How to Register a Trade Name in Massachusetts

by Michael Keenan
Localities, not the state of Massachusetts, handle trade name registrations.

Localities, not the state of Massachusetts, handle trade name registrations.

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If you want to do business under any name besides your legal given name, you need to use a trade name, also known as a "doing business as," or DBA, name. For example, if you want to call your delivery service "Mere Minutes," you have to register that name. In Massachusetts, the state doesn't handle the registrations of business names for unincorporated businesses. Instead, you must register the name in each city or town where you will do business to receive a "doing business as" certificate, which is renewable. Be sure to note the expiration date of the certificate and renew as indicated.

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Step 1

Identify the city or town in which you need to register your trade name. For example, if you plan to open your business in Boston, you need to register with the Boston Office of the City Clerk.

Step 2

Obtain the required registration forms from the city or town in which you want to do business. For example, you can download the Business Certificate registration form from the City of Boston website.

Step 3

Complete the required registration forms for the locality in which you want to register. In Boston, the form requires the trade name, your address and signature. You also have to have the form notarized.

Step 4

Submit the form to the appropriate office along with any required fees. In Boston, you can either file in person or by mailing in the registration. You should mail forms to the Office of the City Clerk, Boston City Hall, Room 601, One City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201, ATTN: Business Certificates. You can also drop it off in person at the same address.