Start a Business in Maine
Corporate Compliance by Local Corporate Guides®
Starting a business in Maine can and should be easier than you think. You file simple forms with the secretary of state, and your business is formed! Obviously there’s a few more things than that, but if you’d like to start your own business yourself, you will find it easy to hire us as your registered agent and you’ll find all the forms you could file to start a business in Maine, along with great filing instructions on the quickest and cheapest ways to start your business in Maine.
How to Start a Business in Maine
You file Articles of Incorporation for a Maine corporation or Certificate of Formation for a Maine LLC with the ME Secretary of State.
You obtain a federal tax ID number (FEIN or EIN) with the IRS after you have confirmation and filed articles from the State of Maine showing your approved Maine business.
Opening a business banking account under your new Maine business name should be easy with these two items.
If you are going to withhold sales tax or have employees, you will need to register with Maine Revenue Services and the Maine Department of Labor.
If your business trade requires a license, you’ll have to apply for a license with the Maine licensing board. (Most businesses don’t.) But if you do, these quick links and contact details are in your online account.
There is no state business license in Maine. General business licenses are issued at the town/city level. You obtain a local trade license if the city or county you’re going to be working in requires it.
If you’re going to have an office or shop you might need an approval from the city zoning for your type of business in that location.
If you get overwhelmed, just get your business pulling in money and worry about regulations later.
Are You A Do-It-Yourselfer? You Can Save Some Money:
If you want to start a business in Maine yourself, you can just hire us as your Maine registered agent, and you’ll instantly have the Maine LLC or corporation forms to file along with filing instructions on the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to incorporate a Maine corporation or form a Maine LLC. You’ll get the ongoing support of our online tools, reminders and the support of a professional Maine registered agent service.START YOUR MAINE BUSINESS TODAY
Maine LLC vs Corporation
Small to medium-sized business owners often like LLCs because they require fewer annual requirements, offer flexible management, and great tax options. Business owners wanting to grow a larger company tend to prefer the well-established, defined management structure of a corporation. Plus, having the ability to sell stock helps attract top investors.
But, what about Maine? Any pros and cons for a Maine LLC vs a Maine corporation?
Initially, it will cost slightly less to form a Maine corporation vs a Maine LLC—$145 versus $175. Afterward, both entities are required to file an annual report and pay an $85 filing fee. In addition, LLCs and corporations must list officer/director OR member/manager information on public documents.
During tax season, Maine corporations have the potential to get hit harder than LLCs—especially high income corporations. Rates for corporate income begin fairly low—3.5% for revenues up to $350,000, which is great for newer businesses. But, corporate tax rates will eventually climb to $271,845 plus an additional 8.93% for revenue in excess of $3,500,000. By comparison, personal income tax rates begin at 5.8% and top out at 7.15%. This makes taxes less burdensome for high income LLCs with typical tax classifications.
Maine LLCs also have strong protections against creditors. Although the state allows creditors to obtain a charging order, the order is only a lien on the debtor’s interest—meaning the claimant only has the right to receive distributions that would otherwise go to the member. A court may not foreclose on the charging order, as is common in other states.
If you want a corporation, you file Maine Articles of Incorporation:
The Maine Articles of Incorporation cost $145 with the Maine Secretary of State.
We custom draft your Maine Articles of Incorporation when you hire Northwest to start your Maine business. The basic requirements of Maine corporations are:
- An incorporating Maine ending such as Inc, corporation, or incorporated.
- Professional corporations must state the service the corporation will provide.
- If there is only one class of shares, state the number of authorized shares.
- If there are multiple classes of shares, attach an exhibit describing the classes and numbers of shares, voting rights, etc.
- Whether the corporation will have a board of directors or be managed by shareholders.
- Optional provisions.
- The name, address, and signature of the Maine incorporator.
- The corporation’s Maine registered agent.
Maine requires original signatures on new ME corporation filings. The stamped form will be sent to the address on your cover letter or the envelope the filing was sent in.
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If you want a LLC, you file Maine Certificate of Formation:
To form a Maine LLC, you file a Maine Certificate of Formation. The basic requirements of Maine LLC filings are:
- The business name must have a limited liability company ending or variation of it.
- New Maine LLC’s name must be different than already registered Maine companies.
- The LLC formation can be effective when filed or at a later date.
- A Maine LLC may be designated as a Low Profit LLC or a Professional LLC.
- Professional LLCs must state the service they are formed to provide.
- The Maine registered agent and the physical address.
- The Maine organizer’s name and signature.
Maine requires original signatures on new ME LLC filings. The document is mailed to you after the state approves your filing.