Starting an LLC in the State of Maine is a relatively simple process. By following a set of straightforward rules and submitting the required payment, one can start an LLC in Maine whether inside or outside of the state.

Getting Started

Naming the LLC

The naming process for an LLC in Maine only has a few restrictions. The name must contain the words “Limited Liability Company”, or the abbreviation for Limited Liability Company (LLC). There are some restricted words that do require additional paperwork and/or licensing, such as Bank, Banque or Banc. The only words that are expressly prohibited are those that would lead to confusion with a formal government – federal or state – entity, like FBI or EPA.

Although the naming requirements for an LLC in Maine are fairly open, the name must not be in use by another LLC in the state. There is a free search tool available on the Maine Department of the Secretary of State website where one can verify if a name is available.

Another thing all potential LLCs should consider is the domain name of possible websites. Every business needs a website, but many popular domain names are already taken. A number of companies, including GoDaddy, offer services to verify the availability of a domain name and to purchase domain names.

Selecting a Registered/Statutory Agent

For an LLC to form in Maine, it must have a registered agent who either is a resident of the state or a corporation authorized to transact business in the state. A registered agent is the individual or organization that will accept all the legal paperwork sent to the company, such as if the company is involved in a lawsuit.

For businesses where the owners or employees are residents of the state, it is possible to make a member of the company the registered agent. The owner, a co-owner or an employee are all viable options as long as they are residents of Maine.

When a business is operating outside of Maine, it is necessary to employ the services of an individual or an organization that is authorized to act as a registered agent. There are a variety of organizations that offer such services in the state.

File Certificate of Formation of Domestic LLC

The Certificate of Formation of Domestic LLC can be filed with the Main Secretary of State, along with a filing fee of $175, to officially register the LLC. The Certificate needs to include information both for the LLC and the registered agent of the LLC.

Create Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is an agreement between all founders of the business regarding how the business will be run. Operating agreements may be in the form of a written document, or they may just be an oral agreement between people. An operating agreement is recommended for all LLCs, regardless of whether the state they are operating in requires them to have such an agreement or not.

Maine requires that LLCs registering in the state have an operating agreement.

Running Your Business

Getting Your EIN

What’s an EIN?

An EIN is an employee identification number, issued by the Internal Revenue service. Sometimes it is also called a Federal Tax Identification Number. It’s a unique number issued to each business.

You’ll need an EIN to

  1. Open a business bank account.
  2. File Federal and State Taxes
  3. Hire employees.

Before you get your EIN:

  1. Make sure your new business has been properly formed before applying.
  2. Be wary of paid sites. EINs are free direct from the IRS.

How do I get an EIN?

  1. Apply online: The easiest way is to apply online for an EIN. Note, the IRS website has office hours, and is only available Monday through Friday, 7am to 10pm. Yes, we also agree this is one of the most ridiculous things we’ve ever seen.
  2. Call: You can call 1-800-829-4933, between 7am to 7pm of your time zone, Monday to Friday.
  3. Snail Mail – You can download the form and mail it in.

Keep Business and Personal Accounts Separate

  1. Get a business bank account for your business. This will help you protect your personal assets from potential creditors and lawsuits, and will also make life A LOT easier come tax time.
  2. Get a business credit or debit card. This will help you keep your expenses separate and easier to track.

Accounting

No matter what business you run, accounting software and processes is a must for any small business. If you have an accountant, ask them which software they work with and recommend.

A good accounting system is necessary to:

  1. Track income and expenses, so you can easily see if you’re making money
  2. Makes filing income taxes so much easier.

Always try and find something that will:

  1. Sync with all of your bank and credit card accounts automatically – not just downloads, but auto sync.
  2. Automatch vendors, customers and other accounts.
  3. Let you accept credit cards and ach drafts with ease.

Setting Up for Taxes in Maine

 

Employee Taxes

LLCs with employees in Maine must register for a State Employer Identification Number (SEIN), as well as pay both unemployment insurance tax and employee withholding tax.

Sales Tax

Maine requires businesses to file Sales, Use and Service Provider Tax. The State of Maine Maine Revenue Services site offers information about the tax, as well as options for filing online.

Business Licenses

Certain businesses must obtain specific licenses to operate in Maine. The state website Business Answers section offers information on what licenses and permits are needed to start a business in Maine.

Workers’ Compensation

Updated information for employers about workers’ compensation can be found on the Maine government website Workers’ Compensation Board section.

Keeping Your LLC Compliant

Hiring Employees

Maine takes employment law seriously, so it is important for all LLCs hiring employees to stay up-to-date on current labor laws. Information, free labor posters and more are available from the State of Maine Department of Labor site.

Annual Report

Every LLC that does business in Maine is required by the state to file an Annual Report by June 1st. The Department of the Secretary of State offers the option to get a pre-printed form, as well as an option to file online. The fee for filing is $85.

How to File a Foreign LLC in Maine

Maine allows businesses located outside of the state to file a foreign LLC. Filing as a foreign LLC requires completing the appropriate form and filing it with the Maine Secretary of State, along with a filing fee of $250.

Filing an Annual Report as a foreign LLC in Maine is similar to filing as a domestic LLC, except the filing fee is $150.