Maryland Filing Fees

What are the Business Filing Fees in Maryland?

Starting a business in Maryland means paying a variety of government filing fees. We’ve compiled the most common ones here so that you’ll know what to expect.

FILE YOUR BUSINESS

The first step in forming your business is to decide the structure of the new business. But whether you want to form a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC), you will likely pay fees to operate in the state. This is an important part of keeping your Maryland business state compliant. If this seems overwhelming, we are here to help. Let’s take a look at what kinds of fees you may need to pay as a Maryland business owner, and how our formation and compliance services can help.

Step 1: Pay your Maryland business’s initial filing fees

Before conducting business in Maryland, a statutory entity must file formation documents with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) and pay Maryland formation fees. Sole proprietorships or general partnerships may register without a fee. You may need to file documents, such as:

  • Articles of Incorporation (for corporations)
  • Articles of Organization (for LLCs)
  • Certificate of Limited Partnership
  • Certificate of Limited Liability Partnership

You can file and pay your Maryland business filing fees online through Maryland Business Express. SDAT processes online documents within 7 business days. You can also file by mail or through onsite drop boxes. SDAT processes hard copies within 6-8 weeks. SDAT can expedite filings for a fee, with processing within 7-10 business days for mailed documents or same-day if submitted in-person. We can manage expedited filings for you when you sign up for our expedited filing service.

Step 2: Reserve your Maryland business’s name

Maryland doesn’t require name registration before business formation, but you can reserve your business name until you’re ready to file formation documents. When you file a name reservation, Maryland holds your exclusive use of the name for 30 days for a fee. After 30 days, you can re-file to continue the reservation.

We offer a business name reservation service that will do the work of filing for you.

Step 3: Reserve a “doing business as” name in Maryland 

Your business uses a “doing business as” (DBA) or “trade name” when it goes by a name other than its legal, registered name, such as an abbreviation or shortened name. Trade name are especially important for sole proprietors because you can avoid using your name as your business name. You may also use a trade name if the domain name you want isn’t available. Maryland offers online registration for trade names. Registering your trade name with the state gives you exclusive use of the name for five years, and your registration can be renewed. If you’re not sure if you need to register a trade name, we can help with our DBA search and registration service.

Step 4: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Your business needs an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to pay its federal taxes and report employee wage withholding. Maryland requires an additional SDAT Identification Number and a Central Registration Number from Maryland’s Office of the Comptroller.

The state requires these different, unique identifiers to open a business account and pay taxes. You can obtain an EIN from the IRS or let us get one for you with our Employer ID number service.

Step 5: Draft an operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or partnership agreement for your Maryland business

Maryland doesn’t require you to file operating agreements, corporate bylaws, or partnership agreements with your formation documents. Regardless of whether Maryland requires them, these documents are extremely important for your new business. Operating agreements, corporate bylaws, and partnership agreements are called “governing documents” because they set the rules for how the business will operate and how you will allocate profits and losses. They can resolve ownership disputes before they arise. 

You can write your own for free, but you could miss something important. You can hire a lawyer to draft one for you, but this is expensive. Or, you can use our operating agreement template that you can customize to your business.

Step 6: Apply for your Maryland business’s necessary licenses and permits

Your business will need a business license from Maryland’s State License Bureau. After formation, your business will obtain its state license from the Clerks of the Circuit Court in the jurisdiction where the business is located. In addition to your state license, licensing can happen on the federal and local levels and can vary by industry, location, and other factors.

The State of Maryland has a licensing OneStop portal, which allows you to register for licenses and permits issued by state agencies, such as restaurant and retail licenses. For other licenses, you can use our Business License Report to help you find the licensing you need.

Step 7: Pay registration fees for out-of-state businesses

A “foreign business” is a business that is registered out-of-state. Before doing business in Maryland, a foreign business must register with SDAT and include the formation fee and written proof of existence from your home state, known as a Certificate of Good Standing. 

If you’re registering your Maryland business in another state, Maryland issues a Certificate of Status for a small fee to submit with your foreign registration. We offer a Certificate of Good Standing service that can handle this process for you.

Step 8: Check Maryland’s annual report requirements and fees

Maryland requires all entity types to file an annual report by April 15 each year. All entity types except general partnerships and sole proprietorships will pay an annual fee. Maryland also requires all business entities that own, lease, or use personal property in Maryland to file a personal property tax return. We can remind you of your annual report and help with filing using our annual report service

Step 9: Keep your Maryland business legally compliant

To make changes to your business, you may need to file paperwork with the state of Maryland. Registered entities can make these changes online:

  • Change principal office address
  • Change resident agent
  • Cancel a Maryland LLC

This may involve filing one or more of the following documents:

  • Articles of Amendment
  • Certificate of Correction
  • Articles Supplementary
  • Articles of Merger
  • Articles of Restatement
  • Articles of Dissolution
  • Articles of Revival
  • Articles or Certificate of Reinstatement

To avoid the hassle of filing changes, we offer an amendment filing service that will do the work for you. Or sign up for our Worry-Free Compliance service, and we’ll keep track of your compliance obligations and handle two amendments for you per year. 

We can help your Maryland business stay on track

Keeping up with all the fees your business needs to stay in good standing with the state can be complex and time-consuming. We have the experience to help you stay on top of your Maryland filing fees and avoid costly mistakes and fines. Start your business with us today, and rest easy knowing that the formation experts are on your side.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

FAQs

  • Are there penalties for paying my fees late in Maryland?

    Yes, if your Maryland business doesn’t pay its annual fees on time, your business will owe a late fee and interest for each month the fee is late.

  • What happens if I can’t pay my fees to the Maryland government?

    If you can’t pay your Maryland formation filing fees, the Maryland SDAT won’t accept your formation documents, and your filing will have no legal effect. If you don’t pay your annual fees or taxes, the government can dissolve your business, and you will pay another fee for reinstatement.

  • Who receives the fees for forming my Maryland business?

    The Maryland SDAT collects the fees. SDAT conducts real estate assessments, maintains business records, and conveys tax-related information to state agencies and local jurisdictions.

  • What is usually the biggest fee I will pay when I form my Maryland business?

    The fees you will pay vary depending on the type of entity you form and the industry you want to operate in. Nonetheless, the initial filing fee is usually the biggest fee you will pay to form your Maryland business.

  • What payment methods can I use to pay my LLC or corporation filing fees to the Maryland government?

    Maryland SDAT accepts credit cards, PayPal, or eCheck for online filings, with a processing fee. You can pay by check or credit card if filing by mail.

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