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Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions, Department of the Secretary of State

Home > Non-Profit Corporations > New Requirements for Nonprofit Corporations

How to Tell Whether Your Nonprofit Corporation is a Public Benefit Corporation or a Mutual Benefit Corporation

A Public Benefit Corporation:

  Is designated as a public benefit corporation by statute; or
  Is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; or
  Is organized for a public or charitable purpose and is required to distribute assets to a similar tax exempt organization upon dissolution; or
  Has elected to be a public benefit corporation.

Generally, if your corporation’s mission is to serve the public or community at large, it is probably a public benefit corporation. Public benefit corporations can usually be characterized as charities.

Common examples: volunteer fire departments, grantmaking foundations, homeless shelters

A Mutual Benefit Corporation:

  Is any nonprofit corporation that does not fit the description of a public benefit corporation.

Generally, if your corporation’s mission is to serve a limited number of members with common interests, it is probably a mutual benefit corporation.

Common examples: homeowners’ associations, snowmobile clubs, trade associations

For more information, please review the Maine Attorney General’s Guide for Board Members of Charitable Corporations.

Filing Requirements

You may make this designation on one of the forms listed below for filing a new nonprofit corporation or submitting a filing on an existing corporation. To download a copy of one of the following forms from the Secretary of State’s website, please visit Corporate Forms Online.

Filing a new corporation:

Articles of Incorporation (13-B MRSA §403)
Certificate of Organization (13 MRSA Chapter 81 §903)

Submitting a filing on an existing corporation:

Articles of Amendment (13-B MRSA §§802 and 803)
Restated Articles of Incorporation (13-B MRSA §805)
Articles of Merger (13-B MRSA §904)
Articles of Merger (13-B MRSA §906)
Annual Report (13-B MRSA §1301.2)
Certificate of Organization (13 MRSA Chapter 81 §981-A)
Certificate of Resumption (13-B MRSA §1301.6)