How to Start an LLC in Maine (Step-by-Step) 2024 Guide

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Starting an LLC, step-by-step

Starting a Maine LLC costs $175. And it takes 15 days to get one.

How to start an LLCThere are 5 steps to forming an LLC:

  1. Choose an LLC Name
  2. Select a Registered Agent
  3. File a Certificate of Formation
  4. Create an Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN

If you want to form your LLC yourself, follow our free guide below.

If you want someone to take care of it for you, we recommend hiring Northwest Registered Agent

Need to save time? Hire a company to form your LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(We recommend Northwest. We've reviewed all the top companies in the industry. And Northwest is our #1 pick for prices, customer support, and address privacy. Check out Northwest vs LegalZoom to learn more.)

How much does it cost to start an LLC in Maine?

It costs $175 to start an LLC. And then it costs $85 per year.

What are these fees for?

  • The $175 is to file the Certificate of Formation – the document that creates an LLC.
  • The $85 per year is for your Annual Report – a mandatory filing that keeps your LLC in good standing.

To learn more about LLC Costs, see LLC Costs in Maine.

How long does it take to get an LLC in Maine?

If you file your LLC by mail, it will be approved in 10-15 business days (plus mail time).

Maine LLCs can’t be filed online.

Please see How long does it take to get an LLC in Maine to check for any delays.

Here are the steps to forming an LLC in Maine

1. Search your LLC Name

LLC namesSearch your Maine LLC Name to make sure it’s available in the state.

You need to do this because two businesses in the state can’t have the same name.

First, search your business name and compare it to existing businesses in the state. You can make sure the LLC Name you want is unique from existing businesses using the Corporate Name Search.

Second, familiarize yourself with the state’s naming rules (so your LLC gets approved).

We’ll explain both in more detail here: Maine LLC Name.

2. Choose a Maine Registered Agent

The next step is to choose a Registered Agent.

Registered AgentA Maine Registered Agent is a person or company who accepts legal mail and state notices on behalf of your Limited Liability Company.

Who can be a Registered Agent for a Limited Liability Company?

You have 3 options for who can be the Registered Agent:

  • You
  • A friend or family member
  • A Registered Agent Service

State law requires that all LLC Registered Agents have a physical street address in Maine. PO Boxes aren’t allowed.

And the Registered Agent’s name and address will be listed on public records.

If you don’t have an address in Maine, or you want more privacy, you can hire a Registered Agent Service for your LLC.

Maine Registered Agent Services keep physical street addresses in Maine to meet state requirements – and our recommendation will also keep your information off public records.

We recommend Northwest Registered Agent

Our favorite feature about Northwest is they’ll let you use their office address throughout your LLC filing. This way, you can keep your address off public records.

They’ll also scan any mail sent to your LLC and upload it to your online account.

Northwest has excellent customer service, and they’re who we trust to be our own Registered Agent.

Special offer: Hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), and you'll get a free year of Registered Agent service.

(Why is Northwest the best? Read our Northwest Registered Agent review)

3. File a Maine LLC Certificate of Formation

Articles of OrganizationTo start an LLC, you need to file a Certificate of Formation with the Maine Secretary of State.

The Maine Certificate of Formation costs $175 if you file by mail.

This is a one-time fee to create your LLC. (And Maine LLCs can’t be formed online.)

If you want to file this yourself, see our step-by-step guide: Maine Certificate of Formation.

Or, you can hire a company to do it for you.

Need to save time? Hire a company to form your LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(Learn why Northwest is #1 in Northwest vs LegalZoom)

4. Create a Maine LLC Operating Agreement

Operating AgreementAn Operating Agreement serves as a “companion” document to the Certificate of Formation.

The Certificate of Formation creates your LLC, and the Operating Agreement shows who owns the LLC.

Additionally, some banks require an Operating Agreement when you open an LLC bank account.

And having an Operating Agreement will be very helpful if you ever end up in court. Reason being, it helps prove that your LLC is being run properly.

That’s why we recommend that all LLCs have an Operating Agreement – including Single-Member LLCs.

Furthermore, an Operating Agreement is an “internal document“. Meaning, you don’t need to file it with any government agency (like the state or the IRS). Just keep a copy with your business records.

You can download a free template below.

Then, learn how to fill it out by watching our step-by-step Maine Operating Agreement video.

Download a free LLC Operating Agreement:
Member-managed: Google DocWordPDF
Manager-managed: Google DocWord

(What's better? See Member-managed vs Manager-managed LLC)

5. Get an EIN for your LLC

The next step is to get a Maine EIN Number from the IRS for your LLC.

Note: An EIN Number is also called a Federal Tax ID Number or Federal Employer Identification Number.

EIN Number for an LLCAn EIN Number is used to:

  • identify your LLC for tax purposes
  • open a business bank account
  • apply for business licenses and permits
How much does an EIN cost?

Getting an EIN Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is completely free.

How long does it take to get an EIN?

If you apply online, it takes 15 minutes.

If you apply by mail or fax, it can take 1-3 months.

How can I get an EIN?

US Citizens/US Residents: If you have an SSN or ITIN, you can apply for an EIN online. Follow these instructions: Apply for an EIN online.

Non-US Residents: You can’t get an EIN online, but you can still get one by fax or by mail. Follow these instructions: How to get an EIN without an SSN or ITIN.

What do I do after my LLC is approved?

After your LLC is approved, there are some additional steps.

Open an LLC business bank account

You’ll want to open a business bank account for your LLC.

This makes accounting and record-keeping much easier for your business finances.

Having a separate business bank account also maintains your personal liability protection. This is because it keeps your business entity finances separate from your personal finances.

Get business licenses and permits

Business LicenseGood news, Maine doesn’t have a state general business license.

However, depending on where your LLC is located, you may need a local business license or permit.

For example, if you want to start a daycare, you may need a business license from the city or county.

You can learn more on our Maine Business License page.

File your LLC Annual Report

LLC Annual ReportAll Maine LLCs must file an Annual Report every year.

The Annual Report keeps your LLC in good standing with the state.

How much does a Maine LLC Annual Report cost?

The Annual Report filing fee is $85 per year.

When is the Annual Report due?

Your LLC’s Annual Report is due by June 1st every year.

When is my first Annual Report due?

Your first Annual Report is due the year after your LLC was approved.

For example, if your LLC was approved on February 15, 2024, your first Annual Report is due by March 31, 2025.

How do I file my Maine LLC Annual Report?

You can file your Maine LLC’s Annual Report online or by mail. We recommend the online filing because it’s easier to complete.

Follow our step-by-step guide here: Maine LLC Annual Report.

File and pay taxes

LLCs don’t pay federal taxes. Instead, the LLC Members pay the taxes for the LLC.

Said another way, the owners pay taxes for the LLC as a part of their personal tax return.

How will my LLC be taxed?

By default, an LLC is taxed by the IRS based on the number of owners your LLC has:

  • A Single-Member LLC is taxed like a Sole Proprietorship.
  • A Multi-Member LLC is taxed like a Partnership.

Alternatively, you can ask the IRS to tax your LLC like a C-Corporation or S-Corporation.

Besides federal taxes, there are also state and local income taxes – and sales tax. Learn more in Maine LLC Taxes.

How to Start an LLC in Maine FAQs

Can I start an LLC online in Maine?

Yes, you can file your LLC online. The Certificate of Formation filing fee is $175.

When you start your LLC online, it will be approved in 10-15 business days (plus mail time).

What are the benefits of an LLC?

The first benefit of an LLC is protecting your personal assets. Meaning, if your business is sued, your personal assets – like your home, cars, and bank accounts – are protected.

This protection applies to all LLC owners (called LLC Members). It doesn’t matter if you have a Single-Member LLC or Multi-Member LLC. All of the LLC owners are protected from the business debts and liabilities.

This type of protection wouldn’t apply if you operate as a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership. With these types of informal business structures, the owners aren’t protected in the event of a lawsuit. For that reason, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a much more popular business structure.

Another benefit is LLC pass-through taxation. This means the LLC itself doesn’t pay federal income taxes. Instead, the profits “pass through” to the LLC Members. And the Members pay the taxes on their personal tax return.

And state income taxes are very similar, since Maine Revenue Services honors the federal tax treatment of your LLC.

To learn more, please see How are LLCs taxed.

Is Maine a good state to start an LLC?

Whether Maine is a good state to start an LLC depends on where you live – and where you’re doing business.

Meaning, if you live in or do business in Maine, then you should start your LLC there. While many websites talk about tax rates and advantages of certain states, none of that applies if it’s not the state where you live and do business.

For example, if you form an LLC in Delaware, but live in and conduct business in Maine, you’ll also need to register your Delaware LLC in Maine (and pay extra fees). And you’ll end up paying Maine taxes anyway. This ends up leading to more costs and more headaches with no advantages.

In summary, if you live in and conduct business in Maine, then yes, it’s a good state to start a business. If you don’t live in and do business in Maine, then no, it isn’t a good state to start a business.

Real estate exception: If you’re purchasing real estate outside of Maine, you should form your LLC in the state where the property is located.

For more information, please see Best State to Form an LLC.

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz is the leading expert on LLC education, and has been teaching for 15 years. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

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