New to MO? How to Register for Missouri Business Taxes

Starting a business is exciting. Congratulations on your new endeavor! You’re joining the ranks of over 540,000 small business owners in Missouri. You may have a clear vision and business plan for your store or company, but have you made it official? 

Any business in Missouri that sells “tangible personal property” must have a sales tax license, according to Section 144.118 of the state legislature. The call for a sales tax license, or seller’s permit, isn’t only for retailers; it includes businesses that provide customers with taxable services. 

Forming a new business requires paperwork. In addition to applying for tax licenses, you must register your business name, decide on an entity type and apply for operating licenses. 

As you establish your business, learn more about your next steps and follow these tips to complete Missouri’s sales tax registration.

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What to Complete Before MO Business Tax Registration 

New Missouri businesses must complete Form 2643, either on paper or online. The sales tax license is the only license regulated at the state level through the Missouri Department of Revenue. 

Complete the following steps before you dig into Missouri’s tax registration application. You’ll need this information to fill out the application.  

Step 1: File a Business Name 

Your business name sets the stage for who you are. Upon hearing your name, what impression do you want customers to have of your business? 

Before you get attached to a name, ensure another company is not using it already. You can search for businesses on the Missouri Secretary of State’s website. 

Once you have a name in mind, you must file to reserve a fictitious name for your business. Under Section 417.200, fictitious names are any names companies or individuals do business under. You can skip this step if you use your true name to conduct business. 

Registering a fictitious name does not mean you’re the only one that can do business with that name. The state does not provide name protection. 

You can register for a fictitious name at the Missouri Secretary of State Business Registration Online Portal

Step 2: File an Entity Type 

The business entity you form affects how you will be taxed. You will file your business with the Secretary of State using the appropriate forms for the entity you choose. The Small Business Administration defines business structures as follows: 

  • Sole proprietorships. You can choose not to run your business as a separate entity when you are the only owner. Sole proprietors’ business assets and liabilities are not separate from their personal assets. 
  • Partnerships. Two or more people can own a business together through a partnership. You can determine if certain partners have more or less personal liability than others.  
  • Corporations. Owners are protected from personal liability if they form a corporation, but a corporation is required to pay income taxes on its profits. Corporations require detailed record-keeping and processes to report on income and losses.
  • Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs). An LLC protects the owners’ personal assets. Profits can be transferred to personal income without corporate taxes. As an LLC member, you are considered self-employed and must pay those taxes. Most states don’t restrict LLC membership, meaning individuals and corporations can be “members” of an LLC.

A Quick Look at Business Entities 

Entity  # of Owners Liability  Taxes 
Sole Proprietorship  1 Owner Personal liability  Self-employment and personal
Partnership 1+ Owners  Personal liability  Self-employment and personal
Corporation  1+ Owners No personal liability  Corporate 
LLC 1+ Owners No personal liability  Self-employment and personal or corporate tax
S Corp 1+ Owners No personal liability  Personal tax
B Corp 1+ Owners No personal liability  Corporate tax
Nonprofit 1+ Owners No personal liability  Tax-exempt 

Step 3: Get an EIN (Employer Identification Number)

An EIN, or employer identification number, is required if your business is a corporation or partnership or if you have employees. An EIN is used for tax purposes to identify your business. 

EINs let you open business bank accounts, apply for licenses and file tax returns by mail. Before completing EIN registration, you must file your business name and entity. 

Obtain your EIN online or send Form SS-4 to the IRS by fax or mail. When you apply online, you will receive your EIN immediately. 

Step 4: Apply for Business Licenses

You may need to acquire business licenses through your county, city or district. Examples include liquor, real estate and veterinary licenses. 

Some cities may have a downtown district business license. The city of Branson, Missouri, requires those operating within the city limits to apply for a business license

You can submit your application online or in person at Branson’s City Hall. 

Step 5: Obtain a Business Address

You will need a physical address and mailing address for your business. Your storefront, office or warehouse location could serve as both addresses. If you want tax documentation sent to another location, include a separate mailing address. 

You must have a physical address listed. The address where you store tax records cannot be a P.O. box. 

You must attach a separate list of addresses for all locations if you have multiple locations. Temporary sites, like craft shows or fairs, should be included.

Are you looking for commercial real estate? Explore listings in Branson, MO.

Step 6: Estimate Monthly Sales

The business tax application will ask you to provide an estimate of your monthly sales. This will be used to determine your taxes. 

You may need tax licenses for: 

  • Sales Tax. Most businesses need to register for a sales tax license. Operating without a seller’s license could result in criminal prosecution. 
  • Vendor’s Use Tax. Out-of-state vendors who make sales to customers in Missouri and have sufficient nexus are required to obtain this tax license.
  • Corporate Income Tax. Every corporation must register for corporate income tax if it also files federal income tax returns and has an income higher than $100.

Insights on Branson, Missouri Sales Taxes

Special sales taxes are considered for businesses in the Branson/Tri-Lakes Area. In April 2006, voters approved The Branson/Lakes Area Tourism Community Enhancement District Sales Tax (TCED). This tax is a 1% sales tax created to promote tourism. Exemptions to this local tax include motor vehicles, trailers, boats, utilities, telephone service, wireless service and food. 

Some Branson businesses collect taxes at different rates. Section 94.802 of the Missouri legislature reduces the 1% TCED to 0% for hotels and amusement. Section 94.805 discusses taxation for food, drinks and alcoholic beverages. TCED reduces these charges to ⅞%. 

How to Complete Missouri Sales Tax Registration 

You filed your business name. You obtained an EIN and formed an entity. You’ve also applied for any operating licenses you need. Now, you’re ready to register for a sales tax license with the Missouri Department of Revenue. You can apply for everything you need online. 

How to Register Online

  1. Go to the Department of Revenue’s website:
  2. Explore the website to answer any questions you have, and read further instructions. 
  3. Track down extra forms you need to attach to your application, using the form search.
  4. On the Online Business Registration page, select “start registration.”
  5. Read the terms and conditions provided. Select that you agree. If you do not agree, you cannot continue with the online registration. 
  6. Fill out your information as the person submitting. Answer the questions and fields as accurately as possible. 
  7. Complete the information for each owner of the business. 
  8. Fill out your business’s information. You’ll use the information you collected prior to finish the tax application. 
  9. Submit the application. 
  10. You will hear back in two to three business days and receive your tax registration number within ten business days. 

Now you know what you need to obtain and file to register your business in Missouri—especially when it comes to taxes. Is your business plan still in the works? Are you looking for a location? Want to know more about local taxes in Branson, Missouri? 

Contact Commercial One Brokers. As Branson market experts, we’d love to answer your questions and welcome you to the area. Our experienced brokerage will help you find commercial real estate for your budding business.   

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