As with any state regulations when it comes to forming a Non-Profit in Maine, naming your Non-Profit also has some certain restrictions you must observe. The complete details on name use restrictions for your Maine Non-Profit name is contained in Section 301-A of the Maine Nonprofit Corporation Act.
Aside from these restrictions that must be observed, you also have to ensure that the business name you’ve come up with is unique to your business and must not have a duplicate or close resemblance to an existing business entity registered with the Secretary of State. You can use the business name search tool.
Another task to accomplish when starting a Maine Non-Profit is appointing the Non-Profit officers and directors of your business. A minimum of three directors is required for a Maine Non-Profit.
These individuals will assist you during the first year operation of your Non-Profit, helping you carry out business decisions of the Non-Profit.
The services of a Maine Registered Agent should be retained as a requirement of the Non-Profit’s legal incorporation. The state stipulates the following requirements for a Registered Agent in Maine: the agent may be a person who is a resident of Maine or a company that is legally registered to conduct business in the state.
In addition, when the agent accepts the position, a Maine physical street address must also be provided. That said, you can hire a Registered Agent service and pay up to $160/year, or get a Maine Registered Agent free of charge when you incorporate your Non-Profit with IncFile.
When you file for your Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation, there is additional information you have to add. As there is a slight difference when incorporating a Non-Profit, you can use the state’s Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation template. In addition to the information within the form, the following statement should also be included:
The initial meeting with your board of directors helps set the Non-Profit’s most important agenda in order. Make sure to record the minutes of the meeting, to be signed by the participants after the initial meeting. These include:
Any document pertaining to your Non-Profit is important. From your Maine Non-Profit registration paperwork, Annual Reports, business licenses, permits, and tax returns, etc. all should be stored in a safe and well-organized binder.
You can use a Corporate Records Binder to hold all these documents. You can purchase one at the local office supply chain or buy one directly through Amazon.
When you operate a Non-Profit, regardless of whether you’re hiring employees or not, a Maine Non-Profit EIN should be obtained. The Employer Identification Number is your Non-Profit’s unique identifier.
You can get one right now for free at the IRS website.
There are many options when opening a business bank account to keep your personal and Non-Profit finances separate. For a close up look at the top options, visit this quick roundup.
Keep in mind that by opening a bank account separate from your personal, you will be able to keep your personal liabilities as a Maine business owner at a minimum.
As a Non-Profit organization, you need to know about the policies for the Maine Non-Profit tax registration to give you a better grasp on aspects relating to your business tax exemptions. Likewise, this will also provide you with information with aspects to registering for Non-Profit taxes and other necessary paperwork for exemption. You can follow the steps below:
To apply for federal tax exemptions, you must file Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This IRS form is quite lengthy, and it requires a number of information you need to clearly and accurately fill out. Instructions as to how to go about filling it out is also provided at the actual form.
For a shorter, more streamlined version of Form 1023, an alternative Form 1023-EZ, Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code can be used. This form comes with a requisite condition. A Non-Profit may only use it if has a yearly gross receipt that does not exceed $50,000 and a total asset that does not exceed $250,000. These conditions usually apply to smaller Non-Profits.
As a Non-Profit in Maine, you are automatically exempted from paying the Maine income tax. However, you should check Maine’s Revenue Services department to find out more about state taxes that the Non-Profit is exempted from.
As a Non-Profit, you might also be required to comply with additional reports and registration requirements when you conduct fundraising activities or charity events. These requirements usually vary depending on the size of your Non-Profit and its type of activities.
After taking care of tax requirements, you should also adhere to the business licenses and regulations that you need to adhere to. Depending on your industry and area, the requirements will differ.
For more information, visit SBA.gov or look into this package where professionals find all the specific requirements on your behalf.
Now that you have followed the steps above, you are an official Non-Profit organization in the state of Maine. Other than those 10 steps that are based on state guidelines, here are 2 additional steps based on best practices for starting a successful organization. Not required, but highly recommended.
The primary step to planning your organization for success is by writing a solid business plan.
In case you’re wondering, no, you don’t need a business plan for state compliance, but you will need one to start your Maine Non-Profit on the right track. Below are two helpful resources to help you plan for success.
The next step when starting a Maine Non-Profit is to build a solid website. Without going into too much detail, the easiest way to do so is to start a website through WordPress.
WordPress is a free, easy to use, and customizable platform that you can get started with immediately. Learn how to build your business website through this helpful guide.
This Startup Savant guide is not legal advice. Seek professional advice to know more about the legal proceedings involved in starting a Non-Profit organization in Maine.