How to Form a Maine LLC in 10 Steps
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a common business structure that allows one or more persons to own a portion of a company. Profits earned by the LLC are passed through to its members, and the LLC does not file a separate tax return the way a corporation does. An LLC also reduces the owner(s) exposure to liability from company activities.
Forming a Limited Liability Company is a straightforward process, but there are several steps you'll want to follow.
1. Choose Your Company Name.
You need a company name that no other business has the rights to use. SunDoc can run your name search or reserve your LLC name for a reasonable fee. At a minimum, your preferred name must be available in the State of Maine. It is also wise to check for a registered trademark on your preferred name.
2. Understand the LLC Organizer Requirement.
It's now time to name an LLC organizer. This is a rather easy step because this entity or person can be anyone. For example, if you'd like a filing service like SunDoc to file your Certificate of Formation for you, we would be your LLC organizer. This is a service we offer if you would like for us to prepare your articles.
You might also be your own company's organizer by default if you file your Certificate of Formation yourself. Finally, many companies choose an attorney to be there organizer.
3. Designate a Registered Agent.
You must designate a registered agent, either a person or a firm. This is required for the Certificate of Formation form (see #6). For more information on registered agents and why your company must have one, see our article on Registered Agent Service.
4. Decide Your Ownership and Management Structure.
You will be asked how you want your Maine LLC to be managed on your Certificate of Formation form. You essentially have three options that you need to choose from:
- Single manager managed
- Multiple manager managed
- Member managed (all members)
5. Create an Operating Agreement.
It's now time to organize your company's operating agreement. The job of an operating agreement is to oversee the internal operations of your LLC so that all governance meets the needs of your business owners.
Most of all, an operating agreement will drive your business in a legal sense and outline all provisions, rules, and regulations for your business.
The operating agreement handles things like managing working capital, paying out profits, handling voting and liability, handling fiduciary constraints, and making the overall functional and financial decisions for your LLC.
You may also wish to consult an attorney for advice.
6. File the Certificate of Formation.
Filing your Certificate of Formation is the next step.
Certificate of Formation are required by most states. They provide essential details about your LLC to the state of Maine. Once they are accepted officially by the state, your LLC will be created.
Within your Certificate of Formation, you'll need to list your company's name, address, registered agent, LLC organizer, and management method. Often, member names are also necessary.
If time is an issue for you or you prefer to hand this task off to a filing service, SunDoc can file your Certificate of Formation on your behalf.
7. Obtain an EIN and Open a Business Bank Account.
Congratulations! You are now a registered Maine LLC. Any LLC with more than one member must file with the IRS for an EIN, Employer Identification Number, whether or not you have employees. You can file with the IRS yourself, or SunDoc can file for you.
Once you have an EIN, it’s the perfect time to open a business financial account at the bank of your choice. With this account, you can pay for business-related expenses as well as reimbursements for past out-of-pocket expenses made by you or other members. Reimbursements can be made any time, but keep in mind that it's a good idea to keep your receipts.
After creating your business financial account, many LLCs will hire an accountant to assist (at least part-time) with financial matters. This is often useful when dealing with business-related financial problems or other matters in the beginning years of your business.
8. Pay Maine State Taxes.
This step is all about taxes and fees that you’ll need to pay to the state of Maine in your company's first year. Remember that if you plan on selling goods in the state, you’ll also probably need to start collecting sales tax. Learn more at the State of Maine’s tax web site.
9. Determine Necessary Licenses and Permits.
Most states require companies to have one or more business licenses or permits to operate at the city or county level. Use your state's business website to find the requirements for your business. It’s important to check this website even if you think your business is exempt. You may be surprised to discover what’s required. Operating without the proper license or permit can result in expensive fines.
10. File an Annual Report (Biennial Report or Initial List).
Remember that you need to file what's called an Annual Report (sometimes called a Biennial Report) right after you form your LLC in Maine. After that, you'll have to update this form every one or two years or whenever you make big changes to your company.
SunDoc filing can file your Annual Report on your behalf. We also do other routine filings and are always reliable and on time.
Find all LLC-related forms, including the Annual Report form Maine business web site. Or, you may want to hire SunDoc to do the filing for you because filing on time is extremely important. You'll have to pay a hefty fine if you do not file within the state-designated time frame.
Important Notice: It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss your potential insurance needs, or matters relating to employees. You should consult an attorney or accountant with any questions about legal or financial matters. Please note that nothing in this article can be construed as legal, tax or accounting advice.
For additional learning, please visit our LLC FAQs.
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