How to Register a DBA in Maryland

Maryland DBA (doing business as) is called a trade name. Maryland trade name registration allows a business to operate under a name that’s different from its legal name.

DBA registration won’t protect your personal assets like forming an LLC or corporation will. Learn why in our DBA vs LLC guide.

Or, use a professional DBA service:

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Register a DBA in Maryland

Registering a Maryland trade name, also known as a DBA, is easy!

Learn How to Register a Trade Name in Maryland yourself in two steps:

  1. Start with a Maryland Trade Name Search
  2. Register Your Maryland DBA

Note: A DBA is only used for branding. We recommend forming an LLC to separate your business and personal assets.

Step 1. Start with a Maryland Trade Name Search

Maryland trade names must be unique and must also meet Maryland’s business name requirements.

First, visit the Maryland Business Express website and search for your new DBA name to make sure it isn’t already in use.

Next, review the Maryland naming requirements. In Maryland, trade names should NOT include:

  • Any business entity suffix, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp., etc unless the business is actually an LLC, corporation, or etc.
  • Any terms given to financial institutions, including: "bank," "banc," "banco," 'banque," "banker, ''trust company," "savings and loan association," "savings bank," "credit union" or other similar words.
  • Words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).

Need Help Choosing a DBA Name?

If you need help coming up with a DBA name, try our business name generator. You can use this tool to generate both business names and domain names.

We recommend checking if your name is available as a web domain (URL). You might not plan on starting a business website today, but you may want to prevent others from acquiring your URL.

Find a Domain Now

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Need Help Creating a Brand Name and Logo?

If you need help coming up with a DBA name, try our business name generator. Then, create a unique logo for your brand with our free logo generator.

Step 2. Register Your Maryland DBA

Your Maryland trade name can be filed online or by mail with the Maryland State Department of Assessments & Taxation. You can file online with the Maryland Business Express website or you can complete the Trade Name Application form.

Some important sections of the form include:

  • Section 3: Legal name of the owner of the trade name
  • Section 4: Unincorporated account number (if the owner is a sole proprietorship or partnership)
  • Section 6: Description of business

A DBA does not offer any legal protection for your personal assets in the event that your business is sued. For more information on setting up a limited liability company, visit our How to Form an LLC page and select your state.

File a Maryland Trade Name

Option 1: File Online with the Maryland Business Express Website

File Online

- OR -

Option 2: File the Trade Name Application by Mail or In-Person

Download Form


Cost:
$25 Filing Fee
$50 Expedited Fee

Filing Address:
Charter Division
Department of Assessments and Taxation
301 W. Preston Street, Room 801
Baltimore, MD 21201

Manage Your Maryland Trade Name

General Questions
Call the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation: (410) 767-1350.

Renew Your Trade Name With the State
Your Maryland trade name is valid for five years from the date of acceptance. It can be renewed any time during the six months preceding the expiration date. You can renew online.

Change Your Trade Name
To change your business’s trade name, you need to cancel your current registration and file for a new one using the Trade Name Application form.

If you want to change the owner’s name, address, or the address where the trade name is being used, you can fill out the Trade Name Amendment Application.

Processing time is typically between 4-6 weeks unless expedited. The amendment filing fee is $25, and there is a $50 expediting fee if you want that service. Mail or bring the completed application and payment to:

State Department of Assessments and Taxation
Charter Division
301 W. Preston, Room 801
Baltimore, MD 21201-2305


Withdraw Your Trade Name
To withdraw or cancel your business’s trade name, you must complete the Trade Name Cancellation Application form. The fee is $25 made payable to the Department of Assessments and Taxation. This form can be mailed or delivered in-person to the address found below:

State Department of Assessments and Taxation
Charter Division
301 W. Preston, Room 801
Baltimore, MD 21201-2305

After Filing Your Maryland DBA

If filing a DBA marks the beginning of your business journey, then there are a few more steps that you should take before getting started:

  • Create your Business’s Website - Every business needs a website. Luckily, drag-and-drop builders like GoDaddy and Wix make the job quick and easy. Check out our Best Website Builder article to find the tool that’s best for you.
  • Get your Business Finances in Order - You’ll need to separate your business finances from your personal ones. This is accomplished by opening a business bank account. If your business has long lead times or other cash flow irregularities, you can also look into a business credit card.
  • Protect Your Business - While an LLC will help to protect your personal assets in the case of a lawsuit, your business’s assets also need protection. Having the right business insurance will ensure that you’re covered if the worst happens. Most businesses start with general liability insurance as their base coverage.

Need Help Filing Your Maryland DBA?

Have a Professional Service File Your Maryland DBA For You

A professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your business.

Recommended: MyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee)

DBA Maryland FAQ

How many DBAs can I have?

You can have as many DBAs as you can afford to create and are able to keep track of. Each one comes with additional incremental expenses and paperwork, meaning more is not necessarily better.

Can a DBA get an EIN or Tax ID?

DBAs aren’t required to have a separate EIN because DBAs aren’t a business entity. The business entity that the DBA is under would have an EIN if an EIN is required.

To learn more about EINs and when you need one for your business, read our What is an EIN guide.

Can a DBA become an LLC?

No. An LLC is a business entity, while a DBA is just a name for a business.

Sole proprietorships are often confused with DBAs, but they are not the same: a sole proprietorship is a business entity, therefore it can choose to become an LLC.

To learn how to form an LLC, visit our Form an LLC state guides.

Can a DBA have Inc. in the name?

A DBA can only have Inc. in the name if the business entity the DBA is attached to is a corporation.

How do I set up a DBA for a rental property?

Holding a rental property in your name and with a DBA will not afford you any protection. The best option is to form an LLC to protect your personal assets in the event of an issue with the rental property. In any case, it is always best to consult an attorney.

When would it be good to get a DBA versus a legal name change?

Getting a DBA is often a better choice than changing your business’s legal name. If you want to rebrand your company or focus on another line of business, filing for a DBA is a simpler process than filing for a legal name change.

Is my DBA protected from being used in other places?

Some state-level laws prevent DBAs that are too similar to existing ones from being used, but this varies from state to state. It is possible to trademark a DBA, which would offer stronger protection across state lines.

Useful Links For Your Maryland DBA