How to Start a Business in Maryland


You’ve had the idea for months, and you’re ready to start your new small business. While the process will inevitably be challenging, it will also be extremely exciting to see your idea finally come to life. With the right resources and information at your disposal, you can help ensure your new business’ success and growth for years to come.

Business laws and requirements differ from state to state. Luckily, the Comptroller’s Office here in Maryland has a convenient online portal to help new business owners manage tax accounts, obtain business licenses and learn about tax credits, as they relate to Maryland in particular. However, it’s a good idea to know the specific steps for starting a new business in this state:

Type of business.

What type of business will you be starting? You’ll most likely end up identifying your business as one of four structures: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or limited liability company. It is crucial that you choose the correct structure, because each one has its own benefits and drawbacks. You can seek advice from an attorney, an accountant or another professional to help you make this decision.

Registering your business.

Once you choose your business structure, you’ll have to register its name. The Department of Assessments and Taxation offers an online Maryland Business Express portal that provides step-by-step instructions on how to register.

Business permits or licenses.

It’s extremely important that you research whether or not you’ll need a permit or license to run your business – many businesses require them. You may also need individual occupational and professional licenses for yourself and those you hire. Check the statewide or county licensing databases to check your specific requirements. The Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation can also answer questions about your licenses.

Business Tax Information.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will issue you a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). It is necessary that you contact their office to register, because an EIN is required for situations such as business and employee withholding and federal unemployment insurance. The Maryland Business Express portal can assist you with registering for your EIN.

All businesses in Maryland are required to file an annual report by April 15 each year. In addition, the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation will collect an annual tax based on the value of your business’ personal property. If you have not registered as a corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership or limited liability partnership, you will need to register with the MDAT for an identification number and file a personal property tax return each year.

Developing a business plan.

The key to success in any business is a firm plan. There are many resources available to help get you started, including the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Small Business Development Center Network and SCORE. You can also seek the advice of an experienced attorney.

Starting your own business is challenging, but in the end, knowing what resources you have available will help to make your business successful.
For more information, or to determine how to market yours services to those starting their own businesses, please contact Paul Herrmann at 410-703-4993.

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