Maryland Business Facts
Maryland is a state that ranks highly in almost every area including economy, education, quality of life, and healthcare. With a strong core of research facilities, federal agencies, a thriving tech and science business base, an educated workforce, and one of the highest median household incomes in the nation, Maryland has much to offer both business owners and employees.
Major Companies in Maryland
The Old Line State is home to a host of large corporations, such as Marriott International, Lockheed Martin, the Social Security Administration, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, HMSHost, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Perdue Farms.
Maryland offers an especially friendly startup environment for women, ranking near the top in the nation for having the most women-owned businesses and for women-owned firms with paid employees. Maryland also ranks fourth in the Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship and the city of Baltimore was recently named by Entrepreneur Magazine as “the hottest startup city” in America.
There are 3 basic options: a DBA, a Corporation, or an LLC. Click here to learn more about business entities.
Choosing a business name is easier said than done – many legal and business problems can arise from picking the wrong name (you can always change it later but the less you do that the better). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Maryland, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Maryland state databases:
TIP: search misspellings, plurals, variations of spelling, sound-alikes, and other versions of your chosen name to be sure it’s not already registered.
NOTE: Familiarize yourself with the Maryland naming guidelines. LLC entity names need to contain the words Limited Liability Company or the abbreviation LLC, and certain words are restricted or prohibited.
Restrictions on Maryland Business Name & Business Purpose
Each state has its own requirements for registering a business. Now that you’ve chosen a business structure and selected your business name, here are the requirements to register your business in Maryland.
How to form an LLC in Maryland
How to Incorporate in Maryland
NOTE: When registering a new company the Secretary of State can take several weeks to file the paperwork. You can expedite the process by hand delivering the documents directly to them or one of their field offices and paying an additional fee.
TIP: Check our order form to see how long Maryland is currently taking to process regular and expedited orders.
How to File a DBA in Maryland
Considerations when registering a Maryland business
Ready to register a business in Maryland?
Sure, you could do all the steps above or you could spend 5-10 minutes on our order form and let us take care of it while you work on more important things.
Your EIN is like your Social Security Number for your company. It’s required for Corporations and LLCs and optional for DBA’s (if you don’t have any employees, then it’s required). However, if you are a DBA and don’t obtain an EIN you will be forced to use your Social Security Number on many documents so it’s typically recommended you obtain the EIN to prevent identity theft.
TIP: We will obtain your EIN for you if we form your company.
To keep business and personal expenses separate, you should open a separate account for your business. In addition, getting business credit cards is how you begin to build a company credit profile (corporation or LLC required) and can later qualify for larger loans and lines of credit. To open the account simply call your chosen bank and inquire on the steps to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork b) your EIN c) a company resolution authorizing your company to open the account (signed by the owners, members, officers or directors, etc.).
Click here to view a list of our recommended banks in our Vendor Network.
TIP: Our business formation service includes a free banking resolution for your use.
Setup your Accounting and Record-keeping system and learn about the taxes your new company is responsible for paying.
Company documents generally are required to be kept for 3 years, including a list of all owners and addresses, copies of all formation documents, financial statements, annual reports, amendments, or changes to the company. All Tax and Corporate Filings should be kept for at least 3 years. View our “Accounting & Financial Management” section for help with setting up an accounting system and purchasing accounting software.
Now that you’ve registered your business name you may need to obtain a business license for your company – this authorizes your company to do business in your city or county depending on what kind of service you provide. Typically this also involves registering for state taxes and permits (the city may require them as part of the business licensing process).
TIP: We work with a company that can obtain and prepare business licenses and permits for you. Click here to learn more.
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a full or part-time employee of your company, then you may have to register with the appropriate State Agencies or obtain Workers Compensation Insurance or Unemployment Insurance (or both). View our “Employees & Payroll” section for help with hiring employees and processing payroll.
Review our list of recommended Payroll Providers in our Vendor Network.
There are many types of insurance for businesses but they are usually packaged as “General Business Insurance” or a “Business Owner’s Policy”. This can cover everything from product liability to company vehicles. A decent policy can run as little as $300/year and offers a great extra level of protection.
Click here to view our list of insurance providers in our Vendor Network.
Prepare the business as if someone needed to take it over and run it for you. Your business will need some kind of method to process orders, pay bills, pay employees, pay taxes, maintain your permits, etc. Basically, try to make the operational aspect of the business as automated and efficient as possible so you can concentrate on growing your business. View our “Manage Your Company” section for help with systemizing and automating your business.
Now that you’ve set up the company for success, you need to get the word out. Create a marketing plan for your products and services that targets your ideal customer. View our “Marketing & Sales” section for help for more information.
DBA: Your Fictitious Business Name should be valid for 5 years (unless you change your company name or other information listed on the FBN) at which point you’ll need to renew it with the Department of Assessments & Taxation.
LLC: Maryland LLCs are required to file an annual report every year by April 15. Maryland LLCs must also file a Personal Property Tax Return with their annual report if the business owns, leases or uses personal property located in Maryland.
Corporation: Maryland corporations are required to file an annual report by April 15 of every year. Maryland corporations are also required to file a Personal Property Tax Return with their annual report if the business owns, leases, or uses personal property located in Maryland.
Click here to view our MyCompanyWorks Premium™ service which can automate most of your ongoing compliance tasks.
Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation
301 W. Preston St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
Maryland Taxation Departments
Maryland Labor and Employment Departments
Maryland Startup Resources
Small Business Administration (SBA) Maryland District Office
Maryland Legal Statutes
Maryland Chamber of Commerce – The Maryland Chamber of Commerce connects business leaders and policymakers across the state.
Maryland Business Express – Maryland Business Express provides you with all the resources you need to start a business in Maryland.
Maryland Angel Investors
Maryland Business News
Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) – The Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers FREE individualized consulting, from startups to established businesses.
Maryland Green Business Resources
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