Business Certificate

What is a Business certificate?

Commonly known as a “DBA” (“doing business as”), a business certificate creates a public record of the name and address of the owner(s) of a business. This also includes anyone operating any type of home-based business. Consumers are entitled to this information and it may not otherwise be readily available.

Who must file a business certificate?

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 110, § 5 states that 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 a business certificate in the office of the Town Clerk of every city or town where an office of any such person or partnership may be situated.

Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 110, §6 a business certificate is not required if a corporation 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.)

How do I file or renew a business certificate?

Forms are available by clicking here or in person at the Town Clerk’s Office, 20 Williams Street or by calling 413-565-4103. Each person named on the certificate must either sign the form in person at the Town Clerks Office or have their signature notarized on the form by a Notary Public.

Applicants must file each of the following; an application, a certificate, and a Worker’s Compensation Insurance Affidavit and a Home Occupation Certificate (approved by the Building Commissioner). Please be careful to fill out all of the information on the forms completely. Filing a DBA does not protect your business name. The filing fee is $40.00 (effective January 1, 2016).

Does the filing of a business certificate protect me from others using the same name?

No. The protection of a trademark (word, name, symbol or device) in Massachusetts is accomplished through the Secretary of State’s Office.

Information about starting a business in Massachusetts can also be found on the States website

What if I discontinue or withdraw from the business, or move to another location?

A Statement of Discontinuance, Change of Residence form must be completed and filed with the Town Clerk if one of the following occurs before the expiration:

• Business is discontinued

• One or more persons named on the certificate is withdrawn or retired from the business or partnership.

• Change of residence of one of the named persons on the certificate.

• One or more of the persons named on the certificate dies.