How to Start a Maine LLC
Maine LLC Formation – Basics & Helpful Information
This article is meant to be a general overview of the Maine LLC formation process; including information about how to start a Maine LLC and other basic issues related to Maine LLCs.
Maine Filing Fees
To start a Maine LLC, you must file a Certificate of Formation with the Maine Secretary of State. The filing fee charged by the Maine SOS to file the LLC’s Certificate of Formation is $175. You can expedite (24 hour turn around time) the filing for an additional $50 or get immediate processing for $100.See Full Fee Schedule & Forms →
Maine Filing Time
Regular processing time generally takes 5-10 business days after the Certificate of Formation is received. Expedited processing reduces the turnaround time to about 24 hours for an extra fee of $50.00. The Maine Secretary of State offers immediate filing for $100.00.
Maine Annual Compliance Requirements
Maine LLCs are required to file an annual report by June 1st of each year after the year of organization, in order to maintain a good standing status. You can file the Annual Report online. The fee to file the annual report is $85.00.See more Maine Annual Report information →
Form an LLC in Maine
You can use this checklist to help guide you through the process of forming a Maine LLC:
Step 1: Decide on a Business Name
The first step in creating an LLC in Maine is naming your business. You’ll need to check with the Maine Secretary of State to make sure the name you’ve chosen is available. You can perform a name availability search through the Maine Secretary of State’s Corporate Name Search.
It is also highly recommended that you check the US Patent and Trademark Office to see if someone has a federal trademark of the business name you want (the Maine Secretary of State will not check other state’s databases or the federal trademark database). You can click here to have a comprehensive name availability search performed for you.
Your LLC name must contain the words “limited liability company” or “limited company” or the abbreviations “L.L.C”, “LLC”, “L.C.”, or “LC”. The name of the LLC must be distinguishable from any other business entity authorized to transact business in the state of Maine.See Maine LLC Naming Criteria →
Maine Assumed Names
An assumed name is similar to a “doing business as” (DBA) name. You may file an assumed name for a fee of $125.00. Maine assumed names are only applicable in Maine and are not substitutes for a national trademark filing.See more info on Maine Assumed Names →
Step 2: Register your LLC with the State
Maine Certificate of Formation
Your Maine LLC is formed by signing and filing the Certificate of Formation with the Maine Secretary of State. Maine currently does not allow online filing of Certificate of Formation. The Maine Secretary of State staff will examine the certificate for statutory compliance and will either approve for filing or reject with instructions on how to resubmit the document.
The Certificate of Formation must include at a minimum:
- Name of the Maine LLC
- Filing date
- Designation as a low profit LLC or professional LLC, if applicable
- Registered agent’s name and address
- Management structure of the LLC
- Contact person’s name and address
- Cover letter
Maine Registered Agent Information
Maine requires that the LLC have a Registered Agent, which is an individual or a business entity the LLC appoints for the purpose of accepting service of process (lawsuit papers or legal documents) for the LLC. An LLC cannot be its own registered agent, but the LLC can appoint one of its members as the registered agent. Maine law requires that the registered agent have a permanent, physical address on the records of the Maine Secretary of State at all times. A post office box may not be used as the mailing address.Read more about Registered Agents →
Step 3: Create and Sign the LLC’s Governing Document
The governing document for an LLC is called the “company agreement” or sometimes the “operating agreement”. The company agreement is to an LLC like a partnership agreement is to a partnership (or bylaws to a corporation). The company agreement governs the internal operation of the LLC and is typically a private document that is kept in the company book and the principal place of business (it is NOT filed with the state). The company agreement can address many issues, some of the more common concepts found within a company agreement are:
- Limitations on the members liabilities
- The level of consent needed to take various actions (i.e. simple majority required to add new members)
- The percentage of the LLC that each member owns
- How profits and losses are allocated between the members (typically based on ownership percentages)
- Limitations on transferability
- What each member is contributing to the LLC and what happens is such contributions are not made.
- The authority of the members, officers, managers, committees, etc.
- How meetings are conducted
One of the reasons we recommend using an LLC formation company like IncFile is that they can provide you with a company agreement in connection with their LLC formation services.
Step 4: Get an EIN
After you form an LLC in Maine, you can get the EIN. There are a few different ways to get an EIN:
- Apply Online Yourself: The IRS has an online EIN Application you can use to get an EIN. The turn around time on the EIN using this method is only a few minutes.
- Use Form SS-4: You can get an EIN the old fashion way by completing Form SS-4 and mailing or faxing into the IRS. How long does it take to get the EIN this way? According to the IRS: if you mail in Form SS-4, it will take 4-5 weeks to get your EIN. If you fax in Form SS-4 you should have the EIN back in a week if you provide a fax number or 2 weeks if you don’t have a fax number.
- Have a Third-Party Obtain: All of the LLC formation companies have the ability to get the EIN for you. The EIN obtainment charge varies by company, but it is generally between $50 and $100. If you get one of the higher priced packages, they will sometimes throw in the EIN for free.
Step 5: Get Licenses and Permits
After you create your new Maine LLC, you’ll need to determine if your business/profession requires any licenses or permits to conduct business.Read more about Maine Licensing and Permitting → Read more about Federal Business Licenses & Permits →
Registering a Foreign LLC in Maine
If you have a non-Maine LLC (aka Foreign LLC) and you are doing business in Maine, you may need to register the Foreign LLC in Maine. Each state has a different definition of “doing business”. In Maine, the kinds of activities that would not constitute “doing business” are outlined in the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, Title 31, Section 1623.
The filing fee for the Statement of Foreign Qualification to Conduct Activities in Maine is $250.See more about registering a foreign LLC in Maine →
Helpful Tips & Information
Use an LLC formation service like IncFile to help you form an LLC in Maine. IncFile has FREE LLC formation packages (you only pay the state filing fee).
Maine Secretary of State – Bureau of Corporations Dept.
Maine Filing Fee Schedule & Forms
Maine Business Name Search
Maine Certificate of Formation – Form
Maine Assumed Name Certificate – Form
Maine Assumed Name Information
Maine Annual Report – Online Filing
Maine Filing Requirements & Reminders
Maine Business License and Permit Info
Online EIN Application (for the LLC’s Federal Tax ID)
USPTO (Federal) Trademark Search