What should I know about business licenses in Maryland?
Maryland business licenses are a complex brew of county requirements and quirky local ordinances. Nearly every municipality in Maryland requires some type of business license, but the rules for when you need them vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
In most cases, there are two offices and/or agencies that a business owner will need to engage in Maryland. On one hand, there is a state-level comptroller who administers tax registrations on behalf of the state. On the other hand, clerks of the circuit courts issue “state" business licenses such as trader licenses for retailers and food licenses for restaurants.
Business owners who operate businesses without physical locations – traveling yoga teachers perhaps – also typically require business licenses in Maryland. Understanding the precise rules for your business may require help. Get started early.
How many business licenses do you need?
The number of business licenses you need in Maryland depends on a number of unique factors.
These factors include...
- Within which city/county will you operate your business?
- What business activities will you be conducting?
- How heavily regulated is your industry? Etc.
To put it in perspective, we ran the following queries through our own business license research tool. Here are some authentic results:
This may include a local Baltimore use and occupancy permit.
This may include a county-specific Frederick home occupation permit.
This may include a state-specific Maryland workers’ compensation.
See where you might owe sales tax
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Common Maryland business license questions
It’s important to know how business licenses work in Maryland when you open a business in the Old Line State. These common Maryland business license questions can help point you in the right direction.
Pretty much all businesses in Maryland are required to have a business license. There might also be other occupational and professional licenses to operate your business. You can talk to the Maryland Department of Labor to learn more about which licenses you may need.
The cost of a business license in Maryland is based on a variety of factors. In Howard County, Maryland, a traders license fee depends on the wholesale value of your inventory. The fee can range from $15 to $800. The maximum could be up to $2,125 if your business is located in Baltimore.
After you’ve registered your business in Maryland, obtained your tax ID, and applied for the right tax accounts and insurance, it’s time to get your licenses. Your local Clerk of the Court can help answer questions about license requirements in your area.
Avalara can also help you identify the licenses you need and even prepare applications.