A fictitious name is a name under which any person shall do or transact any business in this state which is other than the true name of such person. A fictitious name is commonly referred to as a “DBA,” an acronym for “doing business as.” Filing a fictitious name registration does not afford or secure any exclusive rights to the name.
Any person or entity which is doing business under a name other than its true name must register that fictitious name. For instance, if John Doe is doing business under the name “John’s Lemonade Stand,” John Doe must register the fictitious name “John’s Lemonade Stand.” If the corporation known as Missouri Lemonade Manufacturing, Inc., is doing business under the name “Missouri Lemonade,” it must register the fictitious name “Missouri Lemonade.”
Filing or registering a fictitious name for your business does not afford or reserve any exclusive rights to the use of that name. There is no limit to the number of entities which may register the same fictitious name.
A corporate name, or a name for a limited liability company or limited partnership, may be reserved for up to 60 days, and such reservation may be renewed for two additional 60 day periods. After a name has been reserved for 180 days, the name ceases to be in reserved status and the applicant who had the name reserved for the maximum 180 days may not reserve that name again. The applicant whose reservation expired may still use the name as its corporate name if available, and any other entity may place the name back into reserve status.
After a particular name’s reserve status expires, it is available to any party for use as a corporate name, even the party whose reservation expired. The party whose reservation expired, however, may never again place the name in reserved status.
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An agent may be either an individual who is a resident of Missouri and whose business office is identical with the entity’s registered office, or it may be a corporation authorized to transact business in Missouri and which has a business office identical with the entity’s registered office.
Missouri SourceLink provides a listing of service companies that may act as a registered agent for a new business formation. To view a list of these companies, click here.
A PO Box may be listed as a registered office address only if a physical street address is also listed. An entity’s registered office must be a physical location where the registered agent may be served process.
No. An entity may not list the address of a retail mailing store, such as Mailboxes, Etc. or the UPS Store, as its registered office; the registered agent’s business office must be the same as the registered office.
The new registered agent must consent to his appointment in writing, and such written consent must accompany the filing of a statement of change of the registered agent.
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A corporation may have one or more incorporators who must be a “natural person” and at least 18 years old. The incorporator or incorporators sign and deliver the articles of incorporation to the Secretary of State.
Not necessarily. An incorporator does not have to be a shareholder of the corporation being incorporated, nor is the incorporator required to become a shareholder in the future.
No. An amendment to the articles of incorporation may not change or modify the incorporator or the incorporator’s address; that information is maintained forever and reflects the historical facts concerning who created the entity.
The incorporators sign the articles of incorporation; the incorporators do not have to be owners or shareholders.
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The numbers of authorized shares a corporation will have to issue is left to the discretion of the incorporators; 30,000 shares are the most that may be authorized for the minimum incorporation fee of $58. If a corporation discovers that it needs to issue more shares of stock than are authorized, it may amend its articles to authorize additional shares.
A corporation may issue its stock in one or more classes, and each class will have distinct characteristics. Some corporations have preferred stock, which traditionally means that holders of such stock have a preference or priority in respect to dividends over holders of common stock. Classes of stock enable a corporation to give certain benefits to certain shareholders which are different than those afforded others.
No. The Secretary of State does not maintain or have the authority to require disclosure of information on the identity or holdings of shareholders of any corporation.
Yes. A single-shareholder corporation is permissible under Missouri law.
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A corporation’s duration is by default perpetual, though incorporators may choose a certain numbers of years for which it is to continue. If a corporation’s duration is set to expire after a certain number of years, the Secretary of State may dissolve the corporation after the expiration date; upon dissolution the corporation may no longer carry on its regular business.
Most corporations list the specific business or activity in which they will engage to make a profit. For instance, a corporation which will make and sell lemonade might list as its purpose “to produce, market and sell lemonade.” In addition, many corporations also add a general or catchall purpose so that they may expand or alter their activities; such a general purpose might state “The corporation is formed to conduct and transact all lawful business activities allowed under the laws of the State of Missouri.” A specific purpose, a general purpose, or a combination of the two is acceptable.
No, the articles of incorporation are the only creation document filed with the Secretary of State. Bylaws, copies of minutes of any meetings, stock certificates, shareholders’ agreements, and other internal corporate documents are not filed with, and will not be accepted by, the Secretary of State.
Yes. Missouri law allows a corporation to change the month in which the corporation’s registration report is due. The change must be made on the corporation’s annual or biennial registration report. The fee for the change is $25.00.
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When a corporation fails to timely file an annual report, fails to maintain a registered agent, its duration expires or in several other situations, the Secretary of State may administratively dissolve that corporation. The Secretary’s authority to do so is granted by statute, and upon dissolution, a corporation may no longer carry on its business other than to wind up, liquidate and pay off its creditors. A corporation may apply to have an administrative dissolution rescinded, and become reinstated, by requesting a “rescission packet” from the Secretary of State and complying with the requirements set forth in the packet.
Yes. A corporation can have an administrative dissolution rescinded, and become reinstated, by filing an application, submitting a tax clearance letter and paying fees and penalties. You may place an order to have reinstatement forms mailed to you. The request needs to include the name of the corporation, its charter number and a return address. If you want the forms express mailed back to you, you must include your express mail account number, a telephone number and a physical address. You can e-mail a request to email@example.com; fax a request to (573) 751-5841; or mail a request to Corporations Division, PO Box 778, Jefferson City, MO 65102.
Yes. A tax clearance letter from the Department of Revenue is required to be submitted to the Secretary of State in order to be reinstated after administrative dissolution. The tax clearance letter from the Department of Revenue must state that the corporation has no taxes due and owing. To obtain a tax clearance letter, you should complete a Department of Revenue Form 943 Request for Tax Clearance Letter and submit it to the Department of Revenue as indicated on the form. An application for reinstatement should not be submitted to the Secretary of State unless it is accompanied by a valid tax clearance letter.
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A statutory close corporation is characterized by its traditionally small size, its consolidated management structure, and the statutory restrictions on the transfer of its shares. There are approximately 6,000 close corporations currently existing in Missouri. A statutory close corporation’s shareholders generally may not transfer their shares of stock without allowing the corporation’s other shareholders a right of first refusal and the corporation may operate without a board of directors and in some instances without bylaws. The close corporation election is made in the entity’s articles of incorporation.
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A professional corporation is organized to carryout one or more professional services, and the shareholders of the professional corporation must be licensed or authorized to practice a certain profession, which includes accountants, architects, engineers, attorneys, dentists, physicians, veterinarians, real estate salespeople and registered nurses. The articles of incorporation filed to form a professional corporation must be accompanied by a certificate of the licensing authority of the subject profession. Professional corporations are managed in a manner similar to general corporations, though all directors and officers of a professional corporation, other than the secretary, must be qualified persons with respect to the underlying profession of the entity. The shares of a professional corporation may only be owned by similarly qualified persons, or by partnerships, other professional corporations or limited liability companies, which are wholly owned by other licensed individuals.
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No. Nonprofit corporations do not have shareholders. No one “owns” a nonprofit corporation and the law prohibits distributions of the nonprofit corporation’s assets or income to individuals.
A nonprofit corporation may, but is not required to, have members. “Member,” as defined by law, means any person who has the right to vote upon the election of directors of a nonprofit corporation. If a nonprofit corporation is to have members such feature must be mentioned in the corporation’s bylaws or articles. Members do not personally own the nonprofit corporation or have a financial stake therein, and the corporation’s income cannot be distributed to the members.
A distribution clause is the section in nonprofit articles of incorporation that describes how the corporation’s assets will be distributed upon dissolution. A nonprofit corporation will often identify another nonprofit corporation as the recipient of its assets upon dissolution.
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You may list a specific purpose directly related to your company’s business or endeavor, and you may supplement that with, or solely state, that the company’s business is to transact any or all lawful business for which a limited liability company may be organized under the laws of the State of Missouri.
All limited liability companies must indicate in their articles of organization whether the entity will be manager-managed or member-managed. This election determines who will manage the affairs of the company, and who will have the authority to bind the company. If a limited liability company is to be member-managed, each member has the authority to be involved in management, and to bind the company. The company’s operating agreement may restrict or place conditions on such management in any manner the members desire. If a limited liability company is manager-managed, the authority to manage the company and create obligations for it is vested in one or more managers, who are appointed by the members or designated in the operating agreement.
No. Missouri law does not require a manager to also be a member of the limited liability company.
A limited liability company may exist as long as the organizers desire, and may exist perpetually. The organizers may determine to limit a limited liability company’s existence by providing for its dissolution upon a certain date or after a certain number of years. The organizers may also determine to provide for a limited liability company’s dissolution upon the occurrence of a certain event.
Any person, whether or not they are or will be a member or manager, may serve as an organizer and sign and file articles of organization with the Secretary of State.
No. The articles of organization document is the only creation document filed with the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of State will not accept an operating agreement for filing.
Limited liability company documents filed with Secretary of State are generally to be signed by an “authorized person,” which is the manager of the limited liability company or, if member-managed, by a member.
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A limited partnership is a statutory entity created by filing a certificate of limited partnership with the Secretary of State; a limited partnership must have at least one general partner and at least one limited partner. A general partner is liable for the obligations of the limited partnership, while the limited partner has no personal liability for the same.
A limited liability partnership is a general partnership that elects limited liability partnership status by filing an application for limited liability partnership registration. Upon securing such registration, all partners in the limited partnership, though they remain general partners, are afforded the same liability protection enjoyed by limited partners in limited partnerships. Other than this limited liability component, a limited liability partnership maintains all the other characteristics of a general partnership.
A limited liability limited partnership (LLLP) is a limited partnership that elects limited liability limited partnership status by filing an application for LLLP registration. Upon securing such registration, all partners in the limited partnership, including the general partners, are afforded personal liability protection. Other than the limited liability component, an LLLP maintains all other characteristics of a limited partnership.
No, though certain types of partnerships may be required to complete certain types of annual filings or renewals with the Secretary of State. General partnerships do not file any documents whatsoever with the Secretary of State, and limited partnerships are not required to make an annual filing. Registration as a limited liability partnership or an LLLP is only valid for one year, but such registration may be renewed on a yearly basis by filing a renewal form with the Secretary of State.
A general partner, who is usually charged with operation and day-to-day management of the partnership’s affairs and business, takes on personal liability for the obligations and debts of the partnership and the actions of the other partners. A limited partner is shielded from such liability and traditionally is not as involved in the day-to-day affairs of the limited partnership. Until recently a limited partner’s shield from liability was threatened or removed if the limited partner became involved in the management or operation of the limited partnership, but in 1997 changes to the laws regulating limited partnerships allowed a limited partner to participate in limited partnership management without risking liability for the limited partnership’s obligations.
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Amendments must be signed by at least one existing general partner and all new general partners identified in the amendment as new general partners.
The Secretary of State can cancel an existing limited partnership certificate, or reject or disapprove a certificate, if a limited partnership fails to maintain a registered agent, fails to pay required filing fees, or engages in certain prohibited activities related to fraud or deception.
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The application (and reapplication) should be signed by a majority of the partners or by one or more partners authorized to sign the application on behalf of the partnership. If the application is signed by an authorized partner or partners, no evidence of such authority needs to be filed or provided to the Secretary of State.
The registration fee for a limited liability partnership is $25 for each partner in the partnership, with the total fee not to exceed $100.
The renewal fee for a limited liability partnership is $100 plus, if the renewal increases the number of partners, $50 for each partner added, with the renewal fee not to exceed $200.
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Businesses save time and money by filing online. Filing a corporate annual report online saves the corporation $25, and can be completed in a matter of minutes. Filing online eliminates postage, mailing, and delivery service costs.
All fees associated with online filings or registrations must be paid with a credit card. The Secretary of State’s office accepts Master Card, Visa, American Express and Discover.
Yes. All online filers must have an e-mail address. An e-mail address is required by the credit card processor.
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Under Missouri law, whether an entity is transacting or doing business in the state is determined on a case-by-case basis. There is no statutory standard or bright-line rule to apply to determine if an entity must register. Many entities enlist the assistance of any attorney to make a determination as to the entity’s obligation to register; this analysis is often based upon past court decisions.
Missouri statute specifically provides that an isolated transaction or project that is completed within 30 days, and is not one in the course of repeated transactions of a like nature, does not qualify as “doing business”. In this situation, the foreign entity is not under the obligation to register with the Secretary of State.
No. Missouri statute specifically provides that securing and collecting debts, and enforcing mortgages and security interests, do not qualify as doing business.
An entity that is not registered, but by law is required to be, cannot legally transact business or maintain a lawsuit in Missouri until it secures a certificate of authority. If the failure to properly register is discovered after an action is initiated by an unregistered foreign entity, the action could be suspended until the registration is completed. In addition, foreign entities that do not comply with the registration requirement are subject to a fine of not less than $1,000, which is collected through the institution of a lawsuit.
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The technology fee is a five dollar charge added to the regular filing fee collected for filings by the Secretary of State. By law, the technology fee is deposited into the state treasury and is credited to the Secretary of State’s technology trust fund account.
No. Banking and financial institutions are regulated by the Division of Finance. Articles of incorporation and other filings for banking and financial institution entities are filed with the Division of Finance.
No. Insurance companies are regulated by the Department of Insurance. Articles of incorporation and other filings for insurance companies are filed with the Department of Insurance.
Many municipalities and/or counties require that businesses obtain a business license before opening a business in their city or county; a business license is not the same as a certificate of incorporation or certificate of organization issued by the Secretary of State. Business licenses are obtained directly from the local governmental authority; the Secretary of State does not issue business licenses.
Overnight packages should be addressed to 600 West Main, Jefferson City, MO 65101.
By statute, it is the day of the Secretary of State’s endorsement on the original document. In most cases, this is the date the document is received and initially reviewed by the Secretary of State.
The Internal Revenue Service issues Federal Employer Identification Numbers (FEIN), sometimes called a tax ID number. An FEIN application, known as an SS-4, may be completed online at the IRS website. A state taxpayer identification number is issued by the Missouri Department of Revenue. That number can be obtained online at https://dors.mo.gov/tax/coreg/index.jsp.
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