Maryland Checklist for New Businesses

Maryland Checklist for New Businesses

Starting a business is an exciting and challenging undertaking. To help ensure your business' success, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the basic requirements for starting a business in Maryland.  

NOTE: This page is not intended to be a comprehensive guide and should not be used as the sole reference when starting a business. Regulations and other legal requirements change constantly and there may be some obligations for your specific business activity not listed below. We strongly suggest you consult an attorney, accountant or other business consulta



Select​ & Create Your Business Structure

The first step in establishing a business in the State of Maryland is to determine which form of business structure is most appropriate for your operations. The four most common forms of business structure are the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and limited liability company. Each structure has certain advantages and disadvantages that should be considered. Choosing the appropriate organizational structure for your business is one of the most important decisions made and may require advice from an attorney, accountant or other professional advisor. ​

Once you have chosen a structure for your business, the next step is to complete the necessary registration requirements. ​

Legal Entities (Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, LLP, LP)

For information about registration requirements for legal entities, contact:
State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT)
Corporate Charter Division
301 West Preston Street, 8th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
Telephone: 410-767-1340

Sole Proprietorships, General Partnerships
Sole proprietorships or general partnerships require no legal entry formalities except compliance with State and local licensing and taxation requirements.  For information about registration requirements  contact: 
SDAT Business Personal Property Division
Telephone: 410-767-1170

Register Your Business Name

Naming the business is a critical step. You can select a business name yourself, or you can hire a professional to do the search on availability and file the necessary forms. For information on name availability and forms contact: 
SDAT Corporate Name Availability  
Telephone: 410-767-1330 
 You may register a "trade name" with the Department of Assessments and Taxation. A trade name, is the name by which a business is known to the public to distinguish it from another business or person. 
For information on trade name availability and forms contact: 
SDAT Trade Name Search and Registration 
Telephone: 410-767-1801 

Business Personal Property Tax Information

In Maryland, businesses must pay an annual tax based on the value of their business personal property (furniture, fixtures, tools, machinery, equipment, etc.). The Department of Assessments and Taxation administers the valuation process while the counties and towns collect the tax based on the location of the property.
The Department automatically registers corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships for this tax when these legal entities form. All other businesses (sole proprietorships, general partnerships) that own or lease personal property or need a business license are required to:
1) obtain an identification number by registering with the Department of Assessments and Taxation
2) file an annual business personal property return.

For information regarding business personal property assessments contact:  
SDAT Business Personal Property Division
301 West Preston Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Telephone: 410-767-1170