Maine Filing Fees

What Are the Business Filing Fees in Maine?

Starting a business in Maine means paying a variety of government filing fees. We’ve compiled the most common ones here so that you’ll know what to expect.

FILE YOUR BUSINESS

Forming a new business can be daunting, and you may wonder where to start. The first step is to decide what type of business entity you will form. Although you will pay registration and filing fees, statutory entities like corporations and limited liability companies offer personal protection from liability, tax benefits, and business continuity. 

Regardless of whether you need to register your business with the state, your business will likely need to pay some type of fees to operate. Continue reading to learn about the fees your Maine business may have to pay, and how we can help.

Step 1: Pay your Maine business’s initial filing fees

Maine requires every statutory entity to register with the Bureau of Corporations at the Office of the Secretary of State, which includes a Maine formation fee. Maine accepts filings by mail and in-person. Once the Bureau of Corporations accepts your documents for filing, registration takes effect immediately. The Bureau may not file your documents on the day it receives them, but Maine offers a 24-hour service or immediate service for an extra fee. .  To simplify the process, see how our expedited filing service can help you form your Maine business quickly and easily.

Step 2: Reserve your Maine business’s name

Maine allows  potential business owners to reserve their desired and available business name, which grants you exclusive use of that name for 120 days. Maine doesn’t have automatic renewal, but you can re-file to continue the name reservation. If you don’t re-file, another business can reserve your name. Our name reservation service will register your name for you and includes a search to check that your intended name is available.

Step 3: Reserve a “doing business as” name in Maine 

Maine requires all businesses that use a name other than their legal name (a “doing business as” name) to register that name with the Bureau of Corporations. Maine refers to DBAs as assumed names or, sometimes, fictitious names. An assumed name can be beneficial if your business goes by an abbreviation or a shortened version of its legal name or to avoid using your personal name as your business name. You may also want to use an assumed name to market your business on the internet if the domain name you want isn’t available.  A foreign corporation may also use an assumed name if its legal name is unavailable in the state. 

There is a fee for filing a Statement of Intention to do Business under an Assumed or Fictitious Name. Maine also offers trade name registration. Finally, the city or town where the business is located may also require DBA name registration.

Step 4: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN is an identification number from the IRS used to pay your state and federal business taxes and report income tax withholding for your employees.

Additionally, Maine requires retail businesses to obtain a State Sales Tax Number. You can get a free EIN through the IRS or use our EIN service to do it for you and save you the hassle.

Step 5: Draft an operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or partnership agreement for your Maine business

Known as “governing documents,” operating agreements, corporate bylaws, and partnership agreements spell out how you will manage the business and allocate profits and losses. If you’re forming an LLC, the law requires that you enter into an operating agreement before or at the time of formation. Corporations may include the details on managing the business and regulating corporate affairs in their filings, but it’s not required.

Maine requires my LLC to have an operating agreement: How do I get one?

You can write your own governing documents for free, but that isn’t advisable because you might miss an essential contractual provision. You can hire a lawyer to draft one for you, which is expensive. Or you can use a template like our online LLC operating agreement template that you can customize for your business’s needs.

Step 6: Apply for your Maine business’s necessary licenses and permits

Unlike some other states, Maine doesn’t license businesses at the state level, commonly known as a general business license. Instead, the municipality where the business is located will license the business. Your business will need different types of licenses depending on what industry you’re in. There is no one-stop-shop to tell you every license or permit your business needs or what the fees for those will be. If you’d rather not have to do the research, our Business License Report can help you find what licensing you need.

Step 7: Pay registration fees for out-of-state businesses

A foreign business is registered in a state other than Maine. Maine requires foreign entities to file an Application for Authority to Do Business, which includes a Certificate of Existence from your business’s current Secretary of State. 

If you wish to move your corporation from another state to Maine, you can file Articles of Domestication for the formation fee. If you want to move your LLC, LP, or LLP to Maine, you can file an Application for Transfer of Authority if your state allows. 

If you’re a domestic business looking to set up shop out of state, you can obtain a Certificate of Existence through the Corporate Name Search. Or use our Certificate of Good Standing service to handle the process for you.

Step 8: Check Maine’s annual report requirements and fees

Maine requires all registered entities to file an annual report online by June 1st each year, which is accompanied by a fee.

If you don’t file on time, you will pay an additional fee. To avoid late fees, use our annual report service that can save you time each year.

Step 9: Keep your Maine business legally compliant

If you need to make changes to your business filings, such as a name or address change, you can file Articles of Amendment for a fee.

There’s also a fee to change your registered agent. If your business has many changes, sign up for our amendment filing service, and we’ll file amendments to your Articles of Organization or Articles of incorporation for you. Or you can use our Worry-Free Compliance service, which notifies you of upcoming filing deadlines and includes up to two amendment filings per year.

We’ll be on your side during formation and beyond

Keeping track of all the fees can be overwhelming, but you’re not alone. We can help you avoid costly mistakes and fines with services like our Worry-Free Compliance service. Don’t wait — start your business with us today.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

FAQs

  • Are there penalties for paying my fees late in Maine?

    If you file your annual report after June 1st, there is a late fee.

  • What happens if I can’t pay my fees to the Maine government?

    If you can’t pay the Maine business filing fees, the Secretary of State will return your documents, and your business won’t be registered. If you don’t file your annual report, the Secretary of State will administratively dissolve your business, so it’s important to file an Application for Excuse if your business isn’t currently operating.

  • Who receives the fees for forming my Maine business?

    The Maine formation fees go to the Department of the Secretary of State: Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions, which is responsible for elections, corporations, and various central filing activities.

  • What is usually the biggest fee I will pay when I form my Maine business?

    The fees depend on what type of entity you want to form and the industry you want to operate in, but the biggest fee you will usually pay is the initial filing fee.

  • What payment methods can I use to pay my LLC or corporation filing fees to the Maine government?

    The Maine Secretary of State accepts cash, check, debit, or credit card for in-person payments. Payments by mail can be by check or credit card. You file your annual report online and can pay by credit card or electronic check.

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