Maine Incorporation Services
To start a corporation in Maine, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Division of Corporations, UCC & Commissions. You can file the document by mail or in person. The Articles of Incorporation cost $145 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Maine corporation. However, to actually ready the corporation to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a Maine Corporation Guide:
Maine Corporation Filing Options
Skip the state fees! Get a Maine corporation and the best of our services today. Includes EIN, hassle-free maintenance, business address & mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, local Corporate Guide® service, and everything you need to operate at full capacity.
Do It Yourself
Sign up for a free account and use our online tools to start your Maine corporation today. Includes Maine incorporation and maintenance walkthrough and company document creation. All for free.
Pay in Full
Includes Maine corporation, business address & free mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, lifetime support from local Corporate Guides® and a year of registered agent service.
Maine Articles of Incorporation Requirements
To form a Maine corporation, you must complete and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Division of Corporations, UCC & Commissions. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
Your corporation’s name can’t be misleading (don’t call yourself a bank if you’re a bakery). The name must also be different enough from other Maine businesses to be distinguishable. Tip: While the Maine Revised Statutes don’t specifically require regular business corporations to include a corporate designation like “Corporation” or “Incorporated,” it’s standard practice to add one and may make your life easier if you eventually expand outside of Maine.
Professional corporations offer state-licensed services (think doctors and lawyers). If you’re creating a professional corporation, you’ll need to select this option in your Articles, state the type of professional services offered and choose one of the following business designations: “Chartered,” “Professional Corporation,” “Professional Association,” “Service Corporation,” or an abbreviation like “P.C.,” “P.A.,” or “S.C.”
“Clerk” is the term Maine uses for registered agent. Your clerk is a business or Maine resident who accepts service of process on behalf of your Maine corporation. If you list a commercial clerk (like Northwest), you just need the name and Commercial Registered Agent number. If you list a noncommercial clerk (like yourself or a friend), you’ll need to include a name, physical address in Maine and mailing address. Tip: We recommend Northwest.
List the number of shares you’re creating for each class or series. If you want multiple classes or series of shares, you’ll also need to attach an exhibit that describes the rights or limitations of each class or series.
You’ll have to choose whether to have a board of directors or whether the business will be managed by shareholders (as permitted by Maine Revised Statute 13-C §743). Tip: Most corporations have a board of directors.
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.
If you want, you can tick the box stating that your corporation will have preemptive rights. Preemptive rights mean that shareholders have first shot at buying previously unissued shares, typically to maintain their ownership percentage. In Maine, corporations do not have preemptive rights unless these rights are noted in their Articles of Incorporation.
Your incorporator signs and submits your Articles of Incorporation. Some people assume the incorporator has to be a director or officer, but this isn’t the case—it’s just the person you authorize to submit your Articles. Incorporators must include their name, address, and signature. Tip: We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest to form your Maine corporation.
How much does it cost to start a Maine corporation?
The base filing fee for Maine Articles of Incorporation is $145. Five day expediting is an additional $50, and immediate processing is $100.
Hire Northwest to form your Maine corporation and your total, out-the-door cost is $370 ($420 for 5 Day expediting).
And the best part? Northwest gives you a hassle-free experience. Maine’s Articles of Incorporation form is unnecessarily confusing. The form uses business terms that are unfamiliar to most people (like “indemnification” and “preemptive rights”), meaning a simple filing can turn into a research project. When you hire Northwest, we’ll just ask you a few brief, straightforward questions about your business, and our Corporate Guides will take it from there—leaving you free to focus on your business. Not paperwork.
How long does it take to start a Maine corporation?
Standard processing is around 14 days. 5 Day expediting is an extra $50 and immediate expediting is an extra $100. Filings can only be mailed or submitted in person (there’s no online filing), so this option works best in person—otherwise, you still have to wait for postage time.
If you hire Northwest to start your corporation, we typically have your expedited Maine corporation formed within 5 business days.
Does a Maine corporation need a registered agent?
Yes—although in Maine, “registered agents” are usually called “clerks.” Either way, a clerk or registered agent’s job is to accept legal notifications on behalf of your Maine corporation. You can opt for a commercial clerk (an agent or service on file with the Maine Secretary of State Office) or a noncommercial clerk (a regular Maine resident like yourself).
Hiring a commercial clerk like Northwest Registered Agent LLC has some major perks. We accept, scan and send you your legal documents in real time, so you can stay on top of your business wherever you are (no worrying about missing a process server when you’re in meetings or out wooing investors). We also have free tools to help you maintain your corporation, and we’ll send you free compliance reminders so you don’t forget key business filings. For a long list of all our benefits, check out our Maine registered agent page.
Create Bylaws for Your Maine Corporation
Do I need bylaws?
Yes, your Maine corporation will need bylaws. Why? Bylaws are the internal rules for your corporation.
Why are corporate bylaws important?
Your bylaws answer essential organization questions: Who will be on the board of directors? How long will they be there? How will you replace them? How many directors are needed to pass a resolution? What about officers—who will they be? What responsibilities will they have? Will you have different classes of shares? Will shares have different voting rights? These are all decisions you make and put in your corporate bylaws. And once your bylaws have been adopted, people outside your Maine corporation will want to see them as well. You often need bylaws to open a corporate bank account or even just to assure potential investors or partners that you are a legitimate business that has it all together.
How do I begin writing bylaws?
Your bylaws answer key business questions, but sometimes the toughest question is just how to get started. Northwest has you covered. Not only can you hire us to form your Maine corporation, we also give you free corporate bylaws. We give you other free essential forms as well, from resolutions to meeting minute templates. We’ve spent years refining and developing our forms to make it easier for our clients to do what they’re meant to do—run their businesses, not agonize over paperwork. Take a look at the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.
Get an EIN for Your Maine Corporation
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Yes, the IRS requires corporations to obtain an EIN for their federal tax filings. You can fill out an application directly with the IRS for no fee. Or, save yourself some paperwork and hire Northwest to get your EIN for you. Just add on EIN service during checkout when you hire us to form your Maine corporation.
Open a Bank Account for Your Maine Corporation
To open a corporate bank account, you will need to bring the following to the bank:
- A copy of the Maine corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
- The Maine corporation’s bylaws
- The Maine 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 that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open corporate accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does a Maine corporation need a business license?
Licensing is done on the city or town level in Maine. Most cities don’t require a general license but instead license specific activities.
For example, Portland requires a $45 license for a few dozen specific business activities, from circus events to valet parking. Taxis and similar businesses are also licensed but pay increased fees. In Bangor, many activities are licensed and the fees tend to be higher—for instance, you’ll shell out $341 to license a bowling alley or a roller rink. Bar Harbor, on the other hand, licenses only a handful of activities, like selling liquor or operating vehicles for hire.
File Maine Corporation Reports
What is a Maine Annual Report?
Your Maine Annual Report is a form you file with the Secretary of State each year to confirm or update your corporation’s contact and ownership information. The report and $85 filing fee are due by June 1st each year. If you miss the filing deadline, you’ll be stuck with a $50 penalty. Fail to pay the penalty, and the state will revoke or dissolve your business.
Avoid annoying late fees and penalties when you hire Northwest as your registered agent. We’ll send you report reminders to help you keep your good standing. Better yet, for $100 plus state fees, you can even hire us to file your Annual Report for your Maine corporation.
How much does a corporation in Maine cost each year?
$85. Every year, your Maine corporation must submit a Maine Annual Report and pay the $85 filing fee.
Pay Corporate Taxes
What are the taxes for a Maine corporation?
The Maine corporate net income tax rates are:
3.50%: $0 to $25,000
7.93%: $25,001 to $75,000
8.33%: $75,001 to $250,000
8.93%: over $250,000
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 Portland 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%.