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

How to Start a Maine LLC

You’re ready to start your Maine LLC, but there are a couple steps you’ll need to take before your LLC is official in Maine. The most important step is creating your Maine LLC by filing a Certificate of Formation with the Maine Secretary of State, Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions. Once complete, this will make your Maine LLC official.

If you’re ready to start your Maine LLC, we can help! Our LLC Formation Package is the best deal in the state, and our agents in Portland are seasoned locals who know the state’s regulations like the back of their hand. For $149 plus state fees, we’ll form your LLC, as well as provide a free operating agreement and instant registered agent service. Our package also includes lifetime client support, which means you’ll have direct access to our agents who know the state’s regulations inside and out.

Many LLC formation services hide what they charge instead of showing exactly what you get for your money. But we believe in transparency at Maine Registered Agent, and we’ll never surprise you with hidden fees. Here’s where your money goes:

SERVICEFEE
Maine State Filing Fee$225
Our LLC Formation Service Fee$100
One Year Registered Agent Service$49
TOTAL$374

In order to start a limited liability company in Maine, you’ll need to:

  • Name Your Maine LLC
  • Choose a Registered Agent
  • File the Maine LLC Certificate of Formation
  • Get an EIN from the IRS
  • Create an Operating Agreement
  • Pay Federal and State Taxes

Name your Maine LLC

The first step is to name your Maine LLC. Even if you already have an idea in mind, naming an LLC may not be as easy as it seems. Maine law, specifically 31 ME Rev. Stat. § 1508, lists the requirements for what you can name your business. The name you choose needs to:

  • Be distinguishable from any business name on record with the Secretary of State
  • Contain an entity identifier like “LLC” or “LC”
  • Not contain obscene language
  • Not falsely suggest an association with a public institution (like “non-profit” if your business is not a non-profit)

Once you’ve chosen a name, use the Maine Corporate Name Search to make sure it’s available. If the name you want is available, but you’re still not ready to start your business, you can reserve your business name by filing the Application for Reservation of Name with the Secretary of State. This form comes with a $20 filing fee, but it will reserve your business name for up to 120 days.

Choose a Registered Agent

In Maine, all businesses are required to appoint a commercial clerk, also known as a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or company who accepts legal mail on behalf of your business.

Chapter 6-A of the Model Registered Agents Act requires registered agents to be a person or company with a physical address in Maine. They must be available to accept service of process and other legal mail during conventional business hours. You’ll need to include your registered agent’s information on the Maine Certificate of Formation, so whether you appoint a cousin Downeast or a hire a commercial registered agent like Maine Registered Agent LLC, you’ll need to choose a registered agent before submitting your filing.

Maine allows you to act as your own registered agent, but in order to this you’ll have to be available at the same physical location every business day of the year. If this doesn’t work for you, hiring a registered agent may be a good option.

Our Registered Agent Service costs just $49 a year. You’ll be notified right away if we receive any service of process or other legal documents on your behalf. These documents are immediately scanned and uploaded into your online account where you’ll be able to access them 24/7. We also include auto-reminders for your filing requirements and annual reports so you never miss a deadline!

File the Maine LLC Certificate of Formation

Filing the Maine LLC Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State will officially form your LLC in Maine. To complete this filing, pay the $175 filing fee and submit both the LLC Certificate of Formation form and a Customer Contact Cover Letter to the Secretary of State’s office. These forms require:

  • the name of your LLC
  • the filing date (you can delay the official formation date of your LLC up to 90 days)
  • the designation of your LLC as low profit LLC (if applicable)
  • the designation of your LLC as a professional LLC (if applicable)
  • your registered agent’s information and whether they are a commercial or noncommercial registered agent
  • the signature of the authorized person submitting the Certificate of Formation
  • your LLC’s contact information

Once complete, you can submit your filing by mail or hand deliver it to:

Department of the Secretary of State
Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101

Get an EIN from the IRS

An EIN, or employer identification number, is an identification number assigned to you by the IRS. If you plan on hiring employees, you will need an EIN so they can identify your business when filing taxes. You’ll also probably need an EIN to open a bank account for your business.

To get an EIN, submit the Application for Employer Identification Number (Form SS-4) to the IRS. The form is free to file. You can submit it to the IRS online, over the phone, by mail, or by fax.

Create an Operating Agreement

The state of Maine requires all LLCs to create an operating agreement. An operating agreement is an internal document that defines company procedures like voting, appointing new members, and dissolution. Per ME Rev. Stat § 1531 your operating agreement can be written or oral, but we recommend putting it in writing as this provides better legal protection. If you do not create an operating agreement for your Maine LLC, your LLC is will be required to operate according to Maine’s default LLC statutes.

Unsure where to start when it comes to writing an operating agreement? Our LLC Formation Package comes with structure-specific operating agreements for both single-member and multi-member LLCs. It also includes templates for other internal documents, like membership certificates and initial resolutions.

Pay Federal and State Taxes

LLCs are taxed as pass through entities. This means that you won’t pay corporate taxes. Instead, the LLC’s income “passes through” to its members, who are then responsible for reporting this income on their personal tax returns and paying the 15.3% federal self-employment tax rate.

Members and employees are also required to pay Maine income tax on their earnings. State income tax rates vary depending on the amount of income reported. Taxable income less than $23,000 is subject to a 5.8% tax rate, while taxable income over $54,450 is subject to a 7.15% tax rate.

FAQs

How much does a Maine LLC cost?

The filing fee for your Certificate of Formation is $175. You can also pay to expedite your filing. It costs $50 extra for 24-hour processing and $100 extra for same-day processing.

How long will it take to start my Maine LLC?

The standard processing time for a Certificate of Formation is about 10-15 business days. If you need your LLC faster, you can pay more for expedited filing. ($50 for 24-hour service. $100 for same-day service.)

What happens if I don’t file a Maine LLC Certificate of Formation?

You don’t need to file a Certificate of Formation to operate a business in Maine, but you do in order to legally create an LLC. Without filing the right paperwork with the state, you’ll be operating a sole-proprietorship or general partnership, depending on whether you’re working alone or with others. Neither a sole proprietorship or general partnership comes with any limited liability protection, which means your assets are the company’s assets. If you want liability protection, forming an LLC is a good idea.

Does Maine require an annual report?

LLCs are required to submit an Annual Report to the Maine Secretary of State every year by June 1st. This report is an opportunity to update your business information with the state. The fee to file your LLC’s annual report is $85.

Should I open a business bank account?

It’s a good idea to open a business bank account for your Maine LLC. Opening a separate bank account for your business is just another way to separate your assets from your company’s. This can be a good way to prove you and your business are separate financial entities in case of a lawsuit. More than likely the bank will need a Certificate of Organization, an EIN, and an operating agreement before opening an account. It’s a good idea to make sure you have these items before approaching the bank about opening an account.


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