415 Congress St STE 202A, Portland, ME, 04101 | (207) 221-6276
by Maine Registered Agent LLC

How to Form a Corporation in Maine

Filing Maine Articles of Incorporation is the first step to launching your Maine corporation. Afterwards, your corporation holds an organizational meeting and registers for any required taxes, permits or licenses. Corporations commonly open a corporate bank account as well.

  • File Maine Articles of Incorporation
  • Get an EIN from the IRS
  • Register with appropriate state departments
  • Apply for state permits and licenses
  • Hold an organizational meeting
  • Open a Maine corporate bank account

Ready to start your Maine corporation? Incorporating is easy with our formation package. We file your Articles, give you custom bylaws and initial resolutions (key documents for your organizational meeting and opening a corporate bank account), and provide you a year of registered agent service—everything you need!

Maine Articles of Incorporation Requirements

In your Maine Articles of Incorporation, you’ll make initial decisions for your company, such as your corporation’s name and how many shares of stock to authorize.

Name

Maine corporation names can’t be misleading, can’t use banking words like “savings” or “trust,” and can’t already be in use in Maine. Check for availability with Maine’s Corporate Name Search.

Unlike many other states, Maine doesn’t require words like “Incorporated,” “Corporation,” “Company” or “Limited” in your corporation’s name. However, including one of these words is common practice and can help your business better identify as a corporation.

Designation

There’s a box to check if your business is a professional corporation. Most corporations aren’t professional corporations. Professional corporations perform a licensed, professional service, such as accounting, nursing, or dentistry.

Clerk

You can choose a commercial or noncommercial clerk. A commercial clerk (also called a registered agent) specializes in registered agent services and is registered with Maine’s Secretary of State. Hire us, and you can list our name as your commercial clerk. A noncommercial clerk doesn’t specialize in registered agent services and could be a business, like a law firm, or an individual like yourself. If you choose a noncommercial clerk, you’ll also have to list a physical and mailing address, which will become part of the public record.

Shares

In this section, you’ll decide how many shares you want to authorize. Authorizing shares means you’re creating shares to be distributed later on. You have to authorize at least one share.

You can choose to have one or more classes of shares. Different classes of shares can come with different rights, like voting rights. If you have multiple classes of shares, you’ll need to attach an exhibit explaining the rules and rights for each class.

Directors

You’ll need to decide the management style of your Maine corporation. You can have a board of directors, or choose to have the corporation managed by shareholders. Most corporations have a board of directors.

If you choose a board of directors, you’ll also decide how many directors you’ll have, the liability of the directors to the corporation, and whether the corporation will indemnify directors and officers (agree to cover their losses).

Preemptive Rights

In your Articles of Incorporation, you decide whether or not your Maine corporation will have preemptive rights. Preemptive rights mean that the shareholders have a chance to purchase stock before it’s offered to others, typically to maintain their ownership percentage.

So, if Joe Shareholder has 20 out of 100 shares, and the corporation later wants to issue 200 more shares, Joe’s preemptive rights give him the opportunity to buy 40 of those shares before they’re offered to others. This will allow Joe to maintain his 20% ownership in the company.

Incorporators

An incorporator is the person who files and forms your Articles of Incorporation. An incorporator doesn’t have to be a director, shareholder or anyone with ownership in the corporation. The incorporator has to include their name and address. We’ll be your incorporator if you hire us.

Submitting Maine Articles of Incorporation

How do I submit my Maine Articles of Incorporation?
You submit your Maine Articles of Incorporation in person or by mail. The Articles of Incorporation form is available from the Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions.

What is the filing fee?
$145, payable by credit card, check or money order.

What are my choices for processing?

  • Standard (5-10 business days): Free
  • 24-hour expedited: +$50
  • Immediate expedited: +$100

All the processing times are available during business hours only. This means that weekends and holidays aren’t counted in the processing time. If you request expedited processing on a Saturday, it won’t be processed until Monday, no matter how much extra you pay.

How do I choose expedited processing?
The last page of the Articles is a Filer Contact Cover Letter, where you can select expedited filings. If paying by check or money order, include a separate check or money order for the expedited fee. (Don’t write a check for $225 for 24-hour expedited processing; write a check for $175 and a check for $50.) If paying by credit card, you don’t need to submit a separate credit card payment voucher.

If you file by mail, write “Expedited Service” in the lower right-hand corner of the envelope.

Our Services

We offer expert formation service at a low price. Our package includes everything you need to incorporate—including premium registered agent services and all the documents you’ll need to open a corporate bank account!

WHAT WE PROVIDE

  • One Year of Registered Agent Service
    We provide commercial clerk/registered agent service. We list our address on public documents, so you can maintain privacy and security. Our filers scan documents daily.
  • Company Privacy
    List our address on public documents and keep yours private.
  • Instant Access to Your Secure Client Account
    Log in for immediate access to free resources, like state forms pre-filled with your corporation’s information.
  • Custom Documents
    We provide your corporate bylaws, initial resolutions, and more!
  • Compliance Tools
    Never forget to file an annual report! We include auto-reminders for your filing requirements.
  • Expert Customer Service
    Call for assistance and get a real person—never an automated operator.

WHAT WE CHARGE

We offer standard and expedited processing. We don’t offer Maine’s immediate processing as it’s not always available—immediate processing is dependent on availability of staff and isn’t available outside of business hours.

Service

 Fees (Standard)  Fees (Expedited)

Maine State Filing Fees

$145

$195

Our Formation Service Fee

$100

$100

1 Year Registered Agent Service

$49

$49

Total

$294

$344

FAQ for Maine Corporations

Still have questions about incorporating in Maine? Answers to questions about clerks, EINs, tax registration and more are below.

COMMERCIAL CLERKS

What is a commercial clerk?
“Commercial clerk” is a term Maine uses interchangeably with “registered agent.” A commercial clerk or registered agent is responsible for accepting service of process, legal notices and official documents on behalf of your corporation.

Why do I need a commercial clerk?
Maine state statutes require the appointment of a “clerk or registered agent.” If the state of Maine needs to contact your corporation—for example, to deliver a court order—they need to find someone readily available and ensure due process.

Also, when you choose a commercial registered agent service like us, you can list our address on public documents instead of yours. You keep your privacy, and we deal with all the junk mail.

EIN

What is an EIN?
An Employer Identification Number or EIN is a federal tax ID assigned by the IRS for federal tax purposes.

Does my Maine corporation need an EIN?
Yes. Corporations are required to have an EIN. An EIN will also be necessary for state-level tax filings, as Maine Revenue Services uses EINs for their filings as well.

How do I get an EIN?
You can apply for your corporation’s EIN from the IRS for no cost. If you’d prefer to skip this process, however, you can add it on to our package for the cost of our time: $50.

MAINE TAX REGISTRATION

How do I register for state taxes?
You can register online with Maine’s Sales & Use, Withholding and Service Provider Tax Registration Service. Or, you can download the Maine Application for Tax Registration from Maine Revenue Services. If you have employees, you’ll also need to register with the Department of Labor, using their online Maine Employer Registration Internet System (MERIS).

MAINE BUSINESS LICENSE

Does Maine require a business license?
There’s no general business license in Maine, but there are specialized licenses and permits for specific business activities. Visit Maine’s Department of Economic and Community Development’s page on Business Answers to determine what permits and licenses your corporation needs.

MAINE CORPORATION ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING

What is an organizational meeting?
Maine requires that corporations hold an organizational meeting where some of the essential first actions of a corporation take place, such as appointing directors and officers, issuing stock to shareholders, and approving bylaws. We include custom bylaws as part of our formation services package.

Does the meeting have to be in Maine?
No, the organizational meeting can be outside of Maine. No matter where it’s held, attendees should receive written notice of the time and place of the meeting at least seven days in advance.

MAINE ANNUAL REPORT

What’s a Maine annual report?
An annual report is a form businesses submit each year to update their ownership and contact information with the state.

When is my Maine annual report due?
June 1st of each year. You don’t need to submit an annual report in the year you form.

How can I submit my annual report?
You can submit online with the Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions Annual Reports Online portal, or you can download a paper form from the Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions website.

How much does the Maine annual report cost?
$85 a year. Online submissions are payable by credit card or electronic check. Paper submissions are payable by check or money order.

Advantages of a Maine Corporation

  • Prestige
    CEO. Shareholder. Director. These titles have a powerful, grandiose quality—corporate officers are the princes of the business world. We dream of being a CEO, not a member or manager. Corporations are old, powerful business structures. That “Corporation” or “Inc.” at the end of your company name gives the sense that your business is serious and professional, inspiring trust in lenders and investors.
  • Investor Appeal
    Corporations are attractive to investors. Perks like guaranteed dividends aren’t available from LLCs, which can only distribute profits if the company makes profit. A corporation is generally easier to invest in than other business structures. People understand buying and selling stock, making it a more straightforward, familiar process than transferring membership in an LLC. Corporations also have the possibility of going public and growing exponentially—an exciting prospect for a venture capitalist.

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We incorporate businesses in Maine daily, and we’d love to do the same for you. Our package has everything you need. We’ll form and file your Articles, give you custom documents and provide a year of registered agent service. Take the frustration out of incorporation and sign up today!


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