How do I start a business in Maryland?

Establishing a new business in Maryland can be both thrilling and intimidating. Proper planning, though, can make the undertaking relatively straightforward. The major steps in the creation of a new business entity are the selection of the business structure, business registration, name selection and application for business license. The four common entity options are a limited liability company, partnership, corporation and sole proprietorship. The latter is generally the simplest but may not offer some of the advantages open to the other entity types. A business attorney could help interested parties decide among the options by explaining the various advantages and disadvantages of each.

New Maryland businesses are registered with the Department of Assessments and Taxation. In choosing a name for the entity, it is first necessary to determine whether the name conflicts with a business that already exists. Name conflicts may result in trademark disputes down the line.

A business license is required for most businesses operating in Maryland. Licensing requirements may vary by business type or by the location of the operation. Applications are generally available from the circuit court clerk in the relevant county. Additionally, businesses must register to pay state and federal taxes, including securing a federal employer identification number from the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS requires new business entities to register for income tax and employee withholding, unemployment insurance and Social Security as well as other taxes.

Starting a new business is no small task, and business owners often choose to retain a business law attorney for guidance and counsel in this regard. As each new enterprise is unique, the foregoing discussion is not meant to constitute legal advice.

Source: Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, “Maryland Checklist for New Businesses “, September 04, 2014

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