How to obtain business license in Maryland

Updated on December 21, 2023


Securing the appropriate business license is a key requirement for operating legally in Maryland. This guide offers insights into who needs licenses, the types available, the application process, associated costs, required documents, compliance maintenance, and state-specific considerations.

Who Needs a Business License in Maryland?

Most commercial businesses require licensing in MD, including retailers, restaurants, service providers, rental properties, contractors, and independent professionals.

Penalties for non-compliance include fines up to $500 per violation, potential business closure after multiple offenses, and possible criminal charges.

Understanding Maryland Business Licenses

Common Maryland business license types:

  • Local trader’s licenses – Required in counties/cities
  • Sales tax licenses – For collecting/charging sales tax
  • Occupational licenses – For specialized services
  • Industry-specific licenses – Hospitality, alcohol, etc

Preparing to Apply for a License

Begin by using the Maryland Business Express portal to identify the necessary permits and registrations for your business. Be prepared with business formation details, lease agreements, and other supporting documents. Licensing fees can vary widely.

Step-by-Step Guide to Apply

Maryland offers online applications for various licenses and permits. Access the Business Express portal, use the Permit Wizard, select required license types, provide business and owner information, pay the fees, and then wait for approvals.

To apply online:

  1. Access Maryland’s Business Express portal Business Express portal
  2. Run the Permit Wizard
  3. Select your required license types
  4. Provide requested business and owner details
  5. Pay fees
  6. Obtain approvals

After Submitting an Application

Online applications in Maryland typically take 10-15 days to process.

Keep track of your application status on the Business Express portal. Additional information or documents may be requested by administrators if needed.

Maintaining Compliance

To remain compliant in MD once licensed:

  • Display license certificates prominently onsite
  • Complete timely renewal processes
  • Remit required tax payments
  • Maintain necessary insurance policies
  • Report changes to ownership, activities or locations

Obtaining Federal Registrations

Important federal registrations include an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and trademark protections.

Special Considerations

Businesses like liquor stores, casinos, construction contractors, and childcare providers have additional licensing requirements in Maryland. Always check these specific regulations.

Registering Your Business Name

Trade name registrations in Maryland can be completed through the Department of Assessments and Taxation.

Maryland Tax Permits

Common tax permits include Sales and Use Tax Licenses, Admissions and Amusement Tax Licenses, and Alcoholic Beverages Licenses.


Who Needs a Maryland Business License? Most commercial entities in Maryland, such as retailers, contractors, and healthcare professionals, require a license.

What Do Licenses Cost in Maryland? Licensing fees in Maryland range from $25 to over $3,000, depending on the type of business and activities, with renewal fees also applicable.

How long does it take to get a license in Maryland? The processing time for a business license in Maryland is generally 10-15 business days for online applications, but can vary depending on the specific license and requirements.

Additional Resources

For further information, refer to additional resources available on Maryland’s official state websites.

Final Thoughts

Properly licensing your business in Maryland is crucial for legal operation and avoiding penalties. Utilize online application options for a more efficient process.

Priyank Singh

Priyank Singh, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Stilt, specializes in technology-driven financial solutions. He is having experience of starting FinTech Company, understanding regulations and coming up with creative solutions to solve difficult problems.