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Starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Mississippi is a straightforward process that offers entrepreneurs a flexible and protective business structure. To initiate the formation of an LLC in the Magnolia State, prospective business owners must adhere to specific steps outlined by the Mississippi Secretary of State.
The first crucial step involves choosing a unique and compliant business name and completing and submitting the required formation documents. Mississippi’s business-friendly environment makes it an attractive location for small businesses, and the LLC structure provides liability protection for its members.
This brief guide will walk you through the essential steps and considerations to help you successfully start your LLC in Mississippi.
Starting an LLC in Mississippi Step-By-Step
1. Select a Name for Your Mississippi LLC
Choose a designation for your Mississippi Limited Liability Company (LLC) in accordance with naming regulations. There are two primary guidelines to adhere to when selecting a name for your LLC in the state of Mississippi:
- Ensure that the LLC’s name is distinct from the names of existing businesses registered with the Mississippi Secretary of State.
- Include the term “Limited Liability Company” or use one of the abbreviations, “L.L.C.” or “LLC,” in the LLC’s name.
Check the availability of the chosen LLC name by utilizing the Secretary of State Business Search.
Reserve your LLC name through the Secretary of State by filing an online Application for Name Reservation (requires account registration) and submitting the $25 reservation fee. This reservation, which lasts for up to 180 days, safeguards the chosen name from being claimed by another business entity in Mississippi until you’re prepared to submit a Certificate of Formation and officially establish your LLC in the state.
2. Choose a Registered Agent
As a business proprietor, you will receive crucial documents through mail correspondence. In any state where your business operates, it’s essential to have a specific address where a designated individual or business is accessible throughout business hours to handle communication on behalf of your LLC.
This designated individual or business is commonly called a “registered agent,” and you can enlist their services for as low as $50 per year.
Insider Tip: While you can act as your registered agent, it may not be the most convenient choice unless you intend to be present at your business address throughout all business hours. A registered agent company typically promptly scans any documents you send and forwards them electronically. This arrangement allows you the flexibility to be away from the office without the risk of missing crucial information.
Our Picks of the Best-Registered Agent Services
Eliminate the stress of navigating through paperwork by partnering with ZenBusiness. This company provides a diverse range of LLC services, prioritizing the accurate setup of your business by completing and delivering the necessary paperwork to the appropriate state government branch. While ZenBusiness does have service fees, customers consistently report receiving excellent value for their investment.
Commencing a business involves grappling with myriad state-mandated paperwork, a daunting task for new business proprietors. Northwest offers comprehensive business services to assist entrepreneurs in locating the correct documentation, completing it accurately, and submitting it punctually to the relevant government agency. Beyond aiding in LLC establishment, Northwest offers valuable additional services, such as registered agent services catering to the needs of new business owners.
bizee stands out by offering a rich repository of resources to guide first-time business owners in determining the most suitable business type for them. Following this, bizee provides assistance with documentation and filing procedures, demystifying terms like a registered agent, articles of organization, and EIN. Backed by a solid reputation and positive online reviews, bizee is a reliable choice for businesses entering the entrepreneurial landscape.
3. File a Certificate of Formation
Complete and submit the Certificate of Formation to finalize the establishment of your Mississippi LLC. The crucial step in the process of obtaining an LLC in Mississippi is the filing of the certificate of formation. This can be accomplished through the official secretary of state’s website or by filling out the form and sending it via mail. A fee of $50 is required at the time of submission or can be paid through a mailed check.
Mississippi mandates the inclusion of your business’s North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code, used for statistical categorization of businesses. Retrieve this code from the U.S. Census website or utilize online resources such as a free NAICS identification tool.
When completing the certificate of formation, provide the following details:
- Your business name (ensure it’s available if not reserved)
- Business email address
- The desired effective date of registration (immediate or within 90 days)
- Business’s NAICS code
- Registered agent’s name and address
- Name of one LLC organizer
Mississippi will issue a state business identification number upon filing, which is essential for filing the annual report during tax season.
Note: If you don’t plan to operate your LLC immediately after filing and wish to avoid taxes for a part of the year without income, consider delaying the effective date. Formation companies can assist with this for a nominal fee.
For foreign LLCs seeking to conduct business in Mississippi:
- Adhere to state LLC naming guidelines and confirm name availability through the Secretary of State Business Search.
- Designate a Mississippi registered agent.
- Utilize the Mississippi Secretary of State online filing system to submit the Application for Registration of Limited Liability Company with a $250 filing fee.
- Include a Certificate of Good Standing from the LLC’s home state, dated within the last six months, with the application for registration.
4. Create an Operating Agreement
While only a few states mandate the submission of operating agreements for LLCs, establishing one is prudent, ensuring clarity on your business operations. This is particularly crucial if you anticipate having employees or multiple LLC members, as safeguarding yourself legally is wise by delineating policies and procedures in a legally binding document from the outset.
Online templates for operating agreements are readily available, either for free or for a nominal fee. Typically, they include details on:
- Membership within the LLC
- Rights and responsibilities of members
- Voting percentages assigned to members
- Allocation of profit and loss
- Provisions for buying or selling membership interests
- Guidelines for member resignations or in the event of death
- Dissolution procedures for the LLC
Insider Tip: Investing in a Mississippi LLC lawyer or another business expert to review your operating agreement before all members sign may be a worthwhile expense. This precaution can potentially save money in the long run by averting costly business misunderstandings that could lead to legal disputes.
5. Apply for a Federal Employee Identification Number (EIN)
Congratulations on mastering the process of establishing an LLC in Mississippi! As you prepare to fulfill your tax responsibilities, obtaining a federal EIN is essential if you intend to employ individuals or if your LLC has multiple members.
The application for an EIN is free, but you must possess a taxpayer identification number, such as a Social Security number, to complete the process.
Insider Tip: If your plans don’t include hiring employees or adding additional members to your LLC, having an EIN may not be mandatory for operations. In such cases, you can utilize your state tax or Social Security numbers when necessary. However, note that some banks might require an EIN for opening a business account, so it might be beneficial to obtain one.
6. Comply With Additional Legal Responsibilities for Your Mississippi LLC
Once your LLC is officially registered, members must focus on meeting ongoing legal obligations throughout the company.
Submitting Annual Reports
Every active LLC in Mississippi must file an Annual Report with the Secretary of State annually. These reports need to be submitted online before April 15 each year. To complete the report, you’ll need the LLC’s Business ID number, which can be found using the Mississippi Secretary of State Business Search.
While there is no annual report filing fee for Mississippi-formed LLCs, foreign LLCs conducting business in the state must pay a $250 filing fee when submitting their report.
Securing Business Licenses and Permits
Depending on the nature of your business and the location of your principal office, your Mississippi LLC may need to obtain one or more state or locally-issued business licenses or permits.
Unlike some other states, Mississippi lacks a centralized website for state occupational license and permit information. However, the Secretary of State’s Mississippi Boss: Business One Stop Shop website can provide some guidance. Alternatively, contacting a city clerk in the municipality where your LLC is based is another way to gather information about state and local licensing requirements.
Registration With the Mississippi Department of Revenue
Your Mississippi LLC may need to register with the state’s Department of Revenue, especially if you collect sales tax on retail goods or employ individuals.
You can complete the registration process with the Mississippi DOR online by setting up an account through Mississippi’s Taxpayer Access Point.
7. Mississippi LLC Tax Filing Obligations
To ensure the continued good standing of your business, it’s crucial to remain current with your Mississippi LLC tax responsibilities.
Depending on your business type, you may need to enroll for one or more tax categories:
Mississippi Sales Tax
If your business involves selling physical products, you typically must acquire a seller’s permit through the Mississippi Department of Revenue website. Mississippi’s statewide sales tax is 7%, with additional local sales taxes of 0.25% in Tupelo and 1% in Jackson.
Mississippi Employer Taxes
If you employ individuals in Mississippi, registration for Unemployment Insurance Tax via the Mississippi Department of Employment Security is necessary. Additionally, you should sign up for Employee Withholding Tax through the Mississippi Department of Revenue.
Individual income tax rates in Mississippi vary from 0% to 5%, depending on your LLC’s income. State tax returns must be filed annually by April 18. For tax calculations or to determine your tax bracket, consult the Mississippi Department of Revenue website.
Federal income tax obligations should be fulfilled using either Form 1065 (for multi-member LLCs) or Form 1040 Schedule C (for single-member LLCs).
Hiring Employees in Mississippi
If you intend to employ staff, adhere to legal requirements by following these steps:
- Verify new employees’ eligibility to work in the US
- Report new hires to the state
- Provide workers’ compensation insurance
- Withhold employee taxes
- Display workplace compliance posters visibly within your workspace
8. Explore Business Insurance Options in Mississippi
Explore the various business insurance options available in Mississippi to effectively manage the risks associated with your LLC. Acquiring insurance safeguards your business and allows you to concentrate on its growth. Common insurance plans for Mississippi businesses encompass:
- Workers’ compensation insurance: This policy covers injuries and illnesses employees sustained during work. Mississippi law mandates employers with five or more employees to secure workers’ comp coverage.
- General liability insurance: Protect your LLC from legal expenses, judgments, financial losses due to property damage, and on-the-job injuries, such as a customer slipping and falling on your premises. While not obligatory under Mississippi law, many commercial leases require general liability insurance for office or storefront rentals.
- Professional liability insurance: This policy offers protection in case a mistake made during your work adversely affects another individual or business.
- Commercial automobile insurance: All vehicles in Mississippi, whether used for commercial or personal purposes, must be covered by vehicle insurance.
- Unemployment insurance: Contributing to Mississippi’s unemployment insurance tax aids in funding the state’s unemployment insurance fund for workers facing layoffs.
9. Promote Your Mississippi LLC
Establishing your Mississippi LLC marks the initial step, but the real work begins with effective marketing to distinguish your business in a competitive landscape. A comprehensive marketing strategy for your Mississippi LLC encompasses:
- Market Research: Prioritize understanding your target customer(s) through thorough market research. Identify their locations and determine the most effective means to connect with them.
- Advertising: Elevate your LLC’s visibility by employing advertising strategies, whether through print, television, or digital channels or by enlisting the services of an advertising agency to orchestrate impactful campaigns.
- Social Media: Cultivate a robust presence on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, for your Mississippi LLC. This approach ensures broad outreach to potential customers in the contemporary business landscape.
Mississippi LLC Requirements Checklist
- The name of a Mississippi LLC must be unique and distinguishable from existing businesses registered with the Mississippi Secretary of State.
- It must include the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or one of the abbreviations “L.L.C.” or “LLC.”
Documents and Fees
- Application for Name Reservation: $25 filing fee
- Certificate of Formation: $50 filing fee
- Application for Registration of Limited Liability Company: $250 filing fee (applicable to foreign LLCs only)
A Mississippi LLC exists by submitting a Certificate of Formation to the Mississippi Secretary of State.
- Annual Reports must be filed for all LLCs conducting business in Mississippi.
- Certain LLCs must acquire state and local business licenses and permits.
- Registration with the Mississippi Department of Revenue (DOR) is mandatory for specific LLC types.
How to Start an LLC in Mississippi – FAQs
What Is an LLC?
A limited liability company combines the ease and flexibility of a partnership or sole proprietorship structure with the enhanced risk protection offered by a corporate framework. Similar to corporate shareholders, the owners of an LLC, known as “members,” benefit from limited liability. This means their personal liability is confined to their invested capital and doesn’t extend beyond it to cover corporate losses or debts.
By default, LLC members are subject to taxes based on personal income, following a “pass-through” tax structure similar to that of sole proprietorships or general partnerships. However, by meeting specific requirements, an LLC can choose taxation as a C corporation (C-corp) or S corporation (S-corp). Many small business owners opt for LLCs due to their simplicity and flexibility.
What Are the Advantages of Establishing an LLC?
Many entrepreneurs opt for LLCs because they’re often more cost-effective than corporations while providing some liability protection. For instance, an LLC’s finances are treated separately from individual assets, and they typically operate as pass-through tax entities, allowing for tax claims. Exceptions exist for LLCs whose members choose corporate taxation.
What Is the Cost of Forming Mississippi Llcs?
Domestic entities incur a $50 fee for forming LLCs in Mississippi, while foreign entities face a $250 charge.
Do Mississippi LLCs Need to File Annual Reports?
Yes, Mississippi LLCs must submit annual reports by April 15, although no annual fee is applicable.
How Do I Complete LLC Filings in Mississippi?
LLC forms can be submitted through the Secretary of State’s website, requiring registration to initiate the process.
Are Mississippi Llcs Required to Pay Taxes?
Mississippi LLCs typically function as pass-through entities and don’t have separate taxation. However, LLCs treated as corporations are liable for a franchise tax of $2.50 per $1,000 of capital employed in the state.
Read More: Cost to start an LLC
What Tax Flexibility Does an LLC Offer?
LLCs can choose their tax classification, operating as sole proprietorships, partnerships, C corporations (C-corps), or S corporations (S-corps). This flexibility enables LLC members to minimize their tax obligations.
In conclusion, embarking on the journey to establish an LLC in Mississippi involves a series of pivotal steps, from choosing a unique business name to filing Articles of Organization and addressing ongoing compliance requirements.
Navigating this process diligently, including appointing a registered agent and creating an operating agreement, is essential for securing the benefits of limited liability and ensuring effective business management. Staying informed about state regulations, annual reporting, and tax responsibilities is crucial for maintaining the LLC’s good standing.
Although the path may seem intricate, leveraging available resources and professional guidance can simplify the process, allowing entrepreneurs to lay a solid foundation for a resilient and legally compliant business in the dynamic Mississippi business landscape.
About the author
Dr. Alexander Sterling, Esq, a distinguished legal scholar with a business law degree and a Doctor of Juridical Science, is a leading expert in business registration and diverse business departments. Renowned for his academic excellence and practical insights, Dr. Sterling guides businesses through legal complexities, offering invaluable expertise in compliance, corporate governance, and registration processes.
As an accomplished author, his forthcoming book is anticipated to be a comprehensive guide for navigating the dynamic intersection of law and business, providing clarity and practical wisdom for entrepreneurs and legal professionals alike. With a commitment to legal excellence, Dr. Alexander Sterling, Esq, is a trusted authority dedicated to empowering businesses within the ever-evolving legal landscape.