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UCC Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Uniform Commercial Code?

The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) provides a central location in Maryland for filing a public notice of a secured transaction. This central filing office is the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. This notice, called a financing statement, indicates a commercial agreement between a debtor and a secured party. Searches provide information on collateral. When a debtor pledges collateral on a loan, UCC search results tell lenders if others have filed a claim against the same collateral.

What is a debtor?

A debtor is a borrower who owes a debt. Specifically, a debtor is the person who owes payment against a secured obligation.

What is a secured party?

A secured party is a lender, seller or other person in whose favor there is a security interest.

What can I search for?

Searches can be made to find initial financing statements, amendments, debtor correction statements, and other lien notices. Detailed instructions regarding searching can be found on the search page.

What if I conduct a search and do not receive the results I expect?

The responsibility for accurately searching names rests with the user. Results are determined by the search criteria you choose. If you do not see the results you expect, check the spelling of the information entered and/or choose different search criteria.

How will I receive my copies of searched documents?

The search provides immediate results for you to print, and also offers certified search results.

What is the difference between a search response and a document request?

A search response is a report of all filings associated with your search. A document request provides you with the actual copies of the documents filed in the State Department of Assessments and Taxation.

How long does a financing statement last?

If a continuation is not filed, the financing statement will lapse 5 years from the original filing date. A continuation extends the filing period 5 additional years from the initial filing date. Subsequent continuations may be filed in increments of 5 years and always expire on the anniversary date of the initial filing. A continuation may be filed up to 6 months before the expiration date of the financing statement. Under Article 9, all lapsed and terminated filings remain active for search reporting purposes until one year after the initial financing statement lapses or would have lapsed.

Where should I file?

The Uniform Commercial Code designates where to file based on the location of the debtor. The collateral location no longer determines where to file. Filings for organizations are made in the state where the organization is registered. Filings for individuals are made in the state of residence. Filing in the wrong office is not a rejection reason listed in the statute. Within the state of organization or residence, mortgages, fixtures, minerals and timber are filed with the County Clerks of Court or Register of Deeds. All other types of collateral, including transmitting utilities and manufactured homes, are filed in the State Department of Assessments and Taxation.

How will I receive my filed copy?

When you file electronically, you will have an opportunity to print out an acknowledgement copy immediately.

My filing relates to real estate. Should I file with the county or in the State Department of Assessments and Taxation office?

Title liens on real estate, automobiles or other title property are filed with the County Clerks of Court or Register of Deeds.

Where are tax liens filed?

Tax liens are filed in the county.

Are paper filings still accepted?

Yes, paper filings will continue to be accepted. Online filing and searching provides immediate results. It may take up to five business days for paper filings to be processed.

Can the State Department of Assessments and Taxation provide me with legal assistance in completing UCC filings?

No. The State Department of Assessments and Taxation cannot provide legal assistance to individual citizens. For legal assistance, call the Lawyer Referral Service of the Maryland State Bar Association at (410) 685-7878 or (800) 492-1964.

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