What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Maine?

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Starting a business in Maine will mean potentially registering with a number of federal, state and local agencies.  Let’s take a look at common licenses and permits a business will register for in Maine.

Business License – There is no general state of Maine business license, however many cities require businesses to be licensed in order to operate. Rules for business registration vary depending on location and what the business does.  Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements. 

Portland – Many businesses operating in the city limits of Portland will need an inspection or approval from zoning, building inspection, fire department approval and a health inspection for food service operations. 

In addition, several types of businesses require a business license to operate.  A few regulated businesses in Portland include; breweries, massage therapists, mobile food vendor and several others.  Regulated business licenses require a $45 application fee.

Contact the Business License Administrator for more information.

Lewiston -The Lewiston City Clerk requires licensing for certain types of businesses, a few of which include; junkyards, bowling alleys, flea markets, roller skating rinks and a few others.  

BangorBusiness licensing is required only for certain businesses in Bangor, Maine.  A few licensed businesses include caterers, businesses selling alcohol, marijuana cultivators, pawnshops and more. 

Auburn – Several types of businesses operating in Auburn require a business license from the City Clerk.  Regulated businesses include; food service operations, tattoo artists, pool halls and a few others. 

Employer Identification Number (EIN) – Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN or Employer Identification Number.  The EIN is the business equivalent for a Social Security Number for an individual.  Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships with employees will all need to register for one. Sole Proprietorships without employees can use the owner’s Social Security Number. 

There is no cost for an EIN and it only takes a few minutes to get.

Learn how to apply for an EIN.

Maine Business Tax Number – Business Tax Registration – Any business that sells taxable products & services or has employees needs to register with Maine Revenue Services.  This will allow a business to register for a Maine Sales Tax License, Service Provider Tax, and/or Withholding Taxes.

Resale Certificate – Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain a Maine Resale Certificate in order to not pay sales tax for merchandise that is being resold to customers.

Professional License – A variety of professions in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services.  A few common professions that require licensing in Maine include; electricians, door-to-door home repair sellers, landscape architects and many more.   Additional information, fees and licensing requirements for professions are available from the Maine Department of Financial & Professional Regulation.

In addition to professional licenses, businesses in a variety of industries such as food establishments, daycares, salvage yards and many others require licensing.

Assumed Business Name Registration – While not a business license, it’s common for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a name that is different from the full name of the owner(s) to register for an Assumed Business Name (also known as a Doing Business As or DBA) with the Municipal or Town Clerk’s Office in the county where the business is located.

These are a few of the most common business licenses, but there are way too many licenses and permits in Maine for us to keep track of. Before starting your business, check with the City Hall, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.  Additionally, there are companies like IncFile or CorpNet that can do the research to ensure you have the proper federal, state and local licenses.