Maryland LLC Registration
A Maryland LLC is a business entity type that allows for pass through taxation like a sole proprietorship or partnership, but with the limited liability protection of a corporation. Start your Maryland LLC formation quickly and easily with help from real Maryland resident agents ready to make sure your Maryland LLC is formed and maintained by experienced specialists.
How Our Maryland LLC Formation Package Works
When you hire us to start your new Maryland LLC, we make it easy. Because we’re local resident agents, we provide next level service at a reasonable price point for Maryland businesses.
- You sign up
- We file your papers (Articles of Organization)
- The Secretary of State processes the paperwork
- LLC documents are uploaded into your secure online account
- We serve as your resident agent
- We provide annual reminders for your annual reports and resident agent service
We get the right forms to the right place and make sure we’re listed correctly as the resident agent. When we receive documents on behalf of your Maryland LLC, we upload them to your secure account and notify you right away.
Why Hire a Local Resident Agent to Form Your Maryland LLC
After your LLC formation is complete, we also create and upload a courtesy operating agreement template tailored to your company right to your account. You’ll have all your LLC’s primary documents stored securely in one place where you can view, print, or download them at any time.
On top of standard resident agent services, your Maryland LLC gets more with us. We allow our clients to utilize our Maryland office address for any address field on the state paperwork. The vast majority of our clients are small, local businesses, and many don’t have brick and mortar buildings. Using our address where we can safely and securely process documents means our clients never have to list their home address on public record.
How to Form a Maryland LLC
If you prefer to handle forming your Maryland LLC yourself, no problem! We can still serve as your resident agent, offer great business support, and provide you with our physical Maryland address for your added privacy.
Here are the basic steps to start an LLC in Maryland:
- Name the LLC
- Decide on a resident agent
- File Articles of Organization
- Draft an operating agreement
- Apply for an EIN
- File Beneficial Ownership Information Report (BOI)
Name Your Maryland LLC
Your Maryland LLC needs a name to tie back to all your work and reputation. Select a name that makes sense and is recognizable. It sounds simple enough, but sometimes deciding how you want your company known is the hardest part. On top of the personal and branding considerations, Maryland has a few rules to keep in mind.
- All Maryland LLCs must have “Limited Liability Company” or an accepted abbreviation at the end of the company’s name. While the state makes you add it, you get to decide whether you want the full wording, an abbreviation like “LLC, or L.L.C.”, and how you’d like the punctuation.
- Each Maryland Business must have a unique name. The state has the final say on what’s too close to another business, but you can search your preferred name or keywords on the Business Entity Search to see if they are currently in use.
- Maryland LLC names may not contain certain words. Profanity is the obvious no-no, but there are plenty of professional words that may not be approved as well. Words associated with highly regulated fields are typically not accepted for general business. For example, a trendy boutique is not likely to be approved as “The University of Fashion” as “university” is flagged for an education institute and all the additional paperwork that entails.
Appoint a Maryland Resident Agent
A resident agent must be appointed for your Maryland LLC on the initial formation paperwork. A resident agent is a legally appointed individual or entity with a physical address in the state and is sometimes called a registered agent since that’s the term used in most states. The main legal responsibility for a resident agent is to be present in the state and available to accept service of process.
An individual can be their company’s resident agent, but that generally means their home address is going on public record for the company if there is no brick and mortar location. If there is a brick and mortar location, you risk being served in front of customers. Either way, hiring a pro is a great choice. Since our service is only $49/year, it’s a solid investment in your company’s privacy, professionalism, and to retain support for your LLC.
Since a resident agent must be listed to form your Maryland LLC, you need to determine who your resident agent will be in advance. Decide on or hire your agent first so you can list them and the physical address properly on the formation paperwork (Articles of Organization).
Prepare and Submit the Maryland LLC Articles of Organization
A Maryland LLC’s formation paperwork is called the “Articles of Organization.” Compared to most states, the form here in Maryland is short and easy to complete. It can be filed by paper or online. We always file online because it’s the same price, but faster and easier as long as you have an account with Maryland Business Express.
To complete the form, expect to list the LLC’s:
- Business purpose
- Resident agent
- Resident agent’s address
- Names and signatures of the individuals filing
Maryland LLCs can be considered “private” because they do not require the owners/members to be listed publicly. However, whoever files the Articles of Organization must list their legal name as the “authorized agent.” That name/signature will be on public record for the LLC. Clients who like a layer of privacy hire us so we are listed as the filer and not them.
Maryland offers standard and expedited filing options. The standard filing is $100 (plus the Business Express website’s small service fee) and it can take a couple of months to be processed. The expedited filing is an additional $50, but it usually only takes a few days to process, not months. Maryland Business Express isn’t great at maintaining a consistent processing time frame, but their website does a wonderful job of listing up to date turnaround times for each business filing on their Fee Schedule.
Draft an Operating Agreement
Maryland LLC Operating Agreement is just that – a document outlining how the LLC is operated, and agreed upon by all members who then sign and date it to make it official. Although operating agreements can be tailored, they will generally show who the members are, the ownership percentages of those members, formation dates and info, responsibilities, etc.
Most Maryland LLCs utilize an operating agreement even though it’s not required by the state. It’s an internal document for the LLC that is often requested for financial dealings, like starting a business bank account.
When you hire us to form your LLC, we take the guesswork out of creating an operating agreement and build a template for you. We plug in the basic company details and upload the .pdf to your account with your finalized Articles of Organization. All you have to do is fill in some specifics, print, sign, and date it, and you’re ready to go.
Apply for an EIN
An EIN is the Employer Identification Number from the IRS but also called the Tax ID number. It’s the unique, 9 digit number for a company’s tax purposes. All Maryland LLCs will need an EIN to file and pay certain taxes and open a business back account. It’s like a company’s Social Security Number and may be needed in a variety of circumstances.
We recommend applying for an EIN after your Maryland LLC has been processed and approved so that you can ensure the official name and formation date is attached to the EIN. Applying for an EIN (if you have a SSN) can be done pretty quickly online, but making changes to an existing EIN is usually a much longer paper filing.
If you have a SSN, you can apply for your Maryland LLC’s new EIN on the IRS website. If you do not have a SSN, you’ll have to apply by paper (which may take months to have your EIN assigned).
File Beneficial Ownership Information Report (BOI)
The BOI is a newly required report for LLCs (and corporations) operating in the US. Effective January 1, 2024, LLCs must file the BOI on the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) website to be in compliance with the Corporate Transparency Act. There is no cost to file and the reported information is not public.
- Corporations registered in the US in 2024: Due within 90 days of incorporation
- Corporations registered in the US 2024 or later: Due within 30 days of incorporation
- Corporations registered in the US prior to 2024: Due before January 1, 2025 (and no company applicant information required)
- Company information: Legal business name, any tradenames or DBAs, Tax ID/EIN, and the jurisdiction of incorporation
- Individual beneficial owner/company applicant* information: full name, date of birth, residential address, and a copy of an approved photo ID (such as a passport or US driver’s license)
*Beneficial owners are those individuals who own 25% or more of the company, or those who play a decision making role like CEOs or LLC managers. Company applicants are those who filed for formation on behalf of the company or directed the filing be made.
You can tackle all of this on your own. Or, for just $9, we’ll take care of your BOI report for you.
Next Steps for Your Maryland LLC
- Bank Account. If you’d like to start a business bank account for your Maryland LLC, expect to provide your Articles of Organization, Operating Agreement, and EIN. Other requirements will vary based on the bank you choose.
- Annual Reporting. After forming your Maryland LLC, your Maryland Annual Report will be due each April 15th. This compliance report confirms and maintains your company’s active status. The report filing fee is $300, plus the website service fee if you pay online. Whether you file by paper or online, the report is submitted to the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (Maryland SDAT). Should you choose to have us handle your report filing, we change a $100 service fee plus the state fee.
- Additional Annual State Fees: Personal Property Tax Return. If your business owns, leases, or uses personal property located in the state or maintains a trader’s license, you should expect to also pay a Personal Property Tax Return to the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation with your annual report. The total due is determined by the assessed value of your business’s property multiplied by the tax rate for the county in which the property is located.
Maryland LLC FAQ
Can I use the business name of a dissolved Maryland LLC?
Yes. In Maryland, an LLC loses exclusive rights to a company name, whether it’s voluntarily dissolved, or the state dissolved it (forfeited) for lack of compliance. So that means if you search your desired company name and see it listed but the company’s status is “dissolved” or “forfeited,” the name is up for grabs. Keep in mind this is extra incentive to be hyper vigilant about your own company’s annual reports and compliance, and a great reason to hire us to help you with that.
Can I get a trade name for my Maryland LLC?
Yes. If you have multiple names you’d like to use for your business, you can definitely apply for a trade name for $125 plus state fees using our Trade Name Service. Using a trade name is a great way to simplify your branding and allow for franchising opportunities. After purchasing our Maryland LLC formation package, simply log in to your client portal and select Trade Name Service.
Does my business address listed on the Articles of Organization need to be in Maryland?
No. The only address that must be in Maryland is the resident agent address. Keep in mind, clients who hire us as their resident agent can list our office address for their Maryland LLC and keep their address off the Maryland Business Express public record.
What does “member” or “member-managed” mean?”
An LLC member is an LLC’s owner. Member-managed means the owner(s) make the managing decisions, versus “Manager-Managed” LLCs where a manager (who may or may not be an owner) makes all the managerial decisions for the LLC.
How will I know if anything is wrong with my Maryland LLC filing or if it’s approved?
When you hire us to form your Maryland LLC and the articles are rejected, we’ll work with you and the state of Maryland to fix the issues and get your LLC formed as quickly as we can. If the name you chose is too close to another company, we’ll use your back up choices and file until something you like is accepted. If you file the articles on your own, the state will notify you directly. Similarly, approved articles will be returned however they were submitted. Paper filings are sent to the return address on the form and online filings are returned as digital documents to the person or company who filed.
Are there any incentives for certain types of Maryland LLCs?
Yes! Maryland has quite a few Available Incentive Programs for certain entrepreneurs or industries.
Do I need membership certificates?
Maybe, maybe not. Membership certificates are pretty cool and might look great matted and framed on your wall, but it’s unlikely they will hold any information that’s not already outlined in your operating agreement. Either way, we provide certificates with the operating agreement template to every client who hires us to form their Maryland LLC.
Will the resident agent price go up each year?
Absolutely not. We know you may not have heard of us, and you definitely won’t see any flashy ads about us like national service providers, but that helps keep our fees low and fair. We won’t lock you into any weird contracts, we won’t change our prices, and we won’t hide anything about our costs from you. Our resident agent service is $49/ year, every year and our filing fees are always $100 plus whatever the state charges. That’s it.
Can you help register a foreign Maryland LLC?
Yes. We‘d love to help with your Foreign Maryland LLC! We can serve as the resident agent for any Maryland LLC, foreign or domestic. Just hire us for Maryland resident agent service first, and then you can hire us to file the Limited Liability Company Foreign Registration inside your secure online account. Then, we can collect all the info we need to complete the foreign registration.
Can I move the LLC I already have to be a Maryland LLC?
No. LLCs that were formed in other jurisdictions can register as a foreign Maryland LLC, but existing LLCs cannot be converted into domestic Maryland LLCs.