social security number instead, but that just puts your personal information at risk. There’s no filing fee if you apply for your EIN directly from the IRS, so there’s no reason not to get one. You can even hire Northwest to get your EIN for you when you sign up for our services.

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Does a Montana LLC Need a Business License?

Montana doesn’t have a general, statewide business license. Instead, cities and counties manage all the business licensing in Montana. For example, if you conduct any business in Billings, you’re required to get an annual city business license.

What is a Montana LLC Annual Report?

Your Montana LLC Annual Report is an online form you have to submit by April 15th each year. The form reports your LLC’s current contact and ownership information. While the fee isn’t excessive at $20 a year, there’s a $15 late fee if you forget to file—and if you don’t file by December, the state will shut down your LLC. Worried you’ll forget? When you sign up for services with Northwest, we’ll send you reminder notifications for your Annual Report. You can even take that task off your plate completely by hiring us to file your report for you each year.

DOES A MONTANA LLC NEED AN OPERATING AGREEMENT?

Your Montana LLC needs an operating agreement. Maybe not legally—it’s not a form you file with the state—but it’s one of the most important internal documents of your Montana LLC.

There are essential things your LLC will need starting out. Investors. A bank account. Financing. And for all of these, you’ll likely need an operating agreement. Your operating agreement explains how your LLC really works—how much each person invested, how much say each person has in decisions, how profits and losses are allocated, and what happens in worst-case scenarios like if the business goes under. Members will want these things in writing because they’re directly affected by the terms of the agreement. Banks and potential partners will want to see your agreement to make sure you’re legitimate. After all, anyone with $70 can create an LLC.

Putting together all the pieces to launch a business is already a lot of work—but when it comes to your operating agreement, you don’t have to start from scratch. When you hire Northwest to form your Montana LLC, we give you a free operating agreement specific to your management style. We give you other free forms as well: membership certificates, resolutions and more. We’ve spent years refining our forms and we’re pretty proud—over a million LLCs have used our free LLC forms to help form and maintain their businesses.

 

 

Montana LLC Articles of Organization Requirements:

Register for an ePass Montana Account

Montana business filings have moved 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.

Effective Date

When would you like your business to start? Skip this section if you’re like most LLCs and want your business to start right away. If you want to push back your start date a bit (maybe the next tax period is right around the corner), you can enter a future effective date up to 90 days in the future.

Type of LLC

Montana uses the same online form for both professional and regular LLCs, so you’ll have to select one or the other. While your LLC is probably perfectly professional, that doesn’t mean you’re a professional LLC. Professional LLCs provide state-licensed services (think doctors and lawyers). Tip: Most LLCs are not professional LLCs.

Company Name

Your name must include “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited Company” or an abbreviation. Most businesses go with “LLC.”

Registered Agent

You can list an individual like yourself or a service like Northwest Registered Agent. We recommend Northwest.

Registered Office

If you choose an individual agent, you’ll need to include the Montana street address where they will be available to accept service of process. Their address will become a part of the permanent public record of your LLC. Or, if you hire Northwest, you don’t have to enter an address—our address is already on file with the State of Montana.

Registered Agent Email

If you list your own email, remember that the Articles are public, and data sellers love email addresses—at the very least, create a business email so your personal email isn’t overrun with spam. When you hire Northwest, our email will go here.

Mailing Address

This is the address the state will use to send non-legal mail. Want to keep it simple with one address for all your state mail? When you hire Northwest, you can use our address here.

Duration

Most LLCs want their businesses to keep going indefinitely, so they choose a “perpetual” duration. If you’d rather put a self-destruct timer on your LLC though, you can list an end date here.

Purpose

This section is optional, so many LLCs either skip it or put a general purpose that says the LLC is organized to conduct any lawful business in the State of Montana.

LLC Management

You’ll have to decide if your LLC will be managed by its members or by managers. Most LLCs are member-managed, but if you don’t plan to run day-to-day operations, you can pass the decision-making power onto one or more managers. You’ll enter the names and contact information for either the members or managers.

Montana LLC Organizer

Your organizer is the person who signs and submits your Montana LLC Articles of Organization. It doesn’t have to be anyone in your LLC. Hire Northwest, and we’ll be your organizer.

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