Start A Corporation In Maine

Use our free business tools below to complete your Maine Articles of Incorporation. This is the document you file directly with Maine’s Division of Corporations to form your corporation.

If you want more, hire us to form your corporation in Maine. We’ll get your business stood up in minutes with a free domain, website, email, business phone, and more.

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How to Start a Corporation in Maine

A Maine corporation is a business with a legal existence separate from its owners. If properly maintained, a corporation can conduct business in its own name and has many of the rights and obligations of a natural person, including the ability to enter into contracts, sue and be sued, hold assets, and pay taxes in its own name.

To start a corporation in Maine, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Incorporation with the Division of Corporations, UCC & Commissions. The articles cost $145 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Maine corporation. File today with our help, or follow our instructions below to start and maintain your Maine corporation on your own.

 

1. Name Your Corporation

You’ve probably got a business name all picked out, but to comply with ME Rev. Stat. § 911, the name must:

  • Be unique among business names in Maine.
  • Include either “corporation,” “corp,” “inc,” “ltd,” or another abbreviation.
  • Not include words or abbreviations that make it sound like it’s another kind of entity, like “LLC” or “limited.”

Already have a business name? Check to see if it’s available.

Can I reserve a business name in Maine?

Absolutely. If you’re not ready to form your corporation yet, you can reserve your business name for 120 days by filing the Application for Reservation of Name with the Secretary of State and paying the $20 fee. Again, all Maine business forms need to be mailed or delivered in person to the office in Augusta.

What’s the difference between my corporation’s name and a DBA?

When you file your Articles of Incorporation, the business name that you list on your formation documents is the legal name of your corporation. A Doing Business As (DBA) name is any other name your corporation uses to do business. A DBA is also sometimes called a trade name, fictitious business name, or assumed name.

Maine requires DBAs be registered with the Secretary of State. You’ll have to fill out and file a Statement of Intention to Transact Business Under an Assumed or Fictitious Name. The total cost to register your DBA is $125, payable to the Secretary of State by mail or in person. While that may seem a bit steep, it’s important–registering your DBA prevents another business from using the name and is required by law.

Thinking about using a DBA? Learn How to Get a Maine DBA.

2. Designate a Registered Agent

Next up, you’ll need to appoint a registered agent for your corporation. A registered agent is the person or company (like Northwest) tasked with accepting important legal mail on behalf of your business. In Maine, all corporationss are required to have a registered agent. You’ll need to have your registered agent’s name and address ready before you fill out your Articles of Incorporation.

Learn why the pros use a registered agent service.

What does a registered agent do?

The requirements for a registered agent in Maine are outlined in 5 ME Rev. Stat. § 114. Your registered agent must:

  • Have a physical address (no PO boxes or virtual offices) in the state of Maine.
  • Keep regular business hours (9am to 5pm).
  • Accept legal mail and correspondence from Maine’s Division of Corporations on behalf of your business and get them to you fast.

Can you be your own registered agent in Maine?

You sure can, but do you want to? Acting as your own registered agent means your name, address, and other private information go on the public record, which opens you up to spam email, junk mail, and annoying sales calls. Plus you’ll have to keep regular, nine-to-five business hours at your registered address, which might not work with your busy schedule as a business owner.

Can I change my registered agent after I start a corporation?

Yes. To change your registered agent in Maine, you’ll need to complete and file a Statement of Change form with the Secretary of State. The Maine Statement of Change must be submitted by mail or in person and costs $35 to file.

3. Submit Articles of Incorporation

Your corporation won’t be official until the Maine’s Division of Corporations approves your Articles of Incorporation (sometimes called a Certificate of Formation.) You can submit your Articles online, by mail, or in person.

Note: All of the information on this form will become part of the public record.

Here is the information you will need to provide:

  • Corporate Name: Should include “corporation” or an abbreviation.
  • Professional Services: State if you are offering professional (state-licensed) services, like a doctor or a lawyer.
  • Benefit Corporation: State if you are a for-profit corporation with a public benefit purpose.
  • Clerk/Registered Agent: In Maine, Registered Agents are called Clerks. You must include the information of the person/business authorized to accept legal mail on behalf of your corporation.
  • Clerk’s Consent: States that the clerk you have appointed has consented to serve.
  • Authorized Shares: Must include issued shares and consideration received.
  • Name of Directors: Must include names and addresses of anyone on the initial board.
  • Optional Director Information: Although not required, you can include the number of directors, decide the liability of directors and note if the corporation will cover losses of directors and officers.
  • Incorporators: Must include the names and addresses of all your incorporators.
  • Signatures: THe signature must match exactly the name in the incorporator’s section

You can also add preemptive rights and other provisions, if in accordance with Maine law.

How can I keep my personal information off the public record?

It’s true that when you submit your Articles of Incorporation to the state, all the names and addresses listed on it become part of the public record. Marketing firms are experts at finding this information and using it to send you junk mail.

The best way to limit the amount of personal information you share is by hiring a registered agent service that will put their address on this form instead of yours wherever possible.

How do I file the Maine Articles of Incorporation?

You can submit your certificate by mail or in person at:

Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-010

Start Your Maine Corporation Today!

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4. Get an EIN

Your federal employer identification number (commonly known as an EIN or FEIN) is similar to a social security number for your business. The IRS assigns these numbers and uses them to easily identify individual corporations on tax filings, including federal corporate income tax returns.

Why does my Maine corporation need an EIN?

The IRS requires corporations to get an EIN for their federal tax filings, and Maine Revenue Services requires an EIN for their business registration. You may also be asked for your EIN when opening a bank account, securing a loan, or applying for local business permits and licenses.

How do I get an EIN for my corporation?

You can get an EIN directly from the IRS. The application is free, and most businesses can apply online. However, if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to submit a paper application form. Can’t bear to fill out yet another application? Hire Northwest to get your EIN for you. Just add on EIN service during checkout when you sign up for our incorporation service.

5. File the Beneficial Ownership Information Report

As of January 1, 2024, most US corporations are required to fill out and file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). To complete the BOI Report, you’ll have to provide information about your corporation, its beneficial owners, and (for new corporations) the company applicant.

Beneficial Owner: defined as anyone with at least a 25% ownership stake in your company. This also includes anyone with significant control over company operations, such as your CEO, CFO, or General Counsel.

Company Applicant: the individual who filed your Maine Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. It is important to note that corporations formed prior to 2024 are not required to include company applicant information.

You can file the BOI Report online or hire us to handle it for you for $9.

How do I file the BOI Report?

Online! Starting in 2024 you’ll be able access the Beneficial Ownership Secure System (BOSS) in order to file the BOI Report online. The report is free to file.

What's the deadline for filing the BOI Report?

The deadline to file your BOI Report depends on when you incorporated:

  • Companies formed before 2024—January 1, 2025.
  • Companies formed in 2024—Within 90 days of incorporation.
  • Companies formed in 2025 or later—Within 30 days of incorporation.

What information will I need in order to complete the BOI Report?

New corporations must provide information about each beneficial owner and their company applicant. (Corporations formed before 2024 don’t need to give company applicant information.) You’ll also need to provide some basic company information.

Beneficial owner and company applicant information: 

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Residential or business street address
  • Personal identification document (such as a driver’s license or passport), including the ID number

Company information:

  • Legal business name
  • Any DBAs/assumed business names
  • Business street address
  • State of incorporation
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Will I need to update the BOI Report?

Yes, but only if your corporation’s information changes. For instance, if your corporation changes owners or gets a new CEO, you’ll need to update your BOI Report. You have 30 days after the change occurs to file your updated report through BOSS. There is no cost to update the report.

Will the information on the BOI Report go on the public record?

No. Unlike the information on your Maine Articles of Incorporation, your BOI Report won’t go on the public record. The information on your report is only be accessible to government agencies, law enforcement, and financial institutions that need to confirm customer identity.

Any BOI Report exemptions?

Yes, there are 23 classes of exemption from the BOI Report. The most common exemptions include:

  • Large operating companies
  • Most financial companies, such as banks and credit unions
  • Investment companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Insurance companies registered with a state or federal agency
  • Public utilities companies registered with a state or federal agency
  • Tax-exempt entities

6. Write Corporate Bylaws

Bylaws are the internal rules you set for your business. They put into writing how decisions will be made and who gets to make those decisions. All the major organizational processes and procedures for your corporation will go in your bylaws.

For more on Maine Corporate Bylaws (including our free Maine Corporate Bylaws template), see our Maine Corporate Bylaws resource.

Do I need bylaws for my Maine corporation?

Yes. 13-C ME Rev Stat § 206 notes that the incorporators or board of directors of a corporation shall adopt initial bylaws for the corporation, ratified at the first board of directors meeting.

What should bylaws include?

Corporate bylaws cover basic policies and procedures for issues such as company finances and management. Bylaws should cover a range of topics, answering key questions like those below:

  • Directors and officers: How many directors must there be? Which officer positions are required? What powers do they have? How do you fill a vacancy or remove a director or officer?

  • Meetings: When and where will meetings for shareholders and directors be held? How much notice is required before a meeting is conducted? How many attendees are required to transact business? What are the procedures for voting or proxy voting? How do you call a special meeting? What actions can be taken without a meeting?

  • Stock: How are stock certificates issued and transferred? How is voting affected by issues such as corporate stock owners or fractional shares?

  • Finances: What are the procedures for retaining profits, issuing dividends, and paying bills? Who can withdraw money from the corporate bank account or sign checks?

  • Records: Where is the corporate book to be kept? What information will be maintained? How are requests for review or access honored? Can records or copies be kept or distributed digitally?

  • Amendments and emergencies: Who can amend bylaws and how? Can emergency bylaws be adopted in the case of disaster?

Per 13-C ME Rev Stat § 206, bylaws can contain any provision, so long as it is consistent with law and the corporation’s Articles of Incorporation.

How do I write bylaws?

Creating bylaws can be overwhelming—where do you start? Northwest can help. We give you free corporate bylaws when you hire us to form your Maine corporation. We know what kinds of topics and questions corporations need to address, and we’ve spent years refining and improving our forms. We offer many other free corporate forms as well, including templates for resolutions and meeting minutes.

7. Hold an Organizational Meeting

An organizational meeting is the first official meeting of the corporation after the business is legally formed with the state. At this meeting, bylaws are adopted, officers are appointed, and any other initial business is conducted. The first meeting’s minutes (as well as the minutes from every subsequent meeting with shareholders and/or the board of directors) should also be recorded and added to your corporate record book.

Are there any special rules for Maine organizational meetings?

In the state of Maine, an organizational meeting may be held in or out of the state. Some actions that are required during your organizational meeting may be done outside of the meeting, but only if every incorporator has signed at least one written consent that describes what action was taken.

8. Open a Corporate Bank Account

Businesses that mix personal and business finances together risk losing their liability protections, so your corporation will need its own bank account. In addition, a corporate bank account is essential for easily accepting payments, paying bills and holding funds.

How do I open a bank account for my Maine corporation?

To open a corporate bank account in Maine, you’ll need to bring the following with you to the bank:

  • A copy of the Maine corporation’s Articles of Incorporation

  • The corporation’s bylaws

  • The corporation’s EIN

If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account. The resolution would state that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation. At Northwest, we provide free corporate bank resolutions, along with many other free corporate forms, to help you get started fast.

9. File State Reports & Taxes

In Maine, corporations file an annual report each year. In addition, corporations are subject to state taxes, including the state’s corporate income tax.

What is the Maine Annual Report?

The Maine Annual Report is a filing you must submit each year in order for your corporation to remain in good standing with the Secretary of State. On this form, you update information on directors, officers and shares. You must also confirm your registered agent and office. It can be completed online or as a paper form mailed to the Secretary of State’s office or dropped off in-person at their offices in Augusta. Anyone with authority may file the annual report, but original signatures are required if you file using paper forms.

How much does it cost to file a Maine Annual Report?

$85. Fail to file on time? The Secretary of State will charge most business entities a $50 late fee. If your report remains unfiled, your business may also be administratively dissolved or revoked of its right to conduct business within the state.

When is the Maine Annual Report due?

Your corporation’s annual report filing must be filed between January 1st and June 1st of the year following the calendar year in which your company was incorporated, formed or qualified. For example, if you filed your Articles of Incorporation between January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, your first annual report would be due by June 1, 2021.

These filings can be easy to forget—which is why we send our clients automatic reminders. Or better yet, let us file for you. With our business renewal service, we can complete and submit your annual report for you for $100 plus the state fee.

What should I know about Maine corporate taxes?

The state of Maine imposes an income tax on all corporations that have Maine-source income. For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2018, corporate tax on adjusted federal taxable income is calculated using the following graduated rates:

3.50%: $0 to $350,000
7.93%: $350,001 to $1,050,000
8.33%: $1,050,001 to $3,500,000
8.93%: over $3,500,000

The state sales tax is a flat 5.5%. In Maine, cities and counties can’t add on local sales taxes, so you’ll pay the same 5.5% at the register from Kennebunk to Presque Isle. However, there are specialty rates for a few specific products and services. For example, prepared foods are taxed at 8% and hotels are taxed at 9%.

Do corporations have to register with Maine Revenue Services?

Yes, if you conduct business in Maine, you’re required to register with Maine Revenue Services. You can register via the Maine Revenue Services website or by filing a Maine Business Registration Application. You’ll need your EIN before you can register.

Ready to Start a Corporation in Maine?