Follow our step-by-step How to Start an LLC in Maine guide to get started today.
- Name Your Maine LLC
- Choose a Registered Agent
- File the Certificate of Formation
- Create an Operating Agreement
- Get an EIN
- File the Annual Report
- Keep Your Company Compliant
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Step 1: Name Your Maine LLC
Choosing a company name is the first and most important step of forming an LLC in Maine. Be sure to choose a name that complies with Maine naming requirements and is easily searchable by potential clients.
1. Follow the naming guidelines:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your professional LLC.
- Your name must be distinguishable from any other Maine, limited liability company, corporation, limited liability partnership or limited partnership.
For a complete list of naming rules in Maine, check out Maine's Naming Guidelines.
2. Is the name available in Maine? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a Business Entity Search on the Maine Secretary of State website.
To learn more about searching for a Maine LLC name, read our full guide.
3. Is the URL available? We recommend that you check to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.
Find a Domain Now
Once you have verified your name is available, you may now select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you.
We reviewed and ranked the best LLC services. Find out which is best for you.
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Maine
You are required to nominate a Maine registered agent for your Maine LLC.
What is a registered agent? A registered agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving important legal documents on behalf of your business. Think of your registered agent as your business's point of contact with the state.
Who can be a registered agent? A registered agent must be a resident of Maine or a corporation, such as a registered agent service, authorized to transact business in Maine. You may elect an individual within the company, including yourself.
Recommended: Check out these best registered agent services.
Step 3: File the Maine LLC Certificate of Formation
To register your Maine LLC, you will need to file Form MLLC-6: Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State. You can only apply by mail.
Now is a good time to determine whether your LLC will be member-managed vs. manager-managed.
File the Certificate of Formation
File Form MLLC-6 by Mail With the Maine Secretary of State
Fee: $175, payable to the Maine Secretary of State (Nonrefundable)
Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
For help with completing the form, visit our Maine Certificate of Formation guide.
If you’re expanding your existing LLC to the state of Maine, you will need to form a foreign LLC.
Step 4: Create a Maine LLC Operating Agreement
In Maine, LLCs are required to have an operating agreement per Revised Statutes Section 1531.1.B of the state's legal code. Maine refers to the operating agreement as the limited liability company agreement.
What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.
Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.
For more information on operating agreements, read our Maine LLC operating agreement guide.
Recommended: Download a template or create a Free Operating Agreement using our tool.
Step 5: Get a Maine LLC EIN
You can get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for free. It is used to identify a business entity and keep track of a business’s tax reporting. It is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for the company.
Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number is required for the following:
- To open a business bank account for the company
- For federal and state tax purposes
- To hire employees for the company
Where do I get an EIN? An EIN is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after forming the company. This can be done online or by mail.
FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: You do not need an SSN to get an EIN. Learn more here.
Step 6: File the Annual Report
Maine requires LLCs to file an annual report with the Maine Secretary of State by June 1 every year. This filing keeps your business's general information up to date with the state.
Steps After LLC Formation
Read all the steps you’ll need to maintain your LLC’s personal liability protection, open a business bank account, get business insurance, and stay up to date with state reporting requirements.
Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.
Step 7: Keep Your Company Compliant
Maine Business Licenses & Permits
To operate your LLC, you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. Fees and requirements for licenses and permits will vary depending on what sort of business license you need.
Find out how to get the necessary business licenses and permits for your LLC with our Maine Business License guide.
Recommended: Consider having a professional service research your business’s licensing requirements. Read our best business license services review.
Maine LLC Tax Filing Requirements
It's important to stay up to date on Maine LLC taxes.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of tax:
If you are selling a physical product, you’ll typically need to register for a seller's permit through the Maine Revenue Services website.
Maine's state sales tax is 5.5%. There are no additional local sales taxes within the state.
Maine has a graduated individual income tax that ranges from 5.8% to 7.15%. Your individual tax rate will depend on your LLC's income.
State tax returns are due each year by April 15. To calculate your tax or determine your tax bracket, visit the Maine Revenue Service website.
If you plan to hire employees, stay compliant with the law by following these steps:
- Verify that new employees are able to work in the US
- Report employees as "new hires" to the state
- Provide workers' compensation insurance for employees
- Withhold employee taxes
- Print workplace compliance posters and place them in visible areas of your workspace
Find out more information from the Maine Department of Labor.
Recommended: Check out our Hiring for Your Small Business Guide for resources like sample job descriptions, payroll service reviews, and more.
Common Questions About Maine LLCs
What is an LLC?
LLC is short for “limited liability company.” It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while providing many of the same benefits. Read our What is a Limited Liability Company guide for more information.
Or, watch our two-minute video: What is an LLC?
How do I name my Maine LLC?
You must follow the Maine LLC naming guidelines when choosing a name for your LLC:
- Include the phrase "limited liability company" or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Do not use words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, State Department, CIA, etc.).
- Receive the proper licensing when using the words such as lawyer or doctor.
If you are having trouble coming up with a name for your LLC, use our LLC Name Generator. That will not only find a unique name for your business but an available URL to match.
After you get your business name, get a unique logo using our Free Logo Generator.
Do I need to get a DBA or assumed name for my business?
Most LLCs do not need a DBA, known as an assumed name in Maine. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name and you can accept checks and other payments under that name as well. However, you may wish to register a DBA if you would like to conduct business under another name.
To learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA guide.
Can I be my own registered agent?
Yes. You or anyone else in your company can serve as the registered agent for your LLC.
Read more about being your own registered agent.
Is a registered agent service worth it?
Using a professional registered agent service is an affordable way to manage government filings for your LLC. For most businesses, the advantages of using a professional service significantly outweigh the annual costs.
For more information, read our article on Maine registered agents.
What is the processing time to form my Maine LLC?
Processing typically takes five to 10 business days but may be expedited for an additional fee.
What is the difference between a domestic Maine LLC and a foreign LLC?
An LLC is referred to as a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. A foreign LLC must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.
Read our What Is a Foreign LLC article to learn more.
How much does it cost to start a Maine LLC?
The cost to start a Maine LLC is $175.
To learn more, read our guide on the cost to form a Maine LLC.
Do I need to file my operating agreement with the state?
No. Though Maine requires LLCs to create and maintain an operating agreement, an operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference.
How do I get an EIN if I don’t have a Social Security number?
An SSN is not required to get an EIN. You can simply fill out IRS Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. Then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Learn more here about applying as an international applicant.
What tax structure should I choose for my Maine LLC?
When you get an EIN, you will be informed of the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.
Do I need an EIN for my LLC?
All LLCs with employees, or any LLC with more than one member, must have an EIN. This is required by the IRS.
Learn why we recommend always getting an EIN and how to get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.
What is the minimum wage in Maine?
The minimum wage in Maine is $13.80 per hour.
How often do I need to pay employees?
Employers in Maine are required to pay employees in regular intervals that may not exceed 16 days.