If you want to start and run a Maine limited liability company (LLC), you'll need to prepare and file various documents with the state. This article covers the most important ongoing reporting and state tax filing requirements for Maine LLCs.
The State of Maine requires you to file an annual report for your LLC. You can mail in the report or complete it online at the Secretary of State website. You'll need your LLC's state charter number to access the online form. Only a few pieces of information, such as a brief statement of the character of your business, and the name and street address of at least one LLC member, are required to complete the report.
The annual report must be filed each year by June 1. The annual report filing fee for a Maine LLC is $85. (Out-of-state LLCs pay a higher fee.)
When it comes to income taxes, most LLCs are so-called pass-through tax entities. In other words, the responsibility for paying federal income taxes passes through the LLC itself and falls on the individual LLC members. By default, LLCs themselves do not pay income taxes, only their members do. Some states impose a separate tax or fee on LLCs for the privilege of doing business in the state. Maine, though, is not one of those states.
However, in some cases, the owners of an LLC choose to have their business treated like a corporation for tax purposes. This choice is made by filing IRS Form 2553 with the IRS. (See the IRS website for the form.) Unlike the default pass-through tax situation, when an LLC elects to be taxed as a corporation, the company itself must file a separate tax return. The State of Maine, like almost every other state, has a corporation income tax. In Maine, the tax generally is calculated at a series of marginal rates. If your LLC is taxed as a corporation you'll need to pay this tax. The state's corporation tax return (Form 1120ME) is filed with the Maine Revenue Services (MRS). For more details, check Nolo's article, 50-State Guide to Business Income Tax, or the MRS website.
Does your LLC have employees? If so, you'll need to pay employer taxes. Some of these taxes are paid to the federal government (the IRS) and are not covered here. (But note that federal employer tax obligations start with obtaining a federal employer identification number (EIN).) However, Maine employers also must pay taxes to the state. The MRS website has details on how to register your LLC and pay these taxes. The process begins with filing an application for tax registration. This application can be completed online. Then, as of 2015, you'll need to use Form 941ME for income tax withholding and Form ME UC-1 for unemployment contributions.
If your LLC will sell goods to customers in Maine, you will need to collect and pay sales tax. This means you'll have to register for this purpose with Maine Revenue Services. First, you'll need to file an application for tax registration, which can be done online. (This is the same form used to register to pay other state business taxes such as for employer taxes.) Then each year you'll have to file a state sales tax return (Form L), which can also be done online at the MRS website.
If you will be doing business in states other than Maine, you may need to register your LLC in some or all of those states. Whether you're required to register will depend on the specific states involved: each state has its own rules for what constitutes doing business and whether registration is necessary. Often activities such as having a physical presence (a business location) in a state, hiring employees in a state, or soliciting business in a state (such as by telephone, print ads, mail, or the Internet) will be considered doing business for registration purposes. Registration usually involves obtaining a certificate of authority or similar document.
For more information on the requirements for forming and operating an LLC in Maine, see Nolo's article, 50-State Guide to Forming an LLC, and other articles on LLCs in the LLC section of the Nolo website.