How Much Is A Business License In Maryland?

Maryland requires a business license from all companies and businesses who want to operate within the state. Business licenses allow a business to buy, sell, trade and pay their taxes to the state – and without one, a business in Maryland is operating illegally.

How much is a business license in Maryland? Business licenses in Maryland cost $50 and up to apply for, with licenses for special business types possible to cost more. Business license applications in Maryland can be made through the relevant city or town office, or made online where they process much faster.

Maryland requires all businesses to apply for a basic business license before they are allowed to trade legally in the state. Without the right licensing, companies in Maryland could be charged fines or closed for operating without a business license. It’s one of the first and most important documents necessary to do business in this state.

Getting a Maryland Business License

Business licenses, sales tax certificates and Employee Identification Numbers (EIN) are three of the most important documents a business will need to legally trade in the state of Maryland.

Additional certificates could be required for any specific industries or companies, including food, liquor, beverage or entertainment. Maryland still requires companies to have a basic business certificate first.

A Maryland business license costs $50 and upwards to register. Fees might increase when the type of business or permit is tied to a specific industry that requires a special business license.

Issued licenses in Maryland are valid for a period of 1 year, but do not renew automatically like some of the other states. Renewals must be done either before or on the stated deadline, and businesses who do not comply with this could be charged fines or late fees.

In Maryland, all paid registration fees are non-refundable even in the event of an unsuccessful or rejected application. Applicants are advised to make sure all information is correct before they submit their form.

Business license applications can be made online through the Maryland government portal, or through the local city or town office in which the business intends to operate.

State representatives are available for help if an applicant needs assistance to complete forms or submit fees.

License applications can take up to 14 days to process, though expect them to take up to 31 days if the application was made in person instead. Physical applications for Maryland business licenses are automatically a slower process.

Recent improvements to the registration system means that online registration for a Maryland business license is faster and easier than before.

It is illegal to operate a business without the relevant licenses in Maryland. Closure could be forced if the state finds that a business operates without a permit, and the business owner could be subject to heavy fines.

All information about licenses and business permits for Maryland can be downloaded from the official state website at

How long does a business license in Maryland take?

Maryland business license applications are immediate, although take time to make through the system to be issued. An online Maryland business license application can take up to 14 days, though physical applications take longer.

When does a business license in Maryland expire?

Business licenses in Maryland are valid for 1 year after the approval date. Renewals have to be done either before or on the stated deadline, or late fees and fines will apply.

How do I register for a nonprofit license in Maryland?

Nonprofit licenses are separate from basic business. Companies with a 501c3, 501c4 or 501c19 IRS designation are counted as nonprofit and must approach the relevant website portal or licensing office to register. The process is similar to business license registration.

What if my business license is delayed?

Business license applications in Maryland are meant to be a quick process, but delays can happen at busy times of the year. Maryland state resources recommend a follow up within a month if no notifications have been received.

Business License Applications in Maryland

Business licenses in Maryland are easy to apply for, and essential to do business legally in the state. Without a business license, companies face fines and potential closure – and it’s a risk that no business is advised to take.

Maryland business applications cost $50 and up, and process within 14 days from the approval date. 

Business applications are valid for 1 year from the approval date, and renewals must be done either before or on the stated deadline – renewals are charged at the same rate for most Maryland towns and cities.

Applicants will receive a notification once their business license application has been processed. A temporary license will become available for the business to display their license details, while the physical copy of the license will ship to the applicant.

A business license is not the only paperwork that a business in Maryland might need to keep their doors open, but it is the first and most essential one. All business types in Maryland will require their business license first before any additional sales permits.

Without a Maryland business license, companies risk operating outside a legal framework and might be closed down for noncompliance. 

Types of Business Licenses

A General Operating LicenseA general operating license is another name for a basic sales tax license, required by law from all business types in Maryland.
A Food LicenseFood licenses are a special type of permit that food-based businesses in Maryland might need. A basic business license is still a first, separate requirement.
A NonprofitNonprofit organizations in Maryland have to register separately for their permits, but this can be done through the same offices and web portals as regular Maryland business registration.

Business licenses in Maryland can depend on the type of business and industry. All license and renewal fees are considered non-refundable in Maryland, even if applications have been unsuccessful.

Here are the business license costs in other states: