Business License Information

9250 Judicial Way
Suite 1900
Ellicott City, MD 21043
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 Business 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, except for Court Holidays.

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

After registering with the Central Registration Division, the first step is applying for your license at the Office of the Clerk, License Department. It is not 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.

You will need to provide the following information to obtain a Business License:

  • Your entity or sole proprietorship SDAT account number (as issued by the Assessments Office-it begins with a letter)
  • Full Name of Entity or individual  name (if sole proprietors)
  • Registered Trade Name (if applicable)
  • Federal Tax ID Number (for entities) or social security number (for sole proprietors)
  • Sales & Use Tax Account Number (obtained from the Comptroller’s Office)-Constructions and Other Businesses that do not sell anything will not need a Sales & Use Tax Number, but must still register with Central Registration
  • Location address and Mailing address (if different from location)
  • Telephone number
  • Worker’s Compensation number (Insurance Binder number) if you have employees
  • For a trader’s license only, the amount of inventory in dollars (See chart below)

Type of Payment

The Clerk’s Office only accepts cash, checks, money orders or credit cards (Visa, Mastercard or Discover). To use a credit card you must present identification that matches the name on your credit card.

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 providing 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 online to obtain the business license. To apply online, Applicants MUST provide an e-mail address on the application so that the Clerk’s Office may contact the Applicant for approvals or denials. Application for renewal of business license can be processed online.

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
  • Vending Machines
  • Cigarette and Special Retail Cigarette
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and Vaping Liquid
  • Cleaning, Dying, Pressing, and Laundry
  • 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 AmountFee
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: