Start your business
Your new business idea has probably already taken hours of research and planning. You’re ready to get started, but before you begin doing business, you need to take care of all the paperwork to ensure your business is compliant in Maine.
Don’t let the process overwhelm you. ZenBusiness has your back. Our simple guide shows where to start to get your Maine limited liability company (LLC) up and running quickly and affordably.
In this guide, we’ve outlined five steps and simplified the details. We’ve also shown how the right LLC service can make the process easy and quick, allowing you to focus on opening and growing your business.
Starting a new business in Wisconsin can feel overwhelming. What are the steps your business needs to take to operate? What are the fees? How do you hire people when you are ready? If you are setting up an LLC, there are some specific steps to take in Wisconsin to ensure your business and partners are protected. This guide will help you with each step of the journey.
1Name Your Maine LLC
Appoint a Registered Agent in Maine
The first step is selecting an LLC name. That may sound simple, but it’s important to consider a few factors. You need a name that is clear and identifiable for your Maine business. Read more here about some of the general things to consider when naming your LLC.
Maine state law also requires that your business name include one of the following suffixes:
Maine also requires you to stay away from language considered obscene, language that promotes illegal activity, or that falsely claims affiliation with a public institution.
Before finalizing anything, though, you need to research if the name you want is available on the Secretary of State’s Corporate Name Search page. Once you have a name, you can file an Application for Reservation of Name. If you choose to file a name reservation, the fee is $20, and the name will be reserved for 120 days (with no option to renew). For 24-hour service, the fee is $50, and the fee for immediate service is $100.
Note that Maine does not offer online filing, so you’ll have to deliver your completed form in person or mail it to
Department of the Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101
If you plan on naming your LLC one thing but want to do business with another name, you will need a DBA (“Doing Business As”), known in Maine as an “assumed name.” For this you’ll need to file a Statement of Intention to Do Business Under an Assumed or Fictitious Name. The filing fee for an assumed name is $125. Note that Maine (unlike most other states) differentiates between an assumed name and a “fictitious name.” Here a fictitious name is a name adopted by a foreign (out-of-state) corporation authorized to transact business in Maine because its real name is unavailable. The fee for a fictitious name is $40. The fees mentioned above apply here for expedited service, as well.
You’ll also want to check the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to see whether your business name is federally trademarked before choosing. To have your name trademarked within the state of Maine, you can file an Application for Registration with the Secretary of State for a fee of $60 for one class and $10 for any additional class. Registration is good for 10 years.
A final consideration is whether your business name is available as a website domain. You can use a domain name search to find out.
Maine requires LLCs to have an Operating Agreement, which it calls an LLC Agreement. This document sets out business operations and governs the relationships between LLC members and between members and the company.
Besides being required by the state, an Operating Agreement is a good idea. It is an additional step that formalizes your business and protects its LLC status. If you have multiple members in your LLC, it’s important to put agreements in writing. That way, when disagreements come up between members, there is a written document to refer to rather than potentially faulty memories.
Operating Agreements typically include a number of things, like:
Your Operating Agreement, once complete, should be kept with your business filings.
The fifth step is to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can apply for an EIN by applying through the IRS website or mailing Form SS-4. Applying for an EIN is free, and if you apply online, you should receive your number in a matter of minutes.
Among other things, you need an EIN if you have multiple LLC members or if you plan to hire employees. Still, even if neither of those applies to your business, you should consider obtaining an EIN anyway. Your business EIN works like a Social Security number. It will allow you to open a business bank account or apply for a loan. Having an EIN allows you to avoid using your Social Security number, which can help protect you from fraud.
ZenBusiness is here to help make the process easier. Our plans start at $49. For that fee, we’ll complete and file your paperwork, serve as your registered agent, and provide a template for an Operating Agreement. We also have more comprehensive plans that take the headache out of obtaining your EIN and complying with state regulations.
Your Maine LLC may need to pay a variety of business and state taxes. These include taxes that are payable to the Maine government, like Maine sales tax. You might also need to pay federal, self-employment, and possibly payroll tax.
As an LLC, your company will not pay income taxes; instead, you and your partners will be taxed on your personal income. However, if you plan to sell products or services taxable in Maine, you will need to file an Application for Tax Registration with the Maine Revenue Services.
After filing your Certificate of Formation, it takes five to 10 business days to be processed. You can request expedited processing for an additional fee.
While Maine is one of six states requiring an LLC to have an Operating Agreement, you are not required to file it with the Secretary of State’s office.
LLC owners typically pay state and federal taxes on their personal income from the LLC. An LLC is not separately taxed. Some larger LLCs may choose to change their tax status to a corporation where the business is taxed as a separate entity.
A Series LLC is set up with one primary LLC that acts as an umbrella over several other LLCs. As of right now, Maine does not allow for this kind of business setup.
Want to learn more about starting a business in Maine? Contact us today!
Already a Main small business owner? Learn how ZenBusiness can help you run or grow your Maine small business today!
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