How to Start an LLC in Maine: If you’re looking to start a Maine LLC for $0, you’ve come to the right page. Setting up an LLC is easy and cost-effective. To form an LLC, you must follow a few steps that include naming your LLC, hiring a registered agent, filing your formation documents, doing the operating agreement, and finally obtaining the EIN. You can easily set up your LLC for free in Maine. However, you must pay the mandatory state filing fee. These fees and charges can be tax deductible, making the LLC formation cost $0.
On this page, You’ll find all the steps that must be taken to ensure that your Maine LLC has been correctly formed. We recommend you read the whole article very carefully, word by word, don’t miss anything 🙂
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
- How to Start an LLC in Maine
- After Starting Your Maine LLC
- Maine Foreign LLC
- Maine LLC Formation Review
How to Start an LLC in Maine
An LLC (aka Limited Liability Company) is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It separates your personal assets from your business assets, thus giving you personal asset protection. For an LLC, members’ personal assets are not affected by business debts. However, in some cases, if the LLC is sued for business debts, courts might pierce the corporate veil and use the owner’s personal assets to meet their corporate liabilities.
If you wish to start an LLC in Maine, you must file your Certificate of Formation with the State and pay a filing fee of $175. While it’s the most important step, it’s not the only one. There are 4 other crucial steps to follow to get your LLC formed in Maine. Below mentioned all 5 steps that explain everything you need to do to start a Maine LLC in 2023. Let’s get started! You can always hire a professional LLC formation service in Maine to set up your LLC instead of doing it alone; a Pro service will ensure everything is done properly.
Step 1: Decide a Name for Your Maine LLC
The first step while forming a limited liability company in Maine is to give a proper name to your LLC. Before you name your business, you must know that the name should be easy to remember, available in the state, and follows all the LLC naming guidelines.
Maine LLC Naming Guidelines
There are a few specific requirements all the LLCs in Maine have to follow while naming their Company. Some of the most important requirements are as follows:
- Your business name should be available and no other existing business in Maine can have the same name. ZenBusiness offers unlimited business name searches at $0.
- “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, and “L.L.C.” – any one of these has to be used as a suffix in your business name.
- You cannot use any name for your business that is confusing or misleading. Terms such as “Treasury”, “State Department”, “FBI”, “CIA”, etc. shouldn’t be included.
- Terms like “Bank“, “University“, “Attorney“, “Doctor“, etc can be added only after the additional requirements by Maine State Government are fulfilled.
- (Optional) It’s better to name your business something for which your desired domain is available.
|Important Links –||Submit Offline Form to –|
|Maine Business Entity Search – Online Search|
Name Reservation Form – PDF
Name Availability Standards – Guidelines
Maine LLC Name Search – Instructions
|Secretary of State|
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Reserve Business Name for Future
If you do not wish to file your LLC right now but want to hold the name you have decided on, then you can reserve your LLC name for 120 days. To keep the name, you must file a name reservation application and pay $20 to reserve your name with the Maine Secretary of State.
Doing Business As (DBA) or Trade Name
Once you have a legal name for your LLC, you can register it. However, it is not mandatory. You can, instead, use DBA, Fictitious Name, or Trade Name. In that case, you must register your name with the Maine Secretary of State by submitting a Statement of Intention to Transact Business Under an Assumed or Fictitious Name in Maine, along with the filing fee of $125 and $40 for Fictitious Name filing.
Recommended: You can do name search, business domain, website, emails, and a lot more in one place by hiring a professional service. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 for LLC Formation)
Apart from LLC formation, ZenBsusiness offers customized website templates and incredible logo designs at a very reasonable price. If you plan to get a website, then it is wise to have a “.com” domain for your business, but these days you can also use other TLDs like “.io”, “.company”, “.xyz,” etc. Here you can get everything you need for your business in one dashboard.
It is not legally mandatory to use the word LLC in your domain name or email. If you want, you can use it. However, it is recommended not to use LLC in the domain name. A domain name should be short and easy to remember.
Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in Maine
The second step to forming an LLC in Maine is to appoint a Registered Agent. A registered agent is a person or business entity working on your LLC’s behalf. This person or business will receive important tax forms, legal documents, all notices of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in Maine. Hence, hiring a competent Maine Registered Agent for your LLC is necessary.
Make sure your registered agent is a resident of Maine or has a physical street address. This address will be used as the principal address of your LLC to receive any legal documents. Most LLC formation companies also provide registered agent services. Below are two great LLC formation services; even if you buy their cheapest plan (normally $0/year), you also get registered agent service and other services at a very reasonable price.
These two are our top recommendations for registered agent service, as they are competent and authorized to conduct business in Maine. Some LLC formation services also offer standalone Maine registered agent services. You can purchase only Registered Agent services without purchasing any other LLC formation services. This standalone service might become handy if you are doing it yourself and don’t want to disclose your home address or you don’t want to pierce the corporate veil.
A person above 18 years of age and has a physical address in the state of Maine can be a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent can be an independent person or can be a business entity. One is responsible for handling all the legal documents on the LLCs behalf.
Yes, you can be your own registered agent if you are a resident of the state of Maine and you are above 18 years of age. To become a registered agent, you must have the authority to conduct any type of business in Maine.
There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t be your own registered agent. The address of the registered agent is used to communicate with the SOS or for any legal activities. If you are your own registered agent, you might have to upload your personal address to the public forum. Besides, the registered agent must be at the address during business hours. It won’t be easy for you as you also have to take care of other things in your LLC. Hence, it is wiser to appoint a separate entity as your registered agent.
If an LLC is sued in Maine, in some cases, courts might decide to lift the corporate veil, which means the owners of the LLC will be personally liable for their business debts. They might have to forgo their personal assets to repay their business debts. This is called piercing the corporate veil, where personal and business assets are not separated anymore. Your personal assets can be protected if you have enough capital and all your LLC documents are properly filed.
Step 3: File Certificate of Formation in Maine
The third and most important step in forming a Maine LLC is to file the Certificate of Formation. This Maine Certificate of Formation is a legal document that is required to register your business with the Maine Secretary of State. It costs $175 (by mail) to file your formation certificate in Maine.
The Certificate of Formation includes details like the name of the LLC, the registered agent’s name, address, employees’ details, and the company’s structure (member-managed or manager-managed). Before hiring employees in Maine LLC, one should know about the rules and regulations thoroughly. Also, if you are expanding your existing business (an LLC) in other states to Maine, then you need to register as a Maine Foreign LLC.
How to File by Mail
If you prefer filing real-life forms for your Maine LLC registration, then you can download the Maine Limited Company Certificate of Formation. Read the form thoroughly and fill it out. It will have to fill, among others, your name, city, state, zip code, and signature. You may also file in person by visiting the office on business days.
Mail To: Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101
Processing Time: Normally, it takes around 7 business days (approx) to get your LLC formed in Maine. With an additional cost, you can get expedited filing as well. However, the document processing time can be changed due to various factors.
Recommended: Online LLC Formation service can provide all these documents way faster than usual time with lifetime customer support and 100% accuracy. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
Every LLC owner has to pay the filing fees to register their business in Maine. This fee is mandatory but also tax deductible. If you’re doing it yourself (filing on your own), it will not cost you any additional service fee. However, it is not feasible to do that as the DIY process might be delayed, complicated, and messy, especially if you’re a novice entrepreneur. Hence, it is recommended to get professional guidance to get your LLC formed in Maine.
Step 4: Create Your Maine LLC Operating Agreement
Moving on to the fourth step, filing your operating agreement. An operating agreement is a document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC. This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.
When it comes to filing a Maine LLC Operating Agreement, the state requires you to have a comprehensive operating agreement. Unlike other states, Maine LLCs must file an operating agreement before the LLC formation. This document would be useful if you decide to dissolve Maine LLC later.
Recommended: You can get a professionally made operating agreement for very less cost with ZenBusiness. You don’t need to worry about drafting it as they will take care of it on your behalf. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
The operating agreement draft can be created for free if you don’t hire a professional. However, there is an advantage to appointing a proficient person/service. You will get a businesslike quality operating agreement at a very cheap fee, which will help you in the future. Hiring a professional service means you can sleep well at night 🙂
Step 5: Filing a Maine LLC EIN
The Employer Identification Number (aka EIN) is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify the type of business for tax purposes and taxes in general. The EIN is necessary for any active business or any form of business.
EIN is needed when the LLC hires employees. Hiring employees in Maine LLC requires following specific rules and regulations. On the other side, EIN for Maine foreign LLC should be obtained if your LLC is based in other states.
To obtain EIN (aka FEIN), one must fill up a form (Online or by mail) and submit it to the IRS. Enter details of your LLC, and finally, complete the form and send it to the address given. You can also get an EIN Assistant to help you with the process.
Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free
Recommended: This hassle will be reduced when you hire an LLC formation service. They take care of obtaining EIN and all other things for your LLC. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
Note: You don’t need a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.
Congratulation, you are now done with all the necessary steps to form your Limited Liability Company in Maine. If you do it yourself, it should take you a long time to understand and do all the steps properly.
However, if you use ZenBusiness, it should be way faster. You will always have a live chat option and phone support with experts for any help you need. Their worry-free service will make things easier for you.
After Starting Your Maine LLC
After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. The most important thing is to separate your business and personal assets. LLCs have limited liability protection that protects your personal assets from business liability. This is called a corporate veil. However, the corporate veil can be lifted or pierced by the court if the LLC is sued. In that case, the owners of the LLC become personally liable for their corporate debts. A few things like appointing a legit registered agent, having enough capital, and filing all the major documents with the state can save the LLCs from being pierced into the corporate veil.
Apart from that, there are a few things you need to take note of,
- Get a company business bank account
- File Maine business permits & licenses
- Get general liability insurance and professional liability insurance with coverage for employees.
- File a Maine LLC annual report or biennial report
This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings to make sure your LLC is up-to-date.
Cost of Maine LLC
LLCs can be formed for $0. Apart from the mandatory state filing fees, you don’t have to bear additional service charges if you do it yourself. Following are the fees and taxes LLCs in Maine must pay to register and run a business in the state. Forming an LLC is no doubt cost-effective compared to other business structures. However, the fees and charges (tax-deductible) that you must pay to the state, such as name reservation fee, name filing fee, LLC filing fee, and Franchise Tax & Sales Tax (If applicable). Here are the main fees and taxes you must pay while forming your limited liability company in Maine,
|Fees/Tax||Amount to be Paid|
|Name Reservation Fee (By Main)||$20|
|Name Registration Fee (By mail)||$20 (for renewal $200)|
|Certificate of Formation Fee||$175|
|LLC Annual Fee||$85|
In Maine, an LLC name reservation is not mandatory. You can register your LLC name at the time of registering your LLC. If you wish to hold the name for some time without registering your LLC, then you can do that by submitting the form to their office. Your LLC name will be reserved for 120 days without registering your LLC. It can be done by paying $25.
In Maine, an Annual Report has to be produced every year. It costs $85. Also, the State of Maine requires LLCs to pay a Sales Tax of 5.5%. Read our guide on LLC costs in Maine for more information.
Maine Foreign LLC
If you are interested in forming a Foreign LLC in Maine then you need to file the Certificate of Foreign LLC to the Maine Secretary of State. Foreign LLCs allow you to operate your business in more than one state. Along with the Certificate of Foreign LLC, you need to submit some more documents like the Certificate of Good Standing, etc. to the Maine SOS to form your foreign LLC in Maine. To know more in detail, check out our guide on Maine Foreign LLC.
Reasons to Start an LLC in Maine
With a GDP of $56.8 billion, Maine has gained large popularity lately. Apart from the growing economy, the state currently has active LLCs in manufacturing industries, art, education, management, and other industries. The state offers diverse business funding options to start-ups. LLCs need to get business licenses to make any business transactions. Also, businesses get a reduction in tax liabilities and other tax benefits in Maine. Read more on Maine’s classification of LLC tax. The main advantages of starting an LLC in this state are as follows,
Creditors can get some silent rights
The first benefit of the LLC in Maine is that all the creditors get some silent rights under section 1573. It means that any creditor who is providing funds to an LLC member will be given interest based on the charging order. The creditor has all the rights to revive, and if in case that creditor doesn’t claim that silent rights, it will be provided to the member.
Formation of LLC is easy
When one is going to Start an LLC in Maine, then they have to file many documents. But in Maine, there is an act under which one doesn’t need to give their partners’ names in the papers. The name of members and the managers is required to be attached to the annual report only.
This way, the LLC member has a person who can file all the forms on behalf of their LLC, and they don’t have to go through hectic procedures. This person can be some legal authority or some other business also.
Duration of the LLC
When an LLC has formed in the Maine state, then the time duration for which that LLC will exist is perpetual. It means that no matter whether the founding member of the LLC is alive or not, the LLC will be registered and keep functioning for a more extended period of time.
Freedom of selection
There is a freedom of selection in the Maine LLC with the help of which one can create the voting and non-voting members. Along with that, they can also customize the members who can contribute to their profits and loss. It will help in setting the LLC on a path to success.
Moreover, when a contract is made, it is allowed LLCs to make changes in them easily. According to the Government Acts, one can easily make changes in proportion and tailor the risk and profit percentages to a smooth and better management system.
Top 3 Businesses in Maine
Maine is known as one of the best states in terms of providing the best business environment. That is why new entrepreneurs are deciding to form an LLC in Maine. But before you take any further action in your LLC, you should know which state’s most profitable industries are. Also, note the contribution that they have made towards the GDP of Maine. So, here is the list of the best ones.
It is noticed that the contribution of the healthcare sector of Maine to its economy is $10 billion in 2016, which is intended to increase in net years. The healthcare centers, or hospitals, have employed more than 35,000 people, which is roughly 8% of the total population that allows, which makes it one of the largest institutions in the state.
From the 18th century, shipbuilding started in Maine State and has been a leading producer of wooden ships during World War 1. More than 200 companies in the state build all range of boats and yachts no matter what you require. Moreover, they also make ships for military, and commercial purposes like battleships, cruisers, destroyers, etc.
Maine has also become a tourist spot with the beautiful coastlines and American history present in the state. The tourism sector’s contribution to the state GDP is near $10 billion and pays a tax of $600 million to the state. Moreover, other industries like restaurants, agriculture, and fisheries are also supported by tourism as tourists spend money in these sectors, making it a savior of other sectors.
Some small businesses that have flourished well in Maine are:
- Coffee shops
- Dairy and poultry farms
- Hotel online advertisements
Maine LLC Formation Review
Time needed: 5 minutes.
Just to recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in Maine. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.
- Name your Maine LLC
The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should be unique, easy to find, and available in the state.
- Choose a Registered Agent
In Maine, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. Get a professional Registered Agent from LLC formation services to get things done hassle-free.
- File a Formation Certificate
Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming an LLC in Maine. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
- Create an Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not a strict requirement in Maine but something encouraged when you start an LLC to avoid future conflicts.
- Get an EIN
The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity like a social security number but for a company.
How Fast Can I Form an LLC in Maine
Processing time for LLC in Maine is usually about 5-10 business days. However, it can be expedited by additional payment to the state.
If you’re looking for an affordable and easy way to start your own business, the LLC is a great choice. It’s a popular choice for entrepreneurs because it’s easy to form and operates as a separate legal entity, which is important for liability protection.<h4>How Fast Can I Form an LLC in Maine?</h4>The answer to this question isn’t as simple as you might think. While the state does offer expedited filings, they usually take up to 15 days to process.
One option to speed up your formation is to hire a registered agent in Maine. This person will accept legal mail and other paperwork on behalf of your business and deliver it to you promptly. The agent’s address appears on your certificate of formation, so it’s important to choose a professional who can keep your information confidential.
You can also choose to pay a company to do this for you. Many of these services will provide LLC registration and tax consultations for a flat fee. Others will charge a higher fee for premium services such as EINs, operating agreements, and expedited filings.<h4>Check If Your Business Name is Available</h4>Before you start the LLC formation process, it’s important to make sure that your chosen business name meets all of the naming requirements. The name can’t be too similar to any other company in the state, and it must be distinguishable from other names that are already in use.
Once you’ve found a name that’s suitable for your business, you can file with the Secretary of State to create your LLC. This includes a Certificate of Formation and a “Customer Contact Cover Letter.” Once this is filed, you’ll need to pay the $175 filing fee.<h4>Draft an Operating Agreement</h4>An operating agreement is a legal document that defines how the LLC will operate. This can include how members will divide up ownership of the company and what responsibilities they’ll have as managers. A written operating agreement can help protect your LLC from litigation, and will serve as a reference point for future disputes among members.<h4>Have a Bank Account for the LLC</h4>A bank account is important for liability protection, as it separates the business’s funds from individual member personal funds. The LLC’s bank account will also provide a means for the members to transfer money between their accounts.<h4>Have a Registered Agent in Maine</h4>Every LLC must have a registered agent in the state to receive and deliver legal documents on its behalf. This person can be an individual or a company, but they must have a physical address in the state and maintain regular business hours (i.e., 9am to 5pm).
If you don’t want to hire a registered agent in-house, you can also consider hiring an expert to perform this duty for you. Companies that specialize in this service will often have a lower rate than an in-house lawyer and can save you time and money.
If you are a resident of Maine, then you can file your LLC by yourself. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it yourself to handle legal complexities, paperwork, and other documentation.
Apart from the formation fee of $175 (domestic LLC) and $250 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in Maine include $85 for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay sales tax of 5.5% every year.
It takes 7 to 10 business days to get a Maine LLC if you file via mail. If you hire a professional LLC service, then it might take less than that. We recommend ZenBusiness which has impeccable turnaround time.
Every year all the LLCs have to submit an Annual Report and pay $85 to the Maine Secretary of State and renew the LLC. It is mandatory to renew your LLC every year.
Generally, for the LLCs, it is a default tax structure. Once you will obtain the EIN, you will get the various tax structure options to select. Sometimes LLCs choose S Corp to reduce federal tax burdens. Read more on the Maine Classification of LLC Tax.
LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups can easily start an LLC in Maine at a bare minimum cost. An additional fee for expedited service might be needed if you need faster service. Along with limited liability protection, LLCs have a ‘pass-through taxation’ advantage for which they are excluded from certain taxes. The formation of limited liability companies requires much lesser documents and legal processes. Share your queries with us, and leave a comment below.