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Maryland DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

Maryland DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

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Maryland DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

If you’re planning to start a business in Maryland using a specific name, you may need to register for a business name. Business name registration is commonly referred to as a Maryland DBA or “Doing Business As,” but is officially called a Trade Name. 

To see if you need to register for a Maryland Trade Name and steps on how to register, check out our guide.

Related: How to start a business in Maryland

Who needs to register for a Maryland Trade Name?

The requirements and need to register for a Trade Name vary, depending on the type of business entity. 

The sole proprietorship and general partnership are the most common business structures to register for a Maryland DBA. By default, the legal name of a sole proprietor or partnership can be the owner’s full first and last name, which can be used without registering. 

For example, if Mike Smith starts a business cleaning houses but doesn’t use a business name, he doesn’t have to register.  If Mike decides to name his business Mike’s Home Cleaners, then he will need to register.

A corporation and Limited Liability Company won’t typically register for a Maryland DBA since a unique entity name is created during the entity formation process. However, some will want to register for a DBA if they have another business or brand name they want to operate in addition to the legal name of the business. This can allow multiple businesses to operate with the liability protection of a Maryland corporation or Limited Liability Company without having to form another entity.

Steps to Register a Maryland Trade Name

Step 1: Obtain the Trade Name form

The Trade Name form can be found on the Maryland Business Express website, which is operated by the Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation online or by mail.

Step 2: Verify Name Availability

Every name registration must be unique and not too similar to other names on record.  Before filling out the form, do a Maryland business name search on the Maryland State Department of Assessments & Taxation website to see if the name you want is available.

Step 3: Fill out the Trade Name Form

After ensuring the business name you want is available, fill out the Trade Name form.

Information needed includes:

  • Trade Name being requested
  • Address of the business
  • Name and address of the business owner
  • Description of the business

Step 4: Submit the Form

Click submit if filing online.  If mailing, send the completed form and payment to:

Charter Division
Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation
301 W. Preston Street, Room 801
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

If you would prefer to have a someone else research DBA name availability and file the required forms, Bizee and LegalZoom offer a DBA registration service for $99, plus state fees.

Maryland DBA FAQs

How much does a Maryland Trade Name?

The filing fee to register a Trade Name in Maryland is $25.  The average turnaround is 5-7 business days.  Expedited service is available for an additional $50 and can be completed the same day.

The name registration is good for five years and can be renewed.

Are there any naming restrictions when filing a Maryland DBA?

A Trade Name can’t use a business entity suffix that is different from the type of entity. For example, a sole proprietorship can’t use LLC or corporation in its name.

Additionally, DBAs can’t be registered using words that are related to banking or insurance with words such as bank, banker, savings, trust, credit union, and insurance, unless the business is licensed to provide those services.

Lastly, businesses performing home improvement services must contact the Maryland Home Improvement Commission to ensure a specific name is available.

Can someone use my business name after registering a Maryland DBA?

While registering your Trade Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Maryland, it does very little to stop someone else from operating a business under that name in other states.

If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a federal trademark through the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Learn more about trademarking a business name.

What is the difference between a Maryland Trade Name and a business license?

These are actually two different business registrations. In addition to the Maryland Trade Name registration, most businesses will also need a business license. The licenses a business will need vary depending on what the business does and local registration requirements.

Related: What business licenses are needed in Maryland?

Does a Trade Name need an EIN?

An EIN or Employer Identification Number is a unique nine-digit number that some businesses will register for through the Internal Revenue Department (IRS). An EIN is required for partnerships, corporations, multi-member LLCs, or any business that has employees.

Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s social security number to identify the business.

Related: How to register for an EIN in Maryland

Maryland DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

Maryland DBA / Trade Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

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