How to Start an LLC in Maine
Limited liability companies (LLCs) are affordable and easy to form in Maine, but the state has specific requirements unique to the state.
To register, interested parties must file the necessary forms, pay the required fees, and meet all naming and formation requirements with the Secretary of State.
The fee for the Certificate of Formation is approximately $175, and expedited services are available for an additional fee of $50 for 24-hour service or $100 for immediate service.
Processing time for documents is typically five to 10 working days, but expedited services are available for faster turnaround.
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1. Name your Maine LLC
The first step in forming a Maine LLC is to select a clear and identifiable name for your business.
Maine state law requires that your business name include one of six specific suffixes, including:
- "Limited Liability Company"
- "Limited Company"
- or "LC."
Name Search & Reservation
It is important to research whether your desired name is available before filing your Articles of Organization. If you are not yet ready to file, Maine allows you to reserve a business name for 120 days for a fee.
Alternatively, a business name reservation service can handle the process for you and check if your desired name is available.
2. Select a Maine Registered Agent
One of the requirements for forming a Maine LLC is to appoint a registered agent in Maine.
What is a Registered Agent? A registered agent is someone who receives legal documents on behalf of your business. Your registered agent serves as the main point of contact between your business and the state.
Who can be a Registered Agent? Your registered agent must be a Maine resident, or a corporation authorized to do business in Maine, such as a registered agent service. You may also choose an individual within your company, including yourself, to act as the registered agent.
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3. Submit Maine LLC Certificate of Formation
To form your LLC in Maine, you must complete and submit the Certificate of Formation (MLLC-6) to the Maine Secretary of State. You must also attach a "Customer Contact Cover Letter," which requires basic contact information for the LLC.
Upon completing both forms, you can mail or deliver them to the Secretary of State along with a $175 filing fee. Please note that all information on the form will become part of the public record.
The following information about your LLC must be provided on the form:
- Company name: Your company name must include an indicator like "LLC."
- Filing date: The date when your LLC will start, which can be up to 90 days in the future.
- Low-profit LLC: Check this box if you're forming a low-profit LLC with a charitable or educational purpose.
- Professional LLC: Check this box if you're forming a professional LLC that requires special licenses (such as architecture or dentistry) and specify the kind of services your LLC will offer.
- Registered agent: A person or entity that will be accepting legal mail on behalf of your LLC. Indicate whether your registered agent is commercial or noncommercial.
- Maine authorized person: The person or entity who signs and submits the Certificate of Formation, which can be someone outside of your LLC.
4. Create an LLC Operating Agreement
Per Revised Statutes Section 1531.1.B of Maine's legal code, LLCs are obligated to possess a limited liability company agreement, which is referred to as the operating agreement in other states.
The operating agreement is a crucial legal document that outlines the ownership and operational procedures of an LLC, and helps to reduce the possibility of future conflicts by ensuring that all business owners have a shared understanding.
5. Apply for an EIN
Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is the fifth step in forming your LLC. This unique number, also known as a Tax ID Number, is required by businesses that have multiple members or plan to hire employees.
You can apply for an EIN by submitting Form SS-4 through the IRS website or mail. If you want to avoid the hassle of dealing with the IRS, our EIN service can handle the application process quickly for you.
Obtaining an EIN for your business is crucial, even if you don't have multiple members or employees. It serves as your business's Social Security number and Federal Tax Identification Number.
With an EIN, you can open a separate business bank account, which is essential for organizing your finances and avoiding commingling funds. Mixing personal and business funds can complicate your taxes and harm the separation of your LLC's liability protection in the event of a lawsuit.
6. File State Reports & Taxes
Maine LLCs are required to submit an annual report to the Secretary of State every year, which acts as a state check-in. This report ensures that the state has current information on who owns the LLC, where it is located, and who its registered agent is. The cost of filing the Maine annual report is $85.
When is the Maine Annual Report due?
Maine's annual report is due on June 1st, and you may file it by mail, in person, or online (unlike the Certificate of Formation). However, be aware that Maine will charge you a late fee of $50 if you file after June 1st, and your LLC will be dissolved if you are delinquent for 65 days.
The state does not send out reminders, so be sure to mark your calendar for the annual report or employ a registered agent to remember (and file) on your behalf.
How are Maine LLCs taxed?
By default, your LLC will be taxed as a sole proprietorship or partnership. This means that the LLC's profits pass through to the members (owners), who report the income and expenses on their personal tax returns. Each member's share of the profits is subject to federal, state, and self-employment (Medicare and Social Security) taxes.
The current self-employment tax rate is 15.3%. LLCs can also submit forms to the IRS to be taxed as an S-corp or C-corp.
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