How To Apply For A Maryland Business License
Maryland is open to business and encouraging entrepreneurship by providing a simple step-by-step guide for new business owners to register their business. The Maryland Department of Business and Economic development has streamlined the process in order to allow businesses to register for all the applicable licenses and permits they need to operate.
In order to begin the process, the following will be needed:
1. A Business Name
In order to register a business, it first needs a name. Every business in the state of Maryland is required to have a unique business name. It is necessary to run a business entity search in order to ensure that the chosen name for the business does not already exist and is not being used by any other type of company.
If the business will be operating under a name other than the name under which it is being legally registered, it will also be necessary to register the Trade Name. This is often referred to as “trading as” or “doing business as” (DBA). Trade Name Registrations can be made via the Maryland Business Express website.
2. The Type Of Business
It is important to understand the different types of businesses and which type will best suit the business that needs to be registered. Will it be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, LLC (Limited Liability Company), or a corporation?
It is also recommended to weigh up the pros and cons of each business type to determine which will be of the greatest benefit to the business entity. Consulting a lawyer or an accountant can help decide the most suitable type of business. Alternatively, the Maryland Department of Taxation and Assessment can provide more information on the different types of businesses, the requirements for each business type, and the benefit or disadvantages of each.
For example, a sole proprietorship or partnership places personal liability on the owners of the company and its assets. An LLC on the other hand reduces personal risk and protects the assets of the business owners from claims against the company.
3. Federal Employer Identification Number
This is also referred to as a Federal Tax Identification Number and an application can be made via the Internal Revenue Service. The process is extremely quick and easy and can be completed online. The application is entirely free of charge and a number will be issued immediately.
Application for a Federal Employer Identification Number can also be via the Maryland Business Express Website at the same time as registering the new business.
4. Types Of Permits And Licenses
Simply registering a business does not cover all the licenses and permits that the business may require in order to operate. Some licenses or permits are required at the state level while others may be required by the county that the business will be operating in. It is important to research which types of licenses and permits the specific business may require.
Fortunately, Maryland provides databases that contain all the licensing requirements at both state and county levels. The Department of Labor can also provide specific information on the different types of licenses and whether they will be necessary for the business. The Maryland Business Express website will also provide a step-by-step process to choose which licenses or permits may be necessary.
However, it is recommended to do some research first to determine whether any additional licenses may be required. For example, an occupational or professional business license may be required in addition to business registration.
5. How To Register A Business In Maryland
Simply visit the official Maryland Business Express (https://egov.maryland.gov/businessexpress) website and click on the icon to register a new business. The website will then provide a step-by-step process to provide the necessary information for business registration.
Be aware that the registration process will fail if a unique name for the business has not been entered. The process may take slightly longer if registration for a Federal Employee Identification Number has not already been made.
Once the registration has been completed, visit the License and Permits Onestop Portal to apply for any additional permits and licenses that the business may require. The Onestop Portal will allow application or registration for all licenses that are required at the state or county level.
6. How Long Will It Take To Register A Business In Maryland?
The process to register a business in the state of Maryland generally takes between 4 and 6 weeks to complete. It is important that all information provided be correct and in full in order for the process to run smoothly. If additional information is required it can delay the process or mean that it will need to be started from scratch.
Maryland does offer the option to expedite the process at an additional cost to register a new business within 10 days. The cost of registration depends on the type of business as well as the additional licenses and permits that may be required.