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How to Start a Business in Mississippi

If you’re looking to start a new business in the state of Mississippi, you’ve come to the right place!

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Many entrepreneurs are drawn to Mississippi’s growing telecom, tech, and biomass energy industries. And entrepreneurs find Mississippi’s modest costs appealing. With a low cost of living, and personal income and business tax rates below the national average, Mississippi also offers several tax and financial incentives to the new business owner.

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How to Start a Business

Starting a business can be both exhilarating and challenging. It requires your full attention and energy. It all begins with an idea, an observation that there is a problem and the belief that you have a new solution – or a better one. Allow us to walk you through the steps in this free guide: How to Start A Business.

General resources for starting a business in Mississippi

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Fun facts about starting a business in Mississippi

Famous business founded in Mississippi Fat Possum Records

Fat Possum Records is an independent record label based in Water Valley and Oxford, Mississippi. At first Fat Possum focused on recording previously unknown Mississippi blues artists, typically from Oxford or Holly Springs, Mississippi. Recently, Fat Possum has signed younger rock acts to its roster. The label has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and a 2004 documentary, You See Me Laughin.

Famous entrepreneur born in Mississippi Frederick W. Smith

Frederick Wallace “Fred” Smith (born in 1944), is the founder, chairman, president, and CEO of FedEx. Smith was born in Marks, Mississippi.

“A manager is not a person who can do the work better than his men; he is a person who can get his men to do the work better than he can.” – Frederick W. Smith

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Which type of legal structure is best for my business in Mississippi?

We strongly recommend you incorporate, but you must consider the tax, legal, and liability implications carefully before deciding on the best legal structure for your business.

Here are five steps to help you determine the best legal structure:

Click one of the buttons below to learn more about the different types of business legal structures and how to start them in the state of Mississippi.
LLC (Limited Liability Company)
A limited liability company (LLC) is a unique business entity that combines the taxation benefits of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability status of corporations. The owners of an LLC are referred to as “members,” and can range from one to several.

Steps to starting an LLC in Mississippi:

  • Step 1 — Choose a name for your LLC.
  • Step 2 — File a Certificate of Formation.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a Registered Agent.
  • Step 4 — Prepare an Operating Agreement.
  • Step 5 — Comply with any publication requirements.
  • Step 6 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 7 — File Annual Reports.
  • Step 8 — Register foreign LLCs doing business in Mississippi.

For help forming your LLC in Mississippi we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Alternatively, you can visit the Mississippi Secretary of State website.

Other Mississippi resources for LLCs:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your LLC name here.
Register here to file your “Application for Name Reservation” Form.
Register here to file your “Certificate of Formation.”
File your “Annual Reports” here.

Commercial Registered Agents: Run a search here to find a registered agent. Every Mississippi LLC must have an agent for service of process.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your LLC here. If your LLC has more than one member, you must get an EIN, even if you have no employees.

Mississippi Department of Revenue: If you will be selling goods or will have employees, you’ll need to register here.

Sole Proprietorship
Popular among individual self contractors or business owners, a sole proprietorship is a business entity that is owned and run by one person, and in which there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business. The owner is in direct control of all elements and is legally accountable for all profits, debts, losses, and liabilities.

Steps to starting Sole Proprietorship in Mississippi:

  • Step 1 — Choose a business name.
  • Step 2 — File an application for a fictitious name with the Secretary of State (not mandatory)
  • Step 3 — Obtain licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  • Step 4 — Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For help forming your sole proprietorship in Mississippi we recommend CorpNet (there are fees for their service).

Or, you can visit the Mississippi Secretary of State website.

Other Mississippi resources for Sole Proprietorship:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your business name here. A sole proprietor may use his or her given name, or an assumed business name.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Federal database for existing trademark registrations. Click on the “TESS” link to conduct a search.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your sole proprietorship here. If you hire employees, you will need an EIN.

Licenses and Permits: Search for what licenses and permits may be required of your business here.

Mississippi Department of Revenue: If you will be selling goods or will have employees, you’ll need to register here.

Partnership
In a partnership, two or more people share ownership. Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, including money, property, labor, or skill. In return, each partner shares in the profits and losses of the business. There doesn’t have to be a written agreement to form the partnership.

Steps to starting Partnership in Mississippi:

  • Step 1 — Choose a business name.
  • Step 2 — File a fictitious business name.
  • Step 3 — Create a partnership agreement.
  • Step 4 — Obtain licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  • Step 5 — Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For help forming your partnership in Mississippi we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Alternatively, you can visit the Mississippi Secretary of State website.

Other Mississippi resources for Partnership:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your business name here. A partnership may use the surnames of the individual partners, or a fictitious business name.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Federal database for existing trademark registrations. Click on the “TESS” link to conduct a search.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your partnership here. Partnerships must have an EIN, whether you have employees or not.

Licenses and Permits: Search for what licenses and permits may be required of your business here.

Mississippi Department of Revenue: If you will be selling goods or will have employees, you’ll need to register here.

S Corporation
An S corporation (sometimes referred to as an S Corp), is a special type of corporation created through an IRS tax election. A business electing to incorporate with S corporation status has its business income taxed only once, similar to how sole proprietorships and partnerships are taxed. By electing to become an S corporation, a small business can gain the legal advantages available to businesses with a corporate structure, as well as the tax advantages available to partnership firms.

Steps to starting S Corporation in Mississippi:

  • Step 1 — Name your corporation.
  • Step 2 — File Articles of Incorporation.
  • Step 3 — Find a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Set up a corporate records book.
  • Step 5 — Prepare corporate bylaws.
  • Step 6 — Appoint initial corporate directors.
  • Step 7 — Hold your first Board of Directors meeting.
  • Step 8 — Issue stock.
  • Step 9 — Comply with annual report requirements.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Mississippi.

For help forming your S corporation in Mississippi we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Or, you can visit the Mississippi Secretary of State website.

Other Mississippi resources for S Corporation:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.
Register here to file your “Application for Name Reservation” Form.
Register here to file your “Articles of Incorporation.”
File your “Annual Reports” here.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation here.

IRS S corporations: Specific instructions for your tax requirements as an S corp.

Licenses and Permits: Search for what licenses and permits may be required of your business here.

Mississippi Department of Revenue: Register here to fullfill your corporate tax requirements.

C Corporation
A C corporation (or C corp for short), under United States federal income tax law, refers to any corporation that is taxed separately from its owners. A C corporation is distinguished from an S corporation, which generally is not taxed separately. However, C corporations have greater tax planning flexibility and can shield shareholders from direct tax liability.

Steps to starting C Corporation in Mississippi:

  • Step 1 — Choose a corporate name.
  • Step 2 — Prepare and file Articles of Incorporation.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Set up a corporate records book.
  • Step 5 — Prepare corporate bylaws.
  • Step 6 — Appoint initial corporate directors.
  • Step 7 — Hold your first Board of Directors meeting.
  • Step 8 — Issue stock.
  • Step 9 — Comply with annual report requirements.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Mississippi.

For help forming your C corporation in Mississippi we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Alternatively, you can visit the Mississippi Secretary of State website.

Other Mississippi resources for C Corporation:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.
Register here to file your “Application for Name Reservation” Form.
Register here to file your “Articles of Incorporation.”
File your “Annual Reports” here.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation here.

Licenses and Permits: Search for what licenses and permits may be required of your business here.

Mississippi Department of Revenue: Register here to fullfill your corporate tax requirements.

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Why choose Mississippi for my business?

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    MSU Entrepreneurship Center
    “The Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation strives to help students, faculty, and staff at Mississippi State University start and grow successful companies. Our goal is to provide first-class strategic guidance and mentorship, build financial and other tangibles resources to support business start-ups, forge new partnerships with industry thought leaders, enhance interdisciplinary relationships, and actively promote outreach to new students.”

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    Mississippi Small Business Development Center
    Resources for small business owners in Mississippi.

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    Mississippi Minority Business Assistance
    “The Mississippi Development Authority offers numerous programs and services designed to help minority-owned, women-owned and small business enterprises grow and thrive.”

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