How to Form an LLC in Maryland

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Starting a Maryland LLC

How to start an LLCA Maryland Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a legal business structure used to protect your personal assets (home, car, bank account) in the event your company is sued.

An LLC can be used to operate a business, or an LLC can be used to hold your assets (such as real estate, vehicles, boats, and aircraft).

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

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

1. Maryland LLC Name

LLC namesBefore forming your Maryland LLC, it is important to choose a Maryland LLC Name that’s available.

Maryland law states that your LLC’s name should not be “misleadingly similar” to the names of other businesses on record with the Department of Assessments and Taxation.

Use the Maryland Business Entity Search to check your LLC name.

Designator: Maryland law requires that your LLC must have a proper designator at the end of its name for proper identification. Acceptable designators are:

  • LLC (most common)
  • L.L.C.
  • Limited Liability Company
  • L.C.
  • LC

2. Maryland Resident Agent

All LLCs in Maryland must list a Maryland Resident Agent in their Articles of Organization. Most states refer to this term as “Registered Agent”, however, Maryland uses the term “Resident Agent”. They both mean the same thing.

Registered AgentMaintaining a Resident Agent in Maryland is a requirement for your LLC. This maintains your compliance and good standing status with the state.

A Resident Agent is the person or company who receives your LLC’s documents, notices and legal mail (called Service of Process). Because of this, the Resident Agent must have an actual street address in Maryland (PO boxes are not allowed by the state).

Who can be your Maryland LLC’s Resident Agent?
The following are qualified to be your LLC’s Resident Agent:

Important: If your Resident Agent is a person, they must be a resident of Maryland.

Commercial Resident Agent in Maryland: If you want to hire a Commercial Registered Agent, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).

Northwest has been in the business for over 20 years and they have great customer support. Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded to your online account.

Special offer: If you hire Northwest to form your LLC ($39 + state fee), they’ll include their Registered Agent service free for the 1st year.

3. Articles of Organization

Articles of OrganizationThe Maryland Articles of Organization is the form that official forms your LLC in teh state.

Maryland LLC filing fee: $100 (by mail) or $150 (for online filing). Payment is made to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.

See LLC Cost in Maryland to learn about all the fees you’ll pay.

Maryland LLC approval times: 5-8 weeks (plus mail time) if you file by mail, or 2 weeks if you file online.

Which filing method to choose: We recommend the online filing since the approval times are faster. If you don’t mind waiting, you can file by mail and save $50.

Note: Filing times may take longer due to the current global situation and government delays. For the most up-to-date LLC processing times, check how long does it take to get an LLC in Maryland.

Mailing and walk-in address:

State Department of Assessments and Taxation
Charter Division
301 W. Preston Street
8th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201-2395

File Maryland LLC by walk-in: You can file in person ($100) and your LLC will be approved same-day (if you drop it off before 4:15pm). We recommend arriving as early as possible.

Note: Maryland isn’t offering walk-in filing right now.

File Maryland LLC by mail: Complete Articles of Organization form and mail it in.

File Maryland LLC online: Maryland Business Express (must create an account)

Maryland LLC approval: You will receive a confirmation letter and a copy of your stamped and approved Articles of Organization.

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

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

4. LLC Operating Agreement

Operating AgreementA Maryland LLC Operating Agreement lists the rights and obligations of the members of the LLC. These include rules on how the LLC should be run, how taxes are to be paid, and how profits/losses are to be shared among the members.

The Operating Agreement also contains the list of members of your LLC and how much their stake is in the business. Even if you have a Single-Member LLC (you’re the only owner), it’s still best practice to have an Operating Agreement.

You don’t need to send the Operating Agreement to the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation, or to any other state agency. Just give a copy to any necessary members and keep a copy with your LLC’s business records.

In case your LLC is sued, having an Operating Agreement shows that your LLC is operating properly. This helps maintain your personal liability protection.

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

5. Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)

EIN Number for an LLCA Maryland EIN Number is also known as an Employer Identification Number, Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), Federal Tax ID Number, and Federal Employer Number.

Do not apply for an EIN from the IRS until your LLC has been approved by the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. Apply for an EIN only after your LLC is approved.

The IRS issues EINs to various businesses as a means of identification (think of it as your LLC’s “social security number”). The EIN is used for filing taxes and opening a business bank account. If you have employees, you’ll also use your EIN when dealing with payroll.

An EIN is $0: EINs are free from the IRS.

How to get an EIN: You can obtain an EIN from the IRS in 1 of 3 ways:

  • by mail (approval takes 4 weeks)
  • by fax (approval takes 4 business days)
  • online application (approval is instant at the end of the application)

If applying by mail, use Form SS-4 and mail the completed form to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999.

If applying by fax, use Form SS-4 and fax it to 855-641-6935.

If applying online, use the EIN online application. It’s the most common and quickest way to get an EIN. You’ll need to list 1 “responsible party” (usually a member of the LLC) and you’ll need their social security number.

No SSN, non-US citizens, and non-US residents: If you don’t have a security number, are not a US citizen or a US resident, you cannot use the online application. You need to mail or fax Form SS-4 to the IRS. Where it asks for your SSN on line 7b, write “Foreign” instead. We have a complete guide on Applying for EIN Without SSN.

LLC owned by another company: If you try to apply online, you’ll get an error message at the end of the application. Instead, you must submit Form SS-4 by fax or by mail.

6. Maryland LLC Annual Report and Personal Property Tax Return

LLC Annual ReportThe Maryland LLC Annual Report requirement has two parts:

  • all Maryland LLCs are required to file an Annual Report every year and
  • some Maryland LLCs are required to ALSO file a Personal Property Tax Return.

An Annual Report keeps your LLC’s contact information up to date with the Maryland Secretary of State.

A Personal Property Tax Return 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 and is located in the State of Maryland.

Some examples of personal property include furniture, equipment, electronics, tools, inventory, computers, cell phones, books, artwork, supplies, and fixtures.

The following are not considered personal property: intellectual property, real estate, or vehicles registered with the Motor Vehicle Administration.

Your LLC’s Annual Report (and Personal Property Tax Return, if applicable) are due each year between January 1st and April 15th.

Your LLC’s first Annual Report (and Personal Property Tax Return, if applicable) are due after the year your LLC was approved.

For example:

  • If your LLC was approved anytime in 2022, your first Annual Report (and Personal Property Tax Return, if applicable) are due between January 1st and April 15th of 2023.
  • If your LLC was approved anytime in 2023, your first Annual Report (and Personal Property Tax Return, if applicable) are due between January 1st and April 15th of 2024.

Maryland LLC Annual Report fee: The minimum LLC Annual Report fee is $300. If your LLC is also required to file a Personal Property Tax Return, the amount will be higher, based on the amount of personal property taxes that need to be paid.

You can file your LLC’s Annual Report and Personal Property Tax Return either online (via “Business Express”), by mail, or by walk-in filing. The state prefers online filings though. Online filings are also easier to submit.

File online: Maryland Business Express
(Create an account with Business Express.)

File by mail: Maryland SDAT Forms
(Scroll down until you see list for “Form 1”.)

Mailing Address:

State of Maryland – SDAT
Personal Property Division
PO Box 17052
Baltimore, MD 21297-1052

Penalty if late or not filed: A Maryland LLC that files its Annual Report (and Personal Property Tax Return, if applicable) after the April 15th deadline will be charged late fees and penalties.

Reminders (mail): Since 2018, Maryland no longer physically mails postcard reminders to your LLC’s address.

Reminders (email): To get email reminders instead, you should sign up for the state’s email reminder service.

Recommendation: Because LLCs in Maryland are administered by the tax agency, the Personal Property Tax Return can be quite complicated. If you just have to file an Annual Report, 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.

7. Business Licenses and/or Permits

Business LicenseThe type of business licenses and/or permits your LLC will need to legally operate in Maryland will depend on its location and the industry it is involved in. To find out more, contact your local agencies in the city, town or county where your LLC is located.

Tip: Save time by hiring an expert. We recommend using IncFile ($99) to handle the business license research for you.

8. Taxes

LLC TaxesFederal taxes: LLCs in Maryland have what’s called “pass through” taxation. This means your Maryland LLC does not pay separate federal taxes; instead, all its profits/losses “flow through” to you and are filed with your personal tax return (Form 1040), usually on a Schedule C.

Maryland State and local taxes: In addition to your Personal Property Tax Return, your LLC may also need to file and pay additional taxes, both at the state level, and the local level (county, city, township, etc.)

Recommendation: We recommend talking to a few accountants in Maryland after your LLC is approved. Check out our how to find an accountant guide, look for a referral, or you can also use Thumbtack.

9. LLC Bank Account

Maintain your liability protection: To keep your business finances apart from your personal finances, you should open a separate bank account for your Maryland LLC. This helps maintain your personal liability protection.

Items needed to open an account: Your approved Articles of Organization, EIN Confirmation Letter from the IRS, and your driver’s license or passport. We also recommend calling the bank ahead of time to find out if additional documents are required.

Benefits: A separate bank account helps maintain your liability protection and it also makes business accounting and taxes a lot easier.

Look for free business checking: Call a few banks in Maryland and take down notes for comparison. Some banks charge monthly maintenance fees for your LLC’s checking accounts, others don’t.

Debit card: The bank will give you a debit card when you open the account.

Credit card: You can also get a business credit card to earn points, miles, and other rewards.

10. Business Phone Number

Instead of using your home telephone number or your cell phone, you can purchase an affordable “virtual business number” specifically for your Maryland LLC. You can set this virtual business phone up to forward to your cell phone, go through voice prompts, or configure it any way you’d like.

We recommend using as they have the cheapest plans and their customer service is excellent.

They offer local phone numbers as well as 1-800 toll-free numbers. You can easily setup call forwarding, pre-recorded prompts, and get voicemail messages forwarded to your email.

Getting a separate business phone number for your Maryland LLC is also a good idea in order to keep your actual number private from those pesky “public record” websites.

Maryland State Agency

Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation
Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 3:30pm
Additional contact info: here and here

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. 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.

32 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. How does one create a holding company LLC in Maryland, and make it hold 2 child LLCs for 2 real estates owned?

    • Hi Amber, you’d create the Holding Company LLC. It’s just a “regular” LLC, so there’s nothing special about the LLC filing. Then you’d assign your ownership of your existing LLCs from yourself to the holding company (this can be done with a form called Assignment of LLC Membership Interest). You’d also amend both LLC Operating Agreements to show that the holding company is now the new owner of each LLC. And when taxes are filed, the “subsidiary” LLCs will be reported as a part of the holding company’s tax return.

  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.

    • 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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
    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?


    • 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,

  9. Hi Matt,

    All I want to say is THANK YOU!

    You just took a huge load of stress off me.

  10. 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!!

  11. 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?


    • 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!

  12. 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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