How to Get Business Licenses in Maryland | A Comprehensive Guide

WebinarCare is led by Steve Bennett, a seasoned expert in the business world. He's gathered a team that's passionate about giving you reliable advice on everything from starting a business to picking the right tools. We base our tips and guides on real-life experience, ensuring you get straightforward and proven advice. Our goal is to make your business journey smoother and more successful. When you choose WebinarCare, you're choosing a trustworthy guide for all things business.

Maryland Business License

Starting a new business is an exciting venture, but it’s essential to understand the various licenses required to operate legally within Maryland. Forming an LLC in Maryland requires licenses, as different industries and locations have specific regulations. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to Maryland Business Licenses, helping you navigate the process and ensure your new venture complies with all necessary requirements. By understanding the permitting landscape in Maryland, you can ensure that your business is fully prepared to succeed while avoiding potential legal pitfalls.

Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you easily obtain a business license in Maryland. You must be guided by all the factors gathered in this article.

What is a Business License in Maryland?

A business license is a legal authorization, permit, or document that allows a business to operate within a specific jurisdiction, such as a city, county, or state. Maryland business licenses are issued by Maryland Secretary of State and ensure businesses comply with applicable laws, regulations, and standards in their respective industries.

A business license protects public health, safety, and welfare by ensuring businesses operate responsibly and lawfully. Acquiring a business license often involves registering the business, paying applicable fees, and meeting specific requirements or qualifications for the type of business.

Business licenses can vary greatly depending on the location and nature of the business. Some common types of business licenses include:

1. General Business License: This is a basic license required for most businesses to operate within a specific jurisdiction, such as a city or county.

2. Professional and Occupational Licenses: These licenses are specific to certain industries or professions, such as healthcare, construction, real estate, or cosmetology, and are typically issued by state licensing boards or agencies.

You must have a professional and occupational license to form Maryland General Partnership and offer your service. 

Here are some examples of Professional and Occupational Licenses:

  • Medical License: Physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals must obtain a medical license to practice medicine in a specific state. The Maryland medical board issues this license after verifying the applicant’s education, training, and examination results.
  • Realtor License: To become a realtor in Maryland, you must obtain a real estate license to buy, sell, or lease properties on behalf of clients. Maryland has its own real estate commission or board responsible for issuing licenses and regulating the industry.
  • Contractor License: General contractors, electricians, plumbers, and other construction professionals must often have a contractor license to work in Maryland. 
  • Cosmetology License: Professionals in the beauty industry, such as hairstylists, estheticians, and nail technicians, must obtain a cosmetology license to provide services. Maryland Boards of Cosmetology oversee licensing and regulations for this industry.
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) License: Accountants who wish to become a CPA in Maryland must designate and provide specific services, such as auditing financial statements and obtaining a CPA license from Maryland’s Board of Accountancy.
  • Architect License: Architects must obtain a license to practice architecture in Maryland. This typically involves meeting education and experience requirements and passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).
  • Attorney License: Maryland Business Attorneys must obtain a license to practice law in a particular jurisdiction, typically by passing the state’s bar examination and meeting other requirements set by the Maryland bar association.

3. Health and Safety Permits: Maryland businesses involved in food service, hospitality, or other industries directly impacting public health and safety may require specific permits from local health departments or regulatory agencies.

4. Environmental Permits: Maryland businesses that involve activities that may impact the environment, such as waste disposal, air or water emissions, or hazardous materials handling, may require permits from local, state, or federal environmental agencies.

5. Sales Tax License: Maryland businesses that sell goods or services may be required to collect sales tax from customers and remit it to the appropriate tax authority. A sales tax license is typically required to collect and remit sales tax legally.

Maryland business owners must research the specific licensing requirements for their business in their jurisdiction and obtain all necessary licenses and permits to operate legally and avoid potential fines, penalties, or legal troubles.

Requirements For Getting Business Licenses in Maryland

If you start an LLC or any other type of business, you must wait until your Maryland business registration is complete. Once you have completed the necessary steps to register your business in Maryland, you must be prepared with the required documents to apply for business licenses.

  • Name of your company
  • Phone number and company address
  • Employee Identification Number (EIN)
  • Your company’s legal structure (Corporation, Partnership, or LLC)
  • Your business strategy, which includes revenues and costs

Recommended: Empowering your entrepreneurial journey, LegalZoom’s business license service simplifies the process of obtaining a business license in Maryland, allowing you to focus on what you do best, running your business. Thet’s why we recommend –

LegalZoom – Starts at $99.99

How to Get a Business License in Maryland

To get a business license, you must follow the guidelines below, including determining if your Maryland business requires a license or permit, identifying the appropriate licensing agencies, researching license and permit requirements, completing and submitting license applications, and maintaining license and permit requirements.

Step 1: Determine The Required License or Permit

The first step in obtaining a business license is determining if your business needs one. Some businesses may not require a license or permit, while others may need multiple licenses depending on their industry and location. Some businesses typically require some form of licensing or permit:

  • Professional services, such as medical, legal, and accounting
  • Food establishments, including restaurants, bars, and catering businesses
  • Retail businesses, including stores, shops, and online retailers
  • Construction and contracting companies
  • Manufacturing and industrial businesses

State Licenses

The licenses that you must get first are the licenses within the state. Maryland state licenses require individuals or businesses to engage in certain activities or professions legally. The state government issues these licenses and serves as proof that the license holder has met certain qualifications and standards set by the state. The types of licenses vary depending on the profession or activity, including but not limited to healthcare professionals, contractors, real estate agents, and drivers.

State licenses assure the public that the license holder has undergone the necessary training and education to perform their duties safely and competently.

Federal Licenses

Federal licenses in Maryland are granted by federal agencies and are required for certain activities and industries that fall under federal jurisdiction. These licenses ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations and are necessary for individuals or businesses engaged in the following services.

  • Agriculture: License issued by The U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Aviation: License issued by The Federal Aviation Administration
  • Alcohol & Tobacco: License issued by The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
  • Ammunition, Explosive, & Firearms: License issued by The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
  • Commercial Fisheries: License issued by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service
  • Mining & Drilling: License issued by The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
  • Nuclear Energy: License issued by The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Radio & Television (Broadcast): License issued by The Federal Communications Commission
  • Transportation by Sea: License issued by The Federal Maritime Commission
  • Wildlife & Fisheries: License issued by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Obtaining a federal license in Maryland involves meeting specific criteria and adhering to federal laws and regulations, which can vary depending on the activity or industry.

City-Based License

City-based licenses in Maryland are granted by local municipalities and are required for certain activities or businesses operating within the city limits. These licenses ensure businesses comply with local regulations and ordinances and typically cover business operations, health and safety, zoning, and permits.

City-based licenses vary depending on the location and the nature of the business, but examples may include restaurant licenses, liquor licenses, taxi licenses, and street vendor licenses. Obtaining a city-based license in Maryland involves submitting an application, paying the necessary fees, and meeting specific requirements set by the local government.

Home-Based License

Home-based licenses in Maryland are required for individuals or businesses that operate from their residential property. These licenses regulate and permit activities conducted within a residential setting, such as home-based businesses or rental properties. Home-based licenses ensure these activities comply with local regulations, building codes, zoning requirements, and health and safety standards.

The specific requirements for obtaining a home-based license in Maryland can vary depending on the type of activity and the local municipality but typically involve submitting an application, paying any necessary fees, and meeting specific criteria set by the local government.

Professional License

Professional licenses in Maryland are mandatory for individuals pursuing specific careers or professions that require specialized knowledge, skills, and expertise. The state government grants these licenses and serves to regulate and ensure the competency and ethical practice of professionals in fields such as law, medicine, engineering, teaching, and accounting.

To obtain a professional license in Maryland, individuals must meet education, experience, and examination requirements specific to their profession. These licenses assure the public that they receive services from qualified professionals and protect consumers from potential harm or malpractice.

Step 2: Identify the Maryland Licensing Agencies

Once you’ve determined that your business requires a license or permit, you must identify the appropriate Maryland agencies responsible for issuing these documents. In Maryland, numerous agencies oversee licensing and permitting, including:

  • Maryland Secretary of State: This office is responsible for issuing licenses for many professional services, including legal, medical, and accounting.
  • Maryland Department of Health: Food establishments, healthcare providers, and other businesses related to health and safety may require licenses from this department.
  • Maryland Comptroller of Maryland: If your business sells goods, you may need a sales tax license or permit from this department.
  • Maryland Department of Labor: Businesses that involve construction or contracting may need licenses from this department.
  • Local City or County Governments: Depending on your business’s location, you may also need to obtain licenses or permits from your local government.

Step 3: Research License and Permit Requirements

After identifying the appropriate agencies, research the specific requirements for each license or permit your business needs. This may involve reviewing the Maryland agency’s website, contacting their office directly, or consulting a legal or business professional. Some common requirements for obtaining a business license or permit include:

  • Completing an application form
  • Providing proof of insurance or bonding
  • Passing background checks or inspections
  • Paying application fees

Some licenses or permits may have ongoing requirements, such as annual renewals, inspections, or reporting.

Step 4: Complete and Submit License Applications

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information and documents, complete the application forms for each required license or permit. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions provided by each Maryland agency, as incomplete or incorrect applications can lead to delays or denials.

In addition to the application forms, you may also need to submit supporting documentation, such as:

Proof of Business Registration

You can find it on the Maryland Secretary of State’s website. There should be a search feature specifically for businesses. This will often be labeled “Maryland Business Express“. In the search feature, enter the name of the business you are looking for, and once it appears, you will now have proof of your business registration.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Aside from opening a bank account, you must have an Employer Identification Number in Maryland to file and submit for a business license. An EIN, also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your business for tax purposes. You’ll need an EIN to open a business bank account, file taxes, and hire employees. 

The application of an EIN in Maryland can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone-International Applicants – International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

Recommended: Professional services have the EIN included in their LLC formation package. We recommend using –

LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)
Proof of Insurance, Bonding, or Worker’s Compensation Coverage

To have a business license, you need proof of insurance, bonding, or worker’s compensation. You need to obtain a certificate or policy document as additional documents for your proof of insurance. Also, there is a database of businesses with worker’s compensation coverage or require businesses to register their insurance or bonding information. Visit your Maryland Department of Labor, Department of Insurance, or another relevant agency website for information about the business’s coverage.

Professional Certifications or Licenses

As I have mentioned, if you will form a general partnership and offer your service, you must have professional certifications or licenses. 

Submit your completed applications and the Maryland business license fee, which ranges from $50 – $300. The processing times for license and permit applications can vary, so plan accordingly and allow ample time for approval.

Step 5: Maintain License and Permit Compliance

Once you’ve obtained the necessary licenses and permits for your Maryland business, it’s essential to maintain compliance with all requirements. This may include:

  • Keep your Maryland licenses and permits current by renewing them on time, typically annually.
  • Reporting any changes to your business, such as a changing Maryland LLC address. You may amend your Maryland Articles of Organization if you change anything in your Maryland business.
  • Maintaining proper insurance, bonding, or worker’s compensation coverage.
  • Complying with any inspection, reporting, or record-keeping requirements.

Failing to maintain compliance with your Maryland business licenses and permits can result in fines, penalties, or even the loss of your license. Hiring the Best Resident Agent Services in Maryland is better if you plan to start an LLC and maintain your licenses. They won’t just help you with the formation of your business but also the compliance. We reviewed some of the services for you to check out.

LLC Service

Rating & Pricing

Top Features

Learn More

#1 Recommendation

$299 Per Year

  • Free LLC Formation

  • RA service in all states

  • Legal consultation

$125 Per Year

  • Flat price for RA service

  • LLC formation package

  • Fast service

Additional Considerations

In addition to the steps outlined above, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind when navigating the Maryland business licensing process:

  • Licenses and permits are often industry-specific, so research your business type’s requirements.
  • Some businesses may need licenses or permits from multiple agencies at the state and local levels. Be sure to research and comply with all necessary requirements to avoid complications.
  • If your business operates in multiple locations or across state lines, you may need to obtain licenses or permits for each jurisdiction in which you operate. You can form Maryland Foreign LLC
  • Stay informed about licensing and permitting requirements changes, as regulations can change over time.

FAQs

What is a business license in Maryland?
A license is a permit issued by the state of Maryland that allows you to operate your business legally within the state.
Do I need a business license in Maryland?
Most businesses in Maryland are required to have a license to operate, and failure to obtain a license can result in fines and other penalties.
How do I get a business license in Maryland?
To obtain a business license in Maryland, you will need to apply with the state’s Department of Assessments and Taxation and provide several types of documentation, including a certificate of good standing from the state and proof of insurance.
What types of businesses require a license in Maryland?
All businesses in Maryland are required to have a license, though the specific requirements and fees involved will vary depending on the type of business and the industry in which it operates.
How long does it take to get a business license in Maryland?
The amount of time it takes to obtain a business license in Maryland will depend on several factors, including the completeness of your application and the backlog of applications being processed at the Department of Assessments and Taxation.
How much does a business license cost in Maryland?
The cost of a business license in Maryland will depend on several factors, including the type of business and the industry in which it operates, but fees generally range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
When does my business license need to be renewed in Maryland?
Most business licenses in Maryland must be renewed annually or biannually, depending on the specific requirements for your business.
What happens if I operate a business without a license in Maryland?
Operating a business without a license in Maryland can result in fines and other penalties from the state.
Can I apply for a Maryland business license online?
Yes, the state’s Department of Assessments and Taxation accepts online business license applications.
What types of insurance do I need to provide when applying for a business license in Maryland?
The insurance requirements for a Maryland business license will depend on the type of business, but you will likely need to provide proof of general liability insurance.
What is a Federal Tax ID number, and do I need one to obtain a Maryland business license?
A Federal Tax ID number is a unique identification number assigned to businesses for tax purposes, and you will generally need one to obtain a business license in Maryland.
Can I receive a Maryland business license if I have a criminal record?
Having a criminal record may impact your ability to obtain a business license in Maryland, but this will depend on the specifics of your record and the type of business you are applying for.
How do I know if I need a state or local business license in Maryland?
You will generally need both a state and local business license to operate in Maryland, so it’s important to research the specific requirements for your area of operation.
What is a business trade name, and do I need one to obtain a Maryland business license?
A business trade name is the name under which you operate your business, and you will generally need one to obtain a Maryland business license.
Do I need to obtain any certifications or permits to operate my business in Maryland?
Depending on your industry, you may need to obtain additional certifications or permits to operate your business legally in Maryland.
How do I update my business license with changes to my business operations?
If you make changes to your business operations, you will need to update your business license with the state’s Department of Assessments and Taxation.
How can I check the status of my Maryland business license application?
You can check the status of your Maryland business license application online through the Department of Assessments and Taxation’s website.
Do I need a business license if I only operate my business part-time in Maryland?
Yes, regardless of how frequently you operate your business in Maryland, you will generally be required to have a license to do so legally in the state.
Can I operate my Maryland business from my home?
Depending on your industry and the specifics of your home-based business operations, you may be able to operate your business from home in Maryland.
Are there any exceptions to the requirement for a Maryland business license?
There may be exceptions to the requirement for a Maryland business license for certain types of organizations, such as non-profits or religious groups.
Can I use a business license issued in another state to operate my business in Maryland?
No, you will generally need to obtain a new business license to legally operate your business in Maryland.
What if I need to make changes to my business license application after I’ve submitted it?
If you need to make changes to your business license application after submitting it, you should contact the state’s Department of Assessments and Taxation for assistance.
Is my business license transferable if I sell my business in Maryland?
Your business license may be transferable if you sell your business in Maryland, but you will need to check with the state’s Department of Assessments and Taxation for specific requirements and procedures.
Do I need a business license to sell products online in Maryland?
Whether or not you need a business license to sell products online in Maryland will depend on the specifics of your business operations and the industry you operate in.
Can I use a PO Box as my business address on my Maryland business license application?
While you may be able to use a PO Box as your business address on your Maryland business license application, you will generally be required to provide a physical business address as well.
Does Maryland require business license holders to obtain certain types of insurance?
Depending on your industry, you may be required to obtain certain types of insurance as a condition of holding a business license in Maryland.
What is a sales and use tax license, and do I need one to obtain a Maryland business license?
A sales and use tax license is a permit required for businesses that sell goods or services in Maryland, and you may need one to obtain a business license depending on the specifics of your business operations.
Are there any fees associated with obtaining and maintaining a business license in Maryland?
Yes, there are fees associated with obtaining and maintaining a business license in Maryland, and these fees will vary depending on your business type and the specific requirements of your industry.
How do I obtain a business license in Maryland?
To obtain a business license in Maryland, you need to register with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation and may need to obtain additional licenses and permits from your local county or city.
Do I need a business license to operate a business in Maryland?
Yes, any business operating in Maryland is required to have a license or registration.
How much does it cost to obtain a business license in Maryland?
The cost of a business license in Maryland varies depending on the type of business you operate and the county or city you are located in.
What type of businesses require licenses in Maryland?
All types of businesses that operate in Maryland require a license unless explicitly exempted from licensing laws.
How long does it take to obtain a business license in Maryland?
The processing time for obtaining a business license in Maryland varies depending on the agency you apply to and the type of license or permit you require.
Do I need a separate license for each location of my business in Maryland?
Yes, you need a separate license for each location of your business in Maryland.
How often do I need to renew my Maryland business license?
The renewal frequency for a Maryland business license varies depending on the license type, and the renewal process typically occurs annually.
Do I need to obtain any additional licenses and permits in Maryland for my business?
You may need to obtain additional licenses and permits in Maryland, depending on the type of business you operate and the requirements of your local county or city.
Can I obtain a Maryland business license online?
Yes, some types of business licenses are available to apply for online via the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation website.
Is there assistance available to help me obtain a business license in Maryland?
Yes. The Maryland Department of Commerce offers resources to help business owners navigate the licensing and regulatory requirements.
What documents are required to obtain a Maryland business license?
The documents required to obtain a Maryland business license vary depending on the type of business you operate.
How much time do I have to obtain a Maryland business license after starting my business?
You must obtain a Maryland business license before commencing operations.
Is there a business law or regulation that I need to comply with in Maryland?
Yes, various state and local laws and regulations apply to businesses in Maryland.
How can I determine the licensing requirements for my type of business in Maryland?
The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation website provides extensive information on business types and the corresponding licensing and permitting requirements.
How do I get a sales tax license in Maryland?
You need to obtain a Sales and Use Tax License from the Comptroller of Maryland to charge and collect state and local sales taxes.
How do I contact the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation for questions about business licenses?
The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation has a customer service desk that business owners can contact to answer licensing questions.
What is the penalty for operating a business without a license in Maryland?
You may be subject to fines and penalties, loss of certain rights and privileges, and forced closure of the business until you obtain a license.
Can a company or corporation also apply for a business license in Maryland?
Yes, entities other than sole proprietors can apply for business licenses in Maryland.
What is considered a home-based business in Maryland?
A home-based business in Maryland is any business conducted primarily from a residential dwelling.
What license do I need to operate a daycare center in Maryland?
You will typically need a license from the Maryland Department of Education and a Maryland child care license from the State Department of Human Services to operate a daycare center.
What is the difference between a business registration and a business license in Maryland?
Business registration is the process of registering your business with the state, while a business license is a permit authorizing a person or entity to conduct specified activities.
Can I transfer a Maryland business license?
No, a Maryland business license cannot be transferred between businesses.
Can I reopen a previously closed business with my existing Maryland business license?
If your Maryland business license is still valid, you may reopen a previously closed business.
How do out-of-state businesses obtain a business license in Maryland?
Out-of-state businesses must register with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation as a foreign entity and then apply for a business license.
Can I change the name of my business on my Maryland business license?
Yes, you can change the name of your business on your Maryland business license. The process requires a name change amendment filing with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.
Are there any resources available to help with my financial and administrative needs with obtaining a business license?
Yes, the Maryland SBDC provides a range of free assistance to small business owners in the state, including assistance with financial planning and management.
What is a Business Personal Property Tax Return, and do I need to file one in Maryland?
A Business Personal Property Tax Return is a return that reports your business’s personal property in Maryland, and it must be filed by businesses that possess and hold personal property in the state.
What are the repercussions of not filing for renewal of a Maryland business license?
Failure to renew a Maryland business license could result in fines or even the revocation of your business license.
Do all businesses in Maryland need a fire investigation certificate/license?
Certain types of businesses might need a fire investigation certificate/license, meaning not all businesses in Maryland need a fire investigation certificate/license.

Also Read

Conclusion

Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits is crucial in starting a new business in Maryland. Following the steps outlined in this guide and consulting with the appropriate agencies or professionals, you can ensure that your business complies with all state and local requirements. This will protect your business from legal issues and help establish your reputation as a responsible and trustworthy business operator.

Leave a Comment