Your first consideration when choosing a name for your LLC is that it be unique from any other business in the state of Maryland. You can quickly and easily check your company’s potential name options at the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation business name database. For a $25 fee ($45 if expedited) you can use the Maryland Business Express Entity Name Search to find and reserve a company name. To do so, you’ll need to complete and submit the Trade Name Application form.
In order to comply with Maryland state law, your company’s name must end with some form of the term “Limited Liability Company.” This can appear as the whole phrase written out or one of the following abbreviations: “L.L.C.,” “LLC,” “LC,” or “L.C.”
The state of Maryland requires that any LLC have a resident agent (referred to in many other states as a “registered agent”) for service of process. This means your LLC must have an entity that agrees to physically accept any legal papers on the company’s behalf should it be sued.
The resident agent does not have to be an individual person and can be any resident of the state of Maryland or a business entity authorized to do business in Maryland so long as the agent has a physical street address within the state.
You may want to consider preparing an operating agreement to outline the ownership and operating procedures for your LLC. Though not required by the state, an operating agreement will set the guidelines for running your company. This does not need to be filed with the state, but it can go a long way to ensuring your company’s success.
An IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) is required of your LLC unless it is a single-member LLC with no employees. Obtaining an EIN is as easy as completing the application on the IRS website.
It’s possible your company will need to register with the Comptroller of Maryland. Whether your company needs to follow this step will depend on certain factors, such as having employees and the exact types of taxes your business will be collecting and/or has been collecting from the state.
If your LLC will be selling a physical product, you’ll need to register for a sellers permit through the Maryland Combined Registration Online Application website. This will allow you to collect sales tax on taxable sales. Additionally, if you have employees, you’ll need to register for Unemployment Insurance Tax and Employee Withholding Tax through the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.
If yours is a foreign LLC, also referred to as an out-of-state LLC, wanting to do business in the state of Maryland, you’ll need to follow all the aforementioned steps.
The main difference is that the form required to make your LLC legal to operate is referred to as a Foreign Limited Liability Company Registration.
You can file paperwork online at the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation web page or by mail. The filing fee is $100. Once all the other requirements are met, your foreign LLC will be fully operational.
The location of and specific type of business you are creating can potentially require additional federal, state-authorized, and/or local business licenses. You can obtain federal licenses and perform a Maryland license and permit search to try to procure all the appropriate licensing for your business.
Since business licenses and permits are issued at all levels of government—federal, state, and local—and for many reasons (health, building, signage, etc.), you should do careful research to find out what licenses and permits you need. You can also hire a professional service to do it for you.