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How to get a business license in Maryland

Updated time: 17 Aug, 2021, 12:07 (UTC+08:00)

Many industries are required to have permits or licenses by state and local governments, and those in Maryland are no exception. Most businesses, including retailers and wholesalers, require business licenses to operate. For example, a trader's license is required for buying and reselling any product. Moreover, both the owners and the hired professionals may need individual occupational and professional licenses. It is important to check at the state and local level for Maryland business license requirements.

How to get a business license in Maryland

View of the busy downtown Baltimore - Maryland

Apply for Maryland business license

The government in Maryland is working hard to improve the license process by reducing bureaucracy cost, simplifying the paperwork, integrating online license process and enhancing communication between the public and private sectors. Entrepreneurs, especially, are allowed to register a new business entity, obtain key licensing information very easily. This is the main selling point of starting a business in Maryland.

New businesses can easily prepare for Maryland business license requirements by knowing beforehand the nature of the industry they are in as well as their business structure and location. These are the information required in several applications. In addition, before applying for Maryland business licenses, companies must first register with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation for tax filing.

How do I get a business license in Maryland for specialized professions?

The Department of Labor handles the Maryland business license of specialty professions including engineers and architects to plumbers and barbers. If the company owners or any employees fall under these categories, they need their individual licenses. The department handles licensing standards review, educational qualifications, application and renewal of occupational licenses. There are also online application for personal licenses as well.

Individuals or companies doing business under a different name from their legal name must file a trade name registration (also known as "doing business as" or DBA registration). Trade names must be registered with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation before applying for Maryland business licenses.

How do I get a business license in Maryland for specialized professions?

Apply for business license in Maryland

Maryland business license requirements and payments

Applicants must register with the Central Registration Division of the Comptroller’s Office before applying for a Maryland business license online. After registering, apply for the licenses at the Clerk’s Office, License Department as well as Assessments & Taxation, Finance Office and Planning & Zoning. To apply online, the company has to provide an email address on the application so that the Clerk’s Office may contact for the application’s result. However, the renewal application has to be done in person or by mail. The license year runs from May 1st through the following April 30th and expires on April 30th regardless of when during the year it was purchased.

The Maryland business license requirements are as follow:

  • Business entity or sole proprietorship SDAT account number (as issued by the Assessments Office-it begins with a letter)
  • Full Name of Entity or individual name (if sole proprietors)
  • Registered Trade Name (if applicable)
  • Federal Tax ID Number (for entities) or social security number (for sole proprietors)
  • Sales & Use Tax Account Number (obtained from the Comptroller’s Office) - Businesses that do not sell anything do not require to have this number but they still have to register with Central Registration
  • Location address and Mailing address
  • Business Telephone number
  • Worker’s Compensation number (Insurance Binder number) if the company is employing any workers
  • The amount of inventory in dollars (for a trader’s license only)

The Clerk’s Office only accepts cash, checks, money orders or credit cards (Visa or Mastercard) for any payment related to Maryland business license. To use a credit card, the identification documents have to match the name on the credit card. All licenses include a $2.00 issuing fee for each type of license and traders license fee is based on the wholesale value of the retail inventory.

The types of Maryland business license

The application requires the exact use for the business license. Any incomplete information will delay the approval process of Maryland business license application. If the company has more than one business location, it is considered a chain store.

The licenses available are:

  • Traders
  • Construction Firm (Commercial work only – no home improvement)
  • Restaurant
  • Plumber & Gas Fitter
  • Vending Machines
  • Cigarette and Special Retail Cigarette
  • Cigarette Vending Machine
  • Cleaning, Dying, Pressing & Laundry
  • Storage Warehouse
  • Garage
  • Outdoor Music Festival
  • Junk/Scrap Metal Dealer
  • Wholesale Farm Machinery
  • Out-of-state Contractor (Commercial work only – no home improvement)
  • Vape Shop Vendor
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Retailer
  • Micro Market

Overall, getting a Maryland business license is not as difficult as before thanks to the local government’s effort but still requires knowhow and several documents. Using a corporate service company that has licensing service can be of great help for this task.

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