If you want to start a new business in the Pine Tree State, forming an LLC in Maine is the way to go. A Maine LLC is affordable to create and easy to run. It also ensures your personal assets are separate and protected from the company’s assets.
Forming a Maine LLC can seem a little daunting at first, but the process is pretty straightforward. In this article, we’ll cover exactly how to form an LLC in Maine, link to the forms you need to fill in and show you how you can speed up forming your company.
Ready to get your business started? Then let’s dive in.
Start by Choosing a Name for Your Maine LLC
The very first step to forming an LLC in Maine is to choose a name for your business. We recommend choosing one that is easy to remember and pronounce, that is related to what your business does, and that complies with Maine’s naming guidelines and rules.
Some of those rules include:
- Your Maine LLC name must be unique
- The name of your LLC in Maine must be distinguishable from any other Maine business name or name of government agencies in Maine
- Your Maine LLC name must have the words “Limited Liability Company” or its abbreviations (“L.L.C.” or “LLC”) at the end
- Restricted names of Maine LLC (Banks, Insurance, University, etc) may need additional paperwork. You may also need a licensed professional like a lawyer to be part of your Maine LLC
You can check the complete list of the Maine LLC naming guidelines and requirements on the state website.
Once you have a potential name in mind, make sure that it is available and not already taken by another business entity. You can do this by doing a name search via the Maine Secretary of State website.
Finally, we recommend checking the availability of your business name as a URL. Securing a memorable domain for your Maine business will help to establish your online presence and prevent other businesses from using the same name.
Hire a Registered Agent
After choosing a name for your Maine LLC, you will need to appoint or hire a registered agent.
A Maine registered agent can either be:
- A person residing in the state of Maine
- A business entity authorized to operate in Maine
In Maine, a registered agent can be a trusted third party, any person within your business entity, or even yourself. But whoever is appointed or hired to act as a registered agent must be physically present at all business hours to accept and forward legal correspondence on behalf of your business and have a permanent street address within Maine. A P.O. Box address won’t be enough.
That’s a lot of responsibility to take on board, and it’s why many businesses use a registered agent service provider instead. Here are three of the most popular options:
IncFile is one of our best recommendations for a registered agent service provider in Maine. The company charges an annual fee of $119 in return for the following services:
- Custom email and SMS notifications
- Automatic mail forwarding
- Receiving all the essential correspondence in due time
- Access to your correspondence on your easy-to-use personal dashboard
ZenBusiness has a solid reputation in the company creation and registered agent industry. In fact, it is rated #1 by Forbes and Investopedia. While its registered agent services are slightly more expensive ($199 per year) than other providers, you do get access to a wide selection of outstanding compliance tools, such as:
- Expert handling of all your business and legal documents
- Document scanning
- Fast turnaround
- Email notifications
- Access to a personalized dashboard
- Mail forwarding
You can even upgrade your registered agent package to include more features like annual support and two free filing amendments per year.
Northwest is another reliable and well-known registered agent service provider in Maine. If you hire them as registered agent for your Maine LLC, you will enjoy the following services:
- Annual report reminders
- Document storage
- Access to pre-filled state forms
- Mail forwarding
- Compliance alerts
- Scanned documents
- Corporate Guides
- Free first-year compliance calendar
While their annual fee is $125, you can get it lowered to $100 if you leverage their multi-year discount and use Northwest as a registered agent in more than five states.
Northwest also offers additional services, such as trademarking, phone service, a virtual office, annual report filings, and payment processing.
File Articles of Organization
After choosing a name and hiring a registered agent, the next step in forming your Maine LLC is filing the Article of Organization, also known as the Maine Certificate of Formation.
The Main Certificate of Formation incorporates your Maine LLC, making it a separate legal entity under Maine laws.
Before filing your certificate, ensure you have all the essential details ready. Here is a list of the information you need to include:
- The name of your Maine LLC
- The purpose of your LLC
- The effective date of LLC formation
- The business address
- The address and name of the hired registered agent
- Address and name of the incorporator
- The duration of the LLC
Once you have the above information, go to the Maine Secretary of State website and file your Article of Organization. The filing processing time (turnaround time) is 25-30 working days, and the filing fee is $175.
It is also vital to note that business owners in Maine must also file an annual report by the 1st of April every year. This report updates the contact details of your Maine LLC, including the LLC’s principal office and the registered agent. You will need to pay an annual report filing fee of $40. The annual report can also be filed online via the Secretary of State’s website.
Create an Operating Agreement
The Revised Maine Statutes Section 1531.1.B of the state’s legal code requires all LLCs in Maine to have an Operating Agreement.
The Operating Agreement in Maine is also known as the LLC Agreement. It is a legal document that outlines the operating procedures and ownership of your company. Having a comprehensive Operating Agreement for your Maine LLC ensures that all partners are on the same page, reducing the risks of future conflicts.
When creating an Operating Agreement for your Maine LLC, include the following information:
- Addresses and names of all business members
- The management structure of the business
- Rules for dissolving the LLC, admitting new members, and voting
- Details on how to resolve disputes
- Provisions of how losses and profits are distributed among members
- The ownership percentage of each member
Be sure to consult an attorney when creating an Operating Agreement for your Maine LLC. This should ensure your agreement covers all the essential aspects of your business operation and complies with state laws.
Obtain all Licenses and Permits
We’re on the home straight now. Before you can get to work, you need to obtain relevant licenses and permits. The requirements, price, and type of license and permits you need will vary depending on the location and type of your business.
You will require a general business license, but these are managed at the town and city level, as per the Maine Secretary of State website.
Other common business licenses and permits in Maine include the following:
- Occupational or professional licenses
- Health permits
- Seller’s licenses and permits
Acquire Federal and State Tax IDs
After forming your LLC in Maine, you will need a Federal and State Tax ID. Also referred to as Employer Identification Number (EIN), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses Federal and State Tax IDs to identify and track business entities for tax-related purposes.
You may also need a Federal and State Tax ID for other purposes, such as:
- Opening a business bank and credit account
- Securing funds from investors and banks
- Hiring and paying your employees
The good news is that obtaining a Federal and State Tax ID in Maine is simple and free. Simply go to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website and apply.
Please note if you own a single-member business and do not plan to hire any employee, you won’t need a Federal and State Tax ID. Instead, you can use your Social Security Number (SSN), instead.
Open a Business Bank Account
As you probably know, keeping your business and personal finances separate is crucial. Opening a separate business bank and credit account will help preserve the limited liability status of your LLC and streamline the management of your business accounts, finances, and bookkeeping.
Luckily, opening a business bank and credit account in Maine is straightforward as long as you have the following documents:
- Operating Agreement of your LLC
- The Article of Organization
- The Federal and State Tax Identification Number
One of the following Maine banks may be able to help:
Purchase Maine Business Insurance
Finally, you will need to purchase proper and relevant insurance policies. The four most common Maine business insurance policies are:
- General liability insurance: It protects your LLC against the most common business risks, such as property damage and personal injury.
- Professional liability insurance: It protects entrepreneurs against undelivered, neglected, or inaccurate work.
- Workers’ compensation insurance: It covers employee’s medical bills and other losses caused by work-related injury and illness.
- Commercial property insurance: It protects your business from theft, damage, and loss.
Get a fair quote for all of your business insurance needs by visiting a comparison site like Insureon.
Buy an LLC Formation Package to Speed Up the Process
Many companies provide LLC formation packages to speed up the process of starting your LLC in Maine.
Some companies, such as LegalZoom, can help form your LLC for free. You will only need to cover the Maine state fees. For instance, LegalZoom’s free Basic package includes LLC formation features, such as a digital welcome packet, an article of organization, a customizable website, and a name check service.
If you are looking for a comprehensive LLC formation package, consider LegalZoom’s Pro package, which costs $249 annually. It includes all Basic package features plus operating agreement and EIN. Moreover, if your budget allows it, you can go for LegalZoom’s Premium package, which costs $299 annually. It will give you access to all Pro package features plus unlimited attorney consultations and hands-on guidance.
ZenBusiness is another top LLC formation company that you can consider. It has three formation packages:
- Starter package: It features standard filing speed, and your LLC will be up and running in 2-3 weeks. It is entirely free
- Pro package: It features worry-free compliance, operating agreement, and expedited filing speed (4-6 days).
- Premium package: It includes expedited filing speed (1-2 days), a customizable business website, and a domain name & email address.
You won’t find a faster or easier way to create your Maine LLC than by using one of the services above.
FAQs About Forming an LLC in Maine
How Long Will It Take to Form My Maine LLC?
The standard processing time for an Article of Organization for a Maine LLC is 25-30 business days.
How Much Does It Cost to Set Up an LLC in Maine?
The cost of filing an Article of Organization to form an LLC in Maine is $175.
Can I Act as my Own Registered Agent in Maine?
Yes. The state of Maine allows entrepreneurs to appoint themselves as registered agents for their LLCs as long as you are a Maine resident with a physical address (not a P.O. Box address).
Can I Form a Single-Member LLC in Maine?
Yes. The Maine Secretary of State allows entrepreneurs to form single-member LLCs. The formation process is similar to what we have discussed in this guide.
Get Your Maine LLC Off the Ground Today
If you follow the steps discussed in this article, you can quickly form your LLC in Maine. Maine makes the process even easier by providing ample resources, such as template forms and step-by-step guides to simplify the paperwork.
However, if you find the process time-consuming, complex, and tiresome, you can hire an LLC formation company to speed up the process for you! Best of luck in your business endeavors!