Forming an LLC in Maine is a big decision. Before filing the Certificate of Formation, you will need to choose a registered agent. In this article, we’re going to walk through what the role of a registered agent is and what your options are as a business owner.
What is a Maine Registered Agent & is it Necessary?
Yes, a registered agent is legally required. A registered agent is an individual or service that acts as a go-between with the LLC and the state of Maine.
In short, the registered agent assumes statutory responsibilities. He or she must agree to receive and deliver any official communications such as tax or legal documents from the state of Maine to the LLC. Furthermore, the registered agent must be consistently available to carry out this responsibility without interruption.
Here’s what Maine’s Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions specifically says:
What are the Requirements of a Registered Agent?
Aside from carrying out the statutory responsibilities defined above, a registered agent must meet the following requirements:
- The agent must be an individual resident of the state of Maine or a corporation authorized for business in Maine.
- The agent must have a physical address in Maine.
- The agent must have a mailing address in Maine.
- An LLC cannot act as its own registered agent in Maine, but a member or manager can act as an agent on behalf of the LLC.
For reference, here is a screenshot of what information is required on the Maine Certificate of Formation:
Who can be a Registered Agent in Maine?
The Alaska registered agent can be either an individual or a professional service. Here are the pros and cons of each option.
As mentioned above, if using an individual as your registered agent, the individual must be a resident of Maine.
This means that the individual cannot be in the process of establishing residency in another state, territory, or country or receiving benefits while claiming residency in another state, territory, or country.
Otherwise, the individual can be an attorney, accountant, or even a friend or family member. Simply add the person’s name and address to the Certificate of Formation.
- Convenience – Using someone you know saves the time of searching for a registered agent service. The individual is probably also someone that you trust.
- Cost – The cost will likely be much lower than using a service, perhaps even free.
- Inconvenience – The individual who acts as registered agent is required to be available without interruption. She/he may not put a hold on mail. This might make vacations a bit tricky.
- Risk that documents are not delivered in timely manner – If using an attorney, for example, you may be risking that she/he is away from the office at the time of delivery. This leaves open the possibility that the document is put in other hands, possibly slowing the process. If using a friend or family member, you run the risk of having documents misplaced or even ignored. Personal and work lives often have many distractions. For example, if quarrelling with Aunt Louise over a late or missing tax document worries you, a registered agent service may be a better option.
Registered Agent Service
Registered agent services provide this type of assistance. The service’s name and address must be included on the Certificate of Formation.
- Privacy – If documents regarding a sensitive issue such as a lawsuit are being delivered, the service provides a cushion of privacy between your business and the public. In addition, the address of the service, not your business (or family member or friend) is public record. This means that marketing materials or junk mail will be sent to the service, not to the LLC.
- Reliability – The registered agent needs to be available during regular business hours – all business hours. Using a service might provide a measure of comfort knowing that important documents will not slip through the cracks (as long as you use a reputable service). After all, receiving and delivering important and time-sensitive documents is what the service is experienced doing.
- Location – An LLC is not required to maintain a physical presence in the state of Alaska. The LLC may also do business in various states. Many services have you covered by providing that presence in multiple or even 50 states.
- Cost – Using a service is going to cost you more than using an individual. Still, having the peace of mind that important documents are being handled by a professional service may be worth it.
- Unfamiliarity – Using an individual usually means using someone you know and trust. With an unknown entity there is always a risk of unsatisfactory service. Of course, this is what reviews are for!
Finding a registered agent that is the right fit for your LLC may be one of many tasks when setting up your LLC, but one that is essential to running your business efficiently.
How to get a Free Registered Agent
The most cost effective way to get a free registered agent in Maine is to use a professional LLC service that also offers a free registered agent service.
How it Works
Simply hire a service like IncFile and Northwest Registered Agent to form a Maine LLC. As part of their package, they’ll include a free registered agent service and list their address on the Articles of Organization instead of yours.
All you pay for is the $175 Maine state LLC formation fee + $49 or $79 service fee.
This will remove all registered agent responsibilities off your plate, take care of LLC formation paperwork and provide you with an online dashboard to keep track of things that come up in regard to your LLC in Maine.
How to Change Your Maine Registered Agent
If you need to change your current registered agent in Maine, you will need to file a “Statement of Appointment or Change” with the Secretary of State’s office.
The tricky part is making sure you’re using the correct form, as there are separate ones for different entity types, as well as commercial and non-commercial registered agents. For LLC commercial agents, see here, and for LLC non-commercial, here. You can peruse all the LLC business forms on the BCEC Forms and Fees page. Both forms require similar information:
- Your LLC name (must be identical to the name on record with the Secretary of State)
- The name of your current registered agent
- The name of your new registered agent (plus the agent’s address, if non-commercial)
- The state of your LLC’s jurisdiction and date authorized to do business in Maine (if a foreign LLC)
- Your signature
Both forms come with a cover letter where you’ll include information about the filing and your own contact info. Also, both forms require a $35 fee, payable by check made out to “Maine Secretary of State.” The S.O.S. also accepts payment by card, but only if you complete and include a “Credit Card Payment Voucher.”
If you were hoping to file online, unfortunately, that isn’t an option. You’ll need to file by mail or in person at:
Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC, and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0101
You can also change your registered agent on an LLC Certificate of Amendment, but since this form costs $80, you shouldn’t use it for agent changes unless you already need to file it for something else. While other states also allow agent changes on annual reports, Maine does not.
If you’re too busy, or if you’d feel more comfortable letting someone else take the reins, you have the option of hiring a company or individual to file your paperwork for you. It’s a great way to save time and stress.
Submit your form? Pay your fee? Your registered agent change is in progress. Processing time is typically 5-10 business days, but if you need it done sooner, there are two options for expedited processing: $50 for 24-hour service and $100 for immediate service.
Have Questions or Concerns?
If you’d like to talk to the state directly about your questions or concerns, it’s easy!
Visit Their Website
Visit the Maine Bureau for Corporations, Elections and Commissions for more information about registered agents in the state of Maine.
Give Them a Call
If you’d prefer to call, reach out to their Augusta office at ( 207) 624-7736.