How to form an LLC in Montana

Update: January 2, 2023

By: Tom Macken

Start an LLC in Montana

The Rocky Mountains. Wildlife. Yellowstone National Park. Montana is known for many things including its strong rich mineral reserves. Many budding business owners choose Montana to launch their LLC with Montana ranking highest amongst the best U.S. states for starting a new small business.

So, what to do next? And how much will it cost? Below we’ve detailed all of the steps you’ll need to take as well as pricing and documentation required.


1. Name Your Montana LLC
2. Select a Montana Registered Agent
3. File the Articles of Organization
4. Receive a Certificate From the State
5. Create an Operating Agreement
6. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
7. File Annual Renewals
Costs and Next Steps

In addition to its many other advantages, a limited liability corporation (LLC) provides small enterprises with protection from legal responsibility and favorable tax treatment.

Follow these easy steps to get your Montana limited liability company up and going after you’ve decided that an LLC is the most suitable business structure for your requirements.

1. Identify Your Montana LLC name

According to the laws of the state of Montana, the name of a limited liability company (LLC) must include either the words “Limited Liability Company” or “Limited Company,” or one of the acronyms “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “LC,” or “LLC.”

The name you choose for your limited liability company (LLC) must be able to be differentiated from the names of other business organizations that are currently on record with the Montana Secretary of State. Checking the availability of names may be done by checking the business name database maintained by the Secretary of State of Montana.

Through the online Reservation of Business Name form provided by the Montana Secretary of State, you are able to reserve a name for a period of up to one hundred and twenty days. The first filing cost is ten dollars.

Utilizing a Trade Name That Is Not Mine

When doing business in the “real world,” it is not necessary for you to use the formal legal name of your limited liability company that is established in your Articles of Organization. An assumed name, also known as a fake company name, name, “DBA” (short for “doing business as,” the abbreviation for “doing business as,” or trade name, is an alternative option.

Montana’s Secretary of State must be notified about your assumed name. You need to register online and pay a filing fee of twenty dollars.

2. Registered Agent

A registered agent in Montana is required of every limited liability company operating in the state. If the limited liability company (LLC) is taken to court, this refers to a person or company that has agreed to accept service of process on its behalf.

It is acceptable for the Registered Agent to either be a resident of Montana or a corporate body that is permitted to conduct operations in the state. It is required that the Registered Agent have a real, physical address in the state of Montana.

What role does a Registered Agent play?

A Registered Agent is a person or corporate organization that is responsible for receiving vital tax forms, legal papers, notice of litigation, and official communication from the government on behalf of your company. This may include tax returns, legal documents, and notices of lawsuits. Consider the role of your registered agent as that of the point of contact for your company with the state.

Who can be a Montana Registered Agent?

A Registered Agent in Montana has to be either a person who lives in the state on a permanent basis or a company that is permitted to operate in Montana and acts in the capacity of a Registered Agent service. You have the option of selecting anybody who works for the organization, including yourself.

3. Publish your Montana LLC Articles of Organization

In Montana, the process of formally forming your limited liability company (LLC) is accomplished by filing a document known as Articles of Organization. You must use the state’s online filing system in order to submit your Articles; no other method is acceptable.

The first thing you need to do is sign up for an ePass Montana account. You may electronically submit your Articles of Organization right from inside your account. The information that you provide on this form will all be made available to the general audience.

You’ll need to provide us the following information in order to proceed:

  • Date of operation: If you want your firm to begin operating right away, you may skip this step. If not, enter a start date that is at least 30 days and no more than 90 days in the future.
  • Type of LLC: Indicate whether you will be founding a conventional Limited Liability Company (LLC), a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC), a Series Limited Liability Company, or a Captive Insurance Company. A word of advice: the majority of limited liability companies are ordinary LLCs.
  • The phrase “limited liability company,” “LLC,” or “L.L.C.” must be included in the business name. In addition to this, you are required to mention whether or not you have previously reserved the name of your firm with the Secretary of State.
  • Specify whether your company will continue to exist indefinitely or if it will close its doors at a certain point in the future. A word of advice: the majority of LLCs go with perpetual.
  • Mailing address: a PO box is acceptable in this case.
  • Address in the real world: This must be a real street address, and it will be entered into the public record.
  • Whoever will take legal mail on your behalf and transmit it to you is known as your “registered agent.” Indicate whether your registered agent is a person or a company by providing this information. In addition to this, you are obligated to verify that your registered agent is willing to fulfill this function.
  • Address of the registered agent: must have a physical location in the state of Montana.
  • If the physical address of the registered agent is different from the postal address, use that.
  • Attach any other papers you’d like, including details on how to get in touch with you, if you so want (this step is optional).
  • Structure of management: Does your limited liability company (LLC) have members (owners) or managers who run it?
  • Information pertaining to members or managers: The names and postal addresses of your members (if your organization is member-managed), or the names and postal addresses of your management (if manager-managed).
  • Statement of responsibility: You are required to submit a liability statement if any of your members will be individually responsible for the debts incurred by the firm. In most cases, only the members of a PLLC are personally liable for its debts.
  • Whomever is responsible for filling up and signing the form is considered the organizer. This does not need to be a member of your limited liability company (LLC).
  • Information about how to contact the organizer: How the state will get in touch with you in the event that there is a problem with the paperwork you submitted.

Proof that your limited liability company (LLC) was correctly constituted in accordance with the laws of Montana may be found in the LLC’s Certificate of Organization. You should store the Certificate of Organization and the Articles of Organization in the primary office of the company.

4. Obtain a Certificate From the Montana State

After the formation documentation of the limited liability company (LLC) has been submitted to the state and been given their approval, the state will provide you a certificate that verifies the LLC’s official existence. You will get a receipt, a Letter of Acknowledgement, and a copy of your Articles of Organization that has been postmarked by the Secretary of State’s office in Montana.

It is probable that these papers will be sent to the postal address that is recorded for your registered agent by the Secretary of State.

5. Draw up a Contract for Business Operations

Even while establishing a thorough operating agreement for a limited liability company (LLC) is not a legally required step for incorporating an LLC in the state of Montana, it is highly suggested for all new limited liability firms.

The following items should be included in the operating agreement:

  • Describe the business structure of the limited liability company.
  • Determine the specific duties and commitments that each member of the limited liability company (LLC) has
  • Operational structure of the LLC.

Significant legal and logistical challenges might await a limited liability company (LLC) in the absence of an operating agreement that defines the precise responsibilities of its members.

6. Obtain a number that identifies you as an employer (EIN)

A federal employer identification number, commonly known as a tax ID number, will be required of many limited liability companies (LLCs). An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number that identifies your company to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

You need an EIN in order to pay federal employer taxes, open a business bank account (including a Bluevine account or a Novo account), or recruit staff.

On the website of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is accessible without charge, you may check to see whether you need an EIN and submit an application for one online. 

Single-member limited liability companies, which are an exemption to the rule that most firms are required to acquire an EIN, may instead use the owner’s Social Security number.

Business Licenses

If a company is going to engage in taxable activities in the state of Montana, including making sales, they are required to register with the Department of Revenue. 

The Business Checklist offered by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development in Montana (access to which requires an ePass) contains a wealth of information about the acquisition of state licenses and permits for businesses.

Get in touch with the city clerk or a representative of the local government in the municipality where the primary office of your limited liability company is situated to learn more about the local licensing requirements that apply in your region.

7. Filing of your company renewals

You have until April 15 of each year to submit the annual report for your Montana limited liability company, along with the required filing cost of twenty dollars. Companies who submit their forms after that date will be subject to a $35 late filing fee.

If you own a Montana limited liability company and miss the deadline for filing an annual report by December 1st, your business will be dissolved involuntarily. After the dissolution of your company, you will have the option of submitting an Application for Reinstatement for a period of up to five years.

If you have a foreign limited liability company (one that is based outside of Montana), you have until November 1 to complete your annual report. If you fail to do so, your Certificate of Authority will be automatically withdrawn, and there will be no way to get it back. To do business in Montana, you will need to re-register your company.

What are the costs and the next step?


The filing of the Articles of Organization with the Montana Secretary of State will cost you $70, and it will cost you an additional $10 to reserve a name for your limited liability company with the Montana Secretary of State.

To maintain compliance with applicable laws and regulations, your business will need to pay additional fees, such as the Secretary of State’s Annual Report Fee of twenty dollars as well as Registered Agent Fees.

What comes next?

When you register a limited liability company (LLC), you establish a legal basis upon which to operate your firm. Companies should make it a priority to maintain their limited liability company in compliance with state regulations and in an active position on the state’s website.

In addition, having a registered limited liability company enables you to perform the following:

  • Obtain any permissions or licenses required to run your company, such as those issued by the health department, the zoning department, the department of home occupations, the department of professional licensing, and others. Some states need a seller’s permission to conduct sales
  • Register your company with the department of revenue in your state.
  • Open a bank account for your company.
  • Create a credit card account for your company.
  • Invest in insurance coverage for your company.
  • Create a trademark to protect both your company’s name and its logo.

Set up an LLC myself or use a professional service firm?

To establish a limited liability company (LLC), you are not required by law to consult a lawyer. The majority of states enable the establishment of LLCs via the process of registering the business entity on the website of the secretary of state and the IRS.

If you are not acquainted with the process of forming an LLC, your best bet may be to find a professional LLC provider so that you can be certain that the creation will go smoothly and quickly.

When entrepreneurs start a new firm, they may save startup costs and save valuable time by using a professional agency that specializes in company forms. They can take care of the things that you may not have time to think about for a price ranging from $50 to over $500, and some examples of such things are as follows:

  • Developing an operating agreement for an LLC that details your company’s key info and putting it into writing (required in some states).
  • putting together articles of incorporation that identify the management of the LLC, the registration agent, and the date the company was formed.
  • Taking up the role of registered agent for your firm.
  • Keeping careful records in the event that there are investigations or litigation.
  • Payment of filing fees and registration with the appropriate parties.
  • Registering the name of your firm and ensuring that the name you choose for your limited liability company is accessible.
  • Finishing up and turning in all of the necessary legal and formation documentation.


How can people in Montana establish a limited liability company?

In order to establish a limited liability company (LLC) in the state of Montana, you will need a registration fee, a name for your LLC, a Registered Agent, Articles of Organization, an Operating Agreement, and an EIN number from the Internal Revenue Service.

How much does it cost to form an LLC in the state of Montana?

Montana’s Articles of Organization cost $70, and reserving your LLC name costs $10. Additional expenses include a yearly report fee of twenty dollars to maintain compliance for your business.

How much time does it take to register an LLC in Montana?

Montana LLC registration takes 7-10 business days. Those that need the formation of their Montana LLC any sooner than this may pay an additional fee for expedited processing.

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