MD Small Business Development Center - Eastern Region
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SBDC 4 Step Process
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    It is important to research and determine your business type before going through the registration process for the chosen business type. There are three general forms of business organizations of which the State of Maryland recognizes:

        1. sole proprietorships     2. partnerships     3. corporations

    In addition there are several hybrid forms including the limited liability partnership, limited partnership, limited liability limited partnership, and limited liability company. Determining your business type will lead you to the correct registration process for the State. As a note: although most businesses are operated as sole proprietorships, corporations usually conduct more business based on dollar value of sales. Small Business in Maryland is over 95% of the economy's wealth.

    Maryland Recognized Business Entities
    Sole Proprietorship
    General Partnership
    Limited Partnership (LP)
    Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
    Limited Liability Limited Partnership (LLLP)
    Incorporation (C-corp., S-corp., Close Corporation)
    Limited Liability Company

    It is very important that you take the time to start your organization the way you want; therefore, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each business type becomes crucial. You may want to think about starting as a corporation or a LLC if you plan to expand your business in the future. Check out for a business entity comparison chart or to see the advantages and disadvantages of the different business entities. The Web site will give you some publications on all small business entities and their variations (including s-corp. and limited partnership) under the small business section. These publications go over the advantages and disadvantages and the tax implications of each entity.

    Remember it is the best to consult a lawyer when setting up legal entities. The Website will link you to The Guide to Legal Aspects of Doing Business in Maryland written by the Maryland Attorney General Curran Jr. (to find it from the home page, link under the tab Business Assistance then link to Starting a Business). This document reviews each business entity recognized by Maryland, their formation, taxation and liability issues. The document will then go one to introduce other legal issues when doing business in Maryland.

    For further information regarding the laws relating to Maryland legal entity types, consult the Corporations and Associations Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

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