Starting a Business in Massachusetts Checklist

Check business name availability with the Secretary of the Commonwealth

Do a search to see if your business name is available: http://corp.sec.state.ma.us/corpweb/corpsearch/CorpSearch.aspx

Business name requirements

Massachusetts LLCs: use ending such as Limited Liability Company or LLC.

Massachusetts corporations: use ending such as Inc, corporation, or incorporated

Secretary of the Commonwealth

Secretary of the Commonwealth
Corporations Division
McCormack Building
One Ashburton Place, 17th floor
Boston, MA 02108
P: (617) 727-9640
F: (617) 742-4538
cis@sec.state.ma.us

File papers to create my business

You can form your Massachusetts corporation or Massachusetts LLC by mail, fax, in person, or online at https://corp.sec.state.ma.us/corp/loginsystem/login_form.asp?FilingMethod=I The filing fee is $275 for a Massachusetts corporation or $500 for a Massachusetts LLC.

Include the following information in your Massachusetts business filing:

- Perpetual status

- Business name, purpose, and address(es)

- Information about authorized shares (corporations only)

- Registered agent name and address(es)

- Manager names and addresses if manager-managed (LLC only)

- Consent of registered agent

- Organizer/incorporator information

- Names and addresses of those authorized to execute documents on the business’ behalf

- Contact information

The Corporations Division will take about 3 business days to process your articles of incorporation or organization if you mail them. Fax and online filings are auto expedited. They are processed by the next business day. If you want to fax file, you have to go to the Corporations Division website first to fill out a Fax Cover Sheet and pay for your filing.

Expedite Fees:

LLC $20
Corp $15

If the filing process seems confusing and you’d rather not do the filing yourself, you can incorporate in Massachusetts with Northwest Registered Agent.

Corporations Division

Secretary of the Commonwealth
Corporations Division
McCormack Building
One Ashburton Place, 17th floor
Boston, MA 02108
P: (617) 727-9640
F: (617) 742-4538
Fax filings: (617) 624-3891
cis@sec.state.ma.us

Register with the Department of Revenue

Most business taxpayers will be required to register electronically at
https://wfb.dor.state.ma.us/webfile/Business/Public/WebForms/Registration/Register.aspx

Sales Tax:

Massachusetts has a 6.25% state sales tax.

Income Tax:

Massachusetts imposes a 5.25% tax on earned income (salaries, wages, tips, commissions) and unearned income (interest, dividends and capital gains).

Corporate income tax is calculated by using the corporation’s taxable net income plus its property/net worth. The income tax is calculated at a rate of 8 percent of the corporation’s taxable net income. The property/net worth measure is imposed at a rate of $2.60 per $1,000 of either a corporation’s taxable Massachusetts tangible property or its taxable net worth. The minimum corporate excise tax is $456.

Withholding Tax:

If you have employees at your Massachusetts business location, you‘ll need to register to for income tax withholding.

Department of Revenue

Massachusetts Department of Revenue
PO Box 7010,
Boston, MA 02204
P: (617) 887-6367

Get a business license

There is no general state business license but you may need a business certificate from your City Clerk. If you are an individual or a partnership doing business under a title other than the owner‘s name, you need a local business certificate. You would also need a business certificate if your corporation is doing business under a name other than its legal name. For example, if you use a d/b/a, you need to register your business name with the City Clerk. You can apply for a business certificate by mail or in person. Check with your city and county government to see if your business need any other licenses or permits: http://www.mma.org/city-and-town-web-sites

Any other registration requirements?

Additional registrations may depend on the type of business you do. Keep in mind that you may need certain permits or an occupational license, in addition to any business licenses.

The Division of Professional Licensure oversees 31 boards of registration, which license individuals and businesses to practice trades and professions in Massachusetts. http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/government/oca-agencies/dpl-lp/

Local License Info

City of Boston

Office of the City Clerk
ATTN: Business Certificates
Boston City Hall – Room 601
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201
P: (617) 635-4600
http://www.cityofboston.gov/cityclerk/businessregistration/

Town of Braintree

Braintree Town Clerk
Braintree Town Hall
One JFK Memorial Drive
Braintree, MA 02184
P: (781) 794-8240
F: (781) 794-8259
http://www.townofbraintreegov.org/townclerk/businesscert.html