BUSINESS START-UP CHECKLIST
The following is a
list of steps 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
- Decide whether you wish to operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership,
limited liability company or corporation.
- 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,
State House Station #101, Augusta, ME 04333. Telephone: (207) 287-4195.
If already incorporated in another state, obtain an application to do business
in Maine as a foreign corporation from the same office.
- 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. For information regarding filing trademarks, you
may call (207) 287-4195.
- 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
which 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.
- If you decide to incorporate, or if your partnership or proprietorship
has employees, you will need to:
-Obtain a federal employer identification number from the nearest Internal
Revenue Service Office (FORM SS-4, EIN) or call 1-800-424-1040.
- Register for Sales and Use Tax Returns, Maine Income Tax Witholding,
and Unemployment Insurance Contributions and Employer Wage Report. Complete
and file booklet obtained from the State of Maine Bureau of Taxation and
Department of Labor.
-Obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage for your employees.
Check with the company that provides you with business insurance.
-Have employees complete an Employee Witholding Certificate form W -
4 (obtain from IRS) and Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 (obtain
from the U.S. Department of Immigration and Naturalization) and keep in
Note: many of these forms can be obtained with the start-up kit from
the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development @ 1-800-872-3838.
- 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.