How to Start an LLC in Maryland (Step-by-Step) 2024 Guide

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Starting a Maryland LLC, step-by-step

Starting a Maryland LLC costs $150. And it takes 2 weeks to get an LLC in Maryland.

How to start an LLCHere are the 5 steps to forming an LLC in Maryland:

  1. Choose an LLC Name
  2. Select a Registered Agent
  3. File Articles of Organization
  4. Create an Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN

If you want to form your LLC yourself, follow our free guide below.

If you want someone to take care of it for you, we recommend hiring Northwest Registered Agent

Need to save time? Hire a company to form your LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(We recommend Northwest. We've reviewed all the top companies in the industry. And Northwest is our #1 pick for prices, customer support, and address privacy. Check out Northwest vs LegalZoom to learn more.)

How much does it cost to start an LLC in Maryland?

It costs $150 to start an LLC in Maryland.

And then it costs $300 per year.

What are these fees for?

  • The $150 is to file the Articles of Organization – the document that creates an LLC.
  • The $300 per year is for your Annual Report – a mandatory filing that keeps your LLC in good standing.

To learn more about LLC Costs, see LLC Costs in Maryland.

How long does it take to get an LLC in Maryland?

If you file your LLC by mail, it will be approved in 5-8 weeks (plus mail time).

But if you file online, your LLC will be approved in 2 weeks.

Please see How long does it take to get an LLC in Maryland to check for any delays.

Here are the steps to forming an LLC in Maryland

1. Search your LLC Name

LLC namesSearch your Maryland LLC Name to make sure it’s available in the state.

You need to do this because two businesses in the state can’t have the same name.

First, search your business name and compare it to existing businesses in Maryland. You can make sure the LLC Name you want is unique from existing businesses using the Business Entity Search.

Second, familiarize yourself with the Maryland LLC naming guidelines in Maryland (so your Maryland LLC gets approved).

We’ll explain both in more detail here: Maryland LLC Name.

2. Choose a Maryland Registered Agent

The next step is to choose a Maryland Registered Agent.

Registered AgentA Maryland Registered Agent is a person or company who accepts legal mail and state notices on behalf of your Maryland Limited Liability Company.

Note: In Maryland, a Registered Agent is also called a Resident Agent. We may use either term.

Who can be a Maryland Resident Agent for an LLC?

You have 3 options for who can be the Resident Agent:

  • You
  • A friend or family member
  • A Registered Agent Service

Maryland law requires that all LLC Registered Agents have a physical street address in Maryland. PO Boxes aren’t allowed.

And the Registered Agent’s name and address will be listed on public records.

If you don’t have an address in Maryland, or you want more privacy, you can hire a Registered Agent Service for your LLC.

Maryland Resident Agent Services keep physical street addresses in Louisiana to meet state requirements – and our recommendation will also keep your information off public records.

We recommend Northwest Registered Agent

Our favorite feature about Northwest is they’ll let you use their office address throughout your LLC filing. This way, you can keep your address off public records.

They’ll also scan any mail sent to your LLC and upload it to your online account.

Northwest has excellent customer service, and they’re who we trust to be our own Registered Agent.

Special offer: Hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), and you'll get a free year of Registered Agent service.

(Why is Northwest the best? Read our Northwest Registered Agent review)

3. File Maryland LLC Articles of Organization

Articles of OrganizationTo start an LLC, you need to file the Maryland Articles of Organization.

This gets filed with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT).

The Maryland Articles of Organization costs $150 if you file online using Maryland Business Express.

This is a one-time fee to create your LLC.

If you want to file this yourself, see our step-by-step guide: Maryland LLC Articles of Organization.

Or, you can hire a company to do it for you.

Need to save time? Hire a company to form your LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(Learn why Northwest is #1 in Northwest vs LegalZoom)

4. Create a Maryland LLC Operating Agreement

Operating AgreementA Maryland LLC Operating Agreement serves as a “companion” document to the Articles of Organization.

The Articles of Organization creates your LLC, and the Operating Agreement shows who owns the LLC.

Additionally, some banks require an Operating Agreement when you open an LLC bank account.

And having an Operating Agreement will be very helpful if you ever end up in court. Reason being, it helps prove that your LLC is being run properly.

That’s why we recommend that all Maryland LLCs have an Operating Agreement – including Single-Member LLCs.

Furthermore, an Operating Agreement is an “internal document“. Meaning, you don’t need to file it with any government agency (the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation or the IRS). Just keep a copy with your business records.

You can download a free template below.

Then, learn how to fill it out by watching our step-by-step Maryland Operating Agreement video.

Download a free LLC Operating Agreement:
Member-managed: Google DocWordPDF
Manager-managed: Google DocWord

(What's better? See Member-managed vs Manager-managed LLC)

5. Get an EIN for your LLC

The next step is to get a Maryland EIN Number from the IRS for your LLC.

Note: An EIN Number is also called a Federal Tax ID Number or Federal Employer Identification Number.

EIN Number for an LLCAn EIN Number is used to:

  • identify your LLC for tax purposes
  • open a business bank account
  • apply for business licenses and permits
How much does an EIN cost?

Getting an EIN Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is completely free.

How long does it take to get an EIN?

If you apply online, it takes 15 minutes.

If you apply by mail or fax, it can take 1-3 months.

How can I get an EIN?

US Citizens/US Residents: If you have an SSN or ITIN, you can apply for an EIN online. Follow these instructions: Apply for an EIN online.

Non-US Residents: You can’t get an EIN online, but you can still get one by fax or by mail. Follow these instructions: How to get an EIN without an SSN or ITIN.

What do I do after my LLC is approved?

After your Maryland LLC is approved, there are some additional steps.

Open an LLC business bank account

You’ll want to open a business bank account for your LLC.

This makes accounting and record-keeping much easier for your business finances.

Having a separate business bank account also maintains your personal liability protection. This is because it keeps your business entity finances separate from your personal finances.

Get Maryland business licenses and permits

Business LicenseGood news, Maryland doesn’t have a state general business license.

However, depending on where your LLC is located, you may need a local business license or permit.

For example, if you want to start a daycare, you may need a business license from the city or county.

You can learn more on our Maryland Business License page.

File your Maryland LLC Annual Report & Personal Property Tax Return

LLC Annual ReportAll Maryland LLCs must file an Annual Report every year.

The Annual Report keeps your LLC in good standing with the state.

Some LLCs in Maryland must also file a Personal Property Tax Return. A Personal Property Tax is a tax on any tangible personal property that is owned, leased, consigned, or used (even if owned by someone else) by your Maryland LLC.

Some examples of personal property include furniture, equipment, electronics, or tools.

This tax only applies to property located in the State of Maryland.

How much does a Maryland LLC Annual Report & Personal Property Tax cost?

The Annual Report filing fee is $300 per year.

That said, you may owe more money depending on your Personal Property Tax Return.

When is the Annual Report & Personal Property Tax due?

Both the Annual Report and Personal Property Tax Return are due by April 15th, every year.

When is my first Annual Report & Personal Property Tax due?

Your first Annual Report & Personal Property Tax Return are due the year after your LLC was approved.

For example, if your LLC was approved on February 3, 2024, your first Annual Report is due by April 15, 2025.

How do I file my LLC Annual Report & Personal Property Tax Return?

You can file these documents online or by mail.

That said, the Personal Property Tax Return can be complicated.

If your LLC is only required to file the Annual Report, we recommend the online filing because it’s easier to complete. And you can likely do this yourself.

However, if your LLC has to file both the Annual Report and the Personal Property Tax Return, we recommend getting help from an accountant.

If you have questions about the Maryland LLC Annual Report and/or Personal Property Tax Return, you can contact the Maryland Business Personal Property unit.

Follow our step-by-step guide here: Maryland LLC Annual Report.

File and pay taxes

LLCs don’t pay federal taxes. Instead, the LLC Members pay the taxes for the LLC.

Said another way, the owners pay taxes for the LLC as a part of their personal tax return.

How will my LLC be taxed?

By default, a Maryland LLC is taxed by the IRS based on the number of owners your LLC has:

  • A Single-Member LLC is taxed like a Sole Proprietorship.
  • A Multi-Member LLC is taxed like a Partnership.

Alternatively, you can ask the IRS to tax your LLC like a C-Corporation or S-Corporation.

Besides federal taxes, there are also state and local income taxes – and sales tax. Learn more in Maryland LLC Taxes.

How to Start an LLC in Maryland FAQs

Can I start an LLC online in Maryland?

Yes, you can file your LLC online in Maryland. The Articles of Organization filing fee is $150.

When you start your LLC online, it will be approved 2 weeks.

What are the benefits of an LLC?

The first benefit of an LLC is protecting your personal assets. Meaning, if your business is sued, your personal assets – like your home, cars, and bank accounts – are protected.

This protection applies to all LLC owners (called LLC Members). It doesn’t matter if you have a Single-Member LLC or Multi-Member LLC. All of the LLC owners are protected from the business debts and liabilities.

This type of protection wouldn’t apply if you operate as a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership. With these types of informal business structures, the owners aren’t protected in the event of a lawsuit. For that reason, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a much more popular business structure.

Another benefit is LLC pass-through taxation. This means the LLC itself doesn’t pay federal income taxes. Instead, the profits “pass through” to the LLC Members. And the Members pay the taxes on their personal tax return.

And Maryland state income taxes are very similar, since the state honors the federal tax treatment of your LLC.

To learn more, please see How are LLCs taxed.

Is Maryland a good state to start an LLC?

Whether Maryland is a good state to start an LLC depends on where you live – and where you’re doing business.

Meaning, if you live in or do business in Maryland, then you should start your LLC in Maryland. While many websites talk about tax rates and advantages of certain states, none of that applies if it’s not the state where you live and do business.

For example, if you form an LLC in Delaware, but live in and conduct business in Maryland, you’ll also need to register your Delaware LLC in Maryland (and pay extra fees). And you’ll end up paying Maryland taxes anyway. This ends up leading to more costs and more headaches with no advantages.

In summary, if you live in and conduct business in Maryland, then yes, Maryland is a good state to start a business. If you don’t live in and do business in Maryland, then no, Maryland isn’t a good state to start a business.

Real estate exception: If you’re purchasing real estate outside of Maryland, you should form your LLC in the state where the property is located.

For more information, please see Best State to Form an LLC.

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz is the leading expert on LLC education, and has been teaching for 15 years. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

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31 comments on “Maryland LLC”

Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

  1. Hey Matt.
    Thanks for your kind guidance.
    I applied online for Sales & Use tax permit/license on 19 May,2023. But still I did not receive it on my mailing address. Is there any other way to get permit? Can I download it from Comptroller account? Thanks

    • You’re very welcome Muzaffar. We don’t specialize in sales and use tax permits, so I’m not sure. I recommend contacting the Comptroller of Maryland to check on the status.

  2. Why would someone choose an S-corp as opposed to an LLC. I’m a healthcare provider considering 1099 work. What are the differences?

    • Hi Renee, the main reason (once there’s sufficient profit in the LLC) is to save money on self-employment taxes. We explain this more here: LLC taxed as S-Corp.

  3. Can you explain and give an example of a pass through for taxes.

    • Hi Jennifer, pass-through taxation means that just the LLC Member(s) pays the tax. As opposed to double taxation of a Corporation (or LLC taxed as a C-Corporation) where the Corporation pays tax on profits and the Members are taxed again on their share of the profits. With an LLC (not taxed as a C-Corporation; which is the case 99% of the time), the LLC doesn’t pay federal tax. Just the Member(s). This doesn’t mean the LLC doesn’t file a separate tax return (as is the case for Multi-Member LLCs taxed in their default status; they file a 1065 Partnership Return). But that return is an “information return” and no tax is paid. Again, in that scenario, the tax paying responsibility passes through the Members. With a Single-Member LLC taxed in its default status, there is no LLC tax return to file and no tax that the LLC pays. The LLC Member usually reports the income on a Schedule C, D, or E, depending on the type of income. Either way, we recommend working with an accountant to file your taxes.

  4. Hello Matt. We are heading to the Maryland office to apply for our LLC soon. We will convert our rental property to a LLC. Here is a question for you as it pertains to the Articles Of Organization number 3… The address of the LLC in Maryland is:
    (A) The rental property address where the tenants will reside or
    (B) The resident agent (which is us) address which is our home address
    Thanks for the great step-by-step information. Have a great day!

    • Hi Derek, you’re very welcome! For #3 (address of the Limited Liability Company in Maryland), this can be a Resident Agent address, an office address, or a home address. Any place where you conduct business and/or store business records. It doesn’t have to the rental address and it wouldn’t make too much sense to use that address (assuming it would be tricky to get mail), although you could if you wanted to. But you don’t have to. I hope that helps.

  5. I just formed an llc last year in MD. Ty for the info. Now I’m starting to expand to NY. Is it better to form another llc in NY or any state under same name or file as foreign LLC? I’m probably going to expand to couple other states in the future as well.

    • Hi James, you’re very welcome. And congratulations. You can go either way actually. If you want to keep it all under one company, then foreign qualification is the way to go. If you’d rather each new location have its own legal entity, then you can form new LLCs with the same name… however, that can be really confusing from an organizational and administrative stand point. You might want to consider ABC Company NY, LLC for the New York operation, for example. Or making use of DBAs (but that also adds to the paperwork). Hope that helps.

  6. I did get an EIN number before filing for my Llc’s. Will I have to get a new EIN number?

    • Hi Lee, is the LLC name on your EIN Confirmation Letter the same as the LLC that was later approved by the state?

  7. Thank you so much for all this information. My question is, do I have to be a LLC before getting a business license or i get a license first. Thanks

    • Hi Lolah, you’re very welcome. You’ll want to form the LLC first and wait for it to be approved before applying for a business license. This way, the business license is in the name of the LLC and not in your name.

  8. Hi Matt,

    First off, this is a huge help! Thank you for taking the time!

    Second – How do I open a multi person LLC? I am opening a business with a partner and want him on the LLC.

    Third – Happy Hanukkah my friend!

  9. Hi Matt,

    I am about to hire an attorney to form an LLC in Maryland, Then I found your website which is super helpful. So I decide to do it by myself.

    One question I have is: when I file online here businessexpress.maryland.gov/start/register-a-business-in-maryland
    one key piece of information is missing on the on-line generate “Articles of Organization for Limited Liability Company form and instructions”. That is, it does not include this information “The purpose for which the Limited Liability Company is filed is as follows” on the on-line generated PDF file.

    Can you please advise on this?

    Sincerely,
    Mike

    • Hi Mike, that is correct. The purpose clause is not included in the Maryland LLC online filing. What’s happening is the online filing is applying the “general” LLC statement of purpose.

      Meaning, Section 4A-201 of the Maryland Corporations and Associations Section is being applied. It states: “A Limited Liability Company may be organized under this title and may conduct activities in any state related to any lawful business, purpose, investment, or activity, whether or not for profit, except the business of acting as an insurer.”

      Said another way, all is good with your online filing ;) Hope that helps!

      • Hello, I’m trying to figure out if I need a llc or just a doing business as. DBA as a non profit. I have multiple social endeavors. Only 2 of them I plan on generating income. One is through my music and the other is through my services. Both endeavors are in alignment with my business concept. If you need additional information to further clarify please let me know. Thank you so much.

        Best Regards,
        Jonwana

        • Hi, likewise I want to know if starting a non profit or profit from my multiple endeavors is even needed at this time. Can I just file multiple DBA for my business concept?
          Thank you so much Again!

          Best Regards,
          Jonwana

  10. Hi Matt,

    All I want to say is THANK YOU!

    You just took a huge load of stress off me.

    • You’re very welcome Ethan! Glad we could help :)

  11. Wow, thank you so very much for putting all of this information together — your website was invaluable as I applied for my LLC. What a great step-by-step guide!!

  12. Hey Matt,

    I plan on starting my LLC soon. We plan on moving soon; if I start my business in one state how will I be affected when I move? Do I pay the fees in both states? Or should I register in the state I’m moving to?

    Thanks

    • Hi Jessica, there are usually 3 ways to move an LLC:

      1. Dissolve old LLC, form new LLC. This is usually the cleanest, however, you’ll need a new EIN and new bank account opened in the new state.

      2. File a Foreign LLC qualification (allows existing LLC to do business in new state). You can use same EIN and bank account, however, this can be expensive since your maintaining 2 LLC filings (note: it’s still one LLC though). You have the cost of the Foreign LLC Registration/Qualification, Registered Agent fees in both states (if applicable), and Annual Reports in both states (if applicable).

      3. Redomesticate (sometimes called “conversion” or “merger”) old LLC from current jurisdiction (old state) to new jurisdiction (new state). You can keep the EIN and the bank account, but the filing is more complicated.

      If you are moving soon and you’ll make the new state your state of residence, I would consider setting up your LLC there. Hope that helps!

  13. i am happy i came across your YouTube video and this website. thank you so much for making mine easy. i was going to pay legal zoom to get this done. thanks for saving me money.
    i have a question for you. i am not sure how to answer the question ”explain the nature of the business” am trying to open a ready made frozen food, and catering business that will be sold primarily online for now until i can acquired a place to add a restaurant.

    • Hi Stella, you’re very welcome! Glad to hear you were able to save some money :) You could list something as simple as “food business” or “food and catering products and services”. Hope that helps!

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