State of Maine Flag

Maine Sales Tax Guide for Businesses

Sales Tax Rate
5.5%
Local Taxes
None
Website
Revenue Services
Tax Line
207-624-9693

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.

When are Maine Sales Tax Returns Due?

Maine sales tax returns are always due the 15th of the month following the reporting period. For example, your April sales tax return would be due May 15th. You’ll be assigned a sales tax filing frequency when you apply for your Maine sales tax permit.

To break it down:

2016 Maine Monthly Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
January February 15, 2016
February March 15, 2016
March April 15, 2016
April May 16, 2016*
May June 15, 2016
June July 15, 2016
July August 15, 2016
August September 15, 2016
September October 17, 2016*
October November 15, 2016
November December 15, 2016
December January 16, 2017*

2016 Maine Quarterly Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
Q1 (Jan - Mar) April 15, 2016
Q2 (Apr - Jun) July 15, 2016
Q3 (Jul - Sep) October 17, 2016*
Q4 (Oct - Dec) January 16, 2017*

2016 Maine Semiannual Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
Semiannual (Jan - Jun) July 15, 2016
Semiannual (Jul - Dec) January 16, 2017*

2016 Maine Annual Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
Year 2016 January 16, 2017*

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

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:

Penalties:

  • 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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