Starting a Maryland LLC is Easy
You can register a Maryland LLC online by filing the Articles of Organization with the Department of Assessments and Taxation. The cost to set up an LLC in Maryland is $100.
Follow our How to Start an LLC in Maryland guide below to get started.
For more information on how to form an LLC in any state, visit our How to Start an LLC guide.
Step 1: Create A Name For Your Maryland LLC
Before you register your Maryland LLC, you'll need to come up with a name. Your business name needs to be catchy for branding purposes and legitimate for legal purposes.
We go into depth on this topic in our LLC naming guide. We’ll go over the basics below.
Naming Your LLC
First, brainstorm some possibilities. Use our LLC name generator to get the ideas flowing.
Next, make sure your name meets Maryland guidelines:
- it contains the words limited liability company, limited company, LLC or L.L.C.
- it doesn't contain restricted words or phrases (these often include words like bank, attorney, and university) without approval
- it's distinguishable from any other entity or trade name registered in Maryland
- full list of Maryland naming guidelines
Next, do a Maryland LLC name search with the Department of Assessments and Taxation to find out if your name is available in Maryland.
If your business name is available and meets guidelines, you’ll be able to register it when you file your Maryland Articles of Organization with the Department of Assessments and Taxation.
Is the URL available? Before you commit 100% to a name, check to see if there’s a good web domain available.
We recommend buying your domain right away because even if launching a business website isn’t on your radar right now, it will be soon.
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Once you register a domain name for your LLC, consider setting up a business phone system to establish credibility and enhance your customer service. Nextiva provides a plethora of useful features and a quick, easy setup. Try Nextiva.
Using a Maryland Trade Name (DBA)
A Maryland DBA (doing business as), also known as a trade name, is any registered name that a business operates under that isn't its legal business name. A trade name can be used by any type of business, including a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC).
Learn how to get a DBA in our Maryland DBA guide.
Step 2: Appoint a Maryland Resident Agent
When you file your Articles of Organization, you'll need to list a registered agent, known as a resident agent in Maryland.
Your registered agent can be a person or a registered agent service. You can act as your own registered agent, but many business owners choose to use a registered agent service.
Here are a few things to think about before you decide to act as your own registered agent:
- You’ll need to be available during normal (9 am - 5 pm) business hours at the address you provide
- If you run your business from home, you’ll have to make your personal address public
- You could be served with a lawsuit in front of your family or coworkers
Recommended: Northwest offers a free year of registered agent services when you form your Maryland LLC ($29 plus state fees) with them.
Step 3: File the Maryland Articles of Organization
It’s time to officially form your LLC by filing the Articles of Organization with the Maryland Department of Taxation and Assessments.
Recommended: Now is a good time to decide if your LLC will be member-managed vs manager-managed.
You'll need to know the following information to complete each Article:
- Entity Name and Address
- Registered Agent Name and Registered Office Address
- Business Purpose
For more detailed help with completing the form, visit our Maryland Articles of Organization guide.
Mail Your Articles of Organization:
Send the form and payment (payable to the Secretary of State) to:
Department of Assessments and Taxation
301 W. Preston Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
How long does it take to get a Maryland LLC approved? LLC processing can take between 4 to 6 weeks, but this can be expedited for a fee.
Step 4: Create A Maryland LLC Operating Agreement
Creating a Maryland LLC operating agreement is the only way to legally lock down your LLC’s management and ownership structure. Having an operating agreement in place will give you something to return to if a dispute or lawsuit arises.
Even single-member LLCs benefit from having an operating agreement.
Your operating agreement should outline the following:
- Each member’s responsibilities
- How new members will be admitted
- How existing members may transfer or terminate their membership
- How profits and dividends will be distributed
You can add as many provisions as you want, as long as they don't conflict with Maryland law. Take a look at our What is an Operating Agreement guide to learn more.
Download a template or create a custom Free Operating Agreement using our tool.
Step 5: Get an EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a Social Security number (SSN) for your company. The IRS and the state of Maryland will use this number to track your business activity.
Your EIN will come in handy when it’s time to:
- Open a business bank account
- File Federal and State taxes
- Hire employees
The best way to get an EIN for your LLC in Maryland is by using the free online application on the IRS website.
Read our Get an EIN guide for instructions.
Steps After Forming an LLC in Maryland
After forming your Maryland LLC, it's important to:
Open A Business Bank Account
A business bank account helps separate personal expenses and company expenses, which is required to maintain your Maryland LLC's corporate veil. A corporate veil protects your personal assets from creditors in potential lawsuits against your LLC or Business.
Learn more by reading this guide to Banking for Entrepreneurs. For a multi-member LLC, you'll also want to set up capital accounts for members. We also recommend checking out our review of the best business bank accounts.
Get A Business Credit Card
A business credit card will help separate personal and business expenses while building your company's credit history. A strong credit history will be useful for raising capital in the form of venture capital, angel investment, or small business loans.
Set Up Business Accounting
Hiring a business accountant is one of the best ways to ensure you’re taking advantage of LLC tax benefits; possibly saving you and your business thousands of dollars per year.
When forming an LLC in Maryland, it’s a good idea to start a relationship with a business accountant as soon as you start your business to help set your company up for success.
Get Business Insurance
Keep Your Company Compliant
Research Maryland Business Licenses and Permits
To operate an LLC in Maryland, you will need to comply with federal, state, and local government regulations such as health permits, building permits, and signage permits.
Business licensing and permit requirements vary from state to state. To get started, visit our How to Get a Maryland Business License guide. To help facilitate this process, you can also utilize a business license services.
File Your Maryland LLC Annual Report
In Maryland, LLCs are required to submit an annual report to the State Department of Assessments and Taxation no later than April 15 each year. This can be completed online with Maryland Business Express or by submitting Form 1: Annual Report by mail. The filing fee is $300.
Understand Maryland State Tax Requirements
Maryland businesses selling a physical product are generally required to register for a seller’s permit with the Maryland Office of the Comptroller. Visit our Maryland Sales Tax guide to learn more about seller’s permits and Maryland sales tax.
Additionally, if you have employees in Maryland, you will need to register for both unemployment insurance tax and employee withholding tax using the Maryland Combined Registration Online Application provided by the Maryland Comptroller.
Understand Your Maryland LLC’s Federal Tax Requirements
Most Maryland LLCs will need to report their income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year using Form 1065 Partnership Return (multi-member LLCs) or Form 1040 Schedule C (single-member LLCs).
How you pay yourself will affect your federal taxes. Visit our guide to learn more about how to pay yourself from your LLC.
Know Your Maryland LLC’s Federal Tax Election Options
Pass-through taxation entails a business’s profits passing through to the LLC member’s individual tax returns. Like a sole proprietorship, an LLC is taxed as a pass-through entity, also known as a disregarded entity.
Once this process is completed and after any tax-deductible expenses are taken out, the LLC members pay self-employment taxes and income tax on their portion of the business income.
Alternatively, Maryland LLCs can choose to elect to be taxed as an S corporation (S corp) or C corporation (C corp). If S corporation tax status is elected, LLC members can be taxed as employees of the business, potentially reducing tax burden.
More LLC Resources
- Maryland Foreign LLCs: Forming a foreign LLC allows your company to operate as one entity in multiple states. Download the Maryland foreign LLC form to get started.
- Maryland Certificate of Good Standing: A certificate of good standing verifies that your LLC was legally formed. To order, follow our Maryland certificate of good standing guide.
- Dissolving a Maryland LLC: If you are ready to dissolve your LLC, follow the steps in our Maryland LLC Dissolution Guide.
- LLC Legal Forms: TRUiC offers a number of free LLC legal forms including operating agreements, LLC resolutions, and hiring documents.