Welcome to the Start a Business page devoted exclusively to entity formation in the state of Maryland. All entity formation in Maryland is carried out with the Department of Assessments and Taxation (DAT) via their online web portal Business Express. Regardless of which type of entity you intend to form it will have to be filed online via Business Express. Luckily, this web service is extremely simple and user-friendly, and registering only takes a minute. A newly formed entity in Maryland can come with a price tag larger than what you may encounter in other states, approaching $220 in some cases, but all fees can be paid via Business Express by either credit card or electronic check.
For more information on entity formation, including access to all requisite forms, tutorial guides to formation, and the like, please scroll down and discover why Start a Business is the leading authority on entity formation in America.
Start an Entity
Search for a Name
In essence, an entity search within any given state will allow the researcher to not only do a cursory search of entity names for the purposes of discerning name availability but also to acquire a wealth information relating to any entity he or she desires. Additionally, in Maryland, the researcher will be able to request a Certificate of Good Standing from the DAT via the business search web tool. If you are looking for more information on searching for an entity within the state of Maryland or would like to access our search guide, please follow this link to our official business search tutorial.
Maryland Online Registration
Maryland is one of the few states utilizing some of the basic internet functionality people have come to expect from institutions who are at least mildly up to date with technology. They require all individuals looking to form entities to register with their universal user portal entitled Business Express. For help with registering with Business Express please feel free to consult our tutorial which deconstructs the process into a simple to follow step-by-step guide.
How to Register in Maryland
Step 1 – The first step in forming an entity, regardless of type or purpose, is choosing the name under which the entity will operate. As in any other state, the name must be unique and available, in other words no other entity must be operating under the same name. Maryland does not offer any official name reservation process, nor do they offer any kind of name availability inquiry, and thus in order to attempt to guarantee the uniqueness and availability of your name you must cross-reference the Business Entity Search. For the purposes of our tutorials we always assume that the name you’ve chosen has been cross-referenced as such and thus that it is viable for the purposes of entity formation.
Step 2 – The second step in entity formation is, as was mentioned above, to register an account with Business Express, the DAT’s online web portal. Registration is easy, especially when done in tandem with our tutorial. Again, we assume throughout our tutorial suite that you, the entity forming hopeful, has already successfully registered an account with Business Express. Once this has been taken care of you must select the entity type you wish to form. Below you have a breakdown of the different entity types available in Maryland; select the type you desire to form to be redirected to that specific tutorial.
- Domestic Stock Corporation
- Domestic Tax Exempt Non-Stock Corporation
- Domestic Close Corporation
- Foreign Corporation
- General Partnership (GP)
Step 3 – Once the necessary filings have been made via Business Express for your entity you will be required, in almost all cases, to settle the fees with the DAT. This process is likewise completed via Business Express through their built-in invoice payment system. Payments in all cases can be made by either credit card or electronic check.
- Stock Corporation – $170
- Tax Exempt Non-Stock Corporation – $220
- Close Corporation – $170
- Foreign Corporation – $150
- Domestic – $150
- Foreign – $150
- General Partnership – Free ($75 to register a trade name)
Unfortunately, Maryland has, within the past eliminated their entity name reservation service, much to the chagrin of incorporator-hopefuls. You can always check to see if a name is available, albeit informally, via the DAT business name search, but that is as close as you can get to a proper name reservation in Maryland.
Certificate of Status
A Certificate of Status is an official document issued by the DAT which displays, along with basic identifying information, the current legal status of a given entity. To acquire a Certificate of Status for an entity you will be expected to fill out a short series of forms and pay a base fee of $40. For more information on acquiring a Certificate of Status please feel free to reference our how-to guide, available here.
All entities are susceptible to the pitfalls that come with a lack of initial, official, organization on the part of the entity. Specifically, depending on your entity type, you may want to draft a Corporate Bylaw, an Operating Agreement, or a Partnership Agreement to delineate, specifically, the financial and logistical structure of your organization, or, in other terms, who gets what, when, and what is each individual / the entity responsible for. These documents can save partners the massive headache of legal disputes and the like by laying down the terms of the partnerships in black-and-white. For a more in depth explanation of each document type, as well as access to MS Word and PDF formatted templates for these documents, please select the link below which corresponds to your specific entity type.
Employer Identification Number
No entity, no matter how well organized and official in the eyes of a given state, will be able to conduct the slightest amount of business without an EIN, or Employer Identification Number. Complex financial transactions, such as mergers, as well as seemingly trivial business maneuvers, such as applying for a credit card, are impossible without this number. Apply for an EIN for free via the IRS website or by downloading the application form SS-4 in PDF. We recommend that all entities apply for an EIN immediately after forming in Maryland.