Maine Business Entity Search (Step-by-Step Guide)

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by How to Start an LLC Team
Last updated: June 23rd, 2024
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The first step in starting a Maine-based business is conducting a business name search on the Secretary of State’s website. The search is essential in establishing whether or not the name is available for business registration.

The results may also be used to help you come up with a unique and distinguishable name for your own business.

The following step-by-step guide will show you how to conduct a Main business entity search.

Maine search tips

When searching for a business in Maine, use the following tips to get the best results:

  • Using punctuation marks and special characters will limit your results
  • The search displays a maximum of 100 results so ensure that you refine your search criteria to get the most accurate results
  • For best results, type in only the first portion that the name starts with.
  • The search is not case-sensitive.

For a comprehensive list of search tips, read through the Search tips and key to abbreviations section prior to beginning your search.

The Maine Corporate Name Search page, also known as the business filings online page allows you to search for registered businesses via the following search types:

  • Keyword
  • Charter Number

Business search by keyword

Refer to the Maine Corporate Name Search page to begin searching for registered businesses in the state.

Enter the keyword

Select the keyword option and enter the name of the entity you are searching for.

Use the search tips to get the best results.

Then click on the “Click here to search” button.

Review the results

If there are matching entries, you’ll have access to view the entity name and type.

Review additional business information

To access further details about the business, simply click on the link that says, “Information Summary.”

This takes you to the business summary page, where you’ll have access to further details about the business, including a list of filings.

Business search by charter number

Go back to the main page, where you’ll search using the “charter number” search option.

Enter the charter number

Enter the charter number into the search bar and click search or hit Enter on your keyboard.

Review the results

In this case, when using the search by charter number option, there should only be one entry that comes up. This is primarily because every business has a unique charter number.

If you entered the correct charter number, the search results will take you straight to the business summary page where you can view all available information on that specific entity.

Maine search results

When you click on the “Information summary” link, it will take you to the business summary page that will display the following information:

  • Legal name
  • Charter Number
  • Filing type
  • Status
  • Filing date
  • Expiration date
  • Jurisdiction
  • Other names
  • Registered agent or service of process agent’s details

There’s also a link to view business filings.

Copies of documents and certificates

Suppose you’d like to obtain copies of business documents after conducting your entity search. In that case, you may do so on the Maine Department of the Secretary of State, Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commission’s website, or

Plain copies will cost you $2 per page, and certified copies will cost you f$5 per page.

If you’d like to obtain a Certificate of existence or Certificate of Fact for business corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and limited liability partnerships, they will cost you $30.

When it comes to requesting Certificates of Existence and Certificates of Fact for nonprofit corporations, you’ll need to pay a $10 filing fee.

Business name availability

Even if the name does not come up on your business entity search, that is no indication or guarantee that the name will be available at the time of filing. This is because only the Secretary of State’s office can confirm that the name will be accepted or approved for business registration.

Therefore, it’s recommended that you compile a list of preferred names in the event that your chosen name is not available, so you have alternatives.

Another important point to note is that when naming a Maine-based business, you should comply with the state’s naming rules.

Some of the naming guidelines to bare mind are as follows:

  • Your chosen name should not be abusive or suggest that your business will be involved in unlawful activity.
  • Your chosen name cannot include obscene language.
  • Your chosen name should not falsely suggest that it is associated with public institutions.
  • Your chosen name should not imply that your business is organized for any other purpose other than what is outlined in your business’s Articles of Incorporation.
  • Your chosen name must be significantly different and distinguishable from existing businesses formed and registered in the same state. This naming rule also applies to names that are reserved in Maine.
  • Additionally, if you include any terms implying that your business is affiliated or associated with a financial institution, you must receive approval from the Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions.

For complete naming rules, refer to the Maine state statute.

Additionally, if you find the ideal name and it happens to be available, but you are not ready to start the formation process just yet, you’re free to secure a name reservation. 

You need to start by completing the Name Reservation Request Form and cover letter, then submitting it to the SOS.

The form should include the below information:

  • Name you are reserving
  • Signature of applicant
  • Address (not po box) and the name of the applicant

Additionally, the cover letter should include the below information:

  • Business entity name or the name being reserved
  • Special filing requests
  • Type of filing enclosed, i.e. Application for Reservation of Name
  • Mailing address
  • Contact information

You’ll need to send a check for $20 that must be paid to the Maine SOS along with your application form.

If you plan on having the application form mailed, you can send it to the following address:

Secretary of State Division of Corporations
UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station Augusta
ME 04333-0101

Domain name availability

Domain names help the public remember your website and also act as a representation of your company’s brand. Therefore, a web address or domain name is just as important as the company it is associated with. In a nutshell, domain names are priceless assets and an essential part of the business registration process.

With millions of websites online, it can be difficult to find and secure your chosen domain name.

This is why you should use a professional domain checking service like

This professional service checks 36 different domain impossibilities and over 100 social media websites and online platforms. Some of the social networks that are checked include:

  • Tumblr
  • Facebook
  • PayPal
  • WordPress
  • YouTube
  • Yelp checks against 36 domains and more than 90 social media platforms. Therefore, by using the service, you can check the availability of either a username or domain name within seconds.

Additionally, also filters your search options and recommends alternatives in the event that your preferred domain name is unavailable.

Fictitious business name search

If you plan on operating under any other name aside from your legal business name, it’s recommended that you register a fictitious name. A fictitious name is also known as a “doing business as,” DBA, assumed, or trade name in the state.

You’ll need to conduct a trade name search to ensure that the DBA is available for registration.

Once you’ve determined that the name is available, you can go ahead and contact the Maine Department of State or business services division for the next steps on registering a fictitious name.


What type of results does the Maine business entity search bring up?

The Maine business entity search brings up similar company names, including partial matches and exact matches.

Are for-profit corporations and nonprofits the same?

For-profits are formed to fulfill the owners’ or members’ organizational objectives, which is usually to make a profit. Nonprofits, on the other hand, are formed to benefit the public or for the greater good of the public.

Is a limited liability partnership different from a general partnership?

A limited liability partnership is a type of general partnership. Each partner has unlimited personal liability for the debts of the partnership. However, they will not be liable for the dishonest or illegal damages caused by other partners and only the state-dependent contractual debts.

What is the Uniform Commercial Code?

The purpose of a Uniform Commercial Code, also known as UCC, is to regulate business activities and ensure that they are consistent across all states. The UCC applies to contracts for the sale of goods to a merchant and by a merchant.

What are the benefits of a limited liability company?

Starting a limited liability company comes with various benefits, such as limited liability, management flexibility, and federal pass-through taxation on profits. Limited liability owners are also not required to pay unemployment insurance taxes on their own salaries.

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