Licensing a business in Missouri

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When forming a business, there can be many forms that need to be filed with a number of state and local governmental offices. The forms vary depending on the legal formation of your company (partnership, LLC, etc.) and whether you have employees, retail sales, a franchise business, and many other variables. Businesses can be subject to tax filings, zoning clearances, occupational licenses, permits, and much more. Hiring the services of a qualified lawyer and accountant can ease you through the process.

1) A good starting place to learn what needs to be filed is the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers. You are encouraged to go to their website for more complete information.

2) Register the name of your business

  • To check on the availability of a business name, search the Secretary of State's Business Entity database.
  • The name you choose must be registered with the Secretary of State (573) 751-4153 by filing the necessary forms and paperwork. The way to register a name is different for each type of legal structure. Choices of Legal Structures are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or corporation. A discussion of the issues involved in the legal formation of your company can be found at www.missouribusiness.net/doingbusiness/legalform.pdf.

3) Missouri Sales Tax. Both wholesalers and retailers need to be registered with the Missouri Department of Revenue. Go to their website for forms or call at (573) 751-2836 to get a sales tax number or sales tax exemption.

4) Obtain local business licenses. For Kansas City, Missouri, minimally you must have both a zoning clearance and an occupational license. There can be additional licenses and/or permits you need depending on the nature of your business. The City's BizCare Office assists with the licensing process.

Additional county forms, licenses, permits, and taxes might need to be filed. Make sure you check with your county's requirements.

5) Kansas City, MO Earnings and Profit Taxes need to be filed with the city. Check with the Finance Department for additional information.

6) Some businesses need to have a Federal Identification Number and/or Employer Identification Number. Go to the IRS web site to learn more and to apply online.

7) There are many additional licenses, clearances, taxes, and forms that might need to be filed for your business. It is important to contact the local, state, and federal licensing, taxing, zoning, economic development, and other possible agencies to learn what is required for your particular business. Qualified lawyers and accountants can be of great help to you in this process.

8) Additional sources of information. Websites that give good overviews include:

For additional information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center librarian by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail, bcc@kclibrary.org.