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Starting an LLC in Maine: 2024 Guide


Table of Contents

Using an LLC Formation Service

Small business entrepreneurs can benefit from online LLC services to establish their Limited Liability Companies (LLC). These services will help file the necessary documents, allowing small business owners to focus on running their businesses. They have features like guaranteed acceptance by the state, assistance with the EIN application, registered agent service, and drafting of operating agreements. Online LLC services can be a reasonable and worthwhile cost.

Business owners can customize these packages to suit their individual needs. If you want to compare services and costs before deciding, you can choose from several options. Northwest Registered Agent, Swiftfilings, and Bizee LLC services are the most popular choices and have the best ratings.


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Starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Maine can be exciting. An LLC combines the liability protection of a corporation with the tax benefits and operational flexibility of a partnership or sole proprietorship. This guide is designed to walk you through establishing your LLC in Maine.

Step 1: Choose a Business Name

The first step in creating your LLC is picking a unique name. Maine has specific guidelines for naming your LLC, including the need for the name to differ from other businesses registered in the state.

Here are the guidelines you must follow: 

  • Must include “Limited Liability Company” or its abbreviations (LLC or LLC).
  • The name must differ from the existing name in the Maine Secretary of State records.
  • Certain restricted words (e.g., Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual to be part of your LLC.

You can check the availability of your desired name on the Maine Secretary of State’s website or do a quick, free name check to see if your chosen name is available. If you are considering getting a website name that matches your business name, You can find good deals for your domain names on Namecheap.

Step 2: Hire a Registered Agent

Like in other states, your LLC must have a registered agent in Maine. A registered agent is a person or company that agrees to receive legal papers on behalf of your LLC, ensuring you get all important legal notices. The agent must have a physical address in Maine and be available during business hours. You can act as your registered agent, choose someone you trust, or hire a professional service like Northwest Registered Agent, Swiftfilings, or Bizee.

Check out our blog: ‘Is a Registered Agent Necessary? Your Guide to Finding an Affordable Option

Step 3: File Your Certificate of Formation

Let’s make your Maine LLC official by filing the Certificate of Formation. This document is crucial as it formally registers your LLC with the state of Maine. Here’s what you need to include in your Certificate of Formation:

  • LLC Name: Ensure you include the full legal name of your LLC, followed by “LLC” or “Limited Liability Company.”
  • Mailing Address: If your business receives mail at a location different from its physical address, list that here.
  • Registered Agent: Designate a registered agent who will handle official documents for your LLC. Include their full name, address, and contact information. They must formally agree to act as your registered agent.
  • Management Structure: Indicate whether your LLC will be member-managed (by you and any other owners) or manager-managed. List the names and addresses of the members or managers. For privacy, you may use a P.O. box for addresses.
  • Purpose: Provide a brief description of your business.
  • LLC Organizer: Identify the person or entity completing and filing your work. This role is crucial for correctly setting up your LLC.
  • Formation Date: Specify the date your LLC will officially begin. You can set this to the filing date or choose a date up to 90 days.
  • Signature: After reviewing your Certificate of Formation for accuracy, sign and date the document. Ensure your registered agent has consented to their appointment.

How to Send Your Form

When you’re ready to establish your LLC in Maine, filing your Certificate of Formation is crucial. This document officially registers your business with the state. Here’s how you can file your Certificate of Formation in Maine:

  • Online: For the quickest and easiest way to process your Articles of Organization, file them through the Maine Secretary of State’s online filing system. This system simplifies the process of submitting your paperwork and payment.
  • By Mail: If you prefer the traditional route, you can file by mail. Complete the Articles of Organization form and send it with the appropriate fee to the Secretary of State, Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions, 101 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0101.
  • In-Person: If you prefer to file in person, you can bring your completed Articles of Organization to the physical office at 111 Sewall Street, 4th Floor, Augusta, ME.

Filing Fee: The cost is $175 for domestic LLCs and $250 for foreign LLCs looking to operate in Maine.

Filing the Articles of Organization is crucial in establishing your LLC in Maine. To facilitate a smooth process, ensure all information is accurate and complete before submission.

Step 4: Making an Operating Agreement for Your Business

Let’s discuss setting up some ground rules for your business. This is where an Operating Agreement comes in. Think of it as a handbook that explains how your business runs. It’s important because it helps everyone understand their role and what’s expected in your LLC.

Here’s what an Operating Agreement usually includes:

  • Ownership: This part talks about who owns what percentage of the business. 
  • Member’s Rights and Responsibilities: Here, you’ll write down what each person in the LLC can and cannot do and what they’re responsible for. It’s like a job description for each member.
  • Joining & Leaving: This section covers how new people can enter your business and what happens if someone decides to leave. It’s good to have this figured out so there are no surprises later.
  • Dissolution: This might sound a bit gloomy, but it’s practical. It’s about how to close down the LLC if you ever need to. It includes the steps to take and how to handle everything when wrapping up the business.

Creating an Operating Agreement is a smart move. It keeps things clear and organized so everyone knows what to expect, and it can save you a lot of time.

Step 5: Getting Your EIN from the IRS

Your business needs a number called an EIN from the IRS. It’s like an ID number for your business. This number will help you as an identification number when getting bank accounts and credit accounts, filing taxes, and hiring employees.

It’s free, and you can get it from the IRS website.

Step 6: Steps After Forming Your LLC 

Open a Business Bank Account 

Keeping your personal and business finances separate is crucial for financial management and legal protection. Opening a business bank account requires your EIN and Articles of Organization. It makes tracking business expenses easier and simplifies tax filing.

Get a Business Credit Card

A business credit card is an excellent tool for handling business purchases and can help build your company’s credit history. Just like with personal credit, a good business credit score can make it easier to get loans and may qualify you for better terms. Visit our website to see our favorite business cards review.  

Check out our blog: Novo Review: The Best Business Banking Account in 2024?

Hire an Accountant

Managing finances can get complicated, especially as your business grows. An accountant can help you navigate tax laws, handle bookkeeping, and plan for financial growth. This professional guidance can save you time and money in the long run.

Create a Professional Website 

A website makes your business look legit. WordPress is a great tool to build your site. You can check out SiteGround or Hostinger for web hosting. They’re both good options to get your site up and running.


Maine LLC: Permits, Licenses, Tax Requirements, and Annual Reporting

After establishing your LLC in Maine, following the state’s rules to keep your business running smoothly is essential. This section will explain what permits and licenses you need, how to handle taxes, and what reports you must file.

Obtain Any Additional Permits and Licenses

Depending on their location and activities, different permits and license requirements apply to LLC businesses in Maine.

  • Local Business Licenses: Check with your city or town clerk’s office or website for local business license requirements.
  • Professional Licenses: Certain professions in Maine require state-issued professional licenses. The Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation oversees professional licensing.
  • Health Permits: Businesses involved in food service, healthcare, or beauty services may need health permits from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services or local health departments.

Tax Requirements in Maine

Handling your LLC’s taxes accurately is essential to complying with the law and keeping your finances in order.

  • Employer Taxes: If hiring employees, register for Unemployment Insurance through the Maine Department of Labor and Employee Withholding Tax through the Maine Revenue Services.
  • State Taxes: A Maine LLC is a pass-through entity for federal taxes. However, you may still have to pay state taxes based on your earnings. If your LLC sells goods or certain services, you must get a Sales Tax Permit from the Maine Revenue Services.
  • EIN: All LLCs need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for tax purposes, hiring employees, and opening a business bank account.

Annual Reporting in Maine

Maintaining good standing with the state involves filing an annual report with the Maine Secretary of State.

  • Filing Requirements: Maine LLCs must file an annual report each year.
  • Fees and Filing: The annual report filing fee is $85, and it can be submitted online through the Maine Secretary of State’s website or by mail.
  • Importance: This report updates the state of your LLC’s contact information and is crucial for keeping your business in good standing.

To run your Maine LLC smoothly and meet state laws, you must follow specific guidelines for permits, licenses, tax obligations, and annual reporting. For the most up-to-date information and detailed guidance, we recommend visiting the official Maine Secretary of State website and the Maine Revenue Services website


New 2024 Reporting Requirements (BOI)

Effective from January 1, 2024

Big news! Starting January 1, 2024, there are new reporting requirements for both domestic and foreign reporting companies. This includes LLCs, corporations, and other entities. Here’s what you need to know:

First Report Deadlines:

  • Existing Entities: If your LLC was already around before 2024, you’ve got until January 1, 2025, to submit your first report.
  • New Entities: If you’re forming your LLC in 2024, you must file your report within 90 days of your company’s creation.

Who Needs to Report:

  • Domestic Reporting Companies: This includes LLCs and similar entities within the U.S.
  • Foreign Reporting Companies: Entities registered foreign entities must also adhere to these new rules.

Exceptions to Reporting:

  • For specific exceptions, you’ll want to refer to the Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Regulations at 31 CFR § 1010.380(c)(2) and the Small Entity Compliance Guide.

What Must Be Reported

What you need to report is all about transparency. The exact details can be found in the compliance guide, but it generally involves information about your LLC’s ownership and control.

When Must Reporting File Reports

Remember, if you’re an existing entity, your deadline is January 1, 2025. For new LLCs formed in 2024, it’s within 90 days of creation.

Filing Reports & Noncompliance Penalties

Starting January 1, 2024, all BOI reports must be filed electronically. Here are some critical points:

  • Filing Before the Date: You must file on January 1, 2024.
  • Accuracy: Filer certification of accuracy is mandatory – you need to double-check that everything you report is correct and accurate.

Penalties for Noncompliance:

  • False Information Penalties: Mistakes or misinformation can lead to a fine of up to $10,000 or up to 2 years in prison.
  • Penalties: If you slip up here, you could face a fine of up to $10,000 or even imprisonment for up to 2 years.
  • FinCEN’s Approach: The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) focuses on education and outreach to ensure compliance. 
  • Safe Harbor Rule: Did you make a mistake? If you discover inaccuracies in your initial report, you have a 90-day grace period to submit a corrected report.

If you need more information or specific guidance, please visit the FinCEN website for all the details.

If you’re considering starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Maine, there are a few things to remember. This process may take some time but can lead to building a foundation for your LLC. By following these steps, you’ll be on your way to establishing a flexible, legally recognized business structure that can protect your assets while offering potential tax advantages. If you need help, services like Northwest Registered Agent, Swiftfiling, or Bizee exist. They can handle any legal details your LLC requires, like getting your EIN and sorting out your operating agreement.

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