How to Get a Business License in Maryland

It can be very exciting to start a Maryland business. This can be a very important financial decision. You will need to get the appropriate permits and licenses before you open your doors or offer professional services. This guide will help you navigate the process of getting a Maryland license for a new venture or an existing business so that your focus can be on what is important, running your business.

Is a Maryland LLC required to have a business license?

Maryland Business License Requirements

Maryland requires a business license if you plan to do business. However, the requirements will vary depending on your business type. You may find your county or city has its own rules regarding business licenses.

What is a Maryland Business License?

You can legally operate your business within Maryland by obtaining a business license. You could face fines or other penalties if you are caught without a business license. A business license allows consumers to check whether they can trust you before doing business.

What are the requirements for a Maryland business license?

Maryland’s requirements for a business license depending on the type of business you are operating. If you are:

  • You sell goods or services to the general public.
  • You wish to expand your business. You may need permission from the state, your locality, or both to open a new location.
  • If you are opening a business in an area that requires permits, authorizations, or other approvals from the county or city government. To open a restaurant or bar in Baltimore, you will need to obtain an alcohol license from The Liquor License Board.

Types of business licenses

Licenses for business include federal, state, and local licenses. There are also sales taxes and other licenses specific to certain professions.

Federal Permits and Licenses

Your business might need a permit or license from the Federal government to operate legally. You will need to contact the relevant government department to obtain a federal license.

The activities of your company, as well as the permit or license issued by the department, will determine the fees and requirements for obtaining a permit or license. It is best to verify the cost of a business license with the issuing agency.

The following industries and business types require licenses or permits:

  • Agriculture
  • Drinks containing alcohol
  • Transportation and logistics by air, sea, or land transport
  • Explosives, ammunition, and firearms
  • Fish and wildlife, commercial fisheries included.
  • Drilling and mining
  • Nuclear energy
  • Broadcasting on radio and television

These licenses and permits may not be valid for an extended period of time. You will need to renew them at the appropriate time.

Steps to Obtaining Your Maryland Business License

Step 1.

You must first create and name your company before you can apply for a Maryland business license. If you haven’t already, this is the first step. Register with Maryland if you haven’t already.

To form a limited liability corporation (LLC), you will need to file articles of organization with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. You will also need to register an agent in Maryland for the service of process. After you have started a business, you will need to have all your business information in order before you can begin your Maryland business license application. These are the essential details you will need:

  • Name of the business
  • An EIN (Employer Identification Number) or SSN (Single Owner Number) is required if you are a sole proprietor.
  • Type of business entity (LLC, partnership or corporation)
  • An address for your business and a phone number
  • Anticipated revenue, and anticipated expenses
  • Certificate of insurance (COI), for your business insurance policy

Learn how to create an LLC. You can also outsource this task with help from an LLC registration service. Check out these top LLC services to help you choose the right service.

Step 2.

After you have all the information you need, you can apply for Maryland business licenses.

Through Maryland’s OneStop licensing program, you can search for and register to obtain licenses or permits from state agencies. Contact the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing for more information about statewide licenses and the status of your licence.

Step 3.

Depending on the location of your company, you can contact the local Clerk at Circuit Court to assist with local licensing requirements. You can contact your county’s inspections, licenses, or permits office to find out about other local licenses.

Before selling goods, businesses that sell products will need to apply for a trader’s permit from the Clerk of Court. A different license is required if you own a chain of shops or sell from a temporary address.

Step 4.

A sales tax permit is required for any business selling goods. You can either register online or download a sales-use tax permit application from the Comptroller of Maryland.

Step 5.

Finally, even though the federal government doesn’t require or issue general business operating licenses for businesses, it may require you to apply for licenses at specific agencies depending on your industry. Farming, fishing, firearms, and alcohol sales are all common industries that require federal permits.

What is the cost of a Maryland business license?

Maryland business license fees will vary depending upon the type of business, the number of licenses required, and where they are issued.

The wholesale value of your retail goods is used to calculate the cost of a trader’s license. The fees increase with the product’s value. The fees currently range from $15 to $850 (or $2,125 in Baltimore). A $2 issuance fee is charged for each type of license.

Maryland Business License Renewal

Maryland’s trader license is valid for one year. It runs from May 1, through April 30, of the next year. You will need to go to the Clerk of the Court Office of the county in which your company is registered to renew your Maryland Business License. To renew your Maryland business license, you can send an email or fax to the Clerk of the Court Office. To renew your license, you will need to have current business taxes.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Are LLCs required to get Maryland business licenses?

Although Maryland doesn’t require all businesses to have a business license in the state, many types of businesses need to be licensed at the local or county level. An LLC is a type or legal entity. However, depending on the work performed, they will need to get any required business licenses. An LLC is not a license for the business.

What is a business license?

A business license allows you to run a business in a particular jurisdiction. This license gives customers confidence that you are legitimate and legal. It ensures you comply with all laws and pay your taxes. Find out more about a license.

To sell online, do I need a Maryland business license?

Your business can be conducted online, but it still needs to exist in a physical place. You must still obtain the required Maryland business licenses if you are operating your business in Maryland.

author avatar
Brian Wilson Writer and Editor
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar. Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor's degree in business from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications. Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email: Phone: 972-776-4050
  Information provided on this website is for general information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to offer legal advice specific to your business needs. If you need legal advice, you should consult with an attorney. Rankings and reviews are the personal opinions of the authors and/or editors. For questions, while starting a business, we recommend consulting with an attorney or accountant.