If you want to start and run a Missouri limited liability company (LLC), you'll need to prepare and file various documents with the state. This article covers the most important ongoing reporting and state tax filing requirements for Missouri LLCs.
Unlike most other states, Missouri does not require LLCs to file an annual report.
When it comes to income taxes, most LLCs are so-called pass-through tax entities. In other words, the responsibility for paying federal income taxes passes through the LLC itself and falls on the individual LLC members. By default, LLCs themselves do not pay income taxes, only their members do. Some states impose a separate tax or fee on LLCs for the privilege of doing business in the state. Missouri, though, is not one of those states.
However, in some cases, the owners of an LLC choose to have their business treated like a corporation for tax purposes. This choice is made by filing IRS Form 2553 with the IRS. (See the IRS website for the form.) Unlike the default pass-through tax situation, when an LLC elects to be taxed as a corporation, the company itself must file a separate tax return. The State of Missouri, like almost every other state, has a corporation income tax. In Missouri, the corporate tax is a flat 6.25% of Missouri taxable income. If your LLC is taxed as a corporation you'll need to pay this tax. The state's corporate income tax return (Form MO-1120) is filed with the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR). For more details, check Nolo's article, 50-State Guide to Business Income Tax, or the DOR website.
Does your LLC have employees? If so, you'll need to pay employer taxes. Some of these taxes are paid to the federal government (the IRS) and are not covered here. (But note that federal employer tax obligations start with obtaining a federal employer identification number (EIN).) However, Missouri employers also must pay taxes to the state.
First, you'll need to withhold and pay employee income taxes to the DOR. Begin by registering your business with the DOR on paper (Form 2643) or online. Once you've registered, you'll need to file withholding taxes on a periodic basis (typically monthly or quarterly) using some version of Form MO-941. You'll also need to use Form MO-W3 each year to reconcile your LLC's tax withholding.
In addition, you'll probably need to register to pay state unemployment insurance (UI) taxes. These taxes are handled through the Missouri Division of Employment Security (DES) which is part of the state's Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOL). You can register for these taxes using Form MODES-2699. Then, on a quarterly basis, you'll need to file Form MODES-4-7 with the DES. For more information, check the DES website.
If your LLC will sell goods to customers in Missouri, you will need to collect and pay sales tax. This means you'll have to register for this purpose with Department of Revenue and then make sales tax payments for goods sold. You can register using Form 2643A. After you've registered, you'll be sent a sales tax license. Pay annual sales tax using Form 53-1. For more information, check the DOR website.
If you will be doing business in states other than Missouri, you may need to register your LLC in some or all of those states. Whether you're required to register will depend on the specific states involved: each state has its own rules for what constitutes doing business and whether registration is necessary. Often activities such as having a physical presence (a business location) in a state, hiring employees in a state, or soliciting business in a state (such as by telephone, print ads, mail, or the Internet) will be considered doing business for registration purposes. Registration usually involves obtaining a certificate of authority or similar document.
For more information on the requirements for forming and operating an LLC in Missouri, see Nolo's article, 50-State Guide to Forming an LLC, and other articles on LLCs in the LLC section of the Nolo website.