How to form an LLC in Montana
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Montana.
Montana LLC costs:
LLC formation: $70 (one-time fee)
Annual report: $20 (every year)
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Before forming your Montana LLC with the Secretary of State, you need to select a Registered Agent for your Montana LLC.
A Registered Agent is a person or company who agrees to accept legal mail on behalf of your Montana LLC in case your business gets sued.
In Montana, your Registered Agent will also serve as a general point of contact for receiving business and tax notices, payment reminders, and other documents.
Your Registered Agent must have a street address in Montana (PO Boxes are not allowed).
Your Montana Registered Agent must also be available during normal business hours (9am – 5pm) in case Service of Process arrives. Service of Process for an LLC includes delivery of documents such as complaints, summons, and/or subpoenas.
Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their Registered Agent service free for the 1st year.
Who Can Be Your Registered Agent in Montana?
When forming an LLC in Montana, you have 3 options:
Option 1: You can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
Option 2: A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
Option 3: You can hire a Commercial Registered Agent.
Important: If your Registered Agent is going to be an individual (you, a friend, or a family member), that individual needs to be a resident of Montana.
How Do I Know Which One to Choose?
• If you have a street address located in Montana (such as a home or office), and are available during business hours, you can list yourself as the Registered Agent.
• If you don’t have a street address in Montana, you can use a friend or family member’s address. They need to have a street address in Montana and be available during business hours.
• If you don’t have a street address in Montana, and you don’t have a friend or family member’s address that you can use (or prefer not to), you can hire a Commercial Registered Agent.
Using a Commercial Registered Agent for your Montana LLC offers more privacy (keeps your address off public records) and is a more reliable setup.
Commercial Registered Agent
If you need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).
Why we recommend Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent is our personal recommendation (and the service we use ourselves) because they’ve been in business for over 20 years, have great customer service, and they let you use their address in your entire LLC filing in order to keep your address off public record.
How to keep your address off public records:
Many filers in Montana start businesses from their home. For this reason, it’s important to know that all addresses that are on your LLC’s Articles of Organization get listed on public record and may appear in google searches.
If you were thinking of using your home address, but would rather keep it off public records, you can hire a Registered Agent that will allow you to use their address throughout your Articles of Organization. Northwest Registered Agent offers this unique service at no additional cost. They offer Registered Agent services for $125 per year and they’ll let you use their address throughout your Articles of Organization.
Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded into your online account.
Special discounted pricing for LLC University® readers
Northwest usually charges $100 + state fees to form an LLC. However, we’ve negotiated a discounted rate (60% off) for LLC University® readers.
Are there risks if you, a friend, or family member are your LLC’s Registered Agent?
In short, there are risks. They are not likely to occur, but if they do, you could lose your liability protection.
For example, if the Montana Secretary of State is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Registered Agent, you may lose your good standing status, and the state has the authority to dissolve your LLC.
Additionally, if a process server is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Registered Agent about a lawsuit (they’ll try a few times), the court case can proceed in your absence and you might not even know about it. Worse, the court could enter a default judgment against your LLC if you aren’t there to defend yourself.
A few reasons a process server might not be able to reach your LLC’s Registered Agent:
- you, your friend, or family member are not there during business hours
- you/they are on vacation
- you moved and forgot to file a Change of Registered Agent with the state
Hiring a Commercial Registered Agent is a more reliable setup and gives you the freedom to take vacations and not worry about changing your Registered Agent address if you move.
Many Commercial Registered Agents will also help keep your LLC in compliance by sending you reminders of ongoing annual reporting requirements.
Once you determine who will serve as your Montana LLC’s Registered Agent, you can then proceed to the next Lesson: Montana LLC Articles of Organization.
If you need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent, please do so before going to the next step.
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