Starting a business in Montana requires determining which type of business entity best fits your needs. If you want to shield your personal assets, as well as the assets of other directors, forming a corporation may be the appropriate choice. Compared to a sole proprietorship or limited liability company, starting a corporation in Montana is a fairly complex process. Following incorporation procedures set forth under Montana law can help you avoid errors that can complicate this process.
Choose a name for your Montana corporation. The name must not be deceptively similar to the name of any other company doing business in Montana. Also, it must not contain any words that would create confusion about what type of business the company is. The name must contain "Incorporated," "Limited," "Corporation," "Company" or an abbreviation of one of these terms.
Contact the Montana Secretary of State to ensure that the name you want for your corporation has not already been taken. You can also perform an online business name search by going to the Montana Secretary of State website and clicking on the "Business Entity Search" link.
Complete the Registration of Assumed Business Name Application form, which is available on the Montana Secretary of State website. Send it with the appropriate fee to Linda McCulloch, Secretary of State, P.O. Box 202801, Helena, MT 59620-2801.
Complete the Articles of Incorporation form, available on the Montana Secretary of State website. This form identifies the name and type of corporation, the name and address of the incorporator and the number of shares that the corporation is authorized to issue.
Choose a registered agent for your corporation. A registered agent agrees to receive service of process on behalf of the corporation. To qualify as a registered agent, the person you choose must have a physical address in Montana. Have the agent sign the Articles of Incorporation.
Sign the Articles of Organization. Send the completed form, along with the required filing fee, to Linda McCulloch, Secretary of State, P.O. Box 202801, Helena, MT 59620-2801.
Complete form SS-4, available on the Internal Revenue Service website, to obtain an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. Send the completed SS-4 to the IRS. You can also apply for an EIN online to receive this number immediately.
Contact the Montana Business and Occupational Licensing Bureau through the Mt.gov website to determine if your business requires additional licensing to transact business in this state. If so, complete any required licensing before opening your corporation for business. For example, if you plan to start an insurance company, you will need to obtain a company license from the Montana Insurance Department.
If your corporation will have employees, contact the Montana Department of Labor and Industry through the Mt.gov website or call their office at 406-444-2840 to determine what insurance you must obtain under worker's compensation laws in Montana.
File an annual report with the Montana Secretary of State by December 1 of each year. Failure to file an annual report will cause your corporation to be involuntarily dissolved.