Whether you’re researching the availability of a business name or checking the status of a business entity the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation website has information on the sole proprietorships and partnerships that registered a Trade Name in addition to corporations and LLCs in the state.
There is no fee to search the database.
What information can be looked up?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Business Name
- Principal Office – This could be the physical address of the business or it could be an address where business records are stored.
- Registered Agent’s information – A Registered Agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need to be sent to the business. This is often one of the owners and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information. Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent or IncFile so their home address isn’t listed.
- Status – Active means the entity is still in operation while Forfeited means the business has closed.
- Good Standing – If all reports and filing fees are up to date, the business is considered to be in good standing
- Business Type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Date of Formation – When the entity was filed with the Department of Assessments and Taxation
How to do a Maryland Business Name Search
Enter the name you would like to use in the “Business Name” field. In this example, we will look up “Lawn & Order”.
Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Lawn & Order”. To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Maryland, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered.
If the name you want is taken, be sure to first look at the “Status”. If it shows “Forfeited”, there may still be an opportunity to register it as the previous owner is not in good standing with the state.
Unfortunately, if you were looking to form an LLC with this name you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.
To find more information about each of the registered business names, click on the “View Business Details” button to see a detailed report. In this example, we will look up “Lawn and Order LLC”.
While the name “Lawn & Order LLC” by itself may not be available other variants are like “Baltimore Lawn & Order” or Lawn & Order by Joe” are. Searching for those business names, brings a result that says “The business name you entered was not found”. While final approval is still with the Department of Assessments and Taxation, it is likely available to register.
These are the basics of searching for a business name in Maryland. Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Department of Assessments and Taxation will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
How do I form an LLC?
Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form an Maryland LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.
While not required in Maryland, an Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, may be a document worth considering especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a “social security number” for the business. There is no cost to get one through the IRS.
After forming the LLC, Maryland business licenses and permits may still be necessary.