Maryland LLC: How to Form an LLC in Maryland

Maryland LLC

Setting up your new business in Maryland? Excited and nervous? To make sure that your business is safe and protected, you should form an LLC in Maryland. If you form an LLC, you will be safe from any legal disputes in the future.

Don’t know what an LLC is, what are the benefits of an LLC, and how to form one in Maryland? We are here to help you! In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to start a Maryland LLC.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Quick Summary

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Busy working and are short on time? Here’s a quick summary of the things you need to do to get your LLC in Maryland up and running in no time!

Follow these simple steps to create your LLC in Maryland.

  1. Choosing your LLC’s name
  2. Selecting a registered agent
  3. Filing the paperwork
  4. Getting the Business Operating Agreement
  5. Acquiring an EIN
  6. Checking Business Licenses and Permits
  7. Submitting the LLC’s Annual Report

There are a few other requirements as well such as setting up your business bank account, getting a business website, etc. but these basic steps are enough to get your LLC in Maryland up and running.

There are three options available to you. You can set up your LLC on your own, you can hire a professional business attorney, or you can get the help of expert LLC formation services. If you go the DIY-route, you will save a bit of money in lieu of service charges.

However, the paperwork is extensive and the filing process will take up a lot of your precious time. Therefore, we recommend that you simply focus on running your company. The hourly rates of attorneys are pretty steep and you will need to set aside a lot of money to pay the lawyer fees.

The best option that you have, and that’s the one we recommend, is to get the help of expert LLC formation services such as ZenBusiness or IncFile. You will not only get highly affordable rates, but you also get plenty of features such as customized business operating agreements, business email accounts, etc.

  • ZenBusiness is perfect for those business owners that are looking for expert, high-quality services at affordable rates. They have multi-tiered business formation plans that make it easy for you to choose the plan with features you need.
  • IncFile is the only business formation company that offers free services to its customers. As new business owners, we are always on a strict budget and this service from IncFile is like a breath of fresh air! You can form your LLC in Maryland along with few other useful features for free if you choose IncFile!

What is an LLC?

Before we tell you how to form an LLC in Maryland, let us tell you briefly what an LLC is and how will having one benefit your business. An LLC stands for Limited Liability Company and is a type of legal business structure.

An LLC combines the best features of a corporation and sole proprietorship and presents you the best of both worlds. In an LLC, you get the limited liability protection of a corporation without having to form a board of directors, hold annual meetings, etc.

It offers the flexibility of a sole proprietorship and let’s you control and run your business the way you deem fit. We know how much hard work and dedication it takes to make your business a success. 

However, there is always a risk of legal issues such as lawsuits, etc. What if a disgruntled employee sues your company in the future? Will you lose all your hard-earned money? If you have formed an LLC, your personal assets will be safe and secure and only your business assets will be under risk.

This means no matter what happens in your business world, your house, your car, your personal belongings, etc. will not be in harm’s way.

Form a Maryland LLC

Now comes the million-dollar question: How to form an LLC in Maryland? Well, the three main things that you have to do are naming your LLC, choosing a registered agent for your company, and filing the articles of organization.

The filing fee for the articles of organization in the State of Maryland is $100. You can post the paperwork, file it online, or hand it over in-person. The rules for in-person filings have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore, you should give the filing office a call before you go in with your paperwork!

Let’s take a detailed look at all the steps for forming an LLC in Maryland.

Choosing Your LLC’s Name

When you meet someone, what’s the first thing you do? You introduce yourself by telling them your name. The name of your LLC is the first thing a potential investor or prospective clients will see. 

Therefore, you have to select a name that is unique, distinct, and reflects your business’s core values and message. 

  • LLC Name Availability. Maryland states that the name of your LLC should not be similar to other businesses existing in the state. Search the LLC database of the state to check whether the name that you have selected is up for grabs or not.

We live in a digital world. Without an online presence, you will lose quite a few business opportunities. Therefore, in the future, you should form a business website as well. Therefore, when you are checking the LLC name availability, check if the web domain for the name that you have selected is available as well or not.

  • LLC Name Rules & Regulations. There are a few rules and regulations that you have to follow while naming your LLC. Your LLC name should have a designator at the end such as LLC, L.L.C, L.C., or some other variation. 

You should not add a designator that will insinuate that your company is a corporation, non-profit, etc. Moreover, you can’t use vulgar words or terms in the name.

  • Using a Business Trade Name. If you don’t want to use your LLC’s official name that is registered in the Articles of Organization, you can use a trade name or a fictitious name. You will have to register a DBA with the Department of Assessments & Taxation Maryland.

The filing application fee is $25. If you want expedited service, you will have to pay $75.

  • LLC Business Name Reservation. Have you selected the perfect name for your LLC? Checked for the name availability? There is a possibility that you have selected the name for your LLC but are not ready to file the paperwork as yet.

What if some other company grabs the name you selected with so much effort? To ensure that this doesn’t happen, Maryland State allows you to reserve the LLC name. You will have to file an application for corporate name reservation. 

You can’t file this online and will have to send the application via mail. You will have to provide details such as the name of the applicant, the address, and the signature. You will have to include a check worth $25 to reserve the name. 

If you want expedited service, they will charge you $20 additional. Your name will be reserved for 30 days. If you want to extend the reservation period, you can do so by submitting another application later.

Appointing a Registered Agent

The next step is to select a registered agent for your LLC. The state of Maryland needs a trusted point of contact with your LLC. A resident agent is the company or person who will receive legal mail, documents, and notices on the behalf of your LLC. 

  • Resident Agent Requirements. As per the Maryland law, the registered agent should have a physical street address in Maryland. A simple PO Box will not serve the purpose. Moreover, the resident agent needs to be over 18 years of age.

Furthermore, they will need to maintain regular working hours and be available in case the state needs to get in touch with your LLC.

  • Resident Agent Options. When you are selecting the resident agent, you have three options. You can choose a family member or friend to act as your LLC’s resident agent. You have the choice to be your own resident agent as well. Lastly, the third option is to choose a professional registered agent such as Northwest Registered agent to handle your LLC’s needs. 

If you act as your own resident agent, then you will not have to pay additional charges or fees. This will save you some money. However, you will have to be in the office in case the government contacts you. 

Furthermore, your address will no longer be private as it will be the part of public records. Moreover, since you are human, it is very likely that you will forget to go through your mail and miss important deadlines.

Furthermore, if a legal notice gets delivered to your doorstep in front of your clients, that will leave a really bad impression on them, even if you are in the right. If you choose your family members or friends as the resident agent, they will face similar issues. 

Therefore, we suggest that you go for the best option available – choosing a professional registered agent. A professional registered agent is a reliable way of ensuring that whenever the state needs to contact you, you will be informed readily. Northwest Registered Agent is our top choice when it comes to the best registered agent services available. With more than 20 years of experience under their belt, they have everything that your LLC will need!

Filing the Articles of Organization

The main task when it comes to forming your Maryland LLC is filing the Articles of organization. The state of Maryland doesn’t ask for a lot of information while you file your company, which is a good thing since any info that you provide is going to be public. So lesser the info, the better the privacy. 

You have to provide the following information in the paperwork.

  • LLC Name. You will have to provide your LLC Name as well as the purpose of your LLC’s formation. You can keep the purpose fairly simple and state that you are running your LLC for lawful purposes. 

Moreover, you have to provide the details of the office and its address. If you don’t want to make the address public, you have the option of using the address of your registered agent.

  • Resident Agent Details. You have to provide the details of your registered agent. The name and the address of the registered agent goes here. Since this paperwork will be public, we suggest that you use a professional resident agent instead of a family member or friend.

The LLC filing fee for Maryland is $100 if you file the documents through traditional mail. If you file the papers online or in-person, you will have to pay $150. The LLC approval time is approximately 4 to 6 weeks if you file via traditional main.

If you file online, it takes almost 7 business days. For walk-in filings, you will get your LLC approved the same day. We recommend that you choose to file the paperwork online or in-person since the turnaround time is pretty fast and you only have to pay $50 additionally.

Once your LLC is approved, you will get a confirmation letter along with the approved Articles of Organization.

Creating a Business Operating Agreement

In the business operating agreement, you have to list the rights and responsibilities of all the members of the LLC. Moreover, you have to mention the rules and regulations for the day to day running of the LLC.

Even if you have a single-member LLC, we recommend that you create an operating agreement because this protects your limited liability protection and shows that you and your business are separate entities. 

You don’t have to send a copy of your business operating agreement to the State department. You just have to keep a copy of the document and use it when the need arises. 

Getting an EIN for Your LLC

Once you have submitted the paperwork for your LLC, you have to get an EIN. An EIN is the federal tax ID for your LLC. Don’t apply for the EIN until your LLC gets approved. You can simply log on to the IRS website, provide your details, and you will be good to go!

You have to use your EIN to file your taxes, open a business bank account, hire employees, etc. You can mail in the application for EIN as well. It will take almost 4 weeks to get your EIN via traditional mail. 

If you request for an EIN via fax, it takes almost 4 business days to get one. We recommend that you apply for one online because the approval is instant and doesn’t cost you anything! If you are not a US citizen, then you can’t apply for EIN online. 

If you have an EIN for your sole proprietorship, you will have to get one again for your LLC. 

Filing Annual Reports

All domestic and foreign LLCs in Maryland have to file an annual report along with the personal tax return with the Department of Assessments and Taxation Maryland. 

You can file the report online or via mail. The annual filing fee for your LLC is $300. You have to file the report before April 15th every year. Your annual report keeps the state updated about the working of your LLC.

The personal property tax return is basically a tax applicable on any tangible property which is leased, owned, used, by your LLC in Maryland. Personal property includes furniture electronics, tools, artwork, cell phones, etc. 

If you don’t file your report on time, you will have to pay a penalty and late submission fee. You will not get any reminder from the state regarding your annual report’s due date. Since you have to submit an annual report along with the personal property tax return, it gets complicated.

Therefore, we recommend that you get professional help with all your paperwork.

Business Licenses & Permits for Your Maryland LLC

The type of licenses and permits you need for your LLC depend on the type of business you run as well as the location of your LLC. Maryland doesn’t require LLCs to get a general business license. 

Maryland LLC – Final Word

When you start a new business, you have lots of goals, ambitions, and dreams that you want to achieve. This needs plenty of hard work, effort, and dedication. However, no amount of preparation and hard work can stop unforeseen incidents from happening.

What if an employee sues your company? What if a customer files a lawsuit against you? Will you let one issue take the fruits of your hard work and labor away from you? Of course not. By Forming an LLC, you ensure this.

You ensure that no matter what happens in your business world, your personal property remains safe and protected. Your house, your car, and other personal belongings remain safe. Forming an LLC is a technical process and you should leave it to the experts.

Not only will the LLC formation company get your LLC formed, they will also take care of your business’s needs such as business operating agreement, business bank account, etc.  We recommend that you hire professional services like ZenBusiness or IncFile which have affordable rates and plenty of experience under their belts.

  • ZenBusiness is perfect for those business owners that are looking for expert, high-quality services at affordable rates. They have multi-tiered business formation plans that make it easy for you to choose the plan with features you need.
  • IncFile is the only business formation company that offers free services to its customers. As new business owners, we are always on a strict budget and this service from IncFile is like a breath of fresh air! You can form your LLC in Maryland along with a few other useful features for free if you choose IncFile!

Here’s to you having a successful LLC in Maryland!

LLC in Maryland – Frequently Asked Questions

It is not a legal obligation in the state of Maryland to submit a business operating agreement. However, we recommend that you get a business operating agreement for your LLC. In the business operating agreement, you have to list the rights and responsibilities of all the members of the LLC. 

Moreover, you have to mention the rules and regulations for the day to day running of the LLC. A business operating agreement not only keeps the daily operations of your business smooth, but it also tells the government that your business is a lawful entity and follows certain rules.

The LLC approval time is approximately 4 to 6 weeks if you file via traditional main.

If you file online, it takes almost 7 business days. For walk-in filings, you will get your LLC approved the same day. We recommend that you choose to file the paperwork online or in-person since the turnaround time is pretty fast and you only have to pay $50 additionally.

The filing fee for articles of organization is $100 if you file via traditional mail and $150 if you file online or in-person. If you want expedited processing, you will have to pay $50 more. 

You will have to pay $25 if you want to reserve your LLC’s name. For expedited name reservation, you have to pay $20 additionally. Moreover, the annual report costs $300.

Cite/Link to This Article

  • Stewart, Suzy. "Maryland LLC: How to Form an LLC in Maryland". One Brick Court. Accessed on April 10, 2021. https://onebrickcourt.com/maryland-llc/.

  • Stewart, Suzy. "Maryland LLC: How to Form an LLC in Maryland". One Brick Court, https://onebrickcourt.com/maryland-llc/. Accessed 10 April, 2021.

  • Stewart, Suzy. Maryland LLC: How to Form an LLC in Maryland. One Brick Court. Retrieved from https://onebrickcourt.com/maryland-llc/.