Partnerships are not the organizational powerhouses in Maryland they are in some other states. Maryland tends to downplay their importance and impact, and this is reflected in both the fees you will have to pay in forming a partnership and the general process by which you form, as you will soon see. For starters, the only partnership type available is a General Partnership, or GP. To form a GP, you will need to have a unique operating name (assuming you are not going to operate under the surnames of the partners; more below) and likewise you will need to register an account with the Maryland entity portal Business Express for the purpose of completing and filing the correct forms for review. Anyone looking for help forming an account with Business Express should take a minute to look over our tutorial on registering here. When all is said and done the process will cost, between filing fees and expedited fees, $75, a sum which can be paid online by either credit card or electronic check.

In choosing an operating name in Maryland you will unfortunately be bereft of many of the resources most states offer for this purpose, such as a formal name availability inquiry or an official name reservation filing. Your only recourse in attempting to guarantee the availability of a name is by cross-referencing your desired name(s) agains the Maryland Business Entity Search. For the remainder of this tutorial we will be assuming that you A) have successfully created an account with Business Express and B) have decided upon a name that is both legally unique and currently available.

How to Form a GP

Step 1- Forming a GP consists of two main steps which must be completed sequentially. The first is to register your GP for a Maryland tax ID number. The second is two register a trade name, although this step is optional (more below). To being, login to the Business Express portal by entering your credentials into the provided fields, at which point you must select log in to be redirected to the homepage.

md-llc-1 (login)Step 2- To the left of the page, under the Account Home sub-heading, you will see the create a new business filing link. Select this link to continue.

md-llc-2 (new filing)Step 3- At this point you must select General Partnership and then click save & continue to continue.

md-llc-3md-partnership1-1Step 4- You must now divulge the following information as relates to your GP:

  • Business Owner Full Name
  • Business FEIN (Optional)
  • SSN of Business Owner (Optional)
  • Federal Business Code Number (Optional)
  • Trading Name
  • Business’ Active Status
  • Starting Date of Business
  • Previous Business Status

md-partnership1-2 md-partnership1-3You will also have to indicate if you currently own taxable, valuable property. If the answer is yes, you will be asked to approximate its current value.

md-partnership1-4If the answer is no, you must indicate whether or not your GP intends to own such property in the future.

md-partnership1-5 md-partnership1-6Step 5- On this subsequent page you will again be asked to give information relating to your GP. Enter the following information into the provided fields:

  • Principle Business Address
  • Business License Needs
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Description of Business Purpose(s)

md-partnership1-7 md-partnership1-8 md-partnership1-9Step 6- You may add additional owners at this point, should you choose to do so, by selecting add them here and then inputting their name into the pop-up window (displayed below).

md-partnership1-11 md-partnership1-12

Step 7- The Department of Assets and Taxation (DAT) will provide you with a summary of the information you have thus far submitted. Ensure that it is indeed all correct and select proceed to certification.

md-partnership1-13Step 8- You will be asked at this point to certify the information you have entered, that is, to apply a binding digital signature to your filing. To do so, have the owner input his or her name and business phone number and select certify and proceed.

md-partnership1-14 md-partnership1-15Step 9- You have now completed the first section of GP creation. Select business home to return to the homepage.

md-partnership1-16Step 10- At the bottom left of the home page you will find a list of your existing business as applied for and managed by Business Express. Select view/edit business details underneath the entry that has been created for your GP.

md-partnership2-1Step 11- Applying for a trade name is not necessary, but may be desirable or advantageous. Decide if you need to apply by selecting the do I need to register a trade name? link and answering, as best as you can, the three questions they provide. If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions you may indeed need a trade name and thus will need to select apply for trade name. If you answered ‘no’ to all three consider your GP formed!

md-partnership2-2 md-partnership2-3Step 12- To begin the trade name application, input the name you wish to trade under into the provided field and select search names.

md-partnership2-4Step 13- You must at this point add an owner(s) to your GP filing. To do so simply click the add owner link, indicate the type of owner you intend to add, and submit the relevant data into the pop-up window (displayed below). Once completed, select save to continue.

md-partnership2-5 md-partnership2-7md-partnership2-6Step 14- You must now enter a smattering of information regarding your GP including the following:

  • Principle Address
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Description of Business Purpose(s)

md-partnership2-8 md-partnership2-9Step 15- You have the option at this point to add additional locations where the trade name may be used. Should you desire to do this, select add them here and input the address into the pop-up window (displayed below). When complete, select save & continue.

md-partnership2-10 md-partnership2-11Step 16- If you have a personal property account you must indicate at such here by selecting yes and inputting your account number(s). Individuals with no account may simply indicate as such. Either way, when complete, select save & continue to continue. Keep in mind that if your GP intends to own or lease valuable property you must file an annual personal property return with the DAT (more on this towards the bottom of the page).

md-partnership2-13Step 17- Review the information you have submitted thus far before selecting proceed to certification.

md-partnership2-14Step 18- Complete the certification, a kind of digital signature, by having the business owner(s) check their corresponding box. Additionally, you can request a certified copy of your filing, should you desire one. When finished, select certify and proceed.

md-partnership2-15 md-partnership2-16Step 19- You’re done! Select proceed to payment to make the necessary payments to complete the filing.

md-partnership2-17Step 20- Review the invoice and, if all looks agreeable, select make payment.

md-partnership2-18Step 8- Finally, you must make the payment by inputting the information required to pay by either credit card or electronic check. Once complete, the DAT with review your filing.



EIN – If your GP is approved by the DAT you will want to immediately register for an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, from the IRS. This number is the number that makes your operations taxable, and thus the number that will allow any and all financial transactions to take place, from the complex to those as basic as applying for a credit card. Apply for this number online or through the mail by downloading and completing their PDF Form SS-4.

Partnership Agreement – Partnership agreements, though not legally required, are extremely beneficial to the smooth operation of any partnership. Generally, they help to delineate the financial structure of the partnership (who gets what), the organizational structure (meetings, partner responsibilities etc.) For more information on partnership agreements please follow the link to the left. On the partnership agreement page you will also find links to our free templates, available in both MS Word and PDF file formatting.

Renewal – To remain in good standing a general partnership must acquire DAT identification number
(the tutorial above covers this process) and file an annual business personal property return (a feature available within the Business Express portal). For more information on these processes follow the link to the left or, for more detail, click here.

How to (Video)