Joined by business owners at new tech incubator Betamore in Baltimore City, Governor Martin O’Malley today unveiled Maryland’s first online business registration system. The Central Business Licensing System (CBL) will allow business owners to register a new business and establish a tax account through a single website: easy.maryland.gov. The system will reduce the time it takes to register a new business from an average of 10 weeks to 5-7 days. It is the latest effort to make it easier to do business in the State through Maryland Made Easy, an inter-agency initiative of the O’Malley-Brown Administration aimed at streamlining regulations and permitting processes for businesses.
“With the launch of Maryland’s first online business registration system, we take another important step forward in breaking down barriers to job creation,” said Governor O’Malley. “Today, we’re officially launching another tool for more efficient, more streamlined government; a tool for easing the administrative burden on businesses and therefore helping entrepreneurial Marylanders create jobs and expand opportunity.”
Every year, approximately 47,000 new businesses are registered in Maryland. Under the previous system, business owners had to fill out paper forms and hand deliver, fax or mail them to the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) in Baltimore. Through the CBL, business owners can now fill out and file the forms online to register a new business and establish a legal business entity; register a new business trade name; register tax accounts with the Comptroller’s Office; and learn about other state and county licensing requirements. Entities can be registered as sole proprietorships, general partnerships, limited liability companies, stock corporations, tax-exempt non-stock corporations and close corporations.
“The Central Business Licensing System is another great example of how state government can be business-friendly and cost efficient through smart use of information technology and web services,” said Department of Information Technology Secretary and Chief Information Officer Elliot Schlanger. “Providing easy online access to an increasing range of government-to-business services is a high priority for Governor O’Malley and his Administration. We look forward to introducing new features to the CBL system in the coming months.”
The system will be accessible 24/7 and will email business owners to confirm the submission and approval of their filings, eliminating the need for calls to state agencies for status updates. The Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) and the Department of Information Technology (DoIT) led the effort, along with SDAT and the Comptroller’s Office. The system was developed by NIC Inc., which has implemented a similar business model in 25 other states.
Governor O’Malley launched Maryland Made Easy in January 2011 to improve Maryland’s business climate by streamlining processes, simplifying regulations and enhancing communication. In that time, the State Highway Administration’s Access Permitting process was overhauled and an initiative called FastTrack was launched, which is a multi-state agency effort to expedite review of major development projects with significant job-creating potential. Last year, the Governor submitted to the General Assembly more than 130 State regulations to be repealed, revised or streamlined.