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Maine Sales Tax Guide for Businesses

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We wrote this guide for online sellers who want to know if they even have to bother with sales tax in Maine, and if so, how best to tackle the sales tax situation in the Pine Tree State.

After reading this, you’ll know:

  • Do you or don’t you need to collect Maine sales tax?
  • Which customers do you collect from?
  • How much do you collect?
  • What do you do with all the sales tax you’ve collected?
  • Way more than you probably ever wanted to know about Maine sales tax!

Do you have sales tax nexus in Maine?

Good news! You only have to begin thinking about Maine sales tax if you have sales tax nexus in Maine.

“Sales tax nexus” is just a fancy way of saying “significant presence” in a state.

Maine considers a seller to have sales tax nexus in the state if you have any of the following in the state:

  • A store, office, warehouse, repair facility or other place of business
  • An employee, salesperson, contractor or other representative

You can click here to read exactly what the Maine Department of Revenue (Maine’s taxing authority) has to say about what constitutes sales tax nexus in Maine.

Is what you’re selling even taxable?

You’ve probably read this far because you realized you have sales tax nexus in Maine. Your next step is to determine if what you’re selling is even taxable.

Services in Maine are generally not taxable. So if you’re a freelance writer or a plumber, you’re in luck and you don’t have to worry about sales tax. But watch out – if the service you provide includes creating or manufacturing a product, you may have to deal with the sales tax on products.

Tangible products are taxable in Maine, with a few exceptions. These exceptions include grocery staples, some medicines and medical equipment and some items associated with commerce. Click here for a list of tax-exempt items in Maine.

So if you sell furniture, then charge sales tax to your Maine customers.

But if you’re an electrician, don’t charge sales tax to your Maine customers.

If you have sales tax nexus in Maine and your products are taxable, your next step is to register for a sales tax permit.

How to Register for a Sales Tax Permit in Maine

Sellers with sales tax nexus in Maine must apply for a Maine sales tax permit.

Don’t skip this step! Many states consider it unlawful to collect sales tax in their name without a permit. Go here for more on how to register for a sales tax permit in Maine.

How to Collect Sales Tax in Maine

So you’ve determined that you have sales tax nexus in Maine and what you’re selling is taxable. And you’re all set and registered for your Maine sales tax permit.

The next step is to determine how much sales tax to collect.

Fortunately, collecting sales tax in Maine is fairly simple. The state sales tax rate is 5.5% and Maine doesn’t have local rates. So whether you live in Maine or outside Maine but have nexus and sell to a customer there, you would charge your customer the 5.5% sales tax rate on most transactions.

That said, some items - like prepared food - are taxed differently. In Maine, prepared food is taxed at an 8% rate. Find out more about these Maine sales tax exceptions here.

Should you collect sales tax on shipping charges in Maine?

Not usually. As long as you separately state the shipping charges on your bill to your customer, you do not have to charge sales tax on shipping.

But if you include shipping in the price of the product you sell the customer, then shipping is considered part of the taxable transaction and Maine declares that you must collect sales tax on shipping.

Read a full explanation of sales tax on shipping in Maine here.

Rank City Population County Total SalesTax
1 Portland 66,881 Cumberland 5.500%
2 Lewiston 36,202 Androscoggin 5.500%
3 Bangor 32,391 Penobscot 5.500%
4 South Portland 25,556 Cumberland 5.500%
5 Auburn 22,871 Androscoggin 5.500%
6 Biddeford 21,282 York 5.500%
7 Sanford 20,893 York 5.500%
8 Brunswick 20,495 Cumberland 5.500%
9 Scarborough 19,691 Cumberland 5.500%
10 Saco 19,078 York 5.500%
11 Augusta 18,471 Kennebec 5.500%
12 Westbrook 17,978 Cumberland 5.500%
13 Windham 17,816 Cumberland 5.500%
14 Gorham 17,181 Cumberland 5.500%
15 Waterville 16,261 Kennebec 5.500%
16 York 12,862 York 5.500%
17 Falmouth 11,988 Cumberland 5.500%
18 Kennebunk 11,209 York 5.500%
19 Orono 10,700 Penobscot 5.500%
20 Standish 10,139 Cumberland 5.500%

The Top 20 Most Populous Cities in Maine and their Sales Tax Rates (June 2017)

When are Maine Sales Tax Returns Due?

When you file and pay Maine sales tax depends on two things: your assigned filing frequency and your state’s due dates.

How often will you file sales tax returns in Maine?

States assign you a filing frequency when you register for your sales tax permit. In most states, how often you file sales tax is based on the amount of sales tax you collect from buyers in the state.

In Maine, you will be required to file and remit sales tax either monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually.

How often you are required to file sales tax in Maine follows this general rule:

Average Monthly Taxable Sales Filing Frequency
$600.01 and up Monthly
$100.01 to $600.00 Quarterly
$4.17 to $100.00 Semiannually
$0.00 to $4.16 Annually

Maine sales tax returns are almost always due the 15th day of the month following the reporting period. If the filing due date falls on a weekend or holiday, sales tax is generally due the next business day.

2017 Maine Monthly Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

January February 15, 2017
February March 15, 2017
*March April 17, 2017*
April May 15, 2017
May June 15, 2017
*June July 17, 2017*
July August 15, 2017
August September 15, 2017
*September October 16, 2017*
October November 15, 2017
November December 15, 2017
December January 15, 2018

*indicates a due date pushed back due to a weekend or holiday

2017 Maine Quarterly Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
*Q1 (Jan-March) April 17, 2017*
*Q2 (April-June) July 17, 2017*
*Q3 (July-Sept) October 16, 2017*
Q4 (Oct-Dec) January 15, 2018

*indicates a due date pushed back due to a weekend or holiday

2017 Maine Semiannual Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
*Semiannual 1 (Jan-June) July 17, 2017*
Semiannual 2 (July-Dec) January 15, 2018

*indicates a due date pushed back due to a weekend or holiday

2017 Maine Annual Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
2017 January 15, 2018

Click here for more info on Maine sales tax filing due dates in 2017.

How to File Sales Tax in Maine

When it comes time to file sales tax in Maine you must do three things:

  1. Calculate how much sales tax you owe
  2. File a sales tax return
  3. Make a payment

We’ll walk you through these steps.

How to Calculate How Much Sales Tax You Owe in Maine

Calculating how much sales tax you should remit to the state of Maine is easy with TaxJar’s Maine sales tax report.

All you do is connect the channels through which you sell – including Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Square and more – and we’ll calculate exactly how much sales tax you collected. All the information you need to file your Maine sales tax return will be waiting for you in TaxJar. Try a 30-day free TaxJar trial today!

How to File and Pay Sales Tax in Maine

To file and pay your Maine sales tax you have some options:

Other Facts You Should Know about Maine Sales Tax Filing

There are a few more things you should know about sales tax in Maine:


  • Late Filing Penalty – Greater of 10% of tax due or $25.
  • Late Payment Penalty – 1% of tax due per month or fraction (maximum 25%).

Other penalties for fraud or serial offenses include higher penalties and even criminal charges.

And that’s it. You’ve mastered Maine sales tax filing! Now that sales tax is out of the way, you can get back to what you do best – running your business.

Maine Sales Tax Resources

For more about Maine sales tax, check out the Maine section of the TaxJar blog.

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