You have a business idea, and you’re ready to launch your Maine business. But you are wondering just how much that will cost you.
Office space, payroll, legal fees, business bank account fees, business taxes, and other expenses can quickly rack up. Before you get there, you’ll need to legally register your business.
Many Maine business owners choose to incorporate a limited liability company (LLC).
LLCs provide their members with personal asset protection, limited liability protection, simpler management, and prevent double taxation.
To ensure your new business gets off on the right foot, we’ll cover all the Maine LLC costs and fees you could expect to pay before launching your business in Pine Tree State.
1. Formation/Filing cost in for Maine LLCs: $175
If you’re creating a domestic LLC, you’ll need to file a Certificate of Formation with the Maine Secretary of State (SOS). In other states, this document is called Articles of Organization.
A Certificate of Formation is a legal document that includes details such as:
- Legal business name
- Effective date of formation
- Registered agent’s name and physical address
- LLC’s status (e.g., member-managed or manager-managed)
For a domestic LLC, you’ll need to file Form MLLC-6: Certificate of Formation with the Division of Corporations by mail, and pay a filing fee of $175.
Processing times for domestic applications take 5 to 10 business days.
You can opt for expedited service for an additional fee per business entity:
- 24-hour expedited filing service (next business day): $50
- Immediate expedited filing service (same business day): $100
If you want to form a foreign LLC in Maine (e.g., you already have an LLC registered in another state), fill out a Form MLLC-12: Statement of Foreign Qualification to Conduct Activities (MLLC-12) and mail it along with:
- A filer contact cover letter
- A Certificate of Good Standing from the original state where you formed your LLC
- A filing fee of $250 payable by check or by credit card (with a Credit Card Payment voucher included)
Average processing time for foreign LLC applications is usually around 2-3 weeks. If you’re in a hurry, you can take the immediate expedited filing option, which is processed on the same business day, and pay an extra state fee of $100 per entity.
2. Registered agent costs: Vary
To start an LLC in Maine, you need a registered agent. That’s a person or entity who accepts service of process (e.g., business and legal documents) on its behalf. You can appoint one of the LLC’s members or hire a commercial registered agent service.
Maine doesn’t charge a separate fee for selecting a registered agent. However, if you want to change the agent’s name or office address, you must:
- Complete and file a Statement of Change form (Form MLLC-3-CRA or Form MLLC-3-NCRA) with the SOS
- Submit the form by mail or in-person
- Pay a filing fee of $35
You can serve as your own registered agent for your Maine LLC. While this may sound attractive to single-member LLCs and small businesses, it might not be a smart choice because you need to:
- Be available during regular business hours
- Receive all official documents, including any lawsuits, which can be distracting and awkward, especially in front of potential clients
- Keep deadlines and state compliance or risk being fined or dissolved
A commercial registered agent service offers privacy, compliance with the law, proper record keeping, flexibility, and the peace of mind to focus on running your business.
Such conveniences come at a cost, though.
Typically, you should expect to pay somewhere between $50-$200 per year for a professional registered agent service in Maine. But a reputable provider saves you time, money (penalties and state fees for non-compliance), and protects your reputation.
3. Trade name registration: $125
When you want to operate using a different name from your legal name, you’ll need to let the SOS know about your decision.
You do so by registering a trade name, aka DBA (doing business as), or a fictitious name.
In Maine, a DBA is known as an “assumed name.”
This registration requirement was established to protect consumers from business owners who hide anonymously behind the business name to undertake nefarious activities.
Maine recognizes fictitious and assumed names as two different types of designation:
- An assumed name is a DBA and lets you do business under another name
- A fictitious name is used by foreign LLCs when their legal business name is already in use by another entity in Maine.
You’ll file a Form MLLC-5: Statement of Intention to Transact Business Under an Assumed or Fictitious Name. A filing fee of $125 applies for an assumed name and $40 to file a fictitious name.
4. Maine LLC name reservation: $20
If you feel you’re not ready to submit your business formation documents just yet, you put hold over a selected LLC name.
To reserve a business name in Maine submit Form MLLC-1 and pay the $20 filing fee.
Name reservation gives you exclusive rights to the selected name for 120 days, after which it will be available to the public once again. Once that window closes, you cannot renew the reservation.
5. Certified document copies: Starting at $5 per document
At some point, you may need to obtain certified (true and correct) copies of your LLC’s business documents such as your Maine Certificate of Formation, annual reports, DBA registration, and others.
You can order these copies through the Maine SOS and pay $5 for each document. Some LLC certificates are more expensive, however.
- LLC Certificate of Existence costs $30
- Certificate of Cancellation costs $75
6. Business permits and licenses: costs vary
The good news is that at the state level, there’s no general business license required for LLCs. Instead, Maine lets individual cities decide whether local business entities need a general license.
For example, the City of Portland (ME) requires all local businesses to have a valid general license. The initial cost is $45 + $35 for annual renewal. Lewiston, however, only requires professional licenses for some 40 types of business activities.
In all locations, you’ll need an occupational or professional license if you operate in a regulated industry.
Maine provides a list of professions that require additional licenses or permits. Plus, cities may have an expanded version of this list.
For example, if you’re a teacher, you’ll pay $100 to apply for a license and $35 for additional endorsements. Notaries pay a $50 licensing fee, while a veterinarian pays $96, including background checks.
Finally, if you sell taxable goods and services, you must obtain a sales tax permit if you sell taxable goods and services.
You can get one for free by registering with Maine Revenue Services.
Does Maine have an annual LLC fee?
Yes, all Maine LLCs must file annual reports by June 1 to comply with state laws. Domestic LLCs pay $85, and foreign LLCs pay $150.
The Maine LLC annual report is your chance to update your company contact information to ensure you'll receive important notices on time.
What taxes do LLCs pay in Maine?
When it comes to federal tax, LLCs enjoy pass-through taxation, meaning the profits from the business pass-through from the company to the owners (members), who then report their income and expenses on their personal tax returns.
As a state resident, you’ll have to pay state income tax on profits earned from all your Maine sources of income.
As a legal entity, you may be separately subject to other business taxes:
If you have employees in Maine, you’ll register for unemployment insurance and sign up for employee withholding tax on their behalf with the Maine Department of Labor. The tax rates vary depending on the compensation and industry.
You’ll also collect sales tax from customers when you sell taxable goods and services. Maine's general sales tax rate is 5.5%. There is no sales tax at the local or city level to worry about.
Maine doesn’t collect minimal annual franchise taxes from LLCs for the privilege of doing business in the state, unlike California or Texas. The only exception is financial institutions (such as banks). These business structures must pay a franchise state tax.
To Conclude: How much does an LLC cost in Maine?
You can form a Maine limited liability company for just $175. Then there’s an $85 state filing fee (domestic LLC) or $150 (foreign LLCs) for annual reports after your first year.
Other incorporation costs include $20 for an assumed name and another $100-$300 if you hire a registered agent service.
Certificate of Formation
|$35 or $100 (commercial service)||$35 or $100 (commercial service)|
|Certified document copies||$5|
Annual LLC fees
The total cost for the first year comes to around $445 for a domestic LLC and $585 for a foreign LLC.
That’s how much you should budget to spend if you do all the registrations yourself rather than use an LLC formation service.
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