Welcome to the webpage dedicated specifically to the registration of businesses in the state of Maine. On this tutorial you will be able to research the complete registration process for your entity type as well as familiarize yourself with the various post filing procedures that will help you organize and legitimatize your business. Our Maine homepage is meant to serve solely as a general overview of the many processes needed in getting your business on file with the Department of the Secretary of State. Clicking on the links posted below will take you to each function’s information page and detailed tutorial. You will notice that there exists no online filing method for Maine businesses. Instead, representatives are required to file their documents through the mail with an attached filing fee and filer contact cover letter. Scroll down to learn more!
Start an Entity
Search for a Name
The Business Entity Search function is employed either to research the availability of a business’s current operating name in the Department of the Secretary of State name database or to acquire the detailed filing history of any corporation, LLC or partnership on file with the department. It is through this query that you will be able to acquire your Certificate of Legal Existence to be used to expand your business out of state (more information on this document below). Of course this process will need to be conducted online and you will find a tutorial detailing each step linked at the beginning of this paragraph.
How to File in Maine
Step 1 – The first step required of you when registering your business is to choose a name (unless you are a pre-existing foreign entity) and ensure that it is unique to your entity alone. As previously mentioned, the Business Entity Search will give filers the opportunity to search the Department of the Secretary of State’s name database. This does not ensure that your application won’t be denied due to its resemblance to another entity’s name as the business entity search will not show the entities who’s names have been reserved. Another option is to reserve your name yourself. This filing will both ensure originality and reserve your title for a period of 120 days prior to filing.
Step 2 – The next step once your name has been secured is to download the PDF of your registration forms. You will find that the information required of business representatives differs between entity types. To research the exact filing requirements of your entity click on the tutorial which corresponds with the entity type you’d like to form.
- Domestic Corporation
- Domestic Non-Profit Corporation
- Foreign Corporation
- Foreign Non-Profit Corporation
- Domestic Limited Partnership
- Foreign Limited Partnership
- Domestic Limited Liability Partnership
- Foreign Limited Liability Partnership
Step 3 – Now that you’ve completed the application for your business you will be required to complete the filer contact cover letter which will inform the Department of the Secretary of State of the name of your business, the type of filing enclosed, the total of the filing fee and whether or not you plan on expediting the filing. This can be accomplished by adding an additional $50 for 24 hour processing or $100 for immediate review.
Step 4- After this you will need to attach the aforementioned filing fee to your application in check form. You can also pay by credit card by filling out this voucher. A complete list of all filing fees can be found below. Send the completed form and the prepared check to the below address when ready. It should be noted that foreign applicants will need to provide a certificate of good standing or like document from their jurisdiction of initial formation.
Department of the Secretary of State
Division of Corporations UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333
- Domestic Business-$145
- Domestic Non-Profit-$40
- Foreign Business-$250
- Foreign Non-Profit-$45
- Domestic –$175
- Foreign –$250
- Domestic LP-$175
- Domestic LLP-$175
- Foreign LP-$250
- Foreign LLP-$250
The name reservation filing, like all filings in Maine, must be done through the a PDF application. A filer contact cover letter will accompany the name reservation form as will a check/credit card voucher to pay the $20 filing fee. A name reservation will allow you to reserve the rights to your current name while ensuring that it is unique to you in the state of Maine (if the application is accepted). The period of reservation will total 120 days (non-renewable). Click on the link at the heading of this sentence to access our free tutorial on the filing process.
Certificate of Legal Existence
A Certificate of Legal Existence is a document used to prove the legitimacy of your business entity by demonstrating that it is up to date with its annual reports and that it has paid all filing fees accordingly. The initial cost of this document is $30 which can be paid online using your credit or debit card. Through the utilization of the Business Entity Search function, filers will be able to acquire this certificate with relative ease. It can then be used to register for loans or expand your business out of state.
Following the filing for authority to transact business in Maine, the initial organizers, incorporators or partners of your entity would be wise to draft an agreement that binds the managing members of the company to a certain set of bylaws. The corporate bylaws, LLC operating agreement or partnership agreement will aid in the clarification of each initial member’s role in the business’s operation as well as their duties as a manager. The distribution of assets upon dissolution and the allocation of income will not be legally represented anywhere other than on this document. Although businesses are not legally required to file this with the Department of the Secretary of State, or draft one at all, it is recommended that you review our templates (available below in Adobe PDF and MS Word formatting) and incorporate them into your company’s organization.
Employer Identification Number
The Employer Identification Number, or Federal Tax Identification Number, is used by the IRS to identify each employer operating in the United States that pays withholding taxes on their employees. This number will be required of all businesses that receive income and are subject to federal taxes. Naturally most businesses fall under this category. EIN will further help business owners in the registration for corporate credit cards, opening of bank accounts and the transacting of any other financial endeavor. You can review both our online and PDF application guides to familiarize yourself with the acquisition process.