How to get business license in Maine

Updated on December 21, 2023


Securing a business license is a critical step for legal operation in Maine. This guide will help you understand the necessary licenses, application process, costs, required documents, compliance, and unique state-specific considerations.

Who Needs a Business License in Maine?

Most commercial businesses require licenses in ME, including retailers, restaurants, service providers, rental properties, contractors, and independent professionals.

Penalties for non-compliance include fines up to $1,000 per offense, potential business closure after multiple violations, and possible criminal charges.

Understanding Maine Business Licenses

Common Maine business licenses include:

  • Local city/town licenses – Required in most areas
  • Sales tax registration – For charging/collecting sales tax
  • Reseller certificates – For wholesalers
  • Professional/vocational licenses – For specialized services
  • Industry licenses – Hospitality, agriculture, etc

Preparing to Apply for a License

Start by using Maine’s online licensing tool to identify the licenses required for your business activities.

You’ll also need to gather supporting documents, ownership details, formation paperwork, commercial leases, etc. Application fees vary widely.

Step-by-Step Guide to Apply

Maine facilitates online applications for most licenses. Visit the Rapid Renewal Portal, use the Licensing Assistant, select the licenses you need, provide business and owner information, pay the fees, and await approvals.

To apply online:

  1. Access Maine’s Rapid Renewal Portal
  2. Enter business details into the Licensing Assistant
  3. Select your required license types
  4. Provide requested business and owner info
  5. Pay fees
  6. Obtain approvals

After Submitting an Application

Online applications take 10-15 days typically. Monitor your status via the portal.

If issues occur, administrators contact you needing additional details or clarifications.

Maintaining Compliance

To remain compliant in ME once licensed:

  • Display physical licenses onsite
  • Renew licenses annually
  • Remit timely tax payments
  • Report changes to ownership, activities or locations

Obtaining Federal Registrations

Remember to obtain necessary federal registrations like an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and trademark protections.

Special Considerations

Businesses like liquor stores, agriculture operators, watercraft services, and healthcare providers in Maine have additional licensing requirements. Always verify these specific rules.

Registering Your Business Name

Trade name registrations in Maine can be filed through the Secretary of State’s office.

Maine Tax Permits

Key tax permits include Sales Tax Resale Certificates and Service Provider Tax Certificates.


Who Needs a Maine Business License? Most commercial businesses in Maine, such as retailers, contractors, and tourism operators, require a license.

What Do Licenses Cost in Maine? Licensing fees in Maine range from $10 to over $100 initially, with lower renewal fees. The exact cost varies based on business activities and locations.

How long does it take to get a license in Maine? The processing time for a business license in Maine is generally 10-15 business days for online applications, but can vary depending on the type of license and specific requirements.

Additional Resources

For more information, explore additional resources available on Maine’s official state websites.

Final Thoughts

Properly licensing your business in Maine is essential for legal operation and avoiding penalties. Utilize online application options for an efficient process.

Priyank Singh

Priyank Singh, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Stilt, specializes in technology-driven financial solutions. He is having experience of starting FinTech Company, understanding regulations and coming up with creative solutions to solve difficult problems.