1. Initial Planning
2. Requirements Based on the Legal Structure of Your Business
3. Tax Requirements
4. Requirements for Businesses With Employees

Missouri business registration involves choosing a business structure from the following options: corporation, limited liability corporation, partnership, limited partnership, and sole proprietorship. Additional documentation required varies depending on the type of business you are operating.

Initial Planning

Before you get too involved in the paperwork and legal establishment of your business, you need to be sure your idea can be profitable or successful. The State of Missouri offers online tools to help you with this. Visit the online business resources center for help estimating start-up costs. This could save you time and money. You can get help with creating a written business plan there too.

Once the planning is done and you've chosen a legal structure, you're ready to choose a name and register it with the Missouri Secretary of State's office. You can begin the process and paperwork by calling (573) 751-4153. To make sure the name you've chosen is available, visit the online database here. You may also want to check with the city and county where you plan to operate to see if it maintains a database as well. Usually, this is handled through the city or county clerk.

  • If you are operating a sole proprietorship or a partnership, you have to complete a document called a Fictitious Name Registration. You can find it online here.
  • The State of Missouri requires you to file Articles of Incorporation if you're setting up a corporation or Articles of Organization if your business is an LLC.
  • An S corporation in Missouri must have IRS Form 2553 on file, in addition to the other corporate documents.

Tax Requirements

  • Retail and wholesale businesses need a sales tax number, sometimes called a use tax number. Retailers must collect and turn in sales tax dollars using this number to manage the account. Wholesalers must complete Form 2643 and register with the Missouri Department of Revenue here. Call (573) 751-2836 for assistance with getting a sales tax number. This department can also help you if you believe your business might qualify for exemption from sales tax rules.
  • If you are forming a corporation, working with business partners, or hiring employees, you also need a Federal Identification Number (EIN). Some banks require this number to open an account as well. Visit the Internal Revenue Service website to get Form SS-4 for this purpose.

Requirements for Businesses With Employees

  • Businesses with employees must also file Form 2699. This document helps you figure out whether the company must participate in the unemployment insurance program. Call (573) 751-3328 or 751-3215 if you have questions.
  • Each employee you hire must complete Internal Revenue Service Form W-4 as well as a Missouri Form W-4. Within 20 days of hiring the person, a copy of the federal form and the state form must be submitted to the Missouri Department of Revenue. Employees must also fill out an I-9 form, which the employer maintains on file. You can find it here.
  • You must display certain posters in the workplace to inform your staff members of their rights related to labor laws such as anti-discrimination statutes, unemployment benefits, worker's compensation, minimum wage, and more. These posters can be downloaded for printing. More information on all of these topics can be found online.
  • OSHA guidelines are particularly important because they relate to workplace safety. Visit their website for more information or call 816-426-5861.
  • Starting the first time you pay your new employee, you must do the following:
    • Withhold state and federal income tax at the percentage set by the salary and exemption information on the employee's W-4.
    • Hold out 6.2 percent of the salary for the employee's share of Social Security taxes.
    • Set aside another 6.2 percent of the salary for the employer's share.
    • Hold back 1.45 percent for the employee's share of Medicare taxes.
    • Pay another 1.45 percent for the employer's share of Medicare.
    • Submit all of these tax dollars to a bank that is approved to handle these payments on the 15th day of each month.
    • File annual and quarterly reports with the appropriate department of the government.
    • Give your employees W-2s at year-end so that they can file their personal income taxes.

If you need help with working through the Missouri business registration process, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from such elite law schools as Harvard and Yale and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.