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How to Start an LLC in Montana: Step-by-Step Guide 2024


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Starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Montana is an exciting step toward entrepreneurship. If you’re planning to start your own business or want to take an existing project to the next level, creating an LLC could be the right choice. An LLC provides a flexible legal structure to help you achieve your goals. Let’s get into the steps for setting up your LLC in Montana.

Step 1: Choose a Business Name

Choosing the right name for your LLC is the first and crucial step. In Montana, your LLC name must:

  • Include “Limited Liability Company” or its abbreviations (LLC or LLC).
  • Be unique from other business names registered in Montana.
  • Avoid using restricted words without proper authorization (e.g., “Bank,” “Attorney,” “University”).

Checking Name Availability

Before settling on a name, use the Montana Secretary of State’s website or do a quick, free name check to ensure your desired name is available. If you are considering getting a website name that matches your business name, you can find good deals for your domain names on Namecheap.

Step 2: Hire a Registered Agent

In Montana, every LLC is required to have a registered agent. This person or company agrees to receive important legal documents on behalf of your LLC, including tax forms and notices of lawsuits. Your registered agent must:

  • Be a resident of Montana or a corporation authorized to conduct business in Montana.
  • Have a physical street address in Montana.

You can act as your registered agent, choose someone you trust, or hire a professional service like Northwest Registered Agent or Bizee. Choosing a reliable registered agent ensures that your LLC stays in good legal standing.

Check out our blog: Is a Registered Agent Necessary? Your Guide to Finding an Affordable Option

Step 3: File Your Articles of Organization in Montana

Filing the Articles of Organization is critical to officially forming your LLC in Montana. This document registers your LLC with the state and includes essential details about your business.

What to Include in Your Articles of Organization:

  • LLC Name: Your LLC’s name must include “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or “LLC” and comply with Montana naming guidelines to ensure it’s distinguishable from existing entities.
  • Mailing Address: If your LLC’s mailing address differs from its physical location, specify it here.
  • Registered Agent: Montana requires you to appoint a registered agent to receive legal documents for your LLC. Include their full name and physical address in Montana. The agent must consent to this responsibility in writing.
  • Management Structure: Indicate whether your LLC is member-managed or manager-managed, and list the members’ or managers’ names and addresses. Using a PO box for addresses is acceptable for privacy reasons.
  • Purpose: Please provide a general description of your business activities.
  • LLC Organizer: Identify the individual or entity responsible for filing the Articles of Organization. This person or entity plays a crucial role in forming your LLC.
  • Formation Date: Select your LLC’s official start date, either on the filing date or a specific future date within 90 days of filing.
  • Signing: Before submitting, verify all information for accuracy. Ensure that your registered agent has agreed to their role, then sign and date the form.

How to Send Your Form:

You have three options to file your Articles of Organization in Montana.

  • Online: If you want to file your Articles of Organization in Montana quickly, the best way is to use the Montana Secretary of State’s online filing system. This system will guide you step-by-step and offers the convenience of electronic payment for the filing fee.
  • By Mail: If you’d prefer, you can also file your forms by mail. You must download and complete the Articles of Organization form from the Secretary of State’s website to do so. Once you’ve done that, mail the form and the filing fee to the Montana Secretary of State at PO Box 202801, Helena, MT 59620-2801.
  • In-Person: Those who wish to file in person can do so at the Secretary of State’s office located at the same address in Helena.

Filing Fee:

Starting an LLC in Montana involves filing the Articles of Organization, which cost $70, regardless of how you file. This fee is the primary cost of starting your LLC. By filing the Articles of Organization, you’re taking a crucial step towards making your business idea a reality in Montana. It is a foundational legal document that ensures state recognition and enables operations. 

Step 4: Making an Operating Agreement for Your Business

Let’s discuss setting up some ground rules for your business. This is where an Operating Agreement comes in. Think of it as a handbook that explains how your business runs. It’s important because it helps everyone understand their role and what’s expected in your LLC.

Here’s what an Operating Agreement usually includes:

  • Ownership: This part talks about who owns what percentage of the business. 
  • Member’s Rights and Responsibilities: Here, you’ll write down what each person in the LLC can and cannot do and what they’re responsible for. It’s like a job description for each member.
  • Joining & Leaving: This section covers how new people can enter your business and what happens if someone decides to leave. It’s good to have this figured out so there are no surprises later.
  • Dissolution: This might sound a bit gloomy, but it’s practical. It’s about how to close down the LLC if you ever need to. It includes the steps to take and how to handle everything when wrapping up the business.

Creating an Operating Agreement is a smart move. It keeps things clear and organized so everyone knows what to expect, and it can save you a lot of time. 

Step 5: Getting Your EIN from the IRS

Your business needs a number called an EIN from the IRS. It’s like an ID number for your business. This number will help you as an identification number when getting bank accounts and credit accounts, filing taxes, and hiring employees.

It’s free, and you can get it from the IRS website at

Step 6: Montana LLC: Permits, Licenses, Tax Requirements, and Annual Reporting

After forming your LLC in Montana, the following steps involve navigating through the state’s specific permits, licenses, tax obligations, and annual reporting requirements. Ensuring compliance in these areas is crucial for your business’s smooth operation and legal standing.

Obtain Any Additional Permits and Licenses

The type of business you operate may require obtaining various permits and licenses at the local, state, and federal levels.

Local Business Licenses

  • Overview: Many Montana cities and counties require businesses to have a local business license to operate.
  • How to Obtain: Contact your local city or county clerk’s office for information on required licenses and the application process.

Professional Licenses

  • Overview: Certain professions in Montana may require state-issued professional licenses, such as those in healthcare, legal services, real estate, and construction.
  • How to Obtain: The Montana Department of Labor & Industry provides information on professional licensing requirements and application procedures.

Health Permits

  • Overview: Businesses in food service, healthcare, or beauty services often need health permits to ensure public safety.
  • How to Obtain: Health permits are typically issued by county health departments. Check with your local health department for specific requirements.

Tax Requirements in Montana

Understanding and managing your LLC’s tax obligations is essential for compliance and financial health.

Employer Taxes

If your LLC hires employees, you need to register for the following:

  • Unemployment Insurance Tax through the Montana Department of Labor & Industry.
  • Employee Withholding Tax through the Montana Department of Revenue.

State Taxes

  • Pass-Through Taxation: LLCs in Montana are generally treated as pass-through entities for federal tax purposes. This means the LLC doesn’t pay income taxes; profits and losses are passed through to the individual members’ tax returns.
  • Sales Tax: Montana does not have a general sales tax, simplifying tax obligations for businesses selling goods or services within the state.
  • EIN: All LLCs need an Employer Identification Number from the IRS for tax purposes, hiring employees, and opening a business bank account.

Annual Reporting in Montana

Maintaining good standing with the state requires filing an annual report for your LLC.

  • Filing Requirements: Montana LLCs must file an annual report with the Secretary of State each year.
  • Fees and Filing: The filing fee for the annual report is $20, and it can be filed online through the Montana Secretary of State’s website.
  • Importance: The annual report keeps your business information updated with the state and is essential for maintaining your LLC’s active status.

To successfully operate your Montana LLC and comply with state laws, following guidelines for permits, licenses, tax obligations, and annual reporting is essential. This will equip you with the necessary tools to run your business smoothly and avoid legal issues. For more detailed information and updates on regulations affecting Montana LLCs, visit the official Montana Secretary of State website and the Montana Department of Revenue.

Step 7: Steps After Forming Your LLC

Open a Business Bank Account

Keeping your personal and business finances separate is crucial for financial management and legal protection. Opening a business bank account requires your EIN and Articles of Organization. It makes tracking business expenses easier and simplifies tax filing.

Get a Business Credit Card

A business credit card is an excellent tool for handling business purchases and can help build your company’s credit history. Just like with personal credit, a good business credit score can make it easier to get loans and may qualify you for better terms. Visit our website to see our favorite business cards review. 

Check out our blog: Novo Review: The Best Business Banking Account in 2024.

Hire an Accountant

Managing finances can get complicated, especially as your business grows. An accountant can help you navigate tax laws, handle bookkeeping, and plan for financial growth. This professional guidance can save you time and money in the long run.

Create a Professional Website 

A website makes your business look legit. WordPress is a great tool to build your site. You can check out SiteGround or Hostinger for web hosting. They’re both good options to get your site up and running.


New 2024 Reporting Requirements (BOI)

Effective from January 1, 2024

Big news! Starting January 1, 2024, there are new reporting requirements for both domestic and foreign reporting companies. This includes LLCs, corporations, and other entities. Here’s what you need to know:

First Report Deadlines:

  • Existing Entities: If your LLC was already around before 2024, you’ve got until January 1, 2025, to submit your first report.
  • New Entities: If you’re forming your LLC in 2024, you must file your report within 90 days of your company’s creation.

Who Needs to Report:

  • Domestic Reporting Companies: This includes LLCs and similar entities within the U.S.
  • Foreign Reporting Companies: Entities registered foreign entities must also adhere to these new rules.

Exceptions to Reporting:

  • For specific exceptions, you’ll want to refer to the Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Regulations at 31 CFR § 1010.380(c)(2) and the Small Entity Compliance Guide.

What Must Be Reported

What you need to report is all about transparency. The exact details can be found in the compliance guide, but it generally involves information about your LLC’s ownership and control.

When Must Reporting File Reports

Remember, if you’re an existing entity, your deadline is January 1, 2025. For new LLCs formed in 2024, it’s within 90 days of creation.

Filing Reports & Noncompliance Penalties

Starting January 1, 2024, all BOI reports must be filed electronically. Here are some critical points:

  • Filing Before the Date: You must file on January 1, 2024.
  • Accuracy: Filer certification of accuracy is mandatory – you need to double-check that everything you report is correct and accurate.

Penalties for Noncompliance:

  • False Information Penalties: Mistakes or misinformation can lead to a fine of up to $10,000 or up to 2 years in prison.
  • Penalties: If you slip up here, you could face a fine of up to $10,000 or even imprisonment for up to 2 years.
  • FinCEN’s Approach: The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) focuses on education and outreach to ensure compliance. 
  • Safe Harbor Rule: Did you make a mistake? If you discover inaccuracies in your initial report, you have a 90-day grace period to submit a corrected report.

If you need more information or specific guidance, please visit the FinCEN website for all the details.

Setting up an LLC in Montana is a simple process that involves a few steps. These steps include naming your LLC, obtaining your EIN, and filing annual reports. Following this guide, you can break down the process into smaller steps to make it easier. This will ensure that your LLC is properly formed and complies with Montana laws. 

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent Pricing: What to Expect

Northwest Registered Agent keeps pricing simple. They have a clear, straightforward fee structure, which is a big plus. No hidden fees or surprises – that’s the kind of honesty we all appreciate, right?

Why is Their Pricing Affordable?

  • Transparent Costs: They tell you exactly what you’re paying for so you can make informed decisions.
  • Competitive Rates: Their prices align with your expectations for top-notch services, ensuring you get good value.
  • One-Stop Shop: Since they offer a whole suite of services, you can bundle things together, potentially saving time and money.
  • Location: They’re headquartered in Spokane, Washington, but don’t worry – they have offices in all 50 states. So, wherever you are in the U.S., they’ve got local expertise ready for you.
  • Experience Counts: These folks have been in the game for over 20 years. That’s a lot of experience under their belt, helping businesses like yours start and grow.

Core Services

  • LLC Formation: Dreaming of starting your own LLC? They can help make that happen.
  • Registered Agent Service: The main event – they’ll be your reliable point of contact for all those essential legal documents.
  • Address Privacy: Keep your address off the public records. It’s all about your privacy.
  • Lifetime Customer Support: Got questions? They’re there for you, not just today, but for the life of your business.
  • Annual Report Reminders: Never miss a deadline with their handy reminders.
  • Online Document Dashboard: All your important documents are organized in one easy-to-access place.


Additional Services (Because There’s Always More)

  • EIN Number: They can help you get your business’s unique tax ID.
  • Annual Report Service: Let them handle your annual reporting needs.
  • Operating Agreements: Need help with the rules for running your LLC? They’ve got you covered.
  • Virtual Office Service: Get a professional business address without the office.
  • S-Corp Election: Thinking about S-Corp status? They can help with that.
  • Mail Forwarding Service: Keep your mail organized and forward it where needed.
  • Foreign Qualification: Expanding your business to new states? They can assist.
  • Legal Forms: Access a variety of legal forms easily.
  • Legal Services (in Indiana): If you’re in Indiana, they’ve got specific legal services just for you.
  • Incorporation Services: These are more than just LLCs; they can help incorporate your business, too.


So, if you want to create an LLC, Northwest Registered Agent is very beneficial. They ensure everything runs smoothly, keeping you focused on what you love – growing your business. 

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