Lodging establishments

Under state law, “lodging establishments” are subject to licensure and annual inspection by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Division of Environmental Public Health.

Specifically, “Lodging establishment” shall mean any building, group of buildings, structure, facility, place or places of business where five or more guest rooms are provided, which is owned, maintained, or operated by any person and which is kept, used, maintained, advertised or held out to the public for hire which can be construed to be a hotel, motel, motor hotel, apartment hotel, tourist court, resort, cabins, tourist home, bunkhouse, dormitory or other similar place by whatever name called, and includes all such accommodations operated for hire as lodging establishments for either transient guests, permanent guests or both transient and permanent guests.

The licensing year runs from June 1st to May 31st of the following year. Inspections shall be conducted at least annually and as often as deemed necessary. Inspections may be conducted any time between June 1st and May 31st.

In addition to inspection of the establishment, any food preparation areas will also be subject to inspection. For information on these requirements, contact the county health department office in your area: health.mo.gov/living/lpha/lphas.php. For regulations regarding food sales, contact the Missouri Department of Health: health.mo.gov/safety/foodsafety/pdf/missourifoodcode.pdf

Any lodging establishment offering liquor sales to guests via controlled access liquor cabinets must obtain a license to sell the liquor. For more information, contact the Missouri Division of Alcohol & Liquor Control: atc.dps.mo.gov/licensing or call 573-751-2333.

Additional information can be obtained from:

Bureau of Environmental Health Services
Commercial Lodging Program
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Environmental Public Health
PO Box 570
Jefferson City MO 65102
More information on Missouri legal requirements are available here:

Laws governing lodging establishments: health.mo.gov/safety/lodging/pdf/lodgingmanual.pdf

Information on requirements: sos.mo.gov/adrules/csr/current/19csr/19c20-3a.pdf (See page 6 Sanitation and Safety Standards for Lodging Establishments.)

Pollution prevention measures, resources and strategies and benefits for implementing a pollution prevention and recycling plan for lodging establishments can be found at:

Legal structure

Anyone conducting business in the State of Missouri under a name other than their own legal name (e.g., John Doe), must register the business name with the Missouri Secretary of State. Missouri law allows businesses to operate under four forms or organization:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership – general and limited
  • Corporation – C-Corp; S-Corp; Professional, Not-for-Profit; Foreign Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company – LLC

Each structure has its own advantages and disadvantages and there are many modifications and variations within these forms. The key to selection revolves around the concept of liability and taxation. You must decide which of these structures best suits your business. In choosing your business structure, consult with a qualified accountant and/or attorney who are familiar with your resources and objectives.

A description of the forms of organization and some of the advantages and disadvantages are discussed in Legal structures and Starting a New Business in Missouri. Choosing a particular structure does not necessarily determine how the business will be taxed.

The Licenses and registration checklist is a guide to help you with the licensing and registration requirements for starting your new business.

You can download forms on the Web at s1.sos.mo.gov/business%5Ccorporations%5Cforms.asp or contact the Secretary of State’s Office at 573-751-4936.


Understanding the taxes that apply to your business and how to meet the legal requirements of those taxes is critical. Consultation with an accountant or attorney is advisable.

Tax considerations are essential during the formation of a new business and during its entire life. When a business is just starting out, it may have little or no income or assets and the choice of structure may not seriously affect its tax liability. However, as the business grows, the tax implications become more significant.

Doing Business in Missouri: Legal Formation identifies the state and federal forms that must be filed for different business structures and compares the tax liabilities for the most common business structures.

For more information on taxes and access to printable copies of the required forms visit: Doing Business in Missouri: Taxes.

Hiring employees

Obtain a copy of  Employer’s Tax Guide (PDF)  from irs.gov or call 800-829-3676. This guide (“Circular E”) explains federal tax withholding and Social Security tax requirements for employers as well as containing current withholding tables for you to use to determine how much federal income tax and Social Security tax is to be withheld from each employee’s paycheck.

For a complete discussion on hiring employees, your responsibilities, and access to the required forms, refer to: Doing Business in Missouri: Hiring Employees.

Business resources and guides

You may also find the following information helpful as you begin your business:

  • Starting a New Business in Missouri is an excellent publication on the process of starting and operating a business in Missouri.
  • Evaluating Your Business Idea is a simple questionnaire-formatted document that helps you think through the elemental considerations in starting a business.
  • Guide to Writing a Business Plan provides a short, but thorough introduction to the process of writing a business plan and provides a simple outline of the contents of a standard plan.
  • MissouriBusiness.net is a network of key business resource providers in Missouri. The website contains a vast array of helpful documents, links and information on starting and operating your small business as well as a calendar of upcoming training and educational events throughout Missouri. Find a business counselor near you.
  • Contact your local (county, city, township) government offices early in the planning stages of your business. The requirement for local licenses and permits vary by county and city. Most cities, and some counties, require businesses to be licensed. Check with the city business/merchant license office and/or the county collector’s office for the requirements in your area. Be sure to check with the local city and/or county planning/zoning department to make sure that the site you have selected for your business is zoned to accommodate the activities of your business. These offices can be found in your local phone directory.
  • Missouri Lawyer Referral Service (mobar.org/LawyerSearch.aspx)
  • Missouri Society of Accountants 800-959-4276  or missouri-accountants.com
  • The Missouri Society of CPAs 800-264-7966 or mocpa.org