How to Become an LLC in Maryland

A limited liability company, or LLC, is a business organization that allows owners, who are known as members, to protect themselves from personal liability from debts and lawsuits. The LLC also is free of federal business taxes, although the states have varying laws on state and local taxes and fees. Forming an LLC in Maryland is a straightforward process that can be done with a minimum of paperwork, time and money.

Step 1

Decide on a name for your LLC. By Maryland law, the name must not be an imitation of another name already registered with the Department of Assessments and Taxation. The name must also include the phrase “Limited Liability Company,” or the abbreviations "LLC," "L.L.C.," "L.C." or "L C."

Step 2

Draw up articles of organization for your LLC. The articles must include the name of the company, its address and its purpose in one or two sentences. The address must be a physical address; you may not use a post office box. A fill-in-the-blank articles of organization form is available on the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation website (see References).

Step 3

Designate a resident agent. This individual or company agrees to accept service of legal documents on behalf of your LLC. The resident agent must be a Maryland resident and must be 18 years of age or older. A Maryland corporation or LLC may also serve as resident agent. The resident agent or its representative must sign your articles of organization.

Step 4

Sign the articles of organization and submit them to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, Charter Division. This is the state agency that registers business names and locations. The address is 301 W. Preston Street, Eighth Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201-2392. The forms may also be faxed, along with payment information to 410-333-7097.

Step 5

Pay the service fees, which include $100 for the required certificate of organization, $20 plus $1 per page for a certified copy of the articles of organization, and $20 for a certificate of status. There is an expedited service fee of $50 for overnight service; documents may be processed in person at the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation on the same day with the payment of the expedited fee.

Step 6

Pay the service fees, which include $100 for the required certificate of organization, $20 plus $1 per page for a certified copy of the articles of organization and $20 for a certificate of status. There is an expedited service fee of $50 for overnight service; documents may be processed in person at the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation on the same day with the payment of the expedited fee.

Warnings

  • Each year you must submit a Personal Property Return. If you fail to file by the annual due date of April 15, your LLC will be subject to dissolution by the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.

Tips

  • You may add any relevant statements or provisions to your articles of organization that you wish to have on file with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.
  • The articles must be typed or printed. The department does not accept handwritten articles.
  • Normal processing time is seven to eight weeks. Expedited processing time is up to seven days.
  • To operate a business in Maryland, you must also obtain the necessary business licenses from the Department of Business and Economic Development.

References

About the Author

Founder/president of the innovative reference publisher The Archive LLC, Tom Streissguth has been a self-employed business owner, independent bookseller and freelance author in the school/library market. Holding a bachelor's degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers.

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