Forming a domestic LLC in Maryland is a relatively simple procedure, all things considered, due to their recent implementation of a unilateral business user portal entitled Business Express. Within this portal you will be able to complete the filing process within a matter of minutes, but to do so you must have already created an account. For a tutorial on how to create an account with Business Express please see our official guide here. Filing fees, combined with a mandatory expedition fee, sum to $150 in total, a fee which can be payed online by either credit card or by electronic check.
LLCs, like all other entities, must operate under a unique name, and thus it is that we recommend all LLC hopefuls to double-check as to the availability of their desired operating name. There is no formal availability check, nor is there a formal name reservation process, but by utilizing the Maryland Business Entity Search one can be sure, to some extent, of the availability of their name due simply to its absence in the entity database.
How to File
As mentioned above, all filers must have an account with the Business Express portal. For help in creating one please see our tutorial on the registration process.
Step 1- Assuming you have an active account with Business Express, you must first navigate to the homepage and login. Enter your login information and select log in to complete the process.
Step 2- From the central hub for your account you have a variety of options for creating and maintaining entities of different types, as well as performing a dearth of actions related to taxation and asset management. For the purposes of this guide you will be selecting the create a new business filing link to the left of the page which will redirect you to the entity creation portal.Step 3- You will first be asked to select which type of entity you intend to form today. Select LLC in the window at the bottom of the page and then select save & continue to continue on to the next step.
Step 4a- At this juncture you will need to make a decision: whether to file using your own batch of LLC-specific documents or to allow Business Express to generate these forms for you based on information you will enter throughout the filing process. We are going to cover the latter option first, so if you intend to upload your own documents please skip directly to Step 5a. Once you’ve selected I will use the online forms click save & continue to continue.
Step 4b- As mentioned earlier, a unique name is required for LLC filing. As you have already, by this point, ensured the uniqueness of your desired LLC name simply input the name into the provided field, choose the suffix you prefer, and select search names. Since the name is unique you will now be redirected automatically to the next step in the LLC filing process.
Step 4c- It is at this point that you will submit the majority of the information pertaining to the structure and establishment of your new LLC. Input the following data into the provided fields:
- Principle Business Address
- Email Address
- Phone Number
- LLC Purpose
Select continue once you’ve completed these forms.
Step 4d- You must down indicate what type of entity the Resident Agent is (as the information required changes based on this distinction) and submit all required information regarding the Resident Agent. Select save & continue to continue once the information has been entered.
Step 4e- After reviewing the information you have thus far entered and selecting proceed to certification, you will be presented with the following page within which you will need to submit information pertaining to the Authorized Person(s), Resident Agent, and the Filing Party. You will also need to indicate if you wish to receive a certified copy of the Articles of Organization which Business Express will eventually generate for you.
Step 5a- Having opted to submit your own Articles of Organization, you have embarked upon a slightly different version of the LLC filing process and thus will need to follow the steps laid out below to file correctly and completely. Input the LLC name you decided on earlier into the provided field and select search names. If the name truly is unique and available you will be redirected immediately to the next step in the process.
Step 5b- Input the following data regarding the business and the resident agent to complete this section:
- Principle Business Address
- Email Address
- Phone Number
- Resident Agent Type
- Resident Agent Identifying Information (changes by type)
- Resident Agent Address
Step 5c- You must now upload your Articles of Organization, along with any other forms you wish to include, as one combined PDF file to the built-in uploader, as well as add a brief description of the document. Ensure that the document you upload has been completed to the standards of the Maryland Department of Assets and Taxation. Select save & continue to continue. On the following page you will be asked to review the information you have submitted which, upon confirmation, will be considered “complete” by the site and available for payment.
Step 6- Regardless of which method of filing you opted for you will be presented with the screen pictured below at the end of the filing process. You must now pay the filing fee(s) in order to complete your LLC filing. To do so select proceed to payment below.
Step 7- Maryland will now present the invoice you must pay. As mentioned above it will cost a total of $150 to file. To make the payment select make payment.
Step 8- You must now input all of the information required to complete the payment by either credit card or electronic check. Please indicate your method of payment, complete the customer information and payment information sections, and submit your payment. Your LLC filing will now be reviewed by the DAT and you will be notified of its status upon the completion of the review.
EIN – Once your LLC is made official by the Maryland government you will need to acquire an EIN, orEmployer Identification Number, from the federal government in order to become financially maneuverable. Even financial actions as simple as applying for a credit card are impossible without an EIN. To acquire an EIN you can use the Online registration or the PDF Form SS-4 from the IRS.
Operating Agreement– You would be wise to draft an operating agreement in addition to the Articles of Organization which are mandatory for LLC filing in Maryland. This document, unlike the Articles, will help to underscore the financial and organizational aspects of your new LLC in indisputable terms should a disagreement arise down the line. Select the link above to access our operating agreement guide which, along with a more detailed explanation of the role of an operating agreement in the LLC structure, contains templates drafted by our in-house lawyers, in both PDF and .doc formats, for the creation of this document.
Renewal– To remain in good standing your LLC must file an annual renewal each year. Fortunately, this process has been folded into the larger process of tax filing for LLCs so it will in all likelihood not escape your notice. Select the link above to redirect to the Maryland DAT’s information page to read more about the renewal process. For additional information about the renewal process, as well as other processes required for business management in Maryland, you can view the Maryland business checklist here.