Elections and Government Services Administrative Rules of Montana Business Services Notary and Certification Records and Information Management

Businesses may be structured in a variety of ways, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Following is a brief overview of some of the more common business structures and the associated registration forms that must be filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. It may be necessary to obtain for your business additional forms or state and local licenses. The Secretary of State's Office strongly recommends that you consult with an attorney, accountant, financial adviser, and/or banker to help you determine which structure best suits your needs.

Assumed Business Name (Also known as "DBA" - Doing Business As)

Assumed Business Name refers to the trade name or business name under which the business or operation is conducted and is not the full, true and correct name of the person or persons who actually own the business.

*Doing Business As or DBA also called a fictitious name refers to when a Corporation, LLC or other business type is doing business under an Assumed Business Name in conjunction with the registered corporate name.   

Assumed Business Names Cannot Consent To Use of the Name

Assumed Business Names cannot legally give consent to another entity for use of an assumed business name (30-13-202, MCA). Effective 3/19/2010


Sole Proprietorship

This type of business is owned by a single individual. A sole proprietor has total control of and responsibility for his or her business, receives all profits, and can make important decisions quickly. The sole proprietor is also responsible for all taxes and liabilities of the business.

If you plan to start a sole proprietorship and you are not planning to do business under your full, true, and correct name, you must file an Application for Registration of Assumed Business Name with the Secretary of State's Office. Otherwise, no registration is required.


General Partnership

A partnership is an association of two or more people acting as co-owners of a for-profit business. Individuals may create a partnership by oral or written agreement. Under this arrangement, the partners share personal liability for all claims against the partnership, as well as share all profits and losses. Profits are taxed as personal income for each individual partner.

A partnership agreement is generally maintained by the partnership itself. However, if you choose, you may file a partnership agreement with the Secretary of State's Office. There is a $20 filing fee. This fee is in addition to the $20 registration fee necessary for filing an Application for Registration of Assumed Business Name with the Secretary of State’s Office.  


Limited Partnership

Limited Partnership is a business entity with one or more general partners, who manage the business and assumed legal debts and obligations while limiting the liabilities of the limited partners.


Limited Liability Limited Partnership

Limited Liability Limited Partnership Is a business entity similar to a limited partnership except that is offers extended protections for liability of the general partners.


Limited Liability Partnership

Limited Liability Partnership is a business entity that combines the elements of a general partnership with liability protection similar to that of a limited liability company.



Corporation is a business entity set up for profit or nonprofit purposes and one which is charted by a state and given many legal rights as an entity separate from its owners.


Limited Liability Company

Limited Liability Company is a business entity that differs from a corporation because it offers advantages of a partnership while limiting the liabilities of the members.


Series Limited Liability Company

Series Limited Liability Company has the ability to partition its assets and liabilities among a set of separate limited liability companies.  Each limited liability company may have different assets, economic structures, members, and managers. The profits, losses, and liabilities of each are legally separate from the others in the series, thereby creating a firewall between each entity.  It also offers advantages of a partnership while limiting the liabilities of the members and series members.



A Trademark is any word, name, symbol, device or any combination of words, names, symbols or devices used by a person to identify and distinguish the goods of that person, including a unique product from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods.


Service Mark

A Service Mark is a mark used to identify a service rather than a product. A service mark differs from a trademark in that the mark is used for the advertising of services rather than on the packaging or delivery of the service.