The steps necessary to start a business in Maryland can seem overwhelming, but, with the help of a trusted advisor they need not be. Here, the ENLawyers small business advisors detail the process, and explain Maryland requirements for starting a business.

Depending on where you are in the business development process, you may have researched the feasibility of your venture, chosen and registered a business name, determined the location of your operations, written a comprehensive business plan and even purchased a website domain. These are all valuable steps that help you get your business off the ground. However, it is important to also consider the legal steps required of a new business to achieve long-term success.

Registering Your Business

One of the first steps will be registering your business entity as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company [LLC] or corporation. You will also need to register your business name with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). This can be done online through the SDAT website, or through the Maryland Business Express, found on If you are going to be using a “trade name,” or name that is different than the legal name registered with the state of Maryland, you should also register this trade name, although registration of trade names is not mandatory.

Obtaining Identification Numbers

All business entities need a Federal Business Identification Number in order to file federal taxes. This is done through the IRS, via IRS Form SS-4, “Application for Employer Identification Number” (EIN). In most cases, this can application can be completed online. Once you have received your EIN, you must then apply for a State Identification Number as well, unless you have registered as a sole proprietorship or are only applying for a sales and use tax license and therefore do not have an EIN.

All businesses are automatically filed for property taxes when the business is registered with the SDAT. If a sole proprietorship or partnership intends to own or lease property, they too must file an annual personal property tax return and obtain a State Identification Number.

Licensing Your Business

Many Maryland businesses require a business license to legally run. There are both state and county business licenses, all dependent on the type of business you have. To determine whether your business will require a state or county license, click here, or speak with an experienced business advisor.

ENLawyers Bottom Line

The information provided above are just some of the primary legal steps that businesses need to take before commencing operations in Maryland. Some of the other factors to consider when starting a business include ensuring that your business is compliant with employment law and legal hiring practices, opening a business bank account and obtaining intellectual property protection for your intellectual assets. To ensure your business has a solid legal foundation for success, consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced small business advisor and legal professional. Contact The Law Offices of Eldridge and Nachtman to learn more.