How to Get a Small Business License in Maryland

The Oyster State offers pearls of wisdom for new business entities on how to get a small business license in the state of Maryland through a variety of online resources. The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development provides a step-by-step guide to those individuals or businesses considering starting a new commercial venture in the state. In addition, the state website, Maryland Made Easy, is an inter-agency collaboration aimed at streamlining governmental processes, reducing regulatory barriers, and facilitating communication between the public and private sectors. Maryland Made Easy allows entrepreneurs to register a new business entity, obtain key licensing information, and participate in a program that helps to accelerate reviews for development projects within the state. Some of the main licensing issues and resources for business start-ups in the state of Maryland are discussed below.

  • Business Licenses and Tax Registration. New businesses can learn about and identify relevant licensing mandates by answering a few questions about the nature of your industry, business structure, and location at Maryland's Business License Information System (BLIS). If local licensing requirements apply to your venture, you must apply to the relevant Clerk of the Circuit Court which is the issuing office for general business licenses in the state. There are no formal legal requirements to create either sole proprietorships or general partnerships in Maryland. Corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships must file formation documents with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. All businesses in the state must register for tax purposes with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. In addition, businesses operations must comply with any applicable local zoning laws and building codes. Using a Combined Registration Application, Maryland’s Central Business Licensing and Registration Portal offers a single portal for business and trade name registration and business entity formation with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation and the establishment of any applicable tax accounts with the state’s Comptroller of the Treasury.  
  • Specialized Professions. The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing handles specialty professions that are regulated at a state level. This state division works with over 23 licensing boards and commissions to regulate a wide range of professional occupations from engineers and architects to plumbers and barbers. The site permits professionals in regulated occupations to review licensing standards, identify educational qualifications, apply for and renew occupational licenses, and locate pertinent contact information relative to their governing board or commission. The public may search the state’s licensing database to make certain that individuals or companies are properly licensed before transacting business with them or file complaints against regulated professions. 
  • Trade Name Registrations. Individuals or business entities operating under a name other than their legal name must file a trade name registration, sometimes referred to as “doing business as” or DBA registration. Trade names must be registered with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. Businesses can file their trade name applications online. That department checks the requested name against other trade names to see if the trade name is available for use within the state.


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