How to Incorporate in Maine (February 2024 Update)

Meow Technologies, Inc.

Meow Technologies, Inc.

Maine has long been known for its hard-working, entrepreneurial spirit. From lobster trappers to potato farmers, Maine residents have a knack for starting and operating successful small businesses. If you’re considering incorporating your Maine business, you’ve come to the right place. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know, from the benefits of incorporating to filing your paperwork and staying compliant after formation.

Why Choose a Maine Corporation?

Forming a corporation, rather than operating as a sole proprietorship or general partnership, comes with a few key advantages:

  • Limited Liability Protection – When you incorporate, your personal assets are protected from business debts and legal judgments. Creditors can’t go after your house or bank accounts if your Maine corporation falls into debt.
  • Tax Advantages – Corporations allow for some beneficial tax deductions and income-splitting options not available to unincorporated businesses. A knowledgeable accountant can help you maximize write-offs.
  • Increased Credibility – There’s no doubt about it, “Inc.” or “Corp.” at the end of your Maine business’s name lends it some extra legitimacy and prestige. This can be invaluable when trying to win over investors and clients.

Incorporation Process in Maine

To gain those advantages, you will have to jump through a few administrative hoops. Below are the six key steps to incorporating your business in the state of Maine:

1. Choose and Verify Your Corporation’s Unique Name

Every corporation in Maine must have a unique business name that includes a designation like: Corporation, Incorporated, Company or Limited, or their abbreviations.

You can verify name availability by searching the Secretary of State’s database. If the name you want is taken, you may have to get creative with variations until you land on something distinct. Alternatively, you can pay $20 to reserve a name for 120 days while you hammer out other incorporation details.

2. Appoint a Registered Agent in Maine

A registered agent is an individual or business entity that is authorized to accept service of process (legal paperwork like subpoenas or lawsuits) on behalf of your corporation. Basically, they act as your business’s point person for official communications.

Maine requires that you appoint a registered agent that meets the following criteria:

  • Located in Maine with a physical street address (no P.O. boxes)
  • Available during normal business hours (9 am – 5 pm)
  • Agrees to accept legal correspondence for your business

Many business owners choose to use a registered agent service to keep their personal address private and ensure time-sensitive legal papers don’t get missed.

3. File Your Articles of Incorporation

The Articles of Incorporation form the legally binding contract that establishes your business as a Maine Corporation. They must be filed with the Secretary of State, either online or by mail, along with the $145 filing fee.

Information required on the Articles includes:

  • Your unique corporate name
  • Your registered agent’s name and signature
  • Number and type of stock shares
  • Names and addresses of all incorporators
  • Signatures of all incorporators

The Secretary of State’s staff will review your filing and, as long as everything looks good, approve formation of your corporation within 2 weeks.

4. Draft Corporate Bylaws

Bylaws act as an operating manual, laying out internal governance rules for your Maine corporation like:

  • When/where shareholder meetings will be held
  • The powers/duties of corporate officers
  • Policies for issuing stock certificates
  • How to amend existing bylaws

Under Maine law, corporations are not required to file their bylaws, but they must be kept with other business records and produced if requested by regulators.

5. Hold an Organizational Meeting

Shortly after your approval from the Secretary of State, you must hold an initial organizational meeting of the shareholders listed in your Articles of Incorporation. That meeting should cover things like:

  • Electing an initial Board of Directors
  • Officially adopting bylaws
  • Approving issuance of stock shares

Be sure to document the meeting with formal minutes showing votes/decisions made. Those records will be vital if the corporation ever faces lawsuits over internal policies or power struggles.

6. Obtain Licenses, Tax IDs, Permits, etc.

With your business now formally incorporated, there’s still a few loose ends to tie up:

  • Apply for your Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS
  • File necessary state tax forms (see taxes section below)
  • Research any business licenses or permits needed to operate in your Maine town/county

Remaining Compliant as a Maine Corporation

You did it – your business is officially a corporation under Maine law! But the paperwork isn’t over. Maintaining your incorporation status involves a few recurring filings and fees:

Annual Report

A $85 annual report must be filed with the Secretary of State between January 1 and June 1 each year. This form confirms or updates basic information like your registered agent, business address, and officers.

State Taxes

At tax time, be prepared to file:

  • Maine Corporate Income Tax Return - 3.5% to almost 9% tax on net business income, based on a tiered system
  • Maine Business Enterprise Tax Return - Minimum tax ranges from $75 to $1,500 depending on corporate structure
  • Maine Sales Tax - 5.5% flat statewide rate paid monthly or quarterly

Business Records

Keep detailed records on things like shareholder meetings, stock issuances, and company contracts/transactions. These will be indispensable if you ever face lawsuits or tax audits down the road.

Structuring your Maine business as a corporation does come with upfront time/costs - but the liability protections and operational flexibility afforded make it worthwhile for many business owners. Armed with this guide, you should have all the details needed to sail through the incorporation process.


Meow Technologies is a financial technology company, not a bank or FDIC-depository insured institution. Likewise, Meow Technologies is not an investment adviser and none of the information presented herein should be relied upon as financial advice or a recommendation to make any financial decision nor should it be considered to be tax or legal advice. The information is the opinion of Meow Technologies for educational purposes and may not be suitable for all companies. Products, like the one described herein, are offered through Meow Technologies and are not advisory services which are only offered through Meow Advisory, LLC.** The FDICs deposit insurance coverage only protects against the failure of an FDIC-insured bank.**

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