Last Updated: June 7, 2024, 9:22 am by TRUiC Team

How to Start an LLC in Maryland (2024 Guide)

Wondering how to start an LLC in Maryland? We’ve got you covered.

To get started, you'll need to pick a suitable business name, choose a registered agent, and file your Articles of Organization with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation ($100 processing fee). 

You can do this independently, consult with a business attorney for specialized legal guidance, or join the other 65% of our readers and hire a specialized Maryland LLC formation service (recommended).

four point eight out of five

Northwest ($29 + State Fees)

three point nine out of five

LegalZoom ($249 + State Fees)

Cost to Start an LLC in Maryland

How to Form an LLC in Maryland in 6 Steps

In order to form your LLC in Maryland, there are certain steps you’ll need to complete:

  1. Name Your Maryland LLC
  2. Choose a Resident Agent
  3. File the Articles of Organization
  4. Create an LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN
  6. File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report

Step 1: Name Your Maryland LLC

Before you get started, you will need to pick a suitable name for your Maryland LLC. 

This will need to comply with all applicable naming requirements under Maryland law and be both succinct and memorable, as this will make it easily searchable by your potential clients.

1. Important Naming Guidelines for Maryland LLCs:

  • Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (“L.L.C.,” “LLC,” “L.C.,” or “LC”).
  • If you’re planning on starting a benefit limited liability company, your name must include the words “benefit limited liability company,” “Benefit L.L.C.,” “Benefit LLC,” “Benefit L.C.,” or “Benefit LC.”
  • Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • Your LLC’s legal name cannot contain language that states or implies your business has been organized for a purpose other than that stipulated in your Maryland Articles of Organization.
  • Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your LLC.
  • Your name must be distinguishable from all other Maryland business entities, including limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships, and corporations.

We recommend checking out the Maryland General Assembly’s guidelines for a complete list of naming rules in this state.

2. Is the name available in Maryland?

To check whether your desired name has already been taken by another business entity in Maryland, you can perform a Business Entity Search on the Maryland Business Express website.

If you’re not going to start your LLC right away, it might be a good idea to consider reserving your name for up to 30 days ($25 processing fee).

For more information, you can have a look at our Maryland LLC Name Search guide.

3. Is the URL available?

You should check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website right away, this is an extremely important step as it will prevent others from acquiring it, potentially saving you both time and money in the long term.

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Once you have verified your name is available, you may now select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you.

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If you need additional information before getting started, you can have a look at our in-depth comparison of the Best LLC Services in 2024 instead.

FAQ: Naming a Maryland LLC

LLC is short for “limited liability company.” It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while still providing legal protection for your personal assets. Read our What is a Limited Liability Company guide for more information.

Or, watch our two-minute video: What is an LLC?

You must follow the Maryland LLC naming guidelines when choosing a name for your LLC:

  • Include the phrase "limited liability company" or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
  • Do not use words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, State Department, CIA, etc.).
  • Receive the proper licensing when using the words such as lawyer or doctor.

If you are having trouble coming up with a name for your LLC use our LLC Name Generator. That will not only find a unique name for your business but an available URL to match.

Most LLCs do not need a DBA, known as a trade name in Maryland. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name and you can accept checks and other payments under that name as well. However, you may wish to register a DBA if you would like to conduct business under another name.

To learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA guide.

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Maryland

After you find the right name for your LLC, you will need to nominate a Maryland resident agent, known more commonly as a resident agent. This is a necessary step in your Articles of Organization (i.e., the document used to file and register your LLC with the Department of Assessments and Taxation).

What is a resident agent? A resident agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving important tax forms, legal documents, notice of lawsuits, and official government correspondence on behalf of your business. You can think of your registered agent as your business’s primary point of contact with the state.

Who can be a resident agent? Per Maryland law, a resident agent must be a resident of Maryland or a corporation, such as a registered agent service, authorized to transact business in the state of Maryland. You can choose to elect an individual within the company (e.g., yourself, etc.) or use a business attorney.

Get Free Registered Agent Services

Form an LLC with Northwest Registered Agent to get one year of registered agent services free of charge.

FAQ: Nominating a Registered Agent

Yes. You can choose to act as your own registered agent, appoint a member of your LLC, work with a business attorney, or hire a professional registered agent service (recommended). 

Read more about being your own resident agent.

Using a professional registered agent service is an affordable way to manage government filings for your LLC. For most businesses, the advantages of using a professional service significantly outweigh the annual costs.

For more information, read our article on Maryland resident agents.

Step 3: File the Maryland LLC Articles of Organization

To register your Maryland LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the Department of Assessments and Taxation. You can do this online, by mail, or via office drop-off.

Maryland LLC Formation Document

Before filing, make sure you have completed your Articles of Organization correctly. You will need to have filled in the following sections:

  • The name of your LLC
  • The purpose for which your LLC is being filed
  • Your LLC’s Maryland address
  • The name and address of your LLC’s Maryland resident agent
  • The signature of your resident agent
  • The signature of an authorized individual

File the Articles of Organization

OPTION 1: File Online With Maryland Business Express

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: File by Mail or In Person

Download Form

State Filing Cost: $100, payable to the Secretary of State (Nonrefundable)

Filing Address:
Department of Assessments and Taxation
301 W. Preston St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

For help with completing the form, visit our Maryland Articles of Organization guide.

Note: If you're expanding your existing business to the state of Maryland, you'll need to register as a foreign limited liability company (LLC).

FAQ: Filing Maryland LLC Documents

According to the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation, Articles of Organization are typically processed in between four and six weeks.

You can also pay for standard expedited review for an additional $50, which speeds up approval time to seven to 10 days. Same-day review for online filings costs an additional $325, while same-day review for drop-off filings costs an additional $425 and must be turned in between 7:45 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.

An LLC is referred to as a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. A foreign limited liability company must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.

Read our What Is a Foreign LLC article to learn more.

It should cost at least $100 to start an LLC in Maryland, which covers the cost of filing your Articles of Organization with the state. That being said, your total cost may be higher if you opt for extras such as expedited filing or professional resident agent services.

To learn more, read our guide on the cost to form a Maryland LLC.

Step 4: Create a Maryland LLC Operating Agreement

In Maryland, LLCs are not required to have an operating agreement, but it's a good practice to have one.

What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.

Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.

For more information on operating agreements, read our Maryland LLC operating agreement guide.

FAQ: Creating a Maryland LLC Operating Agreement

No. The operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference. However, many other states do legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement in place.

Step 5: Get an EIN for Your Maryland LLC

You can get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for free. It is used to identify a business entity and keep track of a business’s tax reporting. It is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for the company.

Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number is required for the following:

  • To open a business bank account for the company
  • For federal and state tax purposes
  • To hire employees for the company

Where do I get an EIN? An EIN, which is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after forming the company. This can be done online or by mail.

FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: You do not need an SSN to get an EIN. Learn more here.

Get an EIN

Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS

Apply Online

- OR -

Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax

Download Form

Mail to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935

Fee: Free

FAQ: Getting an EIN

A SSN is not required to get an EIN. You can simply fill out IRS Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. Then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Learn more about applying as an international applicant.

All LLCs with employees, or any LLC with more than one member, must have an EIN. This is required by the IRS.

Learn why we recommend always getting an EIN and how to get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.

When you get a Federal Employer Identification Number, you will be informed of the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.

However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by choosing the S corporation (S corp) status. To learn more, read our LLC vs. S Corp guide.

Step 6: File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report

Beginning January 2024, LLC owners must file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Existing LLCs can file their report any time between January 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025, while new LLCs must file their report within 90 days of formation

This contains similar information to that of your Articles of Organization, such as your LLC name and member information, and can be filed online for free. Failure to file an accurate report on time can result in a $500 per day fine.

Note: There are certain filing exemptions, such as for large companies (i.e., more than 20 full-time employees), tax-exempt entities, and publicly traded companies.

Considering Using an LLC Formation Service?

We reviewed and ranked the top LLC formation services. Find out which is best for you.


Maintain Your Maryland LLC

After you’ve successfully formed your LLC, there are a couple of steps you’ll need to periodically take in order to maintain it, including:

  • Submitting an annual report
  • Sorting out your taxes

We’ve broken down how to complete each of these steps in greater detail below.

File the LLC Annual Report

All LLCs formed, qualified, or registered to do business in Maryland must file an annual report with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). This requirement helps maintain accurate business records and ensures compliance with state regulations.

You’ll need to file this annual report, either online or by mail along with the $300 filing fee by April 15. While extensions are available, failing to file can have serious consequences, such as a $100 late fee that increases by $25 for each month you’re late.

Note: After two years of failing to file, your business license could be forfeited, requiring reinstatement proceedings and additional fees.

Sort Out Your Taxes

Regardless of where your LLC is registered, you will be required to pay certain federal taxes. This includes corporation and employer taxes (for LLCs filing as a C corporation), and federal income tax and self-employment taxes (for LLCs taxed as pass-through entities).

In addition, there are a number of different taxes you’ll be required to pay at a local and state level, which can vary depending on the nature of your business.

Below are some of the most common taxes in Maryland:

Income Taxes

Income taxes are the group of charges imposed directly on the earnings of individuals and entities from Maryland-based business activity. In addition to your federal tax obligations, there are two main state income taxes for LLC owners to be aware of: 

  • Personal Income Tax: The members of LLCs with a default tax structure are required to pay Maryland’s personal income tax, which varies between 2.00% and 5.75% depending on the size of their distribution of the company’s total adjusted earnings. Your LLC will also need to file Form 510 to report your LLC’s income to the state, even though it doesn’t pay taxes at the entity level.
  • Corporate Income Tax: Each Maryland corporation, or LLC that has elected to be taxed as one, needs to pay corporate income tax, which is set at a flat rate of 8.25% on its net income allocable to the State of Maryland. In addition to this, your LLC will need to file its tax return using Form 500.

In addition to these statewide income taxes, many of Maryland’s counties also impose their own additional local income taxes, which typically range between 2.25% and 3.20%. You can discover the income tax rate in effect in your local area using the Comptroller of Maryland website.

Note: While you can submit your income tax returns by mail using paper forms, it’s often much quicker and easier to do so using the iFile Maryland Taxes Online portal.

Sales and Use Taxes

Sales tax in Maryland is levied at a base statewide rate of 6% — which is the same across the state given that no county or city sales taxes are levied. This tax is imposed on the sale of goods and services within Maryland that your business will collect from consumers at the point of purchase and remit to the  It is typically a percentage of the price paid by the consumer at the point of purchase. 

The Comptroller of Maryland no longer automatically sends taxpayers a paper booklet for Sales and Use Tax returns. Instead, you can instead file your Sales and Use tax returns through the State’s bFile system.

Note: Before you can begin selling any taxable products in Maryland, your LLC will need to register for a seller's permit through the Comptroller of Maryland website.

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Steps After LLC Formation

After forming your LLC, you will need to get a business bank account and website, obtain business licenses, and get business insurance, among other things. 

Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.

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