Forming a corporation in Montana provides business owners with liability protection and potential tax advantages. While the process may seem complicated, this step-by-step guide breaks down everything you need to know to get your Montana corporation up and running.
Incorporating in Montana offers many perks for business owners. As a separate legal entity, corporations protect owners’ personal assets from company debts and legal issues. They also provide inherent prestige and legitimacy. Plus, Montana corporations benefit from the state’s favorable tax climate, including credits, deductions, and no gross receipts tax.
Before diving into the incorporation process, let’s review the key advantages of a Montana corporation:
Follow these 10 steps to properly set up your corporation in Montana:
The first step is deciding on a unique, memorable name for your Montana corporation. You’ll need to check that your desired name follows state naming guidelines and is distinguishable from other registered businesses.
Be sure to have a second choice name in case your first pick is taken.
Nearly all states require designating a registered agent to accept official/legal mail and communications on the corporation's behalf. Montana registered agents must be Montana residents with a physical in-state address (no PO boxes).
Using a third-party registered agent service can help maintain privacy and avoid issues like documents being served at an inconvenient time/location.
To formally create your Montana corporation, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. Required information includes:
The filing fee is $70 for traditional corporations. Submit articles by mail, fax, or hand delivery.
While not formally submitted, bylaws provide an internal roadmap for operating your Montana corporation. Well-drafted bylaws cover details like:
Having clear organizational rules and procedures will help avoid conflicts as your company grows.
Shareholders normally elect the corporate board of directors. For a new corporation, the incorporator generally appoints initial directors to oversee business operations.
The first board meeting is critical for adopting bylaws, appointing officers, issuing stock shares, setting company policies, and more. Keep detailed meeting minutes as an official company record.
Selling stock shares allows shareholders to own a portion of the corporation. While not legally required, issuing paper share certificates is standard practice. Corporations get flexibility in pricing shares.
Check if your Montana corporation requires any state or county licenses, permits, or registrations to operate. Common examples include professional certifications and trade group memberships.
An Employer Identification Number functions like a business Social Security Number for tax purposes. It takes just minutes to apply online for free.
Effective January 2024, the federal Corporate Transparency Act requires nearly all US corporations to submit a confidential Beneficial Ownership Information report to FinCEN within 30 days of formation (90 days for companies formed in 2024).
Even after formally creating your corporation, meeting a few recurring state requirements will keep your corporation in good standing:
When starting a for-profit Montana corporation, expect to pay:
Plus, corporations doing business in Montana owe a state income tax of at least $50, assessed at 6.75% of taxable income.
We hope this guide gave you a clear overview of everything involved in properly forming and maintaining a corporation under Montana laws. While the process involves many steps, our detailed checklist breaks down exactly what you need to do so incorporating seems simple.