Registrations, Licenses and Permits
You'll want to make sure your business is legal. The first step is to decide what kind of business entity (legal structure) is best for you. For a description of the pros and cons of legal structures, go to forms of business organization. You can also look at a comparison of legal forms of business. For more discussion go to Legal Issues.
Once you've decided on a legal structure, you'll need to take several steps (details for each state below):
In Missouri, all partnerships and corporations must be registered, as well as sole proprietors doing business under a fictitious name (D.B.A - doing business as). Sole proprietors who are doing business under their own name do not need to register with the state of Missouri.
In Kansas partnerships and corporations must register, however, the state does not require the registration of fictitious names (D.B.A.s) or sole proprietorships (a business that is owned and run by one individual and where there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business).
- Businesses that operate in Kansas and Missouri are also required to register for one or more tax-specific identification numbers, licenses or permits, including:
- income tax withholding
- sales and use tax (seller's permit)
- unemployment insurance tax
Contact your Missouri local city or county clerk office to see if you need any specific licenses and permits. In Kansas City, Mo., contact KCBizCare. In Kansas, you can search for county clerks.
Check with the Kansas Business Center for more information on starting and operating a business in Kansas—or download the Kansas business handbook: Steps to Success: A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Business.
- Check on the availability of your business name
Unless you establish your business as a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, you must register with the Kansas Secretary of State. Corporations must file Articles of Incorporation, LLCs must file Articles of Organization, and Limited Partnerships must file Certificates of Limited Partnership. Filings are available online.
Download Missouri's registration checklist.
Check on the availability of your business name by searching the Secretary of State’s online database.
- Register the name of your business 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
- Sole Proprietorship and Partnerships file a Fictitious Name Registration.
- Corporations and LLC file the articles of incorporation or articles of organization (LLC) Also be sure to read about federal requirements for LLCs
- S-corporation status requires that you form your Missouri corporation or LLC and file IRS Form 2553
2. If you will have employees, apply for federal EIN (see above.)
3. Contact the Missouri Department of Revenue to complete forms relating to income tax withholding, sales and use taxes and unemployment insurance tax.
Some professions, occupations or activities in Missouri require special licenses or certifications. Click on Industry Licenses to find out if your industry has any special requirements. The Missouri SBTDCs also offer a guide to licenses and permits which includes where to find out information on Occupational Licenses. Finally, check with the Missouri Division of Professional Registration.
The imposition of tax and license fees on certain professions is prohibited by Missouri. For information go to the state statute on exempt occupations.