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Maine LLC Simple Start Guide

Maine LLC Simple Start Guide

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Maine LLC Simple Start Guide

If you’re looking to start a business in Maine, one of the steps will be setting up a business structure. There are four main types of entities: sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC). Here, I’ll cover the basics of forming an LLC in Maine, including what steps you need to take and what fees you can expect to pay.

Steps To Form A Maine LLC

Step 1: Choose an LLC Name

The first step in forming a Maine Limited Liability Company is to make sure the name you want is available. This is an important first step because the name of each LLC must be distinguishable from other entity names registered in the state of Maine. Fortunately, the Maine Secretary of State makes it easy to do a Maine LLC name search, so you can quickly verify if your LLC name is available. 

In addition to the name being unique, the entity designator (identifier used at the end of the business name) must be either:

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

A comma may be used after the business name and before the designator.  “Lobster Bay Outfitters LLC” and “Lobster Bay Outfitters, LLC” are both acceptable.

If there is a name you want to use, but you aren’t ready to form the LLC, the Application for Reservation of Name (Form MLLC-1) can be filed to hold the name for up to 120 days. The state filing fee for a name reservation is $20, paid to the Secretary of State.

Once you find a name that is available, enter that name in the form. You may also want to see if a domain name is also available to have a matching website address.

Step 2: Appoint a Maine Registered Agent

In Maine, every LLC will need to designate a registered agent. A registered agent is simply an individual or company with a Maine street address who will be responsible for any legal correspondence. This commonly includes the receipt of legal documents, such as lawsuit notifications, on behalf of the business.

While many LLC owners opt to fulfill this role themselves, some owners choose to hire registered agent services like Northwest Registered Agent. Utilizing a registered agent service ensures that your LLC adheres to state requirements while offering an added layer of convenience and confidentiality since the owner’s personal address isn’t disclosed in public records.

Related: What is a Maine registered agent?

Step 3: File the Maine LLC Certificate of Formation

The paperwork to officially create an LLC in Maine is called the Certificate of Formation. To get started, visit the Maine Secretary of State’s website and download the Maine Certificate of Formation Form MLLC-6

Related: How to fill out the Maine Certificate of Formation

What To Do After Starting A Maine LLC

Once the LLC has been formed, there are a few additional steps to take care of. Below is a list of the most common tasks.

Prepare a Maine LLC Operating Agreement

Maine Statute § 31-1521 states that every Maine LLC is required to have an operating agreement. The operating agreement is a document that governs the framework of an LLC.  This document covers items like ownership rights, member responsibilities, how profits and losses are distributed, and more.

Related: Maine operating agreement template

Obtain an EIN

If the LLC will hire employees or is owned by more than one member, an EIN is required. 

The EIN or Employer Identification Number (also referred to as a Federal Employer Identification Number, FEIN, or Federal Tax ID Number) is a unique 9-digit tax identification number assigned to a business by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Similar to a social security number for an individual, the EIN identifies business entities for tax purposes.

Related: How to apply for an EIN

Open an LLC Bank Account

Opening a bank account for your LLC is important for liability protection as the account separates the business’s income and expenses from the member’s personal funds.

Several documents will be needed to open a business bank account, such as:

  • A banking resolution, which is a document that authorizes the members to open a business bank account on behalf of the LLC.
  • Copies of the original formation paperwork from the state showing the creation of the LLC.
  • Driver’s licenses of the members.
  • In some circumstances, a Maine Certificate of Good Standing may be needed to prove the LLC is active and in good standing with the state.

Related: How to open a business bank account for your LLC

Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Depending on what your business does and where it is located, there will likely be various business licenses and permits needed before starting your business. Some common registrations include:

  • Business licenses: The state of Maine doesn’t have a general business license; however, many cities require a business license to operate.
  • Business tax registration: Businesses selling products and certain services will need to Register with Maine Revenue Services to register for a sales tax license, Service Provider Tax, and/or Withholding Taxes.
  • Professional licensing: Some services, such as electricians, door-to-door home repair sellers, and landscape architects, require licensing in Maine.  While this isn’t a license on the business, licensing is required in order to operate.

Related: What business licenses and permits are needed in Maine

File Maine LLC Annual Reports

Maine LLCs are required to file an annual report by June 1st each year with the Maine Secretary of State. 

Related: How to File a Maine Annual Report

File the Beneficial Owner Information Report

Beginning in 2024, any individual who owns at least 25% or has “substantial control” of an LLC or corporation in Maine or any other state must file the Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) form with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). BOI reports are filed electronically through FinCEN’s website.

Maine LLC FAQs

How much does a Maine LLC cost?

There is a state filing fee of $175 to start an LLC in Maine.

Is there a yearly fee for an LLC in Maine?

Each year, an annual report and an $85 state filing fee will be due for Maine LLCs.

How long does it take to get an LLC in Maine?

It normally takes 5-10 business days for the state to process the LLC paperwork in Maine. For an additional fee, one business day processing is available.

What is a Foreign Limited Liability Company?

A Maine foreign LLC is an LLC that was formed in another state but wants to physically operate in Maine. Physically operating means having a presence, such as having an office or hiring an employee.

Related: What is a foreign LLC?

Can you use a PO Box for your LLC in Maine?

No – A PO Box can only be used as a mailing address for the LLC. A physical street address in Maine must be used for the Registered Agent.

Maine LLC Simple Start Guide

Maine LLC Simple Start Guide

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