Persons conducting a business under any title other than the true name of the person, partnership or corporation, must file a Business Certificate (also known as "Doing Business As") with the Town Clerk's office in the community where their business is located. The law governing Business Certificates is Chapter 110, Section 5. DBA certificates allow consumers to identify and locate the proprietor of a business. A Business Certificate must be filed in person at the Town Clerk's office or, alternatively you may have your application notarized by a Notary Public and submitted via mail. Original signatures are required along with proper identification. If filing by mail, you can download an application with a copy of the front and back of your identification. The filing fee is $20.00 and the Business Certificate will be valid for four years from date of issue.
A person who has filed such a certificate shall, upon his discontinuing, retiring or withdrawing from such business or partnership, or in the case of a change of residence of such person or of the location where the business is conducted, file in the office of said clerk a statement under oath that he has discontinued, retired or withdrawn from such business or partnership or of such change of his residence or change of the location of such business. Under Chapter 110, §6 a business certificate is not required if a corporation is doing business in its true corporate name, or if a partnership is doing business under any title which includes the true surname of any partner. Certain other associations and partnerships may also be exempt (refer to above citation for details.) Business certificates are on file with the Town Clerk's Office and may be viewed by anyone making a request.
Are there any special requirements for a home-based business?
If you are working out of your home you must determine if a Home Occupation Permit may be required. The business owner should check with the Building Inspector.
How do I protect my business name?
Filing a Business Certificate at the local level does not protect your name. If you wish to register a trademark or service mark with the State of Massachusetts, contact the Corporations Division, Secretary of the Commonwealth, One Ashburton Place, 17th floor, Boston, MA 02108, phone (617)727-9640 or click here.