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A business certificate name is a Massachusetts DBA (doing business as). A Massachusetts business certificate name registration allows a company to operate under a name other than its legal name.

Your personal assets will not be protected if you register a DBA in Massachusetts. Forming a formal business structure, such as an LLC or corporation, will provide you with liability protection as well as a business name.

Create a Massachusetts DBA.

It is simple to register a Massachusetts business certificate name, also known as a DBA.

A DBA is only used for branding purposes. A DBA does not protect your personal assets in the event that your company is sued. As a result, we strongly advise that a DBA be used only by a formal business structure such as an LLC or corporation to add new brands to an existing business.

If you run an informal business (sole proprietorship or partnership), we strongly advise you to form an LLC to keep your business and personal assets separate. The name of the LLC can be chosen to serve as the business’s brand name.

Learn How to File a DBA in Massachusetts in Two Easy Steps:

Begin by conducting a Massachusetts Business Certificate Name Search.

You must register your Massachusetts DBA with the city.

A DBA is only used for branding purposes. To keep your business and personal assets separate, we recommend forming an LLC.

Step 1: Conduct a name search for Massachusetts business certificates.

Your Massachusetts business certificate name must be distinct and meet the state’s business name requirements.

Before you file, you must check city records to ensure that your exact name is not already in use. In Step 2, we will provide contact information for city offices. You must also consider any state naming regulations.

The following words should NOT appear on your Massachusetts business certificate:

Unless the business is actually an LLC, corporation, etc., any business entity suffix, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp, etc.

Words implying that the company was formed for illegal purposes

Restricted words (for example, bank, attorney, university) may necessitate additional paperwork and the participation of a licenced individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, in your business.

Step 2: Create a Massachusetts DBA.

Massachusetts business certificate names are registered with the city or cities in which your company operates.

A DBA does not provide any protection for your personal assets if your company is sued. Visit our How to Form an LLC page and select your state for more information on forming a limited liability company.

Obtaining a DBA from the City Clerk

The process of obtaining a DBA in Massachusetts varies by city.

We will walk you through the process of obtaining a Boston business certificate name. If you need to file in another city, contact the city clerk for details.

These links will take you to the websites for some of the more populous cities’ business certificates:

Worcester City

Springfield, Illinois

Lowell, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts (Full Instructions Below)

Visit the Massachusetts City and Town Directory for a complete list of city contact information.

How to File a DBA in the City of Boston

Business certificates can be filed with the Boston City Clerk’s office either by mail or in person.

Notarization is required for the form. If you bring a picture ID, you can do this at the City Clerk’s office.

Reminder: Before filing, you must check Boston’s business certificate records to ensure that your name is not already in use.

Manage Your Boston, MA DBA

DBA Concerns

For general questions about business certificates in the City of Boston, call (617) 635-4600.

Renew Your DBA in Boston

Every four years, you must renew your Boston business certificate. Submit the Business Certificate Registration form and mark the “Renewal” box. Renewal of your business certificate costs $65, plus $35 if you are a non-resident. Notarization is required for the form.

Change Your DBA in Boston

The Change of Location form from the City of Boston allows you to change the address on your business certificate. Use the Business Certificate Name Withdrawal form to remove an individual’s name from the certificate. The cost is $50. To change the name of your DBA, you must complete a new registration form.

Remove Your Boston DBA

Fill out the Business Certificate Withdrawal form to withdraw your Boston business certificate. The cost is $50.