What legal steps does it take to start a business in mid-Missouri? Follow the steps below to get the legal paperwork done so you can officially open your doors or hang your shingle.

Use the following chart as a checklist, and go through the chart in order. Depending on the type of your business and the number of employees you have, some of these registrations may not apply to you. If you want to print this information, please download the following file.


           Legal Registrations to Start a Business

If you would like a confidential session with a small business counselor to help you work through what you need to do to get your business started, read more about our program on the About page.

We also explain these registrations in the First Steps to Starting Your Business class. Check the calendar to find out the next time this training is offered live, or take the class today online via the University of Missouri Extension.

Business Registration

State of Missouri

This is the very first thing you need to do after you decide what type of business entity you will create (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, etc.) Fees vary depending on the type of business structure and the way you name your business (S-corp, LLC, fictitious name, etc.). A business attorney can help you determine the right type of business entity and file your forms for you.

MO Secretary of State Office

606 W Main St

Jefferson City, MO 65701


Employer Identification Number (EIN)


No fee. Use the EIN to open your business bank account.

Internal Revenue Service

Go to and search "apply ein"

Sales Tax ID

State of Missouri

Any business that makes retail sales must obtain a Missouri Retail Sales License from the MO Department of Revenue. You must post a bond (based on projected monthly gross sales) at the time of application.

MO Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation & Collection

PO Box 3300

Jefferson City, MO 65105

573.751.5860 / Fax 573.522.1722

County Business License

Your County

Missouri Law (150.010 RSMo 1994) states that every person, corporation, co-partnership or association of persons, who deals in selling goods, wares, and merchandise at any store, stand, or place occupied for that purpose, is a “merchant”.

Contact your county collector at the courthouse for more information about regulations, fees, and forms

  • Chariton County Collector, Keytesville 660.288.3789

  • Howard County Collector, Fayette 660.248.2195

  • Linn County Collector, Linneus 660.895.5410

  • Macon County Collector, Macon webpage or call 660.385.3214

  • Marion County Collector webpage or call 573.221.0727 (Hannibal) or 573.769.3282 (Palmyra)

  • Monroe County Collector, Paris webpage or call 660.327.4320

  • Pike County Collector, Bowling Green webpage or call 573.324.3281

  • Ralls County Collector, New London webpage or call 573.985.5621

  • Randolph County Collector, Huntsville webpage or call 844.277.6555 x310 (toll free)

  • Shelby County Collector, Shelbyville 573.633.2271

City Business License

Your City

(if in city limits)

Contact city hall in each city where your business will have a physical presence. City code and fees vary from city to city.

For utilities (electric, water, sewer, gas, trash, telecom), ask city hall for contact information.

Cities that have posted their business license application forms online are:

County Health Permit

Your County

For food sales (including temporary stands), food stores, and lodging: an application fee is required for food service establishments. Employees and managers may need to take a food handling class for an additional fee.

Call your county health department if this applies to your business.

  • Chariton County Health Center website or call 660.288.3675

  • Howard County Public Health Department website or call 660.248.3100

  • Linn County Health Department website or call 660.258.7251

  • Macon County Health Department website or call 660.395.4711

  • Marion County Health Department website or call 573.221.1166

  • Monroe County Health Department website or call 660.327.4653

  • Pike County Health Department website or call 573.324.2111

  • Ralls County Health Department website or call 573.985.7121

  • Randolph County Health Department website or call 660.263.6643

  • Shelby County Health Department website or call 573.633.2353

Liquor Permit

State of Missouri

Fees vary.

Contact the Alcohol and Tobacco Control Central Office

PO Box 837

Jefferson City, MO 65102-0837

573.751.2333 / Fax 573.526.4540

Professional Registration

State of Missouri

Some occupations require an extra registration with the state.
See this website for details.

Missouri Division of Professional Registration


Childcare/Daycare Licensing

State of Missouri

Besides state registration, your county health department will also inspect a daycare facility. (See health department listing above.)

Department of Health & Senior Services

Bureau of Childcare


Workers Compensation Insurance

State of Missouri

If you hire employees, workers comp insurance is compulsory for all employers with five or more employees. For construction industry employers who erect, demolish, alter, or repair improvements, workers comp is required for one or more employees.

Premiums vary. Purchase insurance through private carriers.

MO Department of Labor & Industrial Relations, Division of Workers Compensation


Unemployment Insurance

State of Missouri

If you hire employees, you may be liable for unemployment insurance. It depends on the type of entity and the type of work performed.

You pay the fees quarterly. Rates vary from 1.0% to 3.51%.

Division of Employment Security

PO Box 59

Jefferson City, MO 65104-0059

Fax 573.751.9730

Employee Compliance

State of Missouri

Information about wage and hour laws, unemployment tax, and employment eligibility verification (I-9 form) are at the Division of Labor Standards. A CPA can help you navigate employee tax withholding and other tax laws at the state and federal levels.

Division of Labor Standards

PO Box 449

Jefferson City, MO 65102-0449

573.751.3403 / Fax 573.751.3721

Mandatory Posters

Federal and State

If you hire employees, there are certain posters you must display at your workplace. You may download them free at

Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. Programs are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.

Small Business Development Center, Missouri

115 North Williams, PO Box 549

Moberly, MO 65270



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