As you proceed through the process of starting your business, use this checklist as a guide to ensure you operate your business in compliance with federal, state and local governments.
We recommend that you begin by reading the publication Starting a New Business in Missouri. You may also want to check to see if we have developed a business profile for your business at: www.missouribusiness.net/industry.
For information and help in starting or growing your small business, contact a Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Center office near you. If you prefer, phone (573) 884-1555 for a referral. Explore MissouriBusiness.net for information, forms, publications and links to training seminars.
MOSourceLink offers a toll-free call center. Their staff can assist with specific questions about Missouri Small business licenses, registrations and other concerns. Contact them toll-free at at 1-866-870-6500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Critical steps in the planning process:
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. 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/sbtdc/doingbusiness/legalform.pdf
. Each legal structure has unique registration requirements, which are outlined below:
To check on the availability of a business name, you can search the Secretary of State's database online at: https://www.sos.mo.gov/BusinessEntity/soskb/csearch.asp
Obtain local business licenses
through the city or county government (generally this is the city clerk or county clerk).
A sales tax number
or use tax is needed if you will be selling at retail. Collection of sales tax is required by any business making retail sales. Those businesses buying wholesale or operating solely as a wholesaler should complete a Form 149 Sales/Use Tax Exemption Certificate (see: dor.mo.gov/forms/149.pdf
) and provide it to their supplier. Go to the Missouri Department of Revenue site at: dor.mo.gov/tax/business/sales/forms/
or call at (573) 751-2836 to get a sales tax number or sales tax exemption.
Federal Identification Number
(EIN). Generally required only when you have business partners, hire employees, form a corporation or LLC; however, your bank may require and EIN to open a business account. Go to the IRS web site at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss4.pdf
to get form SS4. The IRS also offers this online application
Before you hire that employee:
Obtain a Federal Employer Identification number (IRS form SS4) www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss4.pdf
Obtain a Missouri Employer withholding number by filing Missouri Department of Revenue form 2643 [Missouri Department of Revenue (573) 751-5752] or use this fillable form: dor.mo.gov/forms/2643.pdf
File form 2699 to determine liability status for Unemployment Insurance www.labor.mo.gov/DES/Forms/2699-5-AI.pdf
contributions to the Missouri unemployment compensation fund. For more information, contact the Missouri Division of Employment Security (573) 751-3328 or 751-3215; on the web at www.labor.mo.gov
Make appropriate arrangements to pay Workers' Compensation Insurance. For more information call Missouri Division of Workers' Compensation (800) 775-2667 or (573) 751-4231 or on the web at www.labor.mo.gov
Once you have hired the employee:
Each employee must complete the IRS form W-4 and a Missouri form W-4. A copy of the federal W-4 or the Missouri form must be forwarded to the Missouri Department of Revenue within 20 days of the new hire. For more information, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov
The employee must complete an I-9 — the employer keeps this form on hand in a separate file. Download the form at: www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf
With the first payroll you will:
- Withhold state income tax and federal income tax at a percentage determined by salary and exemption information stated on the form W-4.
- Withhold 6.2% of the employee's salary for Social Security taxes.
- Pay 6.2% of the amount of the employee's salary for Social Security taxes.
- Withhold 1.45% of the employee's salary for Medicare taxes.
- Pay 1.45% of the employee's salary for Medicare taxes.
- Make monthly payment of these taxes to an approved banking institution on the 15th of the month.
- File reports with the government on a quarterly and annual basis; and, issue W-2 reports to employees at the end of the year.
- For more information, visit the IRS website at: www.irs.gov.
IRS Publication #15 is a good resource.
The employer is required to display appropriate work posters informing employees of their rights regarding discrimination, unemployment benefits, worker compensation, Equal Employment, Federal Minimum Wage, FMLA, OSHA, and Polygraph Protection Act. These posters can be downloaded from www.dol.gov/osbp/sbrefa/poster/main.htm.
Review OSHA guidelines and check workplace safety procedures with all employees. OSHA Region VII (816) 283-8745 or www.osha.gov.
Additional resources related to hiring employees include:
Evaluate the feasibility of your business idea.
Refer to Evaluating Your Business Idea
for help evaluating your idea and estimate your start-up costs before you spend a lot of time and money.
Prepare a written business plan
. For information on writing a business plan, refer to: www.missouribusiness.net/doingbusiness
Check on local zoning
ordinances, regulations, building permits and fire codes through the city or county government.
Determine whether your business requires a state or federal license or permit
to operate. Also check on state or federal regulations that may affect your business. Information on selected types of businesses is available on the web at: www.missouribusiness.net/industry
Select a banking institution
and open a business account.
Contact an insurance
agent and consult with him or her regarding fire, accident, liability, theft, and other types of commercial insurance.
Contact an accountant
. Determine if you are required to make quarterly estimated income tax payments to the IRS and self-employment tax payments. Information on taxes for small business and/or self-employed can be found at www.irs.gov/businesses/small/index.html
- File annual tax information for state and federal government.
- Keep a good set of records for all business activities.
Review the Jump Start Learning Modules on: