Maryland Courts

Business License Information

The Thomas Dorsey Building
9250 Bendix Road
Columbia, MD 21045
Telephone: 410-313-5850

The license year runs from May 1st through the following April 30th.

Business License Requirements

The License Department at the Circuit Court for Howard County issues State of Maryland Traders Licenses for businesses located in Howard County. The hours to obtain a license from the Clerk of Court is 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Applicants must register with the Central Registration Division of the Comptroller’s Office before they apply for a business license at After accessing the web site, Applicants then click on the Combined Registration Application link.

The first step is applying for your license at the Office of the Clerk, License Department. It is no longer necessary to visit other offices, i.e., Assessments & Taxation, Finance Office and Planning & Zoning after the business application is made as approvals are given over the telephone unless the Clerk’s Office cannot contact these offices or any of these offices need to speak with the Applicant directly. The other offices are located within 5 miles of the Thomas Dorsey Building.

To complete the business license application, in addition to the Sales & Use Tax number and the amount of inventory in dollars (see chart below), the Applicant will need the following information: (1) full name of corporation or sole proprietor; (2)Audit Control account number for the entity (Corporation or LLC) or sole proprietor.  This number is assigned by the Department of Assessments and Taxation when the business is registered; (3) full location address and mailing address, if different; (4) EIN #(Federal Identification Number) [if corporation] or Social Security; (5) telephone number; and (6) workers’ compensation number (for those who are employers). 

If the Applicant has a REGISTERED Trade Name (or fictitious name), this information must be on the application as well and the Applicant must have registered the trade name (or ficticious name) with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation or (410-767-1340).

Type of Payment

The Clerk's Office can only accept cash or checks.

Online Business Applications

A new online public access web site allows a search of the licensing system of the Maryland Judiciary for issued licenses as well as provide you with the ability to apply for a Maryland business license.

After registering with the Central Registration Division of the Comptroller’s Office, Applicants can then apply on-line to obtain the business license at To apply on-line, Applicants must provide an e-mail address on the application so that the Clerk’s Office may contact the Applicant for approvals or denials. This does not include renewals as applications for renewals must be done in person or by mail.

The exact use for the business license is required on the application under the field entitled “Type of Business” for approval by the Planning & Zoning Office.

Any missing information on the business license application will delay the approval process.

Licenses Available Are

  • Traders
  • Construction
  • Restaurant
  • Plumber and Gas Fitter
  • Billiards
  • Vending Machines
  • Cigarette and Special Retail Cigarette
  • Cleaning, Dying, Pressing, and Laundry
  • Music Box
  • Storage Warehouse

If you have more than one business location, you are considered a chain store.

Traders license fee is based on the wholesale value of your retail inventory. Please refer to the following chart for the fees. All licenses include a $2.00 issuing fee for each type of license.

Traders License Fees - All Counties Excluding Baltimore City

Inventory Amount Fee
0 - 1,000 $15
1,001 - 1,500 $18
1,501 - 2,500 $20
2,501 - 4,000 $25
4,001 - 6,000 $30
6,001 - 8,000 $40
8,001 - 10,000 $50
10,001 - 15,000 $65
15,001 - 20,000 $80
20,001 - 30,000 $100
30,001 - 40,000 $125
40,001 - 50,000 $150
50,001 - 75,000 $200
75,001 - 100,000 $250
100,001 - 150,000 $300
150,001 - 200,000 $350
200,001 - 300,000 $400
300,001 - 400,000 $500
400,001 - 500,000 $600
500,001 - 750,000 $750
750,001 and Over $800

A contractor or subcontractor who holds a license under the Maryland Home Improvement Law is not required to hold a construction license issued by the Clerk of the Circuit Court. 

The following web sites offer additional information on business licenses and opening a Maryland business: