Do you own a business operating in the state of Maryland? If so, you may need to acquire licenses and permits to ensure that your company operates in a compliant fashion.
But how do you determine which permits and licenses you need (if any), and where do you acquire them? In this guide to Maryland business licenses and permits, we’ll answer all the tough questions about this process.
Are There Federal Licenses That My Business Needs?
First off, let’s discuss the matter of federal licenses and permits. There are many business activities that are regulated by various federal agencies, from agriculture to transportation and logistics. We recommend taking a look at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s guide to federal licenses and permits to make sure you’ve got your bases covered.
In addition, most businesses should acquire a federal tax ID number, also known as an EIN (employer identification number). This is essentially a social security number for your business, and it enables you to hire employees, pay business taxes, open business bank accounts, and more. You can acquire an EIN from the IRS for free.
What State-Level Licenses and Permits Apply in Maryland?
There is no general license to operate a business in the state of Maryland, and not every business is required to obtain a license.
However, there are several ways to determine which (if any) permits your business will need to acquire. The simplest way is to call the State License Bureau at 410-260-6240. You can also find additional information on the Maryland Licensing One-Stop Portal. Here you can learn about licenses and permits for specific occupations, state environmental regulations, and insurance types.
If you determine that your business will need a license and it is your first time applying for one in Maryland, you must first register with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. You can register your business right here.
According to the Maryland’s licensing website, “a business license is required for most businesses, including retailers and wholesalers. A trader’s license is required for buying and re-selling goods. And you, or the professionals you hire, may need individual occupational and professional licenses.”
Which Tax Registrations are Required for Maryland Businesses?
In addition to occupational licenses and permits, there are a number of state-level tax registrations, which are based on the industry you operate in and which business structure your company uses.
There are a few common tax types that most Maryland businesses will need to pay. Thankfully, you can easily register with the Comptroller of Maryland online here (or by filing the Combined Registration application by mail). This process application registers your business for the following tax types:
- Admissions and Amusement Tax
- Alcohol Tax License
- Income Tax Withholding Account
- Motor Fuel Tax Account
- Sales and Use Tax License
- Use Tax Account
- Transient Vendor License
- Tire Recycling Fee
- Tobacco Tax License
- Unemployment Insurance Account
There could also be tax requirements for your specific industry, in which case you will need to file separate paperwork. You can find more information about industry-specific taxes on the Comptroller’s website.
Are There Local Licenses, Permits, or Registrations in Maryland?
The answer to this question obviously depends on where in Maryland you’re operating your business, but there are indeed quite a few licenses, permits, and tax registrations required by Maryland localities.
According to Maryland’s licensing website, “depending on where your business is located, the local Clerk of the Court can advise you of any local licensing requirements. You may also contact your county’s office of inspections, licenses, or permits.” You can find a database of Maryland Clerks of the Court, along with their contact information right here.
Additionally, many cities throughout Maryland offer business resource websites to help small business owners navigate local regulations, including cities like Baltimore, Frederick, Gaithersburg, and Bowie.
If we were to break down the exact rules and regulations regarding permitting in every locality in the state of Maryland, this article would become excessively lengthy. With that in mind, we’ll simply say that every business owner should check with their local government to determine whether there are licenses, permits, or tax registrations required to operate in compliant fashion.
Can I Hire Someone to Research Licenses and Permits for My Business?
If this process sounds like a bit of a hassle, that’s because it certainly can be. If you would rather hire a reputable business services provider to handle this for you, that is always an option.
Companies like Incfile can research the necessary licenses and permits for your company on the federal, state, county, and municipal levels. They will then send you the applications you need to acquire these permits and licenses, meaning all you need to do is fill them out and mail them in.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer for the question of which licenses and permits your business might require to operate in the state of Maryland. Instead, it’s important that you know how to access the resources to determine which permits your company needs to operate in a compliant fashion.
We hope this article helped you to do just that, and we wish you good fortune in your business future!