Step 1) Pick a Name for Your Missouri Corporation

Choose a Business NameStarting a business in Missouri requires that you pick a name for the Missouri Corporation in adherence to stipulated state policies. The business name should have any of the following words: ‘Corporation’, ‘Incorporated’, or ‘Company’. Its corresponding abbreviations may also be used.

When the word ‘Company’ is used, it should not be preceded by any of these words: ‘Limited’, ‘and’, or ‘&’. In addition, the business name should be distinguishable from any other existing business entity registered with the Missouri Secretary of State.

To verify if the name you have selected is still available, the Missouri business name search tool can be used. An Application for Reservation of Name (Form BE1) can be filed if the name is still available for a 60-day reservation period, renewable to another two 60-day periods. Filing fee for name reservation is $25.


Step 2) File the Articles of Incorporation

Register an LLCWhen legally incorporating in Missouri, you need to file an Articles of Incorporation to the Missouri Secretary of State.

When filing a Corporation in Missouri, the following information is required: name and address of the Corporation, name and physical street address of the Registered Agent, name and address of each incorporator, statement of purpose of the Corporation, and the number of years the Corporation is to operate. The Articles of Incorporation is to be filed online or through postal mail.

Filing fee: $50


Step 3) Find a Missouri Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentA Missouri Registered Agent is required for compliance purposes and when filing an Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. The Registered Agent can be an individual who is a resident of Missouri or a business entity registered to operate in Missouri.

A physical street address of the Registered Agent has to be provided. A P.O. Box is not qualified as a physical address. The Registered Agent in Missouri should agree to receive service of process in behalf of the Corporation prior to actual designation.

For a qualified, competent Registered Agent in Missouri, Rocket Lawyer’s Registered Agent Services can provide you with one with 100% money-back guarantee.


Step 4) Maintain a Corporate Records Book

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsA Corporate Records Book is an essential record-keeping file where your Missouri Corporation registration documents, copy of business tax reports and licenses, and other valuable Corporation documents are kept.

The Corporate Records Book should be stored in the corporate office for easier access to these pertinent documents. This can be bought at the local office supply store or through Amazon.


Step 5) Elect the Initial Directors for Your Missouri Corporation

Choose the Initial DirectorsAn initial number of directors should be elected when forming a Corporation in Missouri. It is the responsibility of the incorporator of the Missouri Corporation to accomplish this task.

The directors are to serve the board until the first shareholders meeting when the shareholders elect a new set of officers. When the directors are elected, the incorporator should create an ‘Incorporator’s Statement’ complete with the name and address of each director, sign it, and file a copy on the Corporate Records Book.


Step 6) Schedule an Initial Meeting with the Board of Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsAs soon as the initial directors are elected after starting a Missouri Corporation, an initial meeting should be scheduled. On this meeting, the following agenda should be discussed:

As soon as the meeting ends, a minutes should be prepared with the signature of each of the attendees.


Step 7) Take Care of Your Missouri Business Tax and Corporation Licensing Requirements

Business LicensesAs part of the requirements for starting a business and your responsibility for Missouri Corporation maintenance, you should fulfill your obligations for Missouri business taxes. Follow the three steps below to get started:

  1. Obtain a Corporation Employer Identification Number via online application through the IRS.
  2. Have a good understanding of business tax requirements, and comply with tax obligations using our Missouri Business Tax guide for further information.
  3. For Corporations looking to elect an S Corp status, Form 2553 should be filed with the signatures of all shareholders.

Next to tax obligations, you also need to procure the necessary Missouri business licenses, permits and certifications to operate in the state legally. Since this requirement has numerous paperwork, be sure to keep informed with all information required with the help of our Missouri Business Licenses and Regulations guide.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountTo avoid any tax, asset, or financial confusion as the owner of a Missouri Corporation, open a separate bank account. This will keep all personal and business assets separate for when it is time to pay your taxes.

You can use the bank you keep your personal account with, just be sure to keep transactions 100% separate. For a look at the popular most popular options, read this review.


To-Do After Starting a Missouri Corporation

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are officially a Missouri Corporation. Other than those 8 steps that are based on state guidelines, here are a few additional steps based on best practices for starting a successful Corporation. Not required, but highly recommended.

1) Write a Funding Ready Business Plan

Write a Business PlanA business plan is a blueprint for business operations. Even if it is not a state-regulated requirement, having one in place can secure a number of benefits for the good of your entire business.

When you write a business plan, not only are you able to set a clear path to achieve business goals, but also circumvent possible business dilemmas before it can happen. Writing a solid business plan is important, so start making one now with the resources below.

Quick Links on Writing a Business Plan


2) Build a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteIn the internet age, it is important to have a website for your Missouri Corporation. This is a huge credibility factor and helps earn trust from your potential customers.

Although building a website was extremely difficult to do in the early 2000’s, you can now use a simple and free platform like WordPress. You can build a website yourself through this free guide.


3) Prepare Corporate Bylaws

Prepare Corporate BylawsMissouri Corporation bylaws should be drafted when a Corporation is incorporated. Although this documentation is not filed when incorporating in Missouri, corporate bylaws are an integral to smooth business operations for it sets the basic ground rules by which a business operates.

Not only this, but corporate bylaws show to bankers, creditors, and other entities you transact business with that your Corporation is a legitimate entity.

This article is an informational guide on Missouri Corporation formation. As such, it is only meant to provide general information. When it comes to the complexities and the legalities on how to form a Corporation in Missouri or starting a business in Missouri in general, make sure to refer to a business lawyer’s professional advice.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

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