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The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a popular business entity choice structure for many businesses starting in Maine The LLC provides personal liability protection and has the potential to save money on taxes. With a little research, you can learn how to form an LLC in Maine without an attorney.

Unlike a sole proprietorship or partnership where the small business owner can be held personally liable for lawsuits against the business, the LLC is a separate legal structure, protecting for the business owner’s personal assets.

Related: How Does an LLC Protect You?

Besides the liability protection, the Limited Liability Company provides several other benefits over the sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation because of the multiple tax options, ease of administration and management flexibility.

Forming an LLC in Maine is something most people can do on their own, but it’s nice to have some support in case you have questions or get stuck.  IncFile and Inc Authority provide LLC formation guidance for only the cost of the state fees!

Related: Should you use a Formation Service, Hire an Attorney or Do it Yourself?

Cost to Form

The LLC filing fee for standard processing is $175 which typically takes 5-10 business days.  Expedited processing is available which shortens the approval process to 24 hours for an additional $50 or for an additional $100, 1 hour processing is available.

 

HOW TO FILE THE CERTIFICATE OF FORMATION AND FORM A MAINE LLC

To get started, download the Certificate of Formation (Form MLLC-6).

 

Step 1: Name the LLC

When selecting a name for your LLC, it’s important to do a Maine LLC name search before filing to ensure the name you want is available. In Maine, each entity registered with the Secretary of State must have a unique name. 

In addition, the name of the LLC must include one of the following designators at the end of the business name:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Liability Company
  • L.L.C.
  • LLC
  • L.C.
  • LC

A comma may be used after the business name and before the designator.  “Cowboy Cleaners LLC” and “Cowboy Cleaners, LLC” are both acceptable.

Once you found a name that is available, enter that name in the form. You may also want to see if a domain name is also available to have a matching website address.

Maine LLC Name Registration

Step 2: Filing Date

You may list an effective date if you would like the Limited Liability Company´s existence to become effective on a date other than the date of filing.

If an LLC is being created late in the calendar year and it doesn´t expect to begin business until after the beginning of the following year, delaying the start will save money and reporting.

Maine LLC Filing Date

Step 3: Designation as a low-profit LLC

The Secretary of State provides a designation as a low-profit LLC or L3C.  The low-profit LLC is a business with a charitable or educational focus but doesn’t want or qualify for not-for-profit status.  See more information about the Maine L3C Act.

Maine LLC L3C Designation

Step 4: Profesional LLC Designation

If the business activities require a professional license from the state, this box will need to be checked and the type of professional service entered.  Common professional licenses are for accountants, attorneys, veterinarians.  See Step 5 – Licenses & Permits in Maine for more information about what businesses need professional licensing.

If your business does not need professional licensing, leave this box unchecked.

Maine LLC Professional License Designation

Step 5: Registered Agent

A Maine Registered Agent must be identified before forming the LLC.  The Registered Agent can either be a Commercial or Noncommercial Registered Agent.  If a Commercial Registered Agent was hired or you plan to hire one, their CRA public number and the name of their company must be entered.   Visit the Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions to do a Commercial Registered Agent search.

A Noncommercial Registered Agent can be a member (owner), friend, family member, attorney, etc.  The Registered Agent must have a physical address (PO Boxes are not allowed) in the state to act as a point of contact to receive legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc on behalf of the LLC during business hours.  There is an option for a mailing address in addition to the physical address, should you want mail going to a different address.

Even though the business owner can be the registered agent, their name and address become public record and with that comes a loss of privacy. This is more important for some entrepreneurs, especially when they are doing business from home.

Maine LLC Registered Agent

Step 6: Registered Agent Consent

Before a Registered Agent can be selected they have to consent to serve as the Registered Agent.  Nothing is required to fill out in this step.

How to Form an LLC in Maine

 

Step 7: Other Matters

If there are other rules and regulations the members want to LLC to be bound by, those can be attached as additional exhibits.  Most LLCs skip this section.

Step 8: Signature

Have an individual authorized to sign contracts to sign and date the Certificate of Formation.  This is typically a member.

 

Step 9: Cover Letter

A cover letter (3rd page of the pdf) needs to be filled out and sent along with the Certificate of Formation.  Enter:

  • Name of the Entity – Make sure to match the name entered on page 1.
  • Type of Filing – Enter “Certificate of Formation”
  • Special Handling Request and Fee – If you want faster processing, indicate the option by checking the appropriate box.
  • Contact Information – This can be any person, member or non-member, that can answer questions should the Secretary of State need answers during processing.
  • Address – This does not have to be any of the addresses listed earlier.  This address is where the filing will be returned.

 

Step 10: Pay and Mail

Submit payment and  mail the Certificate of Formation to:
Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101

 

If you have questions, contact the Maine Secretary of State by phone at 
207-624-7752 or email cec.corporations@maine.gov.

Tasks After Forming Your LLC

Once the LLC has been formed, there are a few additional steps to take care of. Below is a list of the most common tasks.

Prepare an Operating Agreement

The operating agreement is a document that governs the framework of an LLC.  This document covers items like ownership rights, member responsibilities, how profits and losses are distributed and more.

Most states do not require an LLC to have an operating agreement but it is still worth considering. Without an operating agreement:

  • The LLC could be subject to generic state rules that may be detrimental in the event of a lawsuit
  • Member’s personal liability protection may be diminished
  • Members may not have a full understanding of their roles and responsibilities which could lead to costly disputes in the future

Related: Maine operating agreement template

Obtain an EIN

The EIN or Employer Identification Number is a unique 9-digit number for a business. Similar to a social security number for an individual, the EIN identifies business entities for tax purposes.

The EIN will be needed in order to open a bank account, register for business licenses and permits, file tax returns, pay payroll taxes and more.

Related: How to Apply for an EIN

Open an LLC Bank Account

Opening a bank account for your LLC is important for liability protection as the account separates the business’s funds from the member’s personal funds.

Several documents will be needed to open a business bank account such as:

  • A banking resolution is a document that authorizes the members to open a business bank account on behalf of the LLC.
  • Copies of the original formation paperwork from the state showing the creation of the LLC.
  • Driver’s licenses of the members.
  • Depending on the age of the LLC, a Maine Certificate of Good Standing may be needed to prove the LLC is active and in good standing with the state.

Related: How to Open a Business Bank Account for your LLC 

Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Depending on what your business does and where it is located, there will likely be a variety of business licenses and permits to register for before starting. Some common registrations include:

  • Business License – Some cities require businesses to obtain licensing before they can start. In some cases, even home-based businesses must have licensing in order to legally operate.
  • Professional License – Certain services such as electricians, landscape architects, salons and others must be licensed.
  • Sales Tax License – In order to sell products and certain services, registration with the Maine Revenue Services will be necessary.

Related: What Business Licenses are Needed in Maine?

File Annual Reports

LLCs are required to file an annual report with the Maine Secretary of State.  The annual report updates ownership information and other details.

Related: How to File a Maine LLC Annual Report