How to Form an LLC in Maine
By Bazal Razzaq
Updated: September 01, 2023, 12:30pm
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Looking for ways to form a Maine LLC? Sure you were. After all, it ranks as the top #2 state for being business-friendly and hosting key industries!
Whether you’re looking to start a limited liability company(LLC) or merely wondering what it’s like, our step-by-step guide will help you along the journey of forming your LLC in one of the most dynamic markets in the country. Whatever your concerns are, we’ll address them here!
#1 Pick an LLC name for your company
The very first step in this LLC formation process would be to select a name for your company. Your chosen name should be memorable, unique, and relevant to your LLC’s identity. It’s best if it’s legally compliant and different from other registered business entities.
Additionally, here are certain guidelines you should consider while naming your Maine LLC,
- Make sure that the name you choose should be distinguishable from existing business names registered with the Maine Secretary of State. This includes corporations, partnerships, LLCs, and all other types of business entities in the State. You can use Maine’s business name database to check for availability.
- Your LLC’s name must contain a proper designator to indicate its limited liability status. You can use one of the following designators:
- Limited Liability Company
- Limited Company
- LLC(Most people stick with this one)
- Avoid using certain words related to regulated industries (like “bank,” “insurance,” and “doctor”), as they may require additional approval, documentation, or compliance with specific regulations.
- Also, it’s best not to use words related to government agencies and authorities like the State Department, CIA, FBI, Treasury, etc., in your LLC name since they can imply that your business is, in fact, something it’s really not.
- It goes without saying at this point, but your chosen name should contain no vulgar, obscene, or forbidden words as per the state regulations.
- If you plan to use the name of a living person in your LLC’s name, you may need their written consent.
- Additionally, if your LLC intends to provide professional services, such as legal or medical services, additional requirements and restrictions may apply. You may need to use a specific type of professional entity designation.
Still confused? Here’s a complete list of Maine naming rules to help you pick the perfect legally compliant name.
If you do have a legally compliant name in your mind but aren’t ready to kick start your LLC just yet, there’s always an option to reserve it. You can submit an application for Reservation of Name(Form- MLLC-1) with the Secretary of State. Using the form above, you can hold your chosen name for up to 120 days. The filing fee is just $20, and you can download the form and then send it to the address listed below:
Secretary of State Division of Corporations, UCC, and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101
Telephone Inquiries: (207) 624-7752
Note: Please remember that you’re under no obligation to use your registered business name(one that’s mentioned in your Articles of Organization document) when doing business in the real world. You have the option to use a Trade Name or Fictitious Name, more popularly known as a DBA (doing business as).
To register a DBA with the state authorities, you need to file a Statement of Intention to Transact Business Under an Assumed or Fictitious Name (Form MLLC-5) and then send it by postal mail to the address mentioned above. The filing fee is $125.
#2 Create a business plan
While drafting a business plan is not a mandatory requirement in the State of Maine, we still recommend creating one. Why? Because it often serves as the missing piece that can bridge the gap to your company’s success.
Here’s what you can include in your business plan,
- A brief Introduction describing your business idea and its purpose.
- A Market Analysis explaining your target market and competitors.
- Your Products/Services and an in-depth summary of what you offer and how it solves customer needs.
- A proper Marketing Strategy outlining how you’ll attract and retain customers.
- Operations section describing how your LLC will run day-to-day.
- Introduce key Team Members and their roles.
- Your Financial Projections, including income, expenses, and projected profits.
- A Funding section explaining how you’ll finance your business.
- Your future Goals, which highlight clear short-term and long-term objectives.
- Add any additional relevant information.
The more your business plan is compact, structured, and tailored to your specific business, the better it is for your Maine LLC. Remember that a solid business plan helps you secure funding from investors and serves as a strategic tool to guide your LLC toward success.
#3 Appoint a registered agent for your company
Like every other American State, even Maine requires every LLC in the State to assign a registered agent for your company. This agent accepts and receives all important official, financial, and legal documents on behalf of your LLC. The paperwork can include everything from government correspondence to tax notices, and the agent is responsible for receiving, handling, and then properly forwarding it to the respective owners/members.
These agents are also known as Statutory agents, resident agents, or agents for service of process in other states.
For a Maine LLC, you usually have these options for an agent,
- Be your own registered agent.
- Another business entity.
- Hire a registered agent service.
- An individual within the company(manager/employee/member)
- An Attorney, lawyer, or legal facility.
That wasn’t it! To be a registered agent for a Maine LLC, one should also:
- Have a physical street address in Maine.
- Be a resident of the State.
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have the legal authority to receive legal documents on behalf of the LLC and forward them to the appropriate parties within the company.
- Be available during regular business hours(9:00 AM – 5:00 PM) to receive legal documents.
- Consent to act as the LLC’s registered agent.
Note: A PO Box is not sufficient as a business address.
The service can cost anything from $50 to $300 each year.
#4 Prepare and file your Articles of Organization
To formally register your Maine LLC with the Secretary of State, you should submit and file your Certificate of Organization document(Form LLC-6) with the State.
- LLC Name: Mention the name of your LLC, ensuring it complies with Maine naming requirements.
- Designation: Include the appropriate designator like “PLLC” in the case of a professional limited liability company or “LLC” in the case of a regular one.
- Registered Agent: Provide the name and physical address of your LLC’s registered agent in Maine. This is the person or entity authorized to receive legal documents on behalf of your LLC.
- Principal Office: Specify the physical address of your LLC’s principal place of business.
- Effective Date: You can choose to have your LLC’s Articles of Organization become effective upon filing with the Secretary of State or specify a future effective date.
- Management Structure: Indicate whether your LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed.
- Duration: State whether your LLC will have a specific duration (finite period) or perpetual existence.
- Organizer: Provide the name and address of the person or entity organizing the LLC. This can be a member, manager, or another authorized representative.
- Signature: Sign and date the Articles of Organization and include the organizer’s contact information.
- Filing Fee: Include the required filing fee with your submission.
You have the option to download the form and then send it by mail to the address listed below,
Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101
The fee is $175, and standard processing takes up to 30 business days. You can opt for expedited(speedy) processing for an extra charge.
#5 Obtain an EIN with the IRS
For the next step, you need to apply for a federal employer identification number(EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service(IRS). It’s pretty similar to the Social Security Number(SSN) for taxation purposes, opening bank accounts, and keeping reports of tax filings and documents.
An EIN is important for things like,
- Meeting federal and State tax obligations
- Opening professional business bank accounts
- Employing staff for your LLC
- Apply for multiple business licenses and permits.
- Carry out day-to-day business operations.
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935
The whole process is completely free of charge.
#6 Set an Operating Agreement
Unlike other U.S. states, Maine requires LLCs in the State to draft an operating agreement as per the Revised Statutes Section 1531.1.B of the State’s legal code. It’s known as the “limited liability company agreement” in the State.
An operating agreement is a document outlining the operations, operating, and ownership procedures of the LLC. Moreover, it also includes the rights and duties of the members/owners.
An agreement for a Maine LLC should include details such as,
- Name and main address of the LLC
- How long the LLC will exist
- Name and address of the registered agent
- Details about the Articles of Organization
- The main purpose of your LLC
- Members/owners and their shares/contribution
- Allocation of profits and losses.
- The whole process outlines how new members will join, and old members will leave
- Meetings and Voting Rights
- How the LLC is run
- Dissolution and Winding Up
- Indemnification and liability clauses
- Dissolution and winding up
Remember that a well-drafted agreement can be a valuable resource in case of disputes or legal mess, and if there’s no agreement in place, the courts will base the judgment on the state regulations, which may not always align with what’s best for the LLC and its members/owners. Additionally, in Maine, it’s either way a recognized governing document for legal purposes, so having one in place is only an advantage!
#7 File your annual report
The last step is to file an annual report(Form MLLC-13) with the Maine Secretary of State. It’s a mandatory requirement and should be completed by June 1 every year. Filing this report keeps your company’s general information up-to-date with the State.
Finally, after forming your Maine LLC, don’t sit back and relax just yet but instead, focus on properly complying with the state authorities.
You can follow the steps below:
- Get needed permits and licenses, like health or zoning permits and pro licenses.
- Register with the State’s tax agency.
- Open a business bank account.
- Get a business credit card.
- Buy business insurance.
- Safeguard your name and logo with a trademark.
Also, when hiring employees for your Maine LLC, you need to follow these steps:
- Confirm their eligibility to work in the US.
- Report them as “new hires” to the State.
- Provide workers’ compensation insurance for your employees.
- Withhold employee taxes.
- Display workplace compliance posters visibly in your workspace.
And that’s a wrap! That was all you needed to know to finally form an LLC in the Pine Tree State.
Frequently Asked Questions
An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is a business structure that offers personal liability protection for its owners while providing flexibility in management. Forming an LLC in Maine can protect your personal assets and simplify taxation while allowing you to conduct business with ease.
The filing fee for the Articles of Organization in Maine is typically $175. There may be additional costs for services like expedited processing or hiring a registered agent.
While not legally required, it’s highly recommended to have an Operating Agreement. This document outlines the management structure, member roles, and operating procedures, providing clarity and protection for your LLC.
A registered agent is a person or entity responsible for receiving legal documents on behalf of your LLC. In Maine, you must appoint a registered agent with a physical address in the State for legal compliance.