How to Start a Business in Montana


Starting a business in Montana can be a great idea. It’s easy to get started, and Montana has a lot to offer. But before you start your business, there are some steps you’ll need to take first. In this post, we’ll walk through the process of starting your own company in Montana.

Choose a Business Structure

There are a number of business structures you can choose from, including:

  • Sole Proprietorship (one person)
  • Partnership (two or more people)
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Corporation

Register Your DBA

A DBA, or “doing business as,” is a designation used by businesses to register their name. Your DBA will be the legal name of your company, not your business name. For example, if you want to call yourself “Bob’s Computers & Software” (a fictitious example), but also operate under the name “Montana Computers,” you would register both names using a single Montana Corporation Commission (“MCC”) filing form and pay a $50 fee.

The benefits of registering your DBA include protecting you in case someone tries to use your company’s name without permission. When registering a DBA with MCC, they’ll do an extensive search through public records to make sure no other entity has already claimed rights over that particular business identity.

Obtain Business Permits and Licenses

Once you’ve decided on a business name, you’ll need to register it with the Montana Secretary of State. The office offers several services for this purpose, including filing and amending documents, ordering checks and other supplies, and paying for business license renewals. There are also numerous federal licenses and permits that may be required for your particular business type.

In addition to registering your business name with the Montana Secretary of State’s office as well as obtaining all necessary licenses and permits from state agencies (more on these later), it’s important to obtain a federal tax identification number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

File Articles of Incorporation (Corporations) or Articles of Organization (LLCs)

In order to create and file the Articles with the Montana Secretary of State, you must have:

  • A copy of your bylaws or operating agreement. If you don’t have one yet, use our sample bylaws as a starting point. It’s important to note that this document will only be good for 90 days unless you file an annual report during that time.
  • Proof of payment for filing fees through credit card or check (no cash accepted). The cost is $50 per corporation and $25 per LLC; if you need more than one entity filed at once, there is a $20 discount on each additional entity beyond the first two entities. Keep in mind that there may be additional fees depending on whether or not your entity needs an EIN (Tax Id#) assigned before it can legally operate in Montana; please consult Service Montana if unsure whether or not your business requires this extra step before proceeding with filing articles.

Obtain an EIN

You need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to operate a business in Montana. This is the federal tax identification number that is used to identify your business. Here are some things you should know about getting an EIN:

  • An EIN is not required if you only have one employee who works less than 1,000 hours per year.
  • If you already have a business and need to file taxes, then don’t apply for an EIN until after all tax forms are filed and tax payment has been made.
  • If you do not have a social security number yet but want to start your own company and will be hiring employees, then it’s best if you hire someone else who has been in business longer than them to handle this process on their behalf so they aren’t penalized later when trying to get capital loans or even just open credit cards without any credit history of their own.


If you’re starting a business and have no income, then it’s best to wait until after you’ve filed your taxes and paid all back taxes before applying for an EIN. If you are starting a business but expecting to make money right away, then go ahead and apply for an EIN.


Starting a business in Montana is easy, especially if you follow our advice. You can apply for a DBA (Doing Business As) name under the county clerk’s office and start filing business licenses for your company after that. Once everything is in place, it will be time to register your corporation or LLC with the Secretary of State.

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