Creating an LLC (Limited Liability Company) in Maine is a process that involves several steps in compliance with the state’s requirements. Here’s a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you establish an LLC in Maine:
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STEP 1: Choose a Name for Your LLC
Compliance: Your LLC name must include the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
Uniqueness: The name must be distinguishable from the names of other business entities already filed with the Maine Secretary of State.
Prohibited Words: Certain words may require additional paperwork and possibly licensed individuals, such as “Bank,” “University,” or “Attorney.”
Name Reservation (Optional): You can reserve your LLC name for 120 days by filing a Name Reservation Application with the Maine Secretary of State and paying the applicable fee.
Name Search: Check the Maine Secretary of State’s business name database to ensure your desired LLC name isn’t already in use: https://icrs.informe.org/nei-sos-icrs/ICRS?MainPage=x
Time it Takes to name an LLC
Researching and deciding on a name: 1-2 hours
If opting for a name reservation: The act of filing can take about 10-15 minutes.
If opting for a name reservation: Filing can take minutes, but approval might take a few days to a week.
STEP 2: Appoint a Registered Agent
Agent Role: Your registered agent can be an individual resident of Maine or a business entity authorized to do business in Maine. They will receive official papers and legal documents on behalf of your LLC.
Requirements: The agent must have a physical street address in Maine.
Time it Takes to be a Registered Agent
Registered Agents MUST BE at the Business Address everyday during business hours. This is why Home Addresses Are Not Accepted.
If you already have someone in mind (like an attorney or a service), this can be quick. If you need to find and appoint a registered agent: 1-3 hours.
Why use Inc Authority vs Being your own Registered Agent?
Benefits of having Inc Authority serve as your Registered Agent include:
· Privacy: Keep your home address private
· Efficiency: Easily receive and promptly process state and legal documents
· Hassle-free: Reduction of junk and solicitation mail
· Legal Compliance: Avoid fines, penalties, and possible dissolution
· Convenience: Serves as your public & legal business address
Inc Authority offer you a FREE year of Registered Agent Service with the purchase of your LLC.
STEP 3: File Certificate of Formation
Prepare the Certificate: This is the document that officially creates your LLC in Maine. It includes important information about your LLC, such as its name, address, and the name and address of the registered agent.
Submit and Pay Fees: File the Certificate with the Maine Secretary of State. This can be done by mail, in person, or online, and will require a filing fee.
Effective Date: You can specify an effective date for your LLC; otherwise, it’s the date the Certificate is filed.
Time it takes to write the Articles of Organization
Preparing the document: 1-2 hours
Filing online: 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Waiting for confirmation/approval: This can range widely, but typically, online filings can be processed in a few days to a couple of weeks.
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STEP 4: Create an Operating Agreement
Internal Rules: While not legally required in Maine, it’s highly advisable to create an Operating Agreement. This internal document outlines your LLC’s ownership, operating procedures, and financial and functional decisions, including provisions for managing, assigning responsibilities, and how profits and losses are distributed.
Conflict Prevention: It helps prevent misunderstandings by setting clear rules and expectations.
Time it takes to write an Operating Agreement
If using a template and making minimal changes: 1-3 hours
If drafting from scratch or having extensive negotiations among members: Several days to weeks.
Why Spend Hours or even Days trying to figure it out?
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STEP 5: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax purposes.
You can apply for an EIN online at no cost through the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online
The EIN will be used for tax filings, opening bank accounts, and hiring employees.
Time it takes to get an EIN / Tax ID
Filling out the online form and receiving the EIN: Approximately 0.5 to 1 hour (the online process is relatively quick if there are no complications).
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SO HOW MUCH TIME WILL IT TAKE TO FORM AN LLC MYSELF? DO IT MYSELF (DIY) an LLC?
Total Time Investment (Minimum): 5 hours (if you exclude the higher range estimates and name reservation)
Total Time Investment (Maximum): 11.5 hours (if you include the higher range estimates and name reservation)
This gives a ballpark range of 5 to 11.5 working hours for an individual, excluding all waiting times. It’s worth noting that these times can vary based on the person’s familiarity with the processes and any specific details or challenges related to the business being set up.