Maine has business, professional service and nonprofit corporations. The Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions of the Department of the Secretary of State processes registrations for new Maine corporations. The state has preexisting corporate filing forms and provides them online. Filers should obtain the forms, fill them out and send the forms and filing fee to start a Maine nonprofit or business corporation.
Visit the “Business Corporations” (maine.gov/sos/cec/corp/corp.html) or “Non-Profit Corporations” (maine.gov/sos/cec/corp/nonprofit.html) page on the Maine Secretary of State’s website. You can find links to Maine corporation law and filing forms on these pages. Note that a professional service corporation uses the same “Articles of Incorporation” form as business corporations. Licensed professionals simply report the professional practice on that filing form instead of using a different form.
Use the “Articles of Incorporation” links to access the filing form for your chosen corporation type. For example, you would start a nonprofit corporation to run a Maine charity. Conversely, if you are running a business for profit, you would start a business corporation.
Fill out the forms provided for your corporate type. Bear in mind that corporate law is quite complicated. You can use the legal links at the top of the pages to do your own study of Maine corporate law. However, you would still generally need to consult a Maine business attorney if you have never filed a corporation or are unfamiliar with corporate and business law. The official “Articles of Incorporation” are generic and provide only the minimum provisions necessary to form a Maine nonprofit or business corporation.
You also need to create special articles if you intend to run a nonprofit with a tax exemption. The federal Internal Revenue Service is the agency that grants tax-exempt status. You should review Publication 557 to learn more about how to obtain such a tax exemption. Search for that publication online at the IRS.gov website.
Prepare the filing fee for your Maine business. As of 2010, the fee is $40 for nonprofits and $145 for business and professional service corporations. You may also pay $50 extra for 24-hour service and $100 for immediate service. Make a check out to the “Maine Secretary of State.” You may also get a credit-card form from a link on the forms pages.
Send your corporate filing forms and fee to the following address:
Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101
Maine Business Corporations Law and Forms
Maine Nonprofit Corporations Law and Forms