The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a smart entity choice for many start-up businesses. 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.
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 can be both affordable and is simple enough for most people to start on their own. That said, it’s not a bad idea to have a legal professional like While the filing is pretty straightforward, it’s nice to have some support if you have questions, alerts when the annual report is due, forms like operating agreements, banking resolutions and more. There are companies like IncFile or Swyft Filings and others that do all of this for only $49.
To form a Limited Liability Company in Maine, file the Certificate of Formation with the Maine Secretary of State. The LLC filing fee for standard processing is $175.
Approval for the LLC 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.
If you have questions, contact the Maine Secretary of State.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
In approximately 5-10 business days with standard processing or only 1 hour with the fastest expedited processing, the LLC will be approved.
That concludes the basics of forming an LLC in Maine. Remember, even though you can do it yourself, there is more to an LLC than just the filing. If you have questions, work with an attorney or a specialized entity formation company such as IncFile or Swyft Filings to make sure everything is done correctly.
An Operating Agreement is required for all LLCs in Maine. An Operating Agreement is a legal document outlining the roles and responsibilities for the members of the LLC. In Maine, the agreement can be implied, oral or written. Read more about LLC Operating Agreements.
After filing the LLC, be sure to register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The EIN is basically a social security number for a business and will be needed before opening a business bank account. There is no cost to apply and it takes about 5 minutes to get. See how to apply for an EIN.
Last, before starting a business in Maine, you may still need to apply for business licenses, sales tax permits, self-employment taxes and more in Maine. See the Guide to Starting a Business in Maine for more information.