WHICH GOODS AND SERVICES ARE TAXABLE?
Determining whether or not the products or services your company sells are taxable in Maine is the first step in sales tax compliance.
Traditional Goods or Services
Goods that are subject to sales tax in Maine include physical property, like furniture, home appliances, and motor vehicles.
Groceries, Prescription medicine, and gasoline are all tax-exempt.
Some services in Maine are subject to sales tax. For a detailed list of taxable services view the Maine Sales Tax Reference Guide from the Maine Revenue Services website.
Digital Goods or Services
A digital good or service is anything electronically delivered, such as an album downloaded from iTunes or a film purchased from Amazon.
However, Maine has one exception to this policy. Businesses must collect sales tax on pre-written computer software that is sold online.
HOW TO REGISTER FOR MAINE SALES TAX
If you determined that you need to charge sales tax on some or all of the goods and services your business sells, your next step is to register for a seller's permit. This allows your business to collect sales tax on behalf of your local and state governments.
In order to register, you will need the following information:
- Personal identification info (SSN, address, etc.)
- Business identification info (EIN, address, etc.)
- Business entity type
- Description of what your business sells
Save Money with a Resale Certificate
With a resale certificate, also known as a reseller's permit, your business does not have to pay sales tax when purchasing goods for resale.
COLLECTING SALES TAX
After getting your seller's permit and launching your business, you will need to determine how much sales tax you need to charge different customers. To avoid fines and the risk of costly audits, it's important for business owners to collect the correct rate of sales tax.
When calculating sales tax, you'll need to consider the following kinds of sales:
- Store Sales
- Shipping In-State
- Out-of-State Sales
Calculating sales tax on goods sold in Maine is easy. Simply charge the 5.500% flat sales tax rate on all items whether selling in store or shipping across the state.
Maine businesses only need to pay sales tax on out-of-state sales if they have nexus in other states. Nexus means that the business has a physical presence in another state.
Common types of nexus include:
- A physical location, such as an office, store, or warehouse
- An employee who works remotely or who is a traveling sales representative
- A marketing affiliate
- Drop-shipping from a third party seller.
- A temporary physical location, including festival and fair booths.
FILE YOUR SALES TAX RETURN
Now that you’ve registered for your Maine seller's permit and know how to charge the right amount of sales tax to all of your customers, you are all set to file your sales tax return. Just be sure to keep up with all filing deadlines to avoid penalties and fines.
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How to File
Maine requires businesses to file sales tax returns and submit sales tax payments online.
How Often Should You File?
How often you need to file depends upon the total amount of sales tax your business collects.
- Annual filing: If your business collects less than $4.16 in sales tax per month then your business should elect to file returns on an annual basis.
- Semi-annual filing: if your business collects between $4.16 and $100 in sales tax per month then your business should elect to file returns on a semi-annual basis.
- Quarterly filing: If your business collects between $100 and $599.99 in sales tax per month then your business should elect to file returns on a quarterly basis.
- Monthly filing: If your business collects more than $600 in sales tax per month then your business should file returns on a monthly basis.
- Seasonal filing: If your business is closed for one or more calendar months on a regular schedule each year can register as a seasonal filer. You must indicate which months the business will be open and pay taxes for those months on a monthly basis.
Note: Maine requires you to file a sales tax return even if you have no sales tax to report.
All Maine sales tax return deadlines fall on the 20th day of the month, unless it is a weekend or federal holiday, in which case the deadline is moved back to the next business day.
- (Jan. - June ): Due by July 16
- (July. - Dec. ): Due by Jan. 15
- Q1 (Jan. 15 - Mar. 15): Due by April 16
- Q2 (April 15 - June 15): Due by July 16
- Q3 (July 15 - Sept. 15): Due by Oct. 15
- Q4 (Oct. 15 - Dec. 15): Due by Jan. 15
Monthly filing: The 15th of the following month, or the next business day, e.g. April 16th for the month of March, or May 15th for the month of April.
Penalties for Late Filing
Maine charges a late filing penalty of $25 or 10% of the tax that is due, whichever is greater.
Maine also charges a late payment penalty that is equal to 1% per month or partial month up to a maximum of 25% of the tax that is unpaid.
The state assesses the unpaid tax with a compounded interest rate of 7.0% per year or 0.58% per month or partial month for any unpaid tax or penalty.
Maine Helpful Resources
Sales, Fuel, and Special Tax Division Help Number:
207 - 624 - 9693