Start a Maine LLC

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Don’t let the process of starting a company in Maine overwhelm you. We have your back. Our guide shows you how to get your Maine limited liability company (LLC) up and running quickly and affordably.

In this guide, we outline five steps to help you start a Maine LLC. We also explain how the right LLC service can make the process easier and quicker, allowing you to focus on opening and growing your business. We’re here to help whether you file yourself or use a service like ours.

Following this guide will help you save time by avoiding missteps along the way.

How to Start an LLC in Maine

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Step 1: Name your Maine LLC

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.

LLC Naming Requirements

Maine state law also requires that your business name include one of the following suffixes:

Be careful about names that can sound questionable in nature. Maine forbids using obscene language, as well as anything that promotes illegal activity. You also can’t use a name that makes a false connection to a public entity.

Name Search & Reservation

Before finalizing anything, though, you need to research whether the name you want is available. We have a Maine business name search page that can guide you through this process.

If you find a name you like but aren’t yet ready to file your Articles of Organization, Maine allows you to reserve a business name for 120 days for a fee. If you’d rather not deal with this process yourself, we have a business name reservation service that can handle it for you. As part of the service, we also check to see if your desired name is available.

Secure a Matching Web Domain

When you’re coming up with a business name, it’s wise to consider whether you can secure a matching domain name so that your future website can be easily found online. We have a tool to help you do a preliminary domain name search, and our domain name registration service can help you secure the online name that will best serve your company.

Register an Assumed Name

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”) name, 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. There is a filing fee involved for an assumed name filing. Note that the Pine Tree State (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. There is a fee involved for a fictitious name filing.

If you want to simplify and speed up the process of securing an assumed name, we have a Maine DBA service you can use.

Get a Trademark

To make sure you’re entirely in the clear with your business name, visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website. There you can find out whether your business name or logo is federally trademarked. Trademarks can also happen at the state level. To find out if your desired business name is already trademarked and/or apply for a trademark of your own, go to the Maine Secretary of State website page for trademarks.

Step 2: Appoint a registered agent in Maine

registered agent is a person or entity designated to receive legal notices on behalf of your business. Maine requires a registered agent to be listed and kept current.

Be Your Own Registered Agent or Hire a Professional

You can serve as your Maine registered agent if you are 18 years of age or older and have a physical address — you are not allowed to use a P.O. box. However, this might not be a smart choice, as the registered agent is required to be available during business hours for legal notices to be served. It can be difficult to be available all day while running your business, so you may want to consider using a registered agent service. We can provide you with a Maine registered agent service through our third-party partner.

Freeing your time to grow your business is only one benefit of hiring an outside registered agent service. A few other advantages include:

Maine does not offer an online filing option from the state for the registered agent form. You’ll need to deliver it in person or mail your completed form to:

Department of the Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101

There is a fee involved to file.

Step 3: File Maine Certificate of Formation

Now that you have your name and registered agent, it’s time to file your Certificate of Formation. To complete the application, you will need the following information:

The application also requires a cover letter that includes:

To file your application, there is a fee involved. Expedited filing is an additional cost for 24-hour processing and immediate processing. All applications must be delivered by mail or in person. There is no online filing option.

To mail in your Certificate of Formation, send it to:

Department of the Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101

That all being said, filing official government documents like this can be intimidating and/or complicated for many people, which is why we’re here. With our business formation plans, our professionals handle the filing for you to make sure it’s done quickly and correctly the first time.

If you have us handle filing your Articles of Organization, once the state approves your LLC, your paperwork will be available from your ZenBusiness dashboard, where you can keep it and other important paperwork digitally organized.

Keep Your Maine Limited Liability Company Paperwork Digitally Organized

Once you get your physical paperwork back from the state approving your new LLC, you’ll want to keep it in a safe location along with your other important documents, such as your operating agreement, member certificates, contracts, compliance checklists, transfer ledger, etc. We offer a customized business kit to help you keep these important documents organized and looking professional.

Step 4: Create an operating agreement

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 (owners) and between members and the company.

Besides being required by the state, an operating agreement in Maine is a good idea. It’s 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.

Let us help take the guesswork out of creating your operating agreement. We have plans that include a customizable operating agreement template.

Step 5: Apply for an EIN

The fifth step is to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called a Tax ID Number. You can apply for an EIN by applying through the IRS website or mailing Form SS-4. But if you’re unfond of dealing with that particular government agency, we can get it for you. Our EIN service is quick and eliminates the hassle.

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 for your business and is also referred to as a Federal Tax Identification Number.

Once you’ve secured an EIN, you’ll be able to open a business bank account. Having separate accounts for your business and your personal banking is critical for sorting out your finances at tax time and helps you avoid commingling funds. Commingling funds can not only make your taxes more difficult, but it could also be used against you if someone takes you to court to challenge whether you and your LLC are truly separate entities.

We offer a discounted bank account for your new business. This allows for unlimited transactions, online banking, a debit card, and more. When you want to authorize others in your business to use the account, we offer a banking resolution template to simplify the process.

For further help managing your new business’s finances, try ZenBusiness Money. It can help you create invoices, receive payments, transfer money, and manage clients all in one place.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational 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.

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