Business Certificate (DBA)

Business Owner

Who should file a Business
Certificate/DBA
(doing business as)?

In accordance with Chapter 110, Section 5 of Massachusetts General Law, "any person conducting business in the commonwealth under any title other than the real name of the person conducting the business, whether individually or as a partnership, shall file in the office of the clerk of every city or town where an office of any such person or partnership may be situated." 

What is the purpose of a Business
Certificate?

The primary purpose is to protect consumers by
identifying the names and addresses of the
proprietor of a business that goes by a name other than that of the proprietor. A copy of the Business Certificate should be readily available at the address of the business and shall be furnished on request during regular business hours to any person who has purchased goods or services from said business.
**If you are looking to open up a bank account under your business name, the bank will most likely require a certified copy of your Business Certificate.**

How much does a Business Certificate/DBA cost?
The filing fee for a Business Certificate is $20.00.

How long is a Business Certificate in effect?
A Business Certificate is good for 4 years. It expires 4 years from the date that it is recorded at the Town Clerk's office. Upon expiration, the business shall renew their DBA certificate by filing with the Town Clerk and paying the $20.00 filing fee. 

How do you file a Business Certificate?
A Business Certificate can be filed at the Town Clerk's office Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm.
Please be prepared to provide a photo I.D.

If you are unable to make it during the Town Clerk's business hours, you may print out your own Business Certificate form but it must be completed and signed in the presence of a Notary Public.
Click here to print a Business Certificate form. 

If more than one person is conducting business under said name, all persons should be listed on the business certificate. All proprietors are not required to appear together at the same time but all signatures must be notarized or signed in front of the Town Clerk. The business certificate will take effect once completed by all owners and filed with the Town Clerk.

My business closed, do I need to notify the Town Clerk's office?
Yes, if you close your business and have a Business Certificate filed with the Town Clerk's office, then you will need to fill out a State of Discontinuance form. You can complete this form in person at the Town Clerk's office or you can print your own form by clicking here, sign it in front of a Notary Public and then return it to the Town Clerk's office at your soonest convenience. Please be aware that you may be responsible for any current Personal Property bills in addition to a future billing if your business was open during the assessment period. 

 

For more information about DBA's and small businesses, visit the State's "Starting a Small Business" page by clicking here