How to Form an LLC in Maine
Forming an LLC in Maine for your business has many benefits. The general purpose of forming a Maine LLC is to protect yourself and other members of your business from liability against those who may sue your business. Setting up a Maine LLC is quite easy. Follow these steps below to learn how to form an LLC in Maine.
LLC Name Search
Before you set up your LLC, choose a name and search to ensure there is not another business registered in Maine with the same name. This will save you some trouble if you file and are denied due to a similar name.
You can begin with the Main Secretary of State’s website and begin your Maine LLC search. This tool allows you to see other names that may be similar or exactly like the one you’ve chosen. After searching for your name, and you are confident your name is unique, start your registration process.
To begin registration, you will need to have a registered agent. The filing agent can be an individual or an entity. The requirement of a registered agent is to have a valid address. This address will serve as the official office address on record with the State of Maine for your entity.
It is important that your chosen registered agent is responsible and fully capable of managing correspondence on behalf of the entity. The registered agent will be the contact person to receive any legal service, notices and other types of correspondence.
Consider using an organization that specializes in business formations as your registered agent.
Certificate of Formation
Once you have entered your registered agent’s information, your next step is to file the certificate of formation. The certificate of formation is the documentation you will submit to the Main Secretary of State to form your LLC. This form can only be filed by mail.
Let Us Help You!
Let Us Help You!
You have four options when choosing a registered agent:
- You select yourself as the LLC’s registered agent.
- You select your LLC as its own registered agent.
- You select a family member or friend to be your LLC’s registered agent.
- You hire a commercial registered agent.
- First: Enter your chosen LLC name. The name should end with the designations outline on the form. An LLC cannot have a name that represents another type of entity such as corporation, Corp, or Inc.
- Second: Enter the date of filing. Specify your filing date. Chose “Date of this filing” or chose a specific date by choosing “Later Effective Date.”
- Third and Fourth: Designate the type of LLC to organize. Choose from:
- Designation as low-profit LLC – Makes a limited profit and is purposed for charitable causes. See statute http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/31/title31sec1611.html
- Designation as a professional LLC – for general business operations with normal profits. See Statute 13 MRSA Chapter
- LLC name and address
- Statement of general purpose. This means you must indicate whether you LLC is operating a business or holding assets.
- Names and addresses of each member. If you are the sole owner of the LLC, you have a single-member LLC. However, if you co-own the LLC, you have a multi-member LLC. This means everyone who owns a percentage of the company is listed in the document.
- Name and address of your LLC’s registered agent.
- The procedures of buying out existing members.
- How a member’s shares is divided if they die or leave the company.
- The procedures for any new member’ to buy into the LLC.
- Duration of your LLC. This refers to how long your LLC will operate. If you plan on the LLC operating for a long time, choose “perpetual.” If you have an ending date, include the date.
Page Three – Cover
- Enter the name of your State of Maine LLC. It should be an exact match to the name on page one.
- Write in “Certificate of Formation” as the type of filing
- Special Handling: Choose which type of processing you would like for your formation. Chose from the three options below:
- 5 – 10 business day processing – non-expedited ($175)
- 24 Hour processing ($175 + $50 = $225)
- 1-hour processing ($175 + $100 = $275)
There are boxes for the three options above, but if you are choosing the non-expedited option, leave all three boxes blank and put $175 in the total field.
- The next section requires you to enter contact information if there are problems with your form. Someone will be able to reach you to go over the issues.
- We recommend you place a return address to receive feedback about your filing. Use an address where you can receive correspondence.
- Prepare to mail your certificate of formation. You must include your fee payment. Send payment as a check or money order. Make your payment payable to: “Secretary of State.” Ensure your payment is equivalent to the fees mentioned in number 10.
Mail your Maine LLC forms to:
Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101
Congratulations on your filing! Now you wait for approval.
Once your filing has been approved by the Maine Secretary of State’s Office, you will receive a certified copy of your certificate of formation.
You have the option to hire a firm to complete and file your certificate of formation for you. This can take away a lot of the work for you.
5. Apply for an EIN
Once your LLC is approved, your next step is getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is your LLC’s Social Security Number (SSN). It identifies your LLC for tax and filing purposes. You can also use the number conduct other types of business transactions. For example, with an EIN you can open a business account and obtain a line of business credit.
Use your EIN to:
- Hire employees
- File local, state and federal taxes
- Handle employee payroll
Every new business formation should have an operating agreement. This is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended. An operating agreement outlines how the business will run. It will state who the managing members are, and it will give direction on how those members will operate together in the business.
The operating agreement is instrumental in helping resolve disputes if they come up in the future. Your operating agreement should address how disputes will be settled, voting rights, and how the value of the business is shared among the members.
Your operating agreement should be kept in a file along with your certificate of formation. The operating agreement serves as the blueprint for your LLC.
Find an organization that has operation agreement templates or that specializes in creating operating agreements specifically for your business type.
You will also need to apply for a Federal Tax ID, called an EIN (Employee Identification Number). The IRS uses this number to measure your federal tax obligation based on the money you earn through your business.
Consider the EIN to be the same as an individual’s social security number. The EIN will be used to create a financial footprint for your LLC. You will need an EIN before you can establish a business bank account in your LLC’s name.
The EIN may be referred to by various other titles, such as Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), Federal Employee Identification Number (FEIN), or Federal Tax Number. No matter what name it’s called, it serves the same purpose and will be a requirement if you wish to pursue a financial footprint with your LLC Maine.
Let Us Help You!
Let Us Help You!
Now that your LLC is filed and ready to operate, you must renew your registration on a yearly basis. This filing is called the annual report. The annual report filing renews your LLC status for another 12 months.
Annual reports are expected to be filed by June 1 of each calendar year. If you’ve filed a new LLC, your annual report will be due on the following year by June 1st. If you file after this date, you can expect to be charged a late fee of $50 plus the normal $85 filing fee. If you have not filed by August 15th, the State of Maine will administratively dissolve your LLC.
The annual report may be filed by mail or online. We recommend that you file it online. You will receive immediate approval of your filing if done online.
Filing by mail can take approximately 1 – 2 weeks to process.
A mistake many new business owners make is not having the proper business licenses for their new business. They assume filing their LLC is enough. You must review the license requirements for the municipality you will operate in and ensure you’ve secured the correct licenses to run your organization. Here are some examples to consider:
- City business licenses/tax permits
- Building permit
- Health permit
- Occupational permit
- Signage permit
- Alarm permit
- Zoning permit
- Alcohol & tobacco permit
- Liquor license
- Sales and use tax permit
- Seller/reseller permit
Check the guide website for information on business licenses for Maine.
Taxes are very important to consider in your new business formation process. Each city and state has varying tax rules. You must research the tax rules for the area you are doing business and ensure that you are in compliance. See an overview of Maine’s taxes and Frequently Asked Questions on Maine’s Various taxes.
Filing a Maine LLC can take a lot of time, but it’s worth the reward. Find a firm that will help you each step of the way in showing you how to form an LLC in Maine. Our next guide focuses on the process of beginning an llc in Maryland.