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Maine Corporation Service We’re Just Not Annoying®

How to Start a Corporation in Maine

To start a Maine corporation, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Division of Corporations, UCC & Commissions and pay a $145 filing fee. While this filing creates your business, it’s really just the first step to launching your Maine corporation. The complete steps to incorporating in the Pine Tree State are as follows:

  1. File Maine Articles of Incorporation
  2. Pay Maine’s Division of Corporations, UCC & Commissions $145
  3. Wait to receive an approved copy of your Articles
  4. Get a federal tax ID (EIN) for the corporation
  5. Create Maine corporate bylaws
  6. Take these documents to the bank and get a Maine corporate bank account
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Documents & Forms

How to File Maine Articles of Incorporation

To form a Maine corporation, you file the Articles of Incorporation in the following steps:
Step 1 Choose a name for your new corporation
Step 2 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent service to minimize public disclosures
Step 3 Decide how many shares to authorize
Step 4 Choose whether or not your corporation will have a board of directors
Step 5 Decide if your corporation will have preemptive rights
Step 6 Choose an incorporator to sign and submit your Articles
Step 7 Submit your filing by mail or in person to the Secretary of State, Division of Corporations, UCC & Commissions, 101 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333-0101 with a check or money order for $145

How Long Does it Take to Start a Maine Corporation?

1

Immediate 1 Day

If you absolutely need your Articles processed this minute and have an extra $100 in your pocket, you can pay for immediate service. 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.

1-2

Almost Fastest 1-2 Days

For an extra $50, the state also offers a 24-hour turnaround time, which is still quite a bit faster than an unexpedited filing.

14

Not Too Shabby 14 Days

Prefer saving cash to saving time? Skip the expediting fees and you’ll receive your approval in a couple of weeks.

What is the Cost of a Maine Corporation?

The base filing fee for Maine Articles of Incorporation is $145. 24-hour 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 24-hour 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.

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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.

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.

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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%.

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Is a Registered Agent Required for a Maine Corporation?

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.

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Maine Corporation Versus Maine LLC:

Maine corporations cost less to form than Maine LLCs: $145 vs $175. Otherwise, costs are pretty even for both entities. State fees for maintaining your business are the same. For example, Annual Reports are $85 for both corporations and LLCs. Tax obligations are more variable (they depend more on your tax election than your entity type) but can be similar. For example, both corporations and LLCs can choose the S election, which would make their tax obligations the same.

In addition to being a little cheaper to start, corporations have other advantages as well, particularly for large businesses or those that hope to scale quickly. The familiar, formal structure makes it easier to manage lots of people and processes. The flexibility of stocks can also make it easier to raise money or attract investors. LLCs, on the other hand, tend to appeal to small businesses or new business owners that value simplicity. Considering an LLC? Here’s information for starting an LLC in Maine.

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Do I Need a Tax ID Number (EIN) for a Maine Corporation?

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.

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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.

Does a Maine Corporation Need Bylaws?

Yes, your Maine corporation will need bylaws. Why? Bylaws are the internal rules for your corporation. They 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.

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.

Maine Articles of Incorporation Requirements

Business Name

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 Services

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

“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.

Authorized Shares

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.

Directors

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.

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.

Preemptive Rights

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.

Maine Incorporator

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.

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®