Whether you’re researching the availability of a business name or checking the status of a business entity, find the information you need from the Maine Secretary of State website.
The Secretary of State Business Entity Database provides information for corporations and LLCs registered in Maine. The names of sole proprietorships or general partnerships are not centralized. Instead, they are registered with the Municipal or Town Clerk where the business is located.
There is no fee to search the database.
What information can be looked up?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Legal Name
- Filing Type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Status – Good standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date. Suspended means the business may not be in operation. In some cases, the name of a suspended business may be available to register.
- Filing Date – Date the entity was filed with the Secretary of State
- Registered Agent’s information – A Registered Agent in Maine is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need to be sent to the business. This is often one of the owners and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information. Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent or IncFile so their home address isn’t listed.
- Names of the officers and their title
How to do a Maine Business Name Search
Visit the Maine Secretary of State website.
Enter the name you would like to use in the “Keyword from name to be searched” field. In this example, we will look up “American Made”.
When we search a business name, we get a list of all the businesses with the words that we searched that are somewhere in the name. To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Maine, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.
To find more information about each of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Information Summary” column to view a detailed report.
While the name “American Made” by itself may not be available other variants are such as “American Made Furniture” or “American Made in Maine” are. Searching for those business names, brings a result that says “Found 0 entities for query”. While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register.
These are the basics of searching for a business name in Maine. Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
How do I form an LLC?
Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form an Maine LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.
While not required in Maine, an Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, may be a document worth considering especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a “social security number” for the business. There is no cost to get one through the IRS.
After forming the LLC, Maine business licenses and permits may still be necessary.