The following is a list of steps compiled by the Maine Small Business Development Centers which provide a general guideline to anyone who is starting a business in Maine.
· Prepare a written business plan, complete with pro-forma
financial statements. This can serve as an operating guide as well
as a financing prospectus.
- Decide whether you wish to operate as a sole proprietorship,
partnership, limited liability company or corporation (See Establishing your business entity)
- If you decide to incorporate, form a limited liability company,
or a partnership, you should consult an attorney. However, you
can obtain incorporation papers from the Maine Secretary of State,
Bureau of Corporations, 101 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0101.
Telephone: (207) 624-7736. You can also reach them on-line at
If already incorporated in another state, obtain an application
to do business in Maine as a foreign corporation from the same
- If you decide not to incorporate and wish to protect the name
of your business, you may file a TRADEMARK or SERVICE MARK with
the Secretary of State's office http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/corp/mark.htm. For information regarding filing
trademarks, you may call (207) 624-7736 or you may find the information
at the above web address.
- If you operate a business, and the business name is different
from your given name, you must register that name in the CITY
or TOWN where your business is located. This is called filing
a d/b/a ("doing business as") and the fee varies slightly,
according to your location.
- Determine whether you need to obtain any state licenses or permits
to operate your business. An extensive listing can be found in
A Guide to Doing Business in Maine, published by the Maine Department
of Economic and Community Development. They also offer a business
licensing service that can provide you with the required license
applications. This service can be reached at 1-800-872-3838. You
should also inquire about local licenses or permits at your local
town office or city hall.
- Check with the local code enforcement officer to determine if
your business will be in compliance with local zoning ordinances.
- Maine Employer's Registration Requirements :
- Register for a Federal Employer Identification Number
(EIN). Complete and file IRS Form SS-4. You are required to file
this if you pay wages to one or more employees; or are required
to have EIN to use on a specific return, statement or other document
(often banks will require this for a business checking account);
or plan to incorporate (in which case owners drawing salaries
are also considered employees). This form can be obtained from
the nearest IRS office, or call 1-800-424-1040, or download it
from the IRS website: www.irs.gov.
- Register for Maine State Income Tax Withholding. Complete
and file the Application for Tax Registration from the Maine Department
of Labor, Central Registration Section. They can be reached at
(207) 287-2338. Form A is for those registering just for withholding
tax and unemployment contributions. Form B is for those registering
for withholding, sales, use and excise taxes.
- Have employees complete and keep in employer's files:
Employer's Withholding Certification Form W-4 obtained from the
IRS and Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 obtained
from the U.S. Dept. of Immigration and Naturalization. This form
can be downloaded from the Department's website: www.ins.usdoj.gov.
- Obtain Worker's Compensation Insurance from the business's
- Maine employers are required to report newly hired or
rehired employees to the Maine Department of Human Services (DHS)
within 7 days. The report must include the employee's name, address,
social security number and date of birth, as well as the employer's
name, address, employer security reference number or employer
identification number. Employers may report by sending a copy
of the employee's W-4 form or facsimile thereof. For more information
contact DHS Support Enforcement and Recovery at (207) 287-2886
- Obtain and post the required labor posters that summarize
the state's labor law by calling the Workplace Safety and Health
Division at 624-6460 or by contacting Business Answers at 1-800-872-3838.
Note: many of these forms can be obtained with the start-up kit
from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development
- If you plan to sell a taxable product or service, you must obtain
a State Sales Tax Number by filing an application with the Maine
Department of Finance, Bureau of Taxation, State House Station
#78, Augusta, ME 04333. Telephone: (207) 287-2336. This form is
also used to register for State of Maine income tax withholding.
- If necessary, contact the Maine Department of Labor, Bureau
of Labor Standards to determine compliance with the Occupational
Safety and Health Act. Telephone: (207) 287-6400.
- Contact an insurance agent regarding the necessary insurance
coverage your business will require.
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