Establishing a business in Missouri

When forming a business, there can be many forms that need to be filed with several state and local governmental offices. The forms to complete vary depending on the legal formation of your company (partnership, LLC, etc.), and whether you have employees, retail sales, and other variables. Businesses can be subject to tax filings, zoning clearances, occupational licenses, permits, more. A qualified lawyer and accountant will help you through the process. Here are your first steps.

1) Go to the Missouri Secretary of State's Starting a Business webpage. This page includes links to the required state forms and the online registration page.

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 process of registering your business's name depends on its legal structure. Legal structures include sole proprietorship, partnership, limited partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or corporation. To learn more, go to The Library's Legal Forms Library database will also help you obtain the necessary legal forms.

3) Register with the Missouri Department of Revenue. Both wholesalers and retailers must be registered with the Missouri Department of Revenue. Go to their website for the appropriate forms.

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

5) If you operate in Kansas City, you will need to file Earnings and Profit Taxes. Check with the City's Finance Department to learn more.

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

7) You may need to file many additional licenses, clearances, taxes, and forms for your business. Contact the local, state, and federal licensing, taxing, zoning, and economic development agencies to learn more. Qualified lawyers (check for attorneys) and accountants will help you with this process.

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