STEP 1: Name your Maine LLC


This is the first and most important step in starting your LLC. Be sure to choose a name that complies with Maine's LLC 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 LLC.
  • 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 name search on the Maine Secretary of State website.

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.

After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

STEP 2: Choose a Registered Agent


You are required to nominate a Registered Agent for your Maine LLC.

What is a Registered Agent? a Registered Agent is a person or business that agrees to send and receive legal papers on behalf of your LLC. Such papers include service of process of legal action (if you are sued) and state filings.

Who can be a Registered Agent? a Registered Agent must be a resident of Maine or a corporation authorized to transact business in Maine. You may elect an individual within the company including yourself.

Learn more about the role of a registered agent and why you should consider hiring a professional service.

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Recommended: Northwest provides the first year of registered agent service free with LLC formation ($39 + State Fees)

STEP 3: File the Certificate of Formation


To register your LLC, you will need to file the Certificate of Formation with the State of Maine. This can be done in person or by mail.

When filing, you will need to state whether your LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. We recommend learning more about these two options before you file.

File the Certificate of Formation

File In-Person or by Mail with the Maine Secretary of State

Download Form


Fee: $175, payable to the Secretary of State (Nonrefundable)

If you’re expanding your existing LLC to the State of Maine, you need to form a Foreign LLC.

STEP 4: Create an Operating Agreement


In Maine, LLCs are required to have an operating 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? An operating agreement is an important document because it 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 article What is an LLC Operating Agreement?

Recommended: Use our free Operating Agreement Tool to draft a customized operating agreement for your LLC.

STEP 5: Obtain an EIN


What is an EIN? The Employer Identification Number (EIN), or Federal Tax Identification Number, is used to identify a business entity. It is essentially a social security number for the company.

Why do I need an EIN? An EIN 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.

Get an EIN

Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS

Apply Online


OR


Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax

Download Form

Mail to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax:

(855) 641-6935


Fee: Free

We reviewed and ranked the top 5 LLC formation services.
Find out which is best for you.

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Six Key Steps After Forming a Business

1. Open a Business Bank Account and Get A Credit Card


Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection. When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. This is also known as piercing your corporate veil.

1. Opening a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Recommended: Get $200 when you open a business checking account with Chase. Learn more.

2. Getting a business credit card:

  • Helps you separate personal and business expenses.
  • Builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise capital later on.

Recommended: Compare business credit card offers at CreditCards.com. Learn more.

2. Set Up Accounting


Even if you haven’t officially opened for business – it’s critical to get your books in order. A well managed accounting system will help you:

  • Track your business finances, including bills, expenses and income.
  • Simplify your annual tax filings.

Quality accounting software makes the whole process fast and easy. Look for software that:

  • Syncs with your bank automatically
  • Matches transactions to invoices, bills, and purchase orders
  • Can be accessed from your phone
  • Makes it easy to work with your accountant

If you need help, a certified public accountant can work with you to set up an accounting system for your business. Thumbtack.com is a great resource for finding local professionals.

Recommended: QuickBooks has all the accounting features your small business will need.

Try QuickBooks for free.

3. Register Your LLC For Maine State Tax


Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of state tax:

  • If you are selling a physical product, you’ll typically need to register for Maine Sales Tax with the Maine Revenue Services.
  • If you hire employees in Maine, you will have to register for Unemployment Insurance Tax, and Employee Withholding Tax through the Maine Department of Labor on behalf of your employees.

Register for Maine State Taxes

Sales Tax | Unemployment Insurance Tax | Withholding Tax

4. Obtain Business Licenses & Permits


To operate your LLC, you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.

Keep in mind that in order to get some licenses or permits, you may need to pay a fee, take classes, or pass an exam.

Research what types of federal, state, and local licenses and permits your LLC needs:

Recommended: If you are a first-time entrepreneur, consider having a professional service research your business’ licensing requirements. Our friends at Startup Savant have reviewed and ranked the top five license research services.

5. Get Insurance


Business insurance helps you manage risks and focus on growing your business. The most common types of business insurance are:

  • General Liability Insurance: A broad insurance policy that protects your business from lawsuits. Most small businesses get general liability insurance. In Maine, businesses are required to have general liability insurance.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: A business insurance for professional service providers (consultants, accountants, etc.) that covers against claims of malpractice and other business errors.
  • Workers Compensation Insurance: A type of insurance that provides coverage for employees’ job-related illnesses, injuries, or deaths. In Maine, businesses with one or more employees, excluding business owners, are required by law to have workers compensation insurance. Get a free quote with ADP.

How much will the right insurance cost you? Click here to find out.

6. Follow Hiring Laws


If you plan to hire employees, stay compliant with the law by following these steps:

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Pay employees at least the minimum wage of $10.00 per hour.

Find out more information from the Maine Department of Labor.

Recommended: A payroll service saves you time and makes it easier to follow these requirements.

Get 20% off payroll with ADP

We understand that creating an LLC and getting your business up and running comes with many challenges. To help you succeed, we compiled the best local resources in every major metro area in Maine . You can get free assistance in the following areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Networking
  • Business Planning
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Research Assistance
  • Financial Planning
  • Fundraising
  • Legal Assistance
  • Coworking
  • Product Development

Maintain your LLC: Avoid fines and the risk of dissolution.

File Your LLC Annual Report


Maine requires LLCs to file an annual report with the Maine Secretary of State.

File your Annual Report

File Online with the State of Maine

File Online


Fee: $85, payable to the Secretary of State (Nonrefundable)

Due Date: Due by June 1st each year.

Late Filings: Maine fines LLCs $50 for late filings. In addition, Maine can dissolve LLCs within 60 days for failure to file an annual report.

Report LLC Income


Most LLCs will need to report their income to the IRS each year using:

Read our LLC Tax Guide to learn more about federal income taxes for LLCs.

Avoid Dissolution


LLCs may face fines and even automatic dissolution when they miss one or more state filings. When this happens, LLC owners risk loss of limited liability protection. A quality registered agent service can help prevent this outcome by notifying you of upcoming filing deadlines, and even submitting reports on your behalf for an additional fee.

Recommended: Northwest offers a reliable registered agent service and excellent customer support.

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Become a knowledgeable LLC owner. Learn more about these important topics.

Obtain a Certificate of Good Standing


A Certificate of Good Standing, known in Maine as a Certificate of Existence, verifies that your LLC was legally formed and has been properly maintained. Several instances where you might need to get one include:

  • Seeking funding from banks or other lenders
  • Forming your business as a foreign LLC in another state
  • Obtaining or renewing specific business licenses or permits

You can order a Certificate of Existence online.

Order a Certificate of Good Standing

Request a Certificate Online from the State of Maine

Order Online


Fee: $30, payable to the Secretary of State (Nonrefundable)

Dissolve Your Maine LLC


If at any point in the future you no longer wish to conduct business with your LLC, it is important to officially dissolve it. Failure to do so in a timely fashion can result in tax liabilities and penalties, or even legal trouble. To dissolve your LLC, there are two broad steps:

  • Close your business tax accounts
  • File the Articles of Dissolution

When you are ready to dissolve your LLC, follow the steps in our Maine LLC Dissolution Guide.

Register as a Foreign LLC in Maine


Forming a foreign LLC allows your company to operate as one entity in multiple states. If you have an existing LLC and want to do business in Maine, you will need to register as a foreign LLC. This can be done by mail or in-person.

Register as a Foreign LLC in Maine

File by Mail or In-Person the State of Maine

Download Form


Fee: $250, payable to the Secretary of State (Nonrefundable)

Read More About LLCs and How To Run A Business