Maine Startup

Before kicking off your Maine startup, you'll need to decide which business entity type you're going to form. We've brought together information on most of the major entity types, from sole proprietorships to nonprofits, so that you can choose the right Maine startup type for your unique situation.

Maine DBA

In Maine, sole proprietorship and partnership DBAs are filed at the city level; a DBA in Boston, for example, would be filed with the Boston City Clerk's office. These types of business registrations are valid only in the town in which they were registered.

There are two other types of DBAs in Maine: an assumed name and a fictitious name. Both of these types of DBAs are registered with the Secretary of State, as both affect existing corporate records; an assumed name is used when a registered domestic business—a corporation or LLC—wishes to do business in Maine under a new name, and a fictitious name is used by a foreign corporation from out of state when its legal name is unavailable and it must select a new one for use in Maine.

Incorporate in Maine

A business wishing to incorporate in Maine will register Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State's office; these articles will include information about the business, including the name, registered agent, registered office address, and Incorporator.

Incorporating in Maine forms a new legal "person," capable of entering into contracts and taking on debt. Each individual owner is protected from debts or obligations of the corporation through what is known as limited liability.

C Corporation

The default tax classification for a for-profit corporation is a C corporation; this type of corporation is structurally very flexible, but it involves "double taxation" in which the corporate income is taxed once at the corporate level, and again at the individual level when distributed to the shareholders.

S Corporation

S corporation status can be requested by sending in an S Corporation Election Form to the IRS. S corporations are considered pass-through entities, meaning that corporate income is passed through to the shareholders and taxed only at the individual level. However, an S corporation has a few limitations on its shareholders that a C corporation does not.

Foreign Corporation in Maine

A business that was formed in another state must register as a foreign corporation in Maine before conducting business in the state. This is done by submitting an Application for Authority to Do Business to the Secretary of State.

In addition to the Application for Authority, a foreign corporation must also submit a Certificate of Good Standing or other similar document from its domestic state, showing it to be in good standing in that state. This Certificate must be dated within 90 days of your foreign corporation application.

Maine LLC

An LLC is a type of entity that, while recognized in Maine as well as the other 49 states, is not recognized by the IRS as a tax classification; LLCs are able to select from a few tax classification options, depending on whether there is one owner or multiple owners.

A limited liability company, logically, provides limited liability to its owners just as a corporation does, and it is able to .

Maine Nonprofit Corporation

A 501c3 nonprofit corporation is one that is exempt from federal taxes and is formed for one of the purposes specified in IRS Code 501c3; it must first register as a Maine nonprofit corporation, then apply for 501c3 status from the IRS.