MT Business Facts
In modern times, financial services have called Montana home. Financial activities accounts for about 18% of the state’s gross domestic product. Both Business Services and Retail together make up a total of 14%. Most of Montana’s population is employed in trade, transportation and utilities, government, and education and health services.
Major Companies Headquartered in Montana
Montana is the headquarters of many major companies including Benefis Health System, State of Montana, Glacier Ban, Town Pump, and Kalispell Regional.
Montana is a good place for startups because of the low cost of living in the state. Businesses are not obliged to pay or collect sales tax. For businesses looking to expand, the properties in the Big Country are inexpensive.
There are 3 basic options: a DBA, a Corporation or an LLC. Click here to learn more about business entities.
Choosing a business name is easier said than done – many legal and business problems can arise from picking the wrong name (you can always change it later but the less times you have to do that the better). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Montana, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Montana state databases:
Tip: Search misspellings, plurals, variations of spelling, sound-alikes and other versions of your chosen name to be sure it’s not already registered.
NOTE: Familiarize yourself with the Montana naming guidelines. LLC entity names need to contain the words Limited Liability Company or the abbreviation LLC, and certain words are restricted or prohibited.
Restrictions on Montana Business Name & Business Purpose
Each state has its own requirements for registering a business. Now that you’ve chosen a business structure and selected your business name, here are the requirements to register your business in Montana.
How to form an LLC in Montana
How to Incorporate in Montana
NOTE: When registering a new company the Secretary of State can take several weeks to file the paperwork. You can expedite the process by hand delivering the documents directly to them or one of their field offices and paying an additional fee.
TIP: Check our order form to see how long Montana is currently taking to process regular and expedited orders.
How to File a DBA in Montana
Optional Considerations when registering a Montana business
Ready to register a business in Montana?
Sure, you could do all the steps above or you could spend 5-10 minutes on our order form and let us take care of it while you work on more important things.
Your EIN is like your Social Security Number for your company. It’s required for Corporations and LLC’s and optional for DBA’s (if you don’t have any employees, then it’s required). However, if you are a DBA and don’t obtain an EIN you will be forced to use your Social Security Number on many documents so it’s typically recommended you obtain the EIN to prevent identity theft.
To obtain an EIN you can apply online with the IRS or via IRS Form SS-4.
TIP: We will obtain your EIN for you if you we form your company.
To keep business and personal expenses separate, you should open a separate account for your business. In addition, getting business credit cards is how you begin to build a company credit profile (corporation or LLC required) and can later qualify for larger loans and lines of credit. To open the account simply call your chosen bank and inquire on the steps to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork, b) your EIN and c) a company resolution authorizing your company to open the account (signed by the owners, members, officers or directors, etc.).
Top 5 Major Banks in Montana
Click here to view a list of our recommended banks in our Vendor Network.
TIP: Our business formation service includes a free banking resolution for your use.
Setup your Accounting and Record-keeping system and learn about the taxes your new company is responsible for paying.
Company documents generally are required to be kept for 3 years, including: a list of all owners and addresses, copies of all formation documents, financial statements, annual reports, amendments or changes to the company. All Tax and Corporate Filings should be kept for at least 3 years. View our “Accounting & Financial Management” section for help with setting up an accounting system and purchasing accounting software.
Review our list of Accountants, Accounting Software and Bookkeepers in our Vendor Network.
Now that you’ve registered your business name you need to obtain a business license for your company – this authorizes your company to do business in your city or county. Typically this also involves registering for state taxes and permits (the city may require them as part of the business licensing process).
TIP: We work with a company that can obtain and prepare business licenses and permits for you. Click here to learn more.
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a full or part-time employee of your company, then you may have to register with the appropriate State Agencies or obtain Workers Compensation Insurance or Unemployment Insurance (or both). View our “Employees & Payroll” section for help with hiring employees and processing payroll.
Review our list of recommended Payroll Providers in our Vendor Network.
There are many types of insurance for businesses but they are usually packaged as “General Business Insurance” or a “Business Owner’s Policy”. This can cover everything from product liability to company vehicles. A decent policy can run as little as $300/year and offers a great extra level of protection.
Click here to view our list of insurance providers in our Vendor Network.
Prepare the business as if someone needed to take it over and run it for you. This means have a method to process orders, pay bills, pay employees, pay taxes, maintain your permits, etc. Basically, try to make the operational aspect of the business as automated and efficient as possible so you can concentrate on growing your business. View our “Manage Your Company” section for help with systemizing and automating your business.
Now that you’ve set-up the company for success, you need to get the word out. Create a marketing plan for your products and services that targets your ideal customer. View our “Marketing & Sales” section for help for more information.
DBA: Your Fictitious Business Name should be valid for 5 years, with option for renewal.
LLC: Montana corporations are required to file a Periodic Report with the Montana Secretary of State on or before April 15 each year, in addition to general taxation. Information on your business’ taxes can be found here. The filing fee is $70.
Corporation: Business in Montana should file a report annually on or before April 15 to the Division of Corporate and Consumer Services. LLCs and Corporations will pay a filing cost of $15.
Click here to view our MyCompanyWorks Premium™ service which can automate most or your ongoing compliance tasks.
Business Services (for Corporation and LLC filings)
P.O. Box 202801
Helena, MT 59620-2801
Phone: (406) 444-3665
Fax: (406) 444-3976
Montana Taxation Departments
Montana Labor and Employment Departments
Montana Startup Resources
1. Small Business Administration (SBA) Montana District Offices
2. SCORE Montana
3. Montana Legal Statutes
4. Montana Chambers of Commerce
5. Montana Means Business
6. Montana Angel Investors
7. Montana Business News
9. Montana Small Business Development Center
10. Tri-County Green Business Program
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