How to Start a Business in Mississippi:
Data from the 2020 Cost of Living Data Series indicates that Mississippi has the lowest cost of living of all 50 states — a long-standing feat that doesn't seem to be changing any time soon. This, combined with low labor costs, makes the Magnolia State a great place for businesses to stretch their buck.
In addition to these widely-publicized benefits, new businesses stand to benefit from well-established funding schemes, as well as a range of tax breaks — the most common of which include the Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit and the Industrial Property Tax Exemption.
Form your business.
Review Mississippi formation options.
Mississippi offers six ways of forming your business. Review these closely and pick the one that fits your business best.
Check business name availability.
Once you've found a brandable business name, you'll need to determine whether it's available. Start by checking the Mississippi Secretary of State (SOS) website to ascertain whether your name, or close variations thereof, has been claimed by another business in the state.
If you need help finding a business name, be sure to check out NameSnack's free business name generator.
Navigate to the Mississippi (SOS) website.
Select the applicable search option.
Note that you can only select one at a time. You can always return to this step later and repeat your search using a different criterion.
Enter one or more keywords in the space that's provided.
Comb through the results to determine whether anyone has registered your preferred name or something similar to it.
Reset your search criteria and start again, if needed.
Just because your name hasn't been claimed at the state level doesn't mean that you can necessarily register it. You'll need to be sure that there aren't any existing trademarks before you proceed. View our detailed guide to conducting a trademark search.
File a name reservation.
Once you've established that your name is original, you can go ahead and file a name reservation. You can do this as early as six months prior to registering your business.
Provide the relevant information.
File your name reservation form.
Pay the $25.00 filing fee.
Get an employer identification number.
Nearly all businesses will need to register for federal taxes by applying for an employer identification number. There are three main filing options: electronic, fax, and mail. International applicants can apply by phoning the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Create a Mississippi Online Business Services Account.
Those wanting to start a sole proprietorship or general partnership need not file formation documents. However, all other recognized business types must be registered with the state.
Unlike many states where online registration is optional, the Mississippi SOS requests that all business registration and relevant documentation be submitted via their online portal. To do this, you'll need to create a Mississippi Online Business Services account.
Go to corp.sos.ms.gov.
Complete the on-screen task to verify that you're a human.
Follow the prompts to create your account.
Register your business in Mississippi.
Once you've created your Online Business Services account, you can proceed to register your entity with the state.
To form a limited partnership (LP), you must file a Certificate of Limited Partnership. There is a minimum filing fee of $50.00.
To register a limited liability company (LLC), you must file a Certificate of Formation. The filing fee starts at $50.00.
To establish a corporation, you must file Articles of Incorporation. There is a minimum filing fee of $50.00.
To create a nonprofit corporation, you must file Articles of Incorporation that stipulate the nonprofit nature of your organization. The filing fee starts at $50.00. Charitable nonprofit corporations also need to register with the Charities division of the SOS unless they are awarded an exemption.
Obtain necessary permits and licenses.
Many professions are also regulated at the state level. Regulated businesses include:
- Automobile dealers.
- Massage Therapists.
- Real estate agents.
Mississippi's professional license lookup tool and your local small business development center (SBDC) are great resources for learning about these and other state-specific licensing requirements. Your town or city clerk can shed more light on local regulations.
Register your business for taxes.
Register as a tax-paying entity with the Department of Revenue.
You can register almost all of your new business tax accounts using the Department of Revenue's (DOR) Taxpayer Access Point (TAP). Start off by registering your business as a new tax-paying entity.
Navigate to the TAP's home page.
Click on "Register for taxes" under the heading titled "Register for Taxes."
Under "New Account and Access," click on "Register a New Taxpayer."
Follow the prompts to register your account.
The Mississippi Department of Revenue may contact you with further instructions. If you need any assistance, call (601) 923-7700.
Register for corporate income and franchise tax.
Every corporation, association, or entity that conducts business, earns revenue, or simply exists in Mississippi is required to register for corporate income and franchise tax, regardless of whether they are active or not.
Businesses can register online via TAP or by submitting a hard copy application. Paperwork for the latter can be requested by calling (601) 923-7700.
Register for income withholding tax.
Businesses that employ staff must withhold personal income tax. To do so, they need to register for a withholding tax account with the DOR.
Click "Register Now."
Follow the on-screen prompts.
Register for unemployment insurance tax.
Businesses that have employees must also register for unemployment insurance (UI) tax through the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES). Current rates vary between 0.2 and 5.4% depending on business-related factors.
Complete Form UI-1, Status Registration form to create a UI tax account.
Hire and report your staff to the state.
Report your employees to the state directory.
You are required by law to report newly hired and rehired temporary and permanent employees to the state directory within 15 days. This even applies to people who work for one day and are terminated before fulfilling the new hire reporting requirement.
Note that independent contractors do not need to be reported.
Navigate to the Mississippi State Directory of New Hires.
Scroll to the bottom left of the page to find where to report your new employees. You'll need register to do so if you haven't already.
Display the requisite posters in your workplace.
Federal and state laws dictate that employers need to display numerous employment-related posters in their place of work. These include:
- An unemployment insurance poster.
- A Mississippi workers' compensation poster.
Some businesses may also be required to display the:
- Job safety and health protection poster.
- Equal employment opportunity posters.
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage poster.
- Employee rights for workers with disabilities/special minimum wage poster.
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) poster.
- "Your rights under USERRA: The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act" poster.
- Davis-Bacon poster.
- Employee rights on government contracts poster (WH 1313 SCA).
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) poster.
- Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) poster.
Mississippi Business Types:
1. Sole proprietorship.
Sole proprietorships comprise one owner/operator who assumes personal responsibility for taxes and liability issues. These businesses are easy to form, have few reporting requirements, and generally have fewer legal restrictions compared to the other structures. Business decisions can also be made relatively quickly.
2. General partnership.
General partnerships comprise at least two people (i.e., "partners") whose responsibilities are usually outlined in a partnership agreement. Each partner submits individual tax returns. Key advantages include easy formation and the ability to pool individual resources.
3. Limited partnership.
Limited partnerships (LPs) comprise general and limited partners. The former directs day-to-day operations, while the latter tends to be financially invested in the business and has limited decision-making power. Advantages of LPs include minimal liability for limited partners, as well as capacity for an infinite number of shareholders.
4. Limited liability company.
Limited liability companies (LLCs) are owned by at least one individual. The legal separation between owners (termed "members") and entities means that owners do not assume personal liability for the business's debt. LLCs have flexibility regarding their approach to profit distribution, as well as few recordkeeping obligations.
Corporations are legally distinct from their owners (termed "shareholders"). These business entities assume all liability for their debt and are taxed at corporate rates. However, profits that are disbursed to the shareholders can be taxed as personal income. Corporations have an unlimited lifespan, and ownership tends to be easily transferable.
6. Nonprofit corporation.
Nonprofits generally include a Board of Directors as well as members who use the company's income to further its objectives. Prominent advantages of this business structure include limited liability protection, perpetual existence, tax exemption, and easier access to grants.
Fees for Starting a Business in Mississippi:
Filing Fee for Domestic Profit Corporation
Filing Fee for Foreign Profit Corporation
Filing Fee for Domestic Nonprofit Corporation
Filing Fee for Foreign Nonprofit Corporation
Filing Fee for Domestic LLC
Filing Fee for Foreign LLC
Filing Fee for Domestic Limited Partnership
Filing Fee for Foreign Limited Partnership
Filing Fee for Domestic Limited Liability Partnership
Filing Fee for Foreign Limited Liability Partnership
Filing Fee for Domestic Limited Liability Limited Partnership
Filing Fee for Foreign Limited Liability Limited Partnership
Mississippi Agencies and Boards:
State Agency or Board
Agricultural Aviation Association
1 (662) 299-7836
Alcoholic Beverage Control Office
1 (601) 856-1301
1 (601) 750-4909
Board of Architecture
1 (601) 856-4652
Board of Barber Examiners
1 (601) 359-1015
Board of Chiropractic Examiners
1 (662) 773-4478
Board of Cosmetology
1 (601) 359-1820
Board of Examiners for Licensed Professional Counselors
1 (601) 359-1010
Board of Funeral Service
1 (601) 932-1973
Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors
1 (601) 359-6160
Board of Massage Therapy
1 (601) 732-6038
Board of Medical Licensure
1 (601) 987-3079
Board of Nursing
1 (601) 957-6300
Board of Nursing Home Administrators
1 (601) 362-6914
Board of Optometry
1 (601) 919-1343
Board of Pharmacy
1 (601) 899-8880
Board of Registered Professional Geologists
1 (601) 354-6370
Department of Agriculture and Commerce
1 (601) 359-1100
Department of Banking and Consumer Finance
1 (601) 321-6901
Department of Environmental Quality
1 (601) 961-5171
Department of Health
1 (601) 576-7400
Department of Insurance
1 (601) 359-3569
Department of Public Safety
1 (601) 987-1212
Department of Transportation
1 (601) 359-7001
Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage & Family Therapists
1 (601) 987-6806
1 (601) 636-0443
Institutions of Higher Learning
1 (601) 432-6684
Real Estate Commission
1 (601) 321-6970
How much does it cost to register a business in Mississippi?
Filing fees range between $50.00 and $250.00 depending on the type of business being registered. The business name reservation fee is fixed at $25.00.
What permits do I need when starting a business in Mississippi?
Businesses that sell products and certain services must have a sales tax permit. Members of certain professional groups must also be licensed at the state level. Be sure to contact your local small business development center (SBDC) to learn more about state-specific licensing requirements. Your town or city clerk can shed more light on local regulations.
Is Mississippi a good place to start a business?
Yes. Mississippi has the lowest cost of living and low labor costs when compared to other states, making it an attractive place to start a business. Start-ups also have access to a range of tax breaks and funding opportunities.
How much does it cost to start an LLC in Mississippi?
It will cost you a $50.00 filing fee to set up a domestic LLC in Mississippi. Other startup costs depend on the type of business you'll be establishing.
Do I need a state of Mississippi business license?
Mississippi does not require a general business license. However, you may need additional local or state licensing depending on your business type and location.
How do I start an LLC in Mississippi?
If you are forming an LLC in Mississippi, you need to create a Mississippi Online Business Services account by going to the Mississippi Secretary of State website. You can use this to file the requisite documentation, as directed.
How do I go about registering a business in Mississippi?
You can register with the Mississippi Secretary of State and the applicable Mississippi agencies and boards.
Who can be a Mississippi LLC registered agent?
- You can be your own LLC’s registered agent.
- A friend or family member can be the LLC’s registered agent.
- You can appoint a commercial registered agent.
How do I get an EIN in Mississippi?
You can apply for your Employer Identification Number (EIN) once you receive confirmation of your LLC's registration from Mississippi's Secretary of State (SOS). Registering an EIN is free, and it takes only a few minutes. Go to irs.gov to register.
How much is a tax ID number in Mississippi?
You can obtain a tax ID number — also known as an employer identification number (EIN) — for free when applying directly to the IRS.