How to Search Available LLC Names in Maryland
1. Check Maryland LLC Naming Guidelines
Before you do a name availability search, it makes sense to check if your business name meets the basic state guidelines.
Some key guidelines for Maryland LLC names include:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of the following abbreviations: LLC, L.L.C., LC, or L.C.
- Your name cannot imply that the LLC is organized for a purpose other than the one outlined in its articles of organization.
- Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in Maryland. This includes reserved names.
Keep an eye out for restricted words. These words, such as “FBI” or “Treasury,” are often restricted to keep your LLC from sounding like an official institution.
For more information, check out Maryland’s official state statutes.
2. Complete an LLC Business Name Search
Once you know your LLC name meets Maryland guidelines, it’s time to make sure it’s available by using the Maryland Business Entity Search tool.
It is important that your name be distinguishable from all other business names. In Maryland, a distinguishable name is one that is substantially different from the name of another existing business or a reserved name.
Failure to use a distinguishable name could result in your formation filing being rejected.
What if my LLC name is already taken? If your LLC name is unavailable in Maryland, it’s time to come up with some new ideas.
How to Reserve or Register Your Business Name
Reserve Your Name
You can optionally reserve your LLC name in Maryland for up to 30 days before you officially register it. This prevents other businesses from registering your name until you have the opportunity to register it yourself.
Name reservations can be filed by mail with the Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation. The filing fee is $25.
You can also re-reserve your desired business name for an additional $25 fee.
Register Your Name
If you want to register a legal entity name for your LLC, you can do so at the time of formation filing. Maryland provides a section for your desired LLC name on the Articles of Organization.
Registering a DBA (doing business as) name, called a trade name in Maryland, is a separate process that requires filing with the Maryland State Department of Assessments & Taxation.
Maryland LLC Name Search FAQ
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Maryland?
You can use the Maryland Business Entity Search tool to see if your preferred business name is available.
Should I name my LLC after myself?
While there’s no rule against naming an LLC after yourself, most experts advise against doing this.
One of the benefits of starting an LLC is the ability to choose a different name for your business, which can make it sound more professional.
What words can’t be used in a Maryland LLC name?
Business names generally can’t include words that imply the company is a banking or financial institution or that it’s affiliated with a local, state, or federal government agency.
Additionally, Maryland LLC names cannot imply that the LLC is organized for a purpose other than the one outlined in its articles of organization.
Should I use an LLC name generator?
If you’re having trouble choosing a name for your LLC, an LLC name generator can help you come up with some ideas.
What is a brand name?
A brand name is a name a company gives to a product or line of products. It can be the same as the company’s name or something different.
Do I have to include LLC in my name?
Yes. Maryland requires that its LLCs use “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations (e.g., LLC or L.L.C.) in their legal name.
Do I need to renew my business name in Maryland?
Maryland does not require LLCs to renew their legal name, but trade names must be renewed every five years.
You can renew online, and the filing fee is $25.
Can my business name be different from my LLC name in Maryland?
Some companies choose to operate under a name that’s different from their legal name. This can either be called a “doing business as” (DBA) name or a trade name in Maryland.
In Maryland, trade names are filed with the Department of Assessments & Taxation.
Does my LLC need a DBA name?
Your LLC doesn’t need a DBA name unless it plans to do business under a name other than its legal name. Learn more about Maryland DBAs by reading our guide to filing for a DBA and selecting Maryland from the dropdown menu.