Step 1) Verify & Secure Your Brand Name
To secure and register your brand name it should be unique, not too similar to another registered name, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the state, and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.
Must contain the words “corporation”, “incorporated”, “company”, or “limited”. Abbreviations like “corp.”, “inc.”, “co.”, or “ltd.”; are also acceptable (in any language). If needed, a Business Name Reservation application can be submitted to the Montana Secretary of State for as well.
Filing Fee: $10 with Expedition Options
Quick Note: Before you commit 100% to a name, you may also want to check that there’s a decent URL available for your business. Use WEEBLY to search your options. If there’s a quality domain name for purchase, we advise buying it right away. Even if launching a business website isn’t on your radar right now, it’s going to be soon, and you might as well nail down a domain name that’ll make it easy for customers to find you!
Step 2) Appoint A Registered Agent
A Montana registered agent or an “Agent for Service of Process” acts as an intermediary who receives and helps to process all official documents on your brand’s behalf like state filings, tax forms, legal notices, and so on. The agent can either be an individual living in Montana, a Montana company, or a foreign company registered in Montana with a physical location/street address.
You can hire an outside professional service and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a qualified agent free when incorporating with IncFile or CorpNet. They handle this and much more depending on your startup package.
Step 3) File Articles Of Incorporation
To make your domestic Montana Corporation official, now that you've got a registered agent, download and file Articles of Incorporation with the state. It’s a declarative statement about your corporation for the public record disclosing basics including:
- Corporate name, address, and statement of purpose,
- Corporate registered agent name, signature and address,
- Number of shares corporation is allowed to issue,
- Corporate officers and directors name and address
- Incorporator’s name and address and so forth.
Filing fee: $70
Step 4) Get A Corporate Records Book
Think of this as the hard copy record book where all critical corporate documents are kept like the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, meeting minutes, stock certificate ledger, stock certificates, stock certificate stubs, stock transfer documents, etc. It’s the ultimate company binder! They’re very common and while not necessary having one is highly recommended for all serious business entities.
Step 5) Elect Director, Meet, Discuss Bylaws
Appoint at least 1 Director who among other things will oversee the Montana corporation until the first shareholder meeting where new directors will be voted in. Prepare an “Incorporator Statement” with complete names and addresses of each director and keep it in your records book. Once elected, an initial meeting should:
Step 6) Open A Business Bank Account
When you start a Corporation in Montana, it’s very important to keep all personal and business assets/accounts completely separate. So don’t take this lightly. Where should you start building the financial persona of your brand? Who is offering the best overall business services to corporate clients, relative to location and other conveniences?
If you think it’ll be helpful, look into this short breakdown of Business Checking Accounts to start brushing up if all this is unfamiliar territory. Where your corporation banks is an important move, which is why it should be discussed at length in your initial shareholder meeting.
Step 7) Handle Taxation & Licensing/Permits
When registering a Montana corporation, you’re required to be 100% compliant with all relevant local/state/federal agencies. Ideally, you should have an attorney or at least be working with a professional filing service. Otherwise, here are four resources to get started:
- Obtain an Employer Identification Number through an online application from the IRS website.
- Bookmark the Helena Small Business Administration and state Business Services page.
- To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
- Consider professional business license services that handle the legwork for you.