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How To File A DBA In Maryland

Key takeaways

  • Discover how to look for an available DBA name.
  • Learn about the prerequisites for registering a DBA.
  • Understand the DBA filing fees.
  • Learn about the DBA renewal deadlines.
  • Discover the significance of submitting a Trade Name Registration form to the SDAT.
  • Learn why you should pay the $25 filing fee.
  • Learn how to renew your Trade Name Registration every five years.

If you run a business in Maryland and want to operate under a different name, you must file for a DBA (doing business as). A DBA permits you to use a trade name other than your official business name. However, it's good to know a few things before filing for a DBA in Maryland. This tutorial will walk you through the processes required to create a DBA in Maryland, including how to look for an available name, what paperwork to complete, and what expenses to anticipate. Following these procedures will guarantee that your company is legally compliant and functioning under the name you want.

What is DBA?

DBA is an abbreviation for "doing business as." It is a fictional or trade name that a company employs instead of its legal name. DBAs are often utilized when a company wishes to perform business activities under a different name for branding or marketing objectives. For example, if Thomas Johnson, a sole proprietor, wishes to sell his handcrafted jewelry under the name "Sparkle & Shine," he must register for a DBA. This would allow him to conduct business using the trade name "Sparkle & Shine" rather than his legal identity. DBAs enable firms to operate under a different name without forming a new legal company.

Why do you need a DBA?

There are various reasons why a company could require a DBA:

  • Functioning under a different name: A DBA allows a company to operate under a name apart from its legal name. This can be advantageous if a company wishes to establish a different brand identity or the owner wants to utilize a more memorable or catchy name.
  • Legal compliance: In several states, including Maryland, registering a DBA is needed if a business functions under a name that isn't its legal name. If you are unable to do so it may result in penalties or legal complications.
  • Banking: If a company wishes to create a bank account in its name, it must first apply for a trademark.
  • Contractual obligations: Some contracts or agreements may mandate a company to conduct business under a specified name. In some circumstances, a DBA may be required to adhere to the contract's provisions.

Overall, a DBA may be a valuable tool for firms that need to operate under a different name or meet legal or contractual obligations.

How to set up a DBA in Maryland?

The following are the stages to establishing a DBA (doing business as) in Maryland:

  • Select a name: Choose a trade name you wish to use for your company. Check to see whether the name is accessible and if another company isn't already using it.
  • Look for the following terms in the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) database: Use the SDAT's online database to find available names. If the name you seek is accessible, you can apply for a DBA.
  • Fill out and complete a Trade Name Registration form: Fill out the Trade Name Registration form found on the SDAT's website. The form requests information such as the name and address of the business owner, the DBA name, and the nature of the business.
  • Pay the registration fee: To register a trade name in Maryland, a $25 filing fee is required. The cost can be paid online or by mail.
  • Renew your DBA: Trade name registrations must be renewed every five years in Maryland. The SDAT will send you a renewal reminder before your registration expires.

You may set up a DBA in Maryland and run your business under a different name by following these procedures.

Maryland DBA name restrictions

When selecting a DBA (doing business as) name in Maryland, keep certain restrictions to ensure that the name complies with state law. Here are some of the key constraints:

  • Availability of names: Your DBA name must be distinct from any other company names registered with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). You can check the SDAT database to determine if the name you want is available.
  • Forbidden terms: In Maryland, certain words or phrases, such as "corporation," "incorporated," "limited," "company," or any other words that indicate the firm is a different sort of legal organization than it is, are forbidden in DBA names.
  • Trademark infringement: Your DBA name cannot infringe on another company's trademark.
  • Names misleading or deceptive: Your DBA name cannot be misleading or deceptive. It must not indicate that your company is affiliated with a government agency or delivers services that it does not.

Forms needed to file a DBA in Maryland

Closeup of business woman making notes in document

In Maryland, just one form is required to file a DBA (doing business as), and that is the Trade Name Registration form. This form can be downloaded from the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) website.

The following information is requested on the Trade Name Registration form:

  • The company owner's name and address
  • The DBA's name is
  • The location where the transaction will take place
  • The nature of the company
  • The first time the DBA name was used was in Maryland.

Maryland DBA filing & registration

To file a DBA in Maryland, you will need to complete the Trade Name Registration form, which can be downloaded from the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) website. The form requires information such as the name and address of the business owner, the DBA name, the business address, the nature of the business, and the date the DBA name was first used in Maryland. Once completed, the form can be submitted to the SDAT with a $25 filing fee. Registering a DBA in Maryland is essential for businesses that want to operate under a different name than their legal name.

Maryland DBA tax considerations

When registering a DBA (doing business as) in Maryland, keep the following tax considerations in mind:

  • Sales tax: If your business sells physical goods or specific services, you may be obliged to collect and return Maryland sales tax. The Maryland Comptroller's Office can help you apply for a sales tax license.
  • Revenue tax: If you are a sole proprietor or a partnership, your business revenue will be reported on your income tax return. You must submit a separate business tax return if you have created a distinct legal entity for your business, such as an LLC or corporation.
  • Business licenses and permissions: Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required by state or local government authorities to get specific licenses or permits. If you are launching a food service business, for instance, you may need to get a health department permit.
  • You may guarantee that your firm complies with state and federal tax regulations by knowing the tax ramifications of operating under a DBA in Maryland.

How much does a DBA filing cost in Maryland?

Business man counting dollar banknote - online business concept

In Maryland, the filing fee for a DBA (doing business as) is $25. This charge and the completed Trade Name Registration form must be sent to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). Depending on the type of your business, additional charges may be involved with getting any relevant licenses or permissions. It is important to remember that the charge for filing a DBA in Maryland is subject to change. Therefore, checking the SDAT website for the most up-to-date information is recommended.


To summarize, registering a DBA (doing business as) in Maryland is a straightforward process that may be accomplished by completing the Trade Name Registration form and paying a $25 filing fee. Understanding the financial ramifications of doing business under a DBA, including sales tax, income tax, and any licenses or permissions required is critical. Companies may avoid penalties and maintain long-term profitability by adhering to state and federal tax regulations. Overall, registering a DBA in Maryland enables firms to function under a name other than their legal name and can aid in developing a strong brand identity in the marketplace.

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Note: Our content is for general information purposes only. Levy does not provide legal, accounting, or certified expert advice. Consult a lawyer, CPA, or other professional for such services.

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