Maine

Start your business

Form Your Maine LLC Online Today

Ready to start your Maine LLC? Here's everything you need to know.

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.

How Do I Start an LLC in Maine?

The 5 steps to form an LLC in Maine:
 

1Name Your Maine LLC

2

Appoint a Registered Agent in Maine

3
File Maine Articles of Organization
 
4
Create an Operating Agreement
 
5
Apply for an EIN

To form your LLC in the state of Maine, you need to file a Maine Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State’s office. However, there are several steps to take before and after to get your business ready.

Following this guide will allow you to focus on following your dream, not chasing down the paperwork.

LLC 1

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. 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:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Company
  • L.L.C.
  • LLC
  • L.C.
  • LC

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.

Idea

Dojo Insights

Laura searched the Secretary of State’s website to ensure no business names were similar to the ones she had picked. She narrowed her list to two possibilities and then checked what was available as a website domain. She was glad she checked — her first name was not available, but her second choice was.

Decoration

ZenBusiness can help you focus on the fun of naming your business by taking the pain out of the process. We have packages that include form filling and website name reservations.

Locked

Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent in Maine

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

  • Many companies don’t maintain a storefront. If this is the case, hiring an outside registered agent service can be helpful, as they’ll serve as your registered address, so you don’t have to use your home address.
  • Being served legal documents in front of potential clients can be distracting and awkward. This can be avoided with a registered agent service, who will receive documents and send them along to you.
  • A registered agent service can often organize and maintain those documents, ensuring you meet deadlines and your business remains in good standing.
As mentioned earlier, Maine does not offer an online filing option 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  The filing fee is $35.
Idea

Dojo Insights

Laura had planned to act as her own registered agent, but after learning about ZenBusiness’s registered agent service, she decided to use it. Now, she can focus on meeting clients and not worry about any legal notices.

Information

Step 3: File Maine Articles of Organization

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 name of the company
  • The filing date (You can choose between the date you file the paperwork or a later date.) 
  • Your designation as a low-profit LLC (You only complete this section if you meet specific qualifications.) 
  • Your designation as a professional LLC (Here, too, you only complete if you meet certain qualifications.)
  • A registered agent (You can select from a commercial or noncommercial registered agent.) 
  • Any attachments the LLC owners or members decide to include 
  • Signature (At least one authorized person needs to sign the application.) 
The application also requires a cover letter that includes:

  • The name of your organization
  • A list of the filings you are enclosing (for example, Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Merger)
  • Any special handling requests (This is where you can check a box if, for example, you want expedited filing. You can pick 24-hour or immediate service.) 
  • Contact information (List the person the Secretary of State’s office should contact if they have any questions.)
  • The address where the Secretary of State’s office will return documents
To file your application, the fee is $175. Expedited filing is an additional $50 for 24-hour processing or $100 for 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 
Idea

Dojo Insights

As Laura filled out her Certificate of Formation paperwork, she decided to pick a future date for her business to be official. She used the extra time to work out the details of the business with her partners.

Agreement

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 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:

  • Member responsibilities and returns. You will want to specifically lay out the percentage of each member’s ownership, the distribution of income, and member voting rights and responsibilities.
  • Roles within the company. Who will be responsible for which parts of the business, and what power does each member or manager hold?
  • Buyout/buy-sell details. This is where you discuss how it will work if a member wants to leave the LLC or if a new member needs to be added. It’s also important to discuss what will happen if a member dies.

Your Operating Agreement, once complete, should be kept with your business filings.

Idea

Dojo Insights

Although LLCs in Maine are required to create an Operating Agreement, Laura was glad they had taken that step. Within the first year of the business, she and her partner used it to settle a disagreement and to bring on a third partner.

Let ZenBusiness help take the guesswork out of creating your Operating Agreement. We have plans that include an Operating Agreement template.

EIN

Step 5: Apply for an EIN

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.

Idea

Dojo Insights

When Laura went to open a bank account for her new business, she found that she wasn’t able to do so. She needed to register for her EIN. Fortunately, it was a quick process, and she was able to go back to the bank and set everything up.

How much does it cost to start an LLC in Maine?

The costs to start your Maine LLC will vary depending on your business. However, we’ll list out the basic costs and other costs you will need to consider.

  • $20 to reserve a business name
  • $175 to submit your Certificate of Formation
  • $85 to submit your annual report
  • Fees for required business licenses and insurance
On top of the fees associated with filing your Articles of Organization, if you choose to reserve your desired name ($15) and partner with ZenBusiness to file an Operating Agreement ($35), forming an LLC in Wisconsin will cost you a minimum of $180. However, hiring a registered agent and obtaining any required licenses, permits, and insurance policies can cause the price to rise again.

Compare Ways to File

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.

What are the benefits of an LLC in Maine?

There are several benefits to selecting an LLC structure for your business. A few include:
  • Limited liability for individual owners or members. If your business is sued or goes out of business owing debt, the personal assets of individual members are protected.
  • Taxes. The income that your business earns will be distributed to the members, and those members will be taxed on their personal income. This is different from a corporate structure where the business would be taxed and then the income distributions would also appear on personal taxes.
  • Less red tape. There’s more flexibility over the structure and recordkeeping of an LLC than a corporation. 
Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure.

How is an LLC taxed in Maine?

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.

Ready to Start Your Dream Business?

Get the fastest formation online with worry free services and support starting at $49 (plus state fees)

Already a Maine small business owner?

ZenBusiness can help you run or grow your Maine small business!

Maine LLC FAQs

What is the processing time to form my Maine LLC?

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.

Do I need to file my Operating Agreement with the state of Maine?

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.

What tax structure should I choose for my Maine LLC?

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.

Does Maine allow a Series LLC?

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.

Which licenses and insurance are required for an LLC in Maine?

Maine provides help for businesses to determine which state licenses or permits they need through its one-stop licensing center. Remember, too, that the federal government and your local government may require licenses or permits, and you should check there.  If you plan to have employees, you will need to register with Maine for:

  • Unemployment insurance through the Maine Department of Labor
  • Workers’ compensation insurance, which you can get from your business’s insurance carrier

How do I dissolve my Maine LLC?

You can officially dissolve your LLC by filing the Articles of Dissolution with the Maine Secretary of State. The filing fee for the application is $75.

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!

Most Popular States to Form an LLC

When it comes to compliance, costs, and other factors, these are popular states for forming an LLC.

Recommended Reading

Additional tax and regulatory requirements may apply to you

Additional tax and regulatory requirements may apply to you

Create Your Dream Business Today

Get the services and expert support your need to form, run, and grow a successful business starting at $49 plus state fees