How to Get a Business License in Montana - How to Start my LLC

How to Get a Business License in Montana

Written by:

Carolyn Young has over 25 years of experience in business in various roles, including bank management, marketing management, and business education.

Reviewed by: Sarah Ruddle

For over 15 years, Sarah Ruddle has been a noteworthy leader in the business and nonprofit world.

How to Get a Business License in Montana

How to Get a Business License in Montana

A crucial step in starting a limited liability company (LLC) in Montana is acquiring all the necessary licenses and permits. Depending on your business, you may need them at the federal, state, and local levels. 

Without them, you could face major penalties and even business closure. This guide lays out all you need to know to ensure full compliance in Montana.

Which Department Issues Business Licenses and Permits?

In most states, several agencies and departments issue licenses and permits depending on industry and location. For example, in Montana, the Department of Labor and Industry issues most licenses, while the Department of Revenue issues some. 

Sales tax permits in Montana must be obtained locally for jurisdictions with a sales tax. Montana has no sales tax, so a state permit is not required.

Federally, different departments oversee different industries. As a result, licenses and permits are generally industry-specific, except for health permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

If you run a farm, your business may need a U.S. Department of Agriculture license.  If your company sells fireworks, you’ll have to register with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Most industries, however, do not require licensing at the federal level. 

The Small Business Association (SBA) has put together a handy guide that details which licenses and permits are needed for various types of businesses. 

Common Business Licenses and Permits

Here are some common licenses and permits you may need.

Federal Licenses

If a federal agency regulates your industry, you’ll need a license from the agency. Federal agencies that may require a license include:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
  • Department of Transportation

State Licenses

The Montana Department of Revenue has put together a list of licenses required for common business activities in the state, everything from a fishing guide to accountants.  Common licenses at the state level include:

  • Industry-specific licenses for certain professions and industries, such as construction, plumbing, electrical, childcare, food handling, liquor, architecture, and finance
  • Health licenses and permits
  • Doing business as (DBA) permits using a name other than your LLC.

Local Licenses

At the municipal or county level, you may need the following:

  • Building and zoning permits
  • Health licenses and permits
  • Fire permits
  • Sign permits

How to Obtain a Business License in Montana

In Montana, a general business license is not required, 

  1. Unless you’re operating as a sole proprietorship or partnership, you’ll need to register your business entity with the state, usually as an LLC or a corporation. 

You can do so online with the Secretary of State

  1. If you sell goods or services, you’ll need to register for sales tax with your local government if your jurisdiction has a sales tax. 
  2. Other licenses require applications with specific departments. In Montana, for example, you’ll need a fertilizer dealer license if you run a fertilizer business. For this, you’ll apply with the Department of Agriculture.  
  3. Check with local governments for required licenses and permits at the local level. 

How Much Does a Business License Cost in Montana?

License and permit fees vary. For example, forming an LLC costs $35. Sales tax permit fees at the local level vary. For example, a fertilizer dealer license fee costs $75.

Do Licenses and Permits Have to Be Renewed?

Some licenses and permits must be renewed annually. For example, if a local sales tax permit is required, it may expire after a year. However, most professional licenses do need to be renewed annually. 

Check with issuing departments for renewal requirements for other licenses and permits.

In Closing

Obtaining licenses and permits is a critical step when starting an LLC in Montana, so check with state and local government offices and fully comply with their requirements. If you operate without the proper licenses and permits, you could face steep fines or even the closure of your business. 

If you’re unsure of state or local regulations and need help, consult a business attorney, as proper licensing is an absolute must.