How to File a DBA in Maryland

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Filing a Maryland DBA (doing business as), also known as a fictitious name, is a simple process that you complete with the Maryland State Department of Assessments & Taxation.

Our How to File a DBA in Maryland guide will help you get started on branding your small business.

Important!

A DBA is used for branding purposes. A DBA isn't a type of business structure and won't protect your personal assets.

Forming an LLC is the best choice for most small businesses. Visit our DBA vs LLC guide to learn what types of businesses need limited liability protection.

How To Use This Guide

Use our free guide below to file for a DBA in Maryland:

Use A Professional Service

A professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your new business.

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How to Set up a DBA in Maryland

Step 1: Start With a Maryland DBA Name Search

if you haven't already, head over to Maryland's Business Express website to make sure your trade name isn't taken by another registered Maryland business. Your name can be similar to other business names, but it’s still a good practice to create a unique name.

TIP: Our business name generator tool is a great resource for entrepreneurs who are still working to create the perfect business name or website address.

In Maryland, your fictitious name should not include:

  • Any business entity suffix, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp., etc unless the business is actually an LLC, corporation, or etc.
  • Any terms given to financial institutions, including: "bank," "banc," "banco," 'banque," "banker,``''trust company," "savings and loan association," "savings bank," "credit union" or other similar words.

Next, a quick search on the U.S. Trademark Electronic Search System will tell you whether someone else has already trademarked your name.

Now would be the perfect time to make sure there’s a web domain available for your DBA as well.

Find a Domain Now

Service provided by GoDaddy.com

After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

Step 2: Register Your Maryland DBA

To register a Maryland DBA, you need to submit an application to the Department of Assessments and Taxation. Thankfully this is a simple and straightforward process. You can file online at Maryland’s Business Express website, or you can complete the trade name application form.

The application will ask for the new DBA name you would like to use for your business, as well as other basic information about your business, such as:

  • Section 3: Legal name of the owner of the trade name
  • Section 4: Unincorporated account number (if owner is a sole proprietorship or partnership)
  • Section 6: Description of business

It's important to know that a DBA doesn't protect your personal assets in the event that your business is sued. For more information on setting up a limited liability company, visit our How to Form an LLC page and select your state.


Submit Your Trade Name Application Form

Online

You can submit your application for your trade name on the Maryland government website. If you want to submit online, click here.

Walk-In or Mail

Charter Division
Department of Assessments and Taxation
301 W. Preston Street, Room 801
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Fees

  • $25 Filing Fee
  • $50 Expending Fee

Manage Your Maryland DBA

DBA Questions

Call the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation: (410) 767-1350.

Renew Your DBA with the State

Your Maryland trade name is valid for five years from the date of acceptance. It can be renewed any time during the six months preceding the expiration date. You can renew online.

Change Your DBA

To make changes to your certificate of assumed name, complete the trade name amendment application. Note that you cannot change the name of your trade name using this form – it is used to change the address, business description, or owners’ names. To change your business’ trade name, you need to cancel your current registration and file for a new one.

Processing time is typically between 4-6 weeks unless expedited. The amendment filing fee is $25, and there is a $50 expediting fee if you want that service. Mail or bring the completed application and payment to:

Charter Division
Department of Assessments and Taxation
301 W. Preston Street, Room 801
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Withdraw Your DBA

To cancel your Maryland trade name, fill out the trade name cancellation application. The filing fee is $25, and there is a $50 expedited service fee. Normally it takes about 8 weeks for the state to process your application and approve your DBA. Or you can opt for expedited processing to have your DBA registered within 7 days. Mail or bring the completed form and payment to:

Charter Division
Department of Assessments and Taxation
301 W. Preston Street, Room 801
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Need Help Filing Your DBA?

Have A Professional Service File Your DBA For You

A professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your new business.

We recommend using MyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee) for a personalized DBA service. You can also read our list of the best DBA filing services.

DBA Maryland FAQ

Can I file a Maryland DBA online?

You can file your DBA online at Maryland's Business Express website.

How do I change my DBA in Maryland?

To make changes to your certificate of assumed name, complete the trade name amendment application. Note that you cannot change the name of your trade name using this form – it is used to change the address, business description, or owners’ names. To change your business’ trade name, you need to cancel your current registration and file for a new one.

Processing time is typically between 4-6 weeks unless expedited. The amendment filing fee is $25, and there is a $50 expediting fee if you want that service. Mail or bring the completed application and payment to:

Charter Division
Department of Assessments and Taxation
301 W. Preston Street, Room 801
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

How can I withdraw my DBA?

To cancel your Maryland trade name, fill out the trade name cancellation application. The filing fee is $25, and there is a $50 expedited service fee. Regular processing time is about 8 weeks, with expedited service processed within 7 days. Mail or bring the completed form and payment to:

Charter Division
Department of Assessments and Taxation
301 W. Preston Street, Room 801
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

How often should I renew my Maryland DBA?

Your Maryland trade name is valid for five years from the date of acceptance. It can be renewed any time during the six months preceding the expiration date. You can renew online.

When is a DBA required in Maryland?

A DBA is required whenever a business is operating under a name other than its legal name. For instance, if you own a sole proprietorship, you will need a DBA to form a business bank account under a specific business name. A DBA will also allow your business to receive check payments to your business name instead of your personal name.

How Do I Transfer my DBA in Maryland?

Most transfers can be completed by filing an amendment to change the owner’s name.

To make changes to your certificate of assumed name, complete the trade name amendment application. Mail the completed form to:

Charter Division
Department of Assessments and Taxation
301 W. Preston Street, Room 801
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Is my Maryland DBA protected from being used in other places?

There are some state-level laws that prevent DBAs that are too similar to existing ones from being used, but your name is not protected in Maryland. It is possible to create a federal trademark for a DBA, which would offer stronger protection across state lines.

How many DBAs can I have?

You can have as many DBAs as you can afford to create and are able to keep track of. However, more isn’t necessarily better. Each one will come with additional incremental expense and paperwork, so you will want to make sure you have a good reason for each one you have.

Can a DBA get an EIN or Tax ID?

DBAs aren’t required to have a separate EIN because DBAs aren’t a business entity. The business entity that the DBA is under would have an EIN if an EIN is required.

To learn more about EINs and when you would need one for your business, read What is An EIN from our friends at TRUiC.

Can a DBA become an LLC?

Your DBA is just a name. A DBA is often confused with a sole proprietorship. If you mean “can my sole proprietorship become an LLC?” then the answer is “Yes. Absolutely.”

To learn how to form an LLC, visit our Form an LLC state guides.

Can a DBA have "Inc." in the name?

A DBA can only have "Inc." in the name if the business entity the DBA is attached to is a corporation.

How do I set up a DBA for a rental property?

If you're seeking detailed legal advice, it's always best to consult a licensed attorney. Usually, the best option is to form an LLC to protect your personal assets in the event of an issue with the rental property. Holding the rental property in your name and with a DBA will not afford you any protection.

Useful Links for Your Maryland DBA