Filing for a Business Certificate (DBA)

(110 MGL §§ 5 & 6 and 227 MGL § 5A)

The primary purpose of filing a business certificate is to protect consumers or creditors by identifying the names and addresses of the owners of the business. The filing of a business certificate does not protect a business name as does a corporate filing or a trademark registration. A business certificate filing is commonly called a “d/b/a” (doing business as).

The filing of a business certificate may be used in connection with a court case to show when a business name was first used in a community and to enjoin another business from using an identical or similar name. If you need information on legal protection of a business name you should contact the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office, Corporations Division or your own lawyer.

Any person conducting a business, individually or as a partnership, in the commonwealth under any title or name other than his real name, must file a business certificate with the clerk of the city or town in which the business has an office. The term person includes a corporation.

The certificate must include the full name and residence of each person conducting the business; the place, including street and number, where the business is conducted; and the title under which the business is conducted. The certificate must be signed under oath by each person conducting the business, certifying that the statements contained in the certificate are true. The certificate may be signed in the presence of any of the following: the town clerk, the assistant town clerk, a person designated by the town clerk, or a person authorized to take oaths, such as a notary public. Each person wishing to file a business must produce evidence of his identity.

$20.00 (expires in 4 years).

Amendments and Discontinuances to Business Certificates:
If a business is discontinued, or if the information related to the business or the individuals conducting the business changes after the original filing, a statement of discontinuance or of the new information must be filed with the clerk of each city or town in which the original business The fee for filing the amendment or discontinuance is $5.00

Violations of 110 MGL §§ 5 & 6 and 227 MGL § 5A shall be punished by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars for each month during which such violation continues.