How to Start a Business in Maryland

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Starting a business demands paying careful attention to details. If you're opening your own business in Maryland, you will have to complete the legalities, such as registering your business name and applying for an Employment Identification Number (EIN), before you can officially open its doors. The good news is, while meeting all the legal requirements can be time-consuming, it is a fairly straightforward process.

Decide on a business name then determine if the name is available for use in Maryland by calling 410-767-1340, or by sending an inquiry to 301 West Preston Street; Baltimore, MD 21201. If the name is available, then fill out the trade name form and mail it, with the $25 fee, to the aforementioned address.

Choose a business structure: sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Be sure to consult with your tax professional or your attorney if you're not sure which structure is the most beneficial for your business needs.

Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service. You can apply for an EIN number online, or call 800-829-4933 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., or fax Form SS-4 to 859-669-5760, or mail Form SS-4 to Internal Revenue Service; Attn: EIN Operation; Cincinnati, OH 45999.

Apply for a business tax account by calling the Maryland Central Business Unit at 410-767-1313, or by completing the application online. You can also fill out a Combined Registration Application then mail the completed form to Comptroller of Maryland; Revenue Administration Center; Annapolis, MD 21411-0001.

Determine if you are required by Maryland law to apply for a business license by going to the Circuit Courts Directory at http://mdcourts.gov/circuit/directory.html. Locate your county; click on the county name, and you will be given the phone number to call to inquire as to whether your business needs a business license.

Research the zoning law in your county to determine if you will need to file for any zoning permits before you officially launch your business. You can find a list of local Department of Planning offices in your county by going to http://www.mdp.state.md.us/.

Start marketing your business once you have fulfilled all the legal requirements. Consider sending a press release to announce the launch of your new business to Maryland business magazines, such as Baltimore Magazine, Minorities & Women in Business Magazine, Smart Company Magazine and Shepreneur Magazine.

Tips & Warnings

  • Those entrepreneurs who start a sole proprietorship do not have to apply for an EIN. If you plan to start a business in the future, you can reserve the name by calling 410-767-1340.

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