Starting a company

How To Form A Corporation In Montana

Key takeaways 

  • Learn to submit articles of incorporation and pay a filing fee to the Montana Secretary of State to establish a corporation.
  • For your corporation, know how to select an original name that complies with state standards and is not currently being used by another company.
  • Get to know that a registered agent must be chosen so they may accept legal paperwork on the corporation's behalf.
  • For tax reasons, Montana corporations must get an EIN from the IRS.
  • Additional state laws may be necessary, such as getting licenses to run a hospital or sell alcohol, depending on the type of company and industry.

Numerous businesses, including those in the mining, tourism, healthcare, and technology sectors, are based in Montana. The technology industry is also developing rapidly in Montana, with firms like Workiva, a cloud-based software company, increasing their presence there. 

Montana offers a low corporate tax rate of 6.75%, making it attractive for businesses looking to reduce their tax burden. Corporations in Montana enjoy limited liability protection, meaning the shareholders are not liable for the company's debts and legal obligations.

The state has a favorable business climate with minimal regulations, making it easier for companies to operate and grow. Montana is rich in natural resources, making it an ideal location for businesses in the mining and energy sectors. The state offers a talented workforce and ample opportunities for research and development, particularly in the technology and healthcare industries.

The article aims to educate readers on the benefits of setting up a corporation in Montana, including its cheap taxes, limited liability protection, friendly business environment, accessibility to natural resources, and skilled workforce.

Understanding Montana Corporations

Types of Corporations in Montana

C-Corporations, S-Corporations, and Non-profit Corporations are among the forms of corporations that are permitted in Montana.

The most popular kind of corporation, C-Corporations, are double-taxed, meaning that profits are liable to corporate and individual taxes. However, they may issue stock classes and provide the most ownership flexibility.

Contrarily, S-Corporations do not face double taxation and distribute their profits and losses to their owners, who then report them on their tax returns. They are restricted to no more than 100 shareholders and are subject to certain qualifying conditions.

Non-profit corporations, free from taxes, are established for philanthropic, religious, or educational reasons. They must adhere to a set of rules, including having a board of directors and limiting the transfer of income or assets to particular people. 

Critical components of a Montana corporation

Shareholders are a vital component of a Montana corporation. They are the corporation's owners and typically hold stock shares in the company. Shareholders can vote on major corporate decisions, such as the election of directors, mergers, and amendments to the bylaws. They also have the right to receive dividends and a share of the corporation's profits, depending on the amount and type of stock they hold. Shareholders have limited liability protection, meaning they are not personally responsible for the corporation's debts or legal obligations beyond their investment in the company.

Steps to Form a Corporation in Montana

Choose a unique and appropriate name for your corporation

An essential initial step in the process of founding a company in Montana is selecting a distinctive and acceptable name for your business. It's necessary to carry out a name availability check before choosing a name to ensure that another company or trademarked organization is not using it. To check if the requested name is available, search the Secretary of State's online database of registered company names in Montana. To avoid potential legal problems, it's also a good idea to check the United States Patent and Trademark Office for trademark availability. Once a name has been decided upon, it must be reserved with the Secretary of State of Montana.

Appoint a registered agent

Choosing a registered agent, who will serve as the business's point of contact with the state, is necessary while incorporating a corporation in Montana.

A registered agent should have a physical location where official papers and other relevant communication may be addressed, be a resident of Montana, or be a firm permitted to conduct business there. During regular business hours, the registered agent must be accessible to receive and deliver legal papers and other official notices to the corporation.

It's crucial to pick a dependable and trustworthy person or business with prior expertise in this capacity when picking a registered agent. Some companies can use a registered agent service or an attorney to meet this need.

Prepare and file Articles of Incorporation

After deciding on a name and designating a registered agent, the next step in forming a company in Montana is to complete and submit the Articles of Incorporation to the Secretary of State of Montana. Basic information regarding the company, including its name, the registered agent's name and address, the organization's purpose, and the number and types of shares of stock to be issued, should be included in the Articles of Incorporation.

The amount of the filing fee varies according to the form of corporation and the number of authorized shares when submitting the articles of incorporation. The completed Articles of Incorporation and the cost can be sent or paid online. Submissions can be made by mail, in person, or online through the Montana Secretary of State's website.

Create Corporate Bylaws

Create Corporate Bylaws

A corporation's internal activities are governed by its bylaws, rules and regulations. They lay down the rules for holding meetings, choosing directors, issuing shares, and other significant actions.

The goal of bylaws is to maintain consistency in decision-making processes and to offer a clear framework for how the business will function. Bylaws can provide direction on matters like conflicts of interest, indemnity, and the removal of directors. They also define the rights and obligations of shareholders, directors, and officers.

The company's aim, the number and qualifications of directors, the duties and obligations of officers, the protocols for shareholder meetings, the voting methods, and the procedures for modifying the bylaws are frequently included as important bylaws components. Bylaws should be routinely examined and altered to remain applicable and helpful.

Organize an initial board of directors meeting

Organizing the first board of directors meeting comes next once the organization is formally established. The directors are chosen at this meeting, where they also begin to fulfill their duties.

The corporation's bylaws are then adopted by the board of directors and any other required organizational decisions. Additionally, they may decide to issue shares and make other important choices, including choosing officers, deciding on executive salaries, and forming committees.

Recording every aspect of the meeting, including the minutes and any official resolutions adopted, is crucial. The shareholders should have access to these data upon request, and be kept on file. The board of directors should also plan frequent meetings to ensure the organization runs smoothly and by its bylaws.

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues an Employer Identification Number (EIN), a special nine-digit number, to identify a company organization for tax reasons.

The IRS uses a corporation's EIN to keep track of its tax liabilities, including federal income and employment taxes. Additionally, it is necessary to submit taxes, register a bank account, and apply for company licenses.

Applying for an EIN can be done over the phone, via mail, fax, or online at the IRS website. Basic details regarding the corporation, such as its name, address, and legal makeup, are required in the application. The EIN is granted immediately upon the submission and processing of the application.

Apply for necessary licenses and permits

Corporations in Montana must get an EIN and any applicable licenses and permissions to conduct business legally on the federal, state, and municipal levels.

Specific state regulations may apply depending on the type of business and industry, such as obtaining licenses to sell alcohol, running a childcare or healthcare facility, or carrying out construction or environmental work.

Zoning permits, business licenses, and permits are examples of local requirements. These specifications may be in addition to state-level specifications and may differ by city or county.

To prevent facing legal and financial repercussions, it's critical to thoroughly investigate and adhere to all applicable licensing and allowing regulations. The Montana Secretary of State's website is valuable for learning about pertinent licensing and permitting requirements.   

To conduct business legally in Montana, companies must get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and adhere to all existing federal, state, and local regulations.

Specific state restrictions may apply depending on the type of business and industry, such as licenses for selling alcohol, running a healthcare or childcare facility, or doing environmental or construction work. It could also be necessary to get local requirements, including zoning permits, business licenses, and building permits. These specifications might be in addition to state laws and could vary by county or city.

It is imperative to learn and abide by all the licensing and allowing requirements to prevent legal or monetary repercussions. For information on these requirements at the state and local levels, see the Montana Secretary of State website.

Ongoing Compliance and Maintenance

Annual report filing

In Montana, corporations must submit annual reports to the Secretary of State's office. Each year, the report is due by April 15th, and a charge is assessed based on the kind of organization.

The corporation's name, registered agent, and central office address must all be listed in the annual report. Information regarding the corporation's officials, directors, and any modifications to the stock ownership should also be included.

The annual report must be filed to keep the corporation in good standing with the state and to guarantee adherence to state rules and regulations. Failure to submit the report may incur late costs and result in the corporation's charter being revoked.

Montana state tax obligations

Corporate income tax, sales and use tax, and payroll tax are just a few of the state taxes that apply to businesses operating in Montana.

Based on a corporation's net revenue made in the state, Montana levies a corporate income tax of 6.75%. Corporations must collect and remit sales tax at a standard rate of 4% on taxable products and services supplied in Montana. Corporations must also pay payroll taxes, such as worker's compensation insurance premiums and state unemployment insurance fees.

To ensure proper tax reporting, companies must adhere to state tax regulations and keep accurate records of their income and spending. Businesses can find helpful tools and information from the Montana Department of Revenue to understand their state tax requirements.

Periodic Board of Directors meetings

Board of Directors meetings

In Montana, companies must have regular board meetings; the corporation's bylaws govern the frequency and goals of these meetings. These gatherings serve as forums for discussion and decision-making about the company's business matters, such as significant acquisitions, investments, and policy changes. The meetings should also discuss updates on the corporation's financial situation and any significant risks or difficulties.

The meeting minutes, which should include a summary of the subjects covered and decisions made, are required documentation for board meetings. The minutes must be preserved in the company's files and made accessible to shareholders and other interested parties for review.


In conclusion, numerous critical procedures are involved in founding a company in Montana, including selecting a unique name, designating a registered agent, submitting Articles of Incorporation, drafting bylaws, scheduling an initial board meeting, acquiring an EIN, and submitting applications for required licenses and permissions. Continuous compliance is also essential, which includes submitting yearly reports, paying taxes, and attending regular board meetings.

To guarantee the corporation's good standing with the state, safeguard its liability status, and give transparency to shareholders and stakeholders, it is crucial to comply with these regulations and keep correct records.

Creating a company in Montana can offer a variety of advantages, including access to cash, potential tax advantages, and limited liability protection. Montana is a fantastic destination to establish and expand a corporation because of its friendly business environment and available tools for entrepreneurs. We advise anybody thinking about starting a business to research their alternatives in Montana and get expert advice to ensure they adhere to all applicable laws and rules.

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Note: Our content is for general information purposes only. Levy does not provide legal, accounting, or certified expert advice. Consult a lawyer, CPA, or other professional for such services.

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