Maine Sales Tax Guide
Chapter 5: Filing and paying Maine sales tax
You're registered with the Maine Revenue Services and you've begun collecting sales tax. Congratulations! Remember, those tax dollars don't belong to you. As an agent of the state of Maine, your role is that of intermediary transferring tax dollars from consumers to state and local tax authorities. Let's take a deeper look at how filing Maine sales tax returns impacts your business.What does it mean to file an Maine sales tax return?
Technically speaking, filing Maine sales tax returns is a two-step process comprised of submitting the required sales data and remitting the collected tax dollars (if any) to state and local tax authorities.
In most states, there are a number of options for submitting sales tax data to the state. Business owners may complete a Maine sales tax filing form and mail it to the Maine Revenue Services or they can file electronically online. In all states, filing online is recommended.
The filing process forces the business owner to detail their total sales, the amount of sales tax they have collected, and from where. The Maine Revenue Services wants to be kept up to date on your business growth (or lack thereof) to make sure they are getting the tax dollars due. By completing ongoing filing of monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual, or annual Maine sales tax returns, they stay abreast of your growing company.When am I required to file my sales tax return?
The Maine Revenue Services will assign you a filing frequency. Typically, this is determined by the size of your business. State governments typically ask larger businesses to file more frequently. Visit our Maine filing due dates page for more information.Am I required to file and pay my Maine sales tax at the same time?
Maine sales tax returns must be filed and paid at the same time and are governed by the same due date.I want to webfile my Maine sales tax. What are my options?
Avalara has built the TrustFile product to allow business owners a quick and easy way to prepare and webfile Maine sales tax returns. Users can sign up and use the service to prepare Maine returns free for 30-days.
Filers may also file directly with the Maine Revenue Services by visiting their site and entering your transaction data manually. This is a free service, but preparing Maine sales tax (breaking it down by jurisdiction) can be time consuming - especially for larger sellers.Can a 3rd party file my sales tax on my behalf?
Yes! Many business owners recognize they are not a tax professional and therefore, choose to outsource their sales tax sales and use tax filing to services like Avalara TrustFile or to an accountant or bookkeeper. This is a normal business practice that can save business owners time and help them avoid costly mistakes due to inexperience and a lack of deep knowledge about Maine sales tax code.What happens if I file or pay my sales tax return late?
Failure to File Return: Failure to file a return on or before the due date may result in a penalty of $25.00 or 10% of the tax due, whichever is greater. Failing to file within 60 days after receiving a formal demand for the return to be filed may result in a penalty of $25.00 or 25% of the tax due, whichever is greater.
Failure to pay any tax on any return on or before the due date may result in a penalty of 1% of the unpaid tax for each month or fraction thereof the debt remains outstanding, up to a limit of 25% of the unpaid tax. Failure to pay a tax assessment for which no further administrative or judicial review is available may be charged an additional penalty of 25% of the tax due if payment of the tax due is not made within 10 days after the person receives a demand for payment.
Filing a return that results in an underpayment of tax due to taxpayer negligence or intentional disregard of the law or of any ruling or rule of the Assessor (but without intent to defraud) may result in a penalty of $25.00 or 25% of the deficiency, whichever is greater. Filing a return resulting in an underpayment of tax because of fraud with intent to evade remittance of collected tax may be charged a penalty of $75.00 or 75% of the deficiency, whichever is greater.Do I need to file a return if I didn't collect any sales tax in Maine?
Yes! Once you've successfully registered for and been issued a Sales Tax License, you are required to file at the completion of each assigned collection period regardless of whether any sales tax was collected. This is what is known as a "zero-tax filing".
Failure to submit a required zero-tax filing can result in penalties imposed on your business by the Maine Revenue Services so don't take this responsibility lightly.If I close my business, do I need to file a final sales tax return?
Yes! The Maine Revenue Services requires all businesses to "close their books" by filing a final sales tax return. This also holds true for business owners selling or otherwise transferring ownership of their business.Does the Maine Revenue Services offer a discount for filing on time?
At this time, the Maine Revenue Services does not offer sales tax filers a vendor discount.