Maryland Contact Information
State Department of Assessments and Taxation
Corporate Charter Division
After the initial rush to get your idea on the market, you need to answer a pressing question: “What do I call it?”
Every LLC requires a name. It should be catchy and not already in use. You can’t take someone else’s name, no matter how clever or creative it might be.
You may be asking, “But,” how do I find out if a name has been used before? Maryland has many businesses, so there are many names to verify. An easy way to do it is to perform an LLC name search.
There are many reasons to search for an LLC name
Although checking for Maryland LLC name availability is the most popular reason to search for a name, it is not the only reason. These are just a few of the reasons to search for a name.
1) Searching for similar names
Potential customers shouldn’t confuse you with another company, even if it is a competitor. Although your proposed name may be available, other businesses with similar names might be available. This could be a reason to change your name if you don’t want your LLC mixed up with other companies.
2) Verify Your Business Status
After you have filed the Articles of Organization and created your Maryland LLC you can check the status of your business by searching for your name. This will confirm that your business is in good standing with the state and allow you to keep your information current.
3) Resident Agent Information and Office Information
You might have to send a business process. You might also want to partner with them. You’ll need their Maryland resident agency name, and their office address. This information is easily accessed through a name search.
4) Maintaining current business information
You will need to verify the information the Department of Assessment and Taxation has on file when you modify the LLC’s information, such as changing the resident agent or primary address to a member, or resident agent service. This can be done with a name search.
How to Search for a Maryland LLC Name
If you are ready to start your search for a name in Maryland, visit the Maryland Business Express website. The Maryland Business Express website has the Business Entity Search. This quick and simple tool can be used to find name availability for a particular business or specific businesses.
You can check if the name you want is in use by entering it into the search bar. If it returns, that means someone has registered or reserved the name. You will need to create a new one. Congratulations if it doesn’t. You can either reserve the name or use it in your Articles of Organization.
Perhaps you are looking for specific information about a business. You can enter the full name or partial of the business in search bar. If you are presented with a list, click on one to reveal the following:
- Department ID Number
- Name of the business
- Principal Office
- Resident Agent
- Types of businesses
- Business Code
- Date of formation
- Status of Formation
- Stock Status
- Close Status
This information is not necessary if you are just checking name availability. However, it can be extremely helpful if your goal is to contact the members and managers for another company or check up on your own.
What happens if my name is not available?
You went to the Business Entity Search and entered your name. The search returned your name. Now what?
Your only option is to brainstorm ideas for a new LLC if your LLC is domestic (formed here). Don’t choose one that is too similar. Once you have found a suitable name, either form an LLC or keep the name available for future uses.
The process for those who are coming from another state to Maryland is slightly more complicated. You will need an alternate name if the name you have in Maryland isn’t allowed. It is very easy to register an alternate name. All you have to do is fill out the Limited License Company Registration form with the information you’ve provided.
How to make a Maryland LLC name distinguishable
Do not forget to comply with Maryland’s name requirements when registering or reserving any LLC name.
- Include a sign that confirms the status of an LLC such as “limited liability company,” limited company,” “limited company,” or “LLC,”
- Be easily identifiable in state records
How can you distinguish your name if it isn’t available? Although the Department of Assessment and Taxation does not provide any specific instructions, most people will be able to change these things.
- All business type indicators such as LLC, Ltd., Inc., LP (New Company LLC, New Company Ltd., New Company Inc., New Company LP) are considered identical.
- Articles “a”, “an,” and “the”
- Conjunctions such as “and” or “or”
To create a distinctive name, you need to change the name itself. You can use unique spellings, rearrange words and add prefixes and suffixes to make your name stand out. You can still keep the same name as your original.
Your goal will determine what you do next. If your name is available in Maryland and you are checking for availability, you can reserve it or use it in your Articles of Organization.
A business name reservation costs $25 and grants you exclusive rights for 30 days. You don’t have to reserve a name. When you create your LLC, your name can be automatically registered on the Articles of Organization.
1. Trademark Search
When searching for a business name, it’s important to note that availability doesn’t necessarily mean the name is free to use if it’s already a registered trademark.
To avoid potential complications down the line, it’s wise to conduct a thorough trademark search using the Trademark Electronic Search System before finalizing a business name.
2. Choose a Registered Agent
After you have chosen an LLC name that is distinctive and unique, you can now choose your LLC’s Registered Agent.
3. Check if the Domain Name is Available
To check if a domain name is available, you can follow these steps:
- Go to a domain registrar website, such as GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com.
- In the search bar on the homepage, type in the domain name you want to check.
- Click on the search button to see if the domain name is available or not.
- If the domain name is available, you will be prompted to purchase it. If it’s not available, the registrar will suggest some alternative options or you can try a different domain name.
It’s a good idea to check the availability of multiple domain name options as your first choice may already be taken.
Additionally, if you are considering registering a domain name for your business, make sure to also check for any existing trademarks that may conflict with your chosen domain name.
4. Check if Social Media Name is Available
To check if a social media name is available for a new business, you can follow these steps:
- Start by choosing a social media platform where you would like to create an account for your business. Some of the popular options include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok.
- Once you have selected the platform, go to the sign-up page and try to create an account using your desired social media name.
- If the name is already taken, the platform will display an error message indicating that the name is not available. In this case, you may need to consider alternative names for your social media account.
- If the name is available, the platform will allow you to create an account using that name.
- It’s important to note that just because a social media name is available, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s free to use. You should still do your due diligence to ensure that the name is not already a registered trademark or being used by another business in your industry.
5. Register Maryland Business Entity
When you complete the required documents for filing a new business entity, you then register your business and business name with the state. The state of Maryland will either approve your business name or reject it.
If you hire a good LLC service like Northwest Registered Agent, ZenBusiness or Incfile, these LLC services have business name tools available for you to do a quick search. I recommend using any of these 3 services to assist you with forming a new business. They can save you time and provide you with guidance through the formation process.
6. Register an Employer ID Number (EIN) With the IRS
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify businesses and other entities for tax purposes.
Here’s how you can get an EIN:
- Determine if you need an EIN: You’ll need an EIN if you have employees, operate your business as a corporation or partnership, file employment tax returns, have a Keogh plan, or are required to file any of the following tax returns: Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
- Apply for an EIN: You can apply for an EIN online, by fax, by mail, or by phone. The quickest and easiest way is to apply online through the IRS website.
- Provide the necessary information: When applying for an EIN, you’ll need to provide your legal name, trade name (if applicable), business address, and the type of legal structure of your business (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC).
- Wait for your EIN: If you apply online, you can receive your EIN immediately after completing the application. If you apply by fax or mail, it can take up to four weeks to receive your EIN.
Note that there is no fee to apply for an EIN. Once you receive your EIN, be sure to keep it safe and use it on all tax documents and forms.
7. Create a Brand Logo
Creating a business logo involves several steps. Here’s a general overview of the process:
- Define your brand: Before you start creating a logo, you need to define your brand’s personality, values, and mission. This will help you create a logo that accurately represents your brand.
- Determine the design style: Decide on the design style you want for your logo. Do you want it to be modern or classic, minimalistic or intricate, colorful or monochromatic? Consider your brand personality and target audience when making this decision.
- Choose the colors: Pick a color palette that reflects your brand personality and complements your design style. Colors have psychological meanings and can affect how people perceive your brand.
- Brainstorm ideas: Brainstorm several logo design concepts based on your brand personality, values, and mission. You can use online resources for inspiration or hire a professional logo designer to create a custom logo for you.
- Sketch your ideas: Once you have some logo design concepts, sketch them out on paper to visualize how they might look. This can help you narrow down your options and refine your ideas.
- Design the logo: Use a graphic design software program like Adobe Illustrator or Canva to create your logo design. Make sure it is scalable and can be used across different mediums.
- Get feedback: Share your logo design with colleagues, friends, or family to get feedback. This can help you refine your design further.
- Finalize the logo: Once you have incorporated feedback, finalize your logo design. Be sure to use high-quality images and files for your logo.
- Protect your logo: If you want to protect your logo, consider trademarking it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This will prevent others from using a similar logo and protect your brand’s identity.
8. Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan involves a comprehensive process that covers various aspects of your business, including the industry, market research, marketing and sales strategies, financial projections, and more. Here are some steps to guide you in writing a business plan and links to resources that can help you:
- Executive summary: This section provides a summary of your business plan, highlighting key information about your business, target market, products or services, and financial projections. It should be brief but comprehensive.
- Company description: This section describes your company’s mission, vision, values, and legal structure. It also includes information about the management team, business location, and history.
- Market analysis: This section provides a detailed analysis of your industry, target market, competition, and customer demographics. It also includes information about market trends and growth projections.
- Marketing and sales strategies: This section outlines your marketing and sales strategies, including branding, advertising, pricing, and distribution channels.
- Products and services: This section describes your products or services, their features and benefits, and how they will meet the needs of your target market.
- Financial projections: This section provides a detailed financial forecast for your business, including projected revenue, expenses, profits, and cash flow. It also includes a break-even analysis and funding requirements.
Here are some links to resources that can help you in writing a business plan:
- Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA offers a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan, including templates and sample plans.
- SCORE: SCORE provides free business plan templates and guides, as well as mentoring and counseling services.
- Bplans: Bplans offers a wide variety of business plan templates, tools, and resources, including sample plans for different industries.
- LivePlan: LivePlan is a cloud-based software that provides business planning tools and templates, financial forecasting, and collaboration features.
- Canva: Canva offers a range of customizable business plan templates and design tools to help you create a professional-looking plan.
9. Open a Business Bank Account in Maryland
A bank account is generally required for a new Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation to separate personal finances from business finances and to establish a clear record of business transactions.
Having a separate bank account for your LLC will help you keep track of your business’s income and expenses, which will be useful for tax purposes, accounting, and financial management. It will also make it easier to accept payments from customers and pay bills, suppliers, and employees.
To open a bank account for your LLC, you will typically need to provide the following documents:
- Certificate of Formation: This is a legal document that shows that your LLC has been registered with the state.
- Operating Agreement: This document outlines the rules and procedures for running your LLC and is required by some banks.
- EIN (Employer Identification Number) Confirmation Letter: This is a letter from the IRS confirming your LLC’s tax identification number.
- Identification documents: You will need to provide personal identification documents, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID, and proof of address, such as a utility bill.
Note that the specific requirements for opening a bank account for an LLC may vary depending on the bank and state where you are located. It’s best to contact the bank you plan to use to inquire about their specific requirements.
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 journalism 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: email@example.com