How Much Does It Cost to Form an ME Corporation?
Legal business registration — and keeping your business in good standing — involves necessary expenses and investment. Some of these costs are payable to the ME Department of the Secretary of State, while others are due to additional state entities or the federal government. Here are some common requirements and fees.
Please note that fees for a State of Maine business license or permit may be due when you first form your business, on an ongoing schedule or on an ad hoc basis. Find more details below.
Initial Maine Corporation Filing Fees
When starting a business in Maine State, you’ll need to file a form and pay a filing fee. Here are the current Maine corporation filing fees and times:
When you use Bizee to register a business in Maine, we charge you the state filing fee and forward it to the Department of the Secretary of State, BCEC when we file your incorporation paperwork.
Employer Identification Number
Every corporation in the country should have a unique EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the Internal Revenue Service. You'll use it when you open a business bank account, file taxes and pay employees. You can get one directly from the IRS, or Bizee can get one for you.
If you want to do business in a state other than the one where your business is based, you must create a Foreign Corporation.
Maine Foreign Corporation Registration
Before you can bring an arm of your business from another state into Maine, you must request Maine Foreign Qualification. This means the state gives you permission to conduct business there.
To request registration of a Maine Foreign Corporation, you must complete an Application for Authority to Do Business and pay a processing fee of $250. The state may have additional registration requirements, so contact the Maine Department of the Secretary of State, Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions directly for more information and to ensure you're in compliance with ME corporation law.
Foreign Qualification to Operate in Another State
If you plan to expand your Maine corporation into another state, you’ll first need Foreign Qualification or a Certificate of Authority from that state. This is necessary before you can create a physical presence, hire employees or bank in that state.
You'll likely have to complete at least one application and pay a filing fee, but each state has its own requirements. Before you start the process, compare state filing times and state filing fees so you can plan accordingly.
Above all, contact the state government entity that administers business (usually the Secretary of State) to confirm their requirements and for specific instructions.
If you need assistance, Bizee provides a complete Foreign Qualification service for all states.
Maine Annual Report Requirements
Most states require business entities to file an annual (or other periodic) report. Maine requires an annual report to be filed once a year with the Department of the Secretary of State, BCEC.
When you complete your annual report you must file it online accompanied with a filing fee of $85.
Public Information & Franchise Tax Report
State of Maine Business License and Permit Requirements
Before you start doing business, you must secure the necessary state, federal or local business licenses and permits to operate your corporation. Some of the fees will only need to be paid once, while others may be ongoing charges.
Permits and licenses vary based on:
You are required to have Maine corporation bylaws if you form a corporation in the state. You don't need to file them with the Maine Department of the Secretary of State, but make sure you have them with your business documents and by all means, continue to follow them.
The bylaws must then be adopted (and amended, if necessary) by the board of directors and shareholders.
Drafting a set of bylaws can be extremely helpful in making sure you’re organized and can help protect your business from any future changes and events that may affect your business.
Other ME Corporation Filing Requirements and Fees
The State of Maine requires you to complete a few more tasks before you can begin conducting business.
Appoint a Director
Some states require corporations to appoint a full board of directors. ME corporation law requires all corporations to have a board of directors that consists of at least one director.
In Maine, the board of directors may elect officers such as the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, etc. In addition, the board of directors must assign to one of the officers the responsibility of preparing minutes of the directors' and shareholders' meetings and of maintaining and authenticating the records of the corporation that are required to be kept.
Issue Stock to Shareholders
To raise business capital and keep it separate from company owners' money, every Maine corporation must sell stock to its shareholders. The Articles of Incorporation must authorize the sale of at least one class of share, and the corporation cannot sell more shares than are authorized.
Hold Annual General Meetings
In Maine, corporations are required to hold annual shareholders' meetings, but should you fail to do so, Title 13-C, Chapter 7, Subchapter 1, § 701 states, "the failure to hold an annual meeting at the time stated in or fixed in accordance with a corporation's bylaws does not affect the validity of any corporate action."
Change the Commercial Clerk
If your corporation is based in Maine, then you must have a Commercial Clerk in the state. You'll need to appoint one when you file your Articles of Incorporation. You can also change to a new Commercial Clerk later by filing a form and paying a fee of $35.
Reserving a Name for Your Corporation
If you're not quite ready to start your business, you can reserve a name for 120 days with the Department of the Secretary of State by filing a form and paying a fee of $20. First, conduct an ME corporation search and learn the state's business naming rules to ensure you choose a name that meets legal requirements.
Amending Facts About Your Corporation
When you incorporate, the Maine business forms you fill out include certain facts about your business at that time. Through the years, some or all of this information may change. If it does, you'll need to file Articles of Amendment with the Department of the Secretary of State, BCEC along with a filing fee of $50. You can do this yourself or Bizee can do it for you.
Get a Certificate of Existence
Some organizations may request that you prove your corporation's compliance with laws and tax requirements. In most states, this proof is provided with a Certificate of Good Standing. In this state, it's an ME Certificate of Existence.
If you need to prove you have met your commitments, you’ll need to request an ME Certificate of Existence from the Department of the Secretary of State, BCEC. You can do this by searching for your business using the business search provided by the ME Department of the Secretary of State and downloading a Certificate of Existence. The fee for this service is $30.
The information listed above details many of the fees a standard corporation will be required to pay in Maine. In some circumstances, there may be other one-off, periodic or ad hoc fees not listed above.
Of course, your corporation will also probably need to pay federal, state, self-employment (if it's an S Corp) and other taxes. You'll find more information on the Maine taxes page.