What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Maine?

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What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Maine?

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.

Before applying for any licenses, the legal structure of the business will need to be established. Learn more about the differences between the sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC).

Related: Comparison of Business Entities

Learn more about forming an LLC in Maine

Also see: Steps to starting a business in Maine

Business Licenses

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 Portland’s city limits 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 vendors, and several others. Regulated business licenses require a $45 filing 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.

Done for you license research

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Building & Zoning Permits

Zoning – Depending on the location of the business, it’s important to verify whether the business needs an occupancy permit or has specific zoning regulations to follow. Depending on city requirements, home-based businesses may need to apply for a home occupation permit.

Building PermitA building permit may be needed from the city or county building and planning department if there is any construction or renovations to a facility.

Signage Permit Some municipalities require a permit before adding signage.

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 & Use 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; forestry, 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 Professional and Financial Regulation.

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

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN (also referred to as a FEIN, Federal Employer Identification Number, or Federal Tax ID 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

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, DBA, or Trade Name) with the Municipal or Town Clerks Office in the county where the business is located.

These are some of the most common business licenses, but there are far too many licenses and permits for us to keep track of. Before starting your business, be sure to check with the Department of Economic & Community Development, Town Clerks Office, Chamber of Commerce, and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.

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