Setting Up a DBA in Massachusetts

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

Setting Up a DBA in Massachusetts

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

A DBA, or "doing business as," is a fictitious name that a business can use if it does not want to conduct business under its legal name. Because state law governs DBA use, most states require businesses to file and register their DBAs before they begin operating under the assumed name.

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DBAs in Massachusetts

While not every state requires a business to register its DBA, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts does. State law requires business owners to file a DBA to give notice to the public of the name and address of the true owner of the business. Under Chapter 110, Section 5 of Massachusetts General Laws, a DBA is required to be registered by any person who conducts business in the state under any name other than their personal name, whether individually or a partnership. Similarly, a corporation or other business entity that wants to operate under a name other than its legal business name that is registered with the state must register a DBA.

In Massachusetts, DBAs are registered at the city level. If the business operates under a DBA in more than one city, the business owners are required to register the DBA in each of those cities.

How to Set Up a DBA in Massachusetts

Filing a DBA in Massachusetts is fairly easy and straightforward. Once it's filed, the business can begin operating under the DBA. However, there are a few preparatory steps you need to take before you file a DBA.

1. Check to see if the desired DBA is available.

Before you start the process of filing for a DBA, you want to make sure the name is not already in use. To do this, you should run a name search through the city's DBA database. For example, Boston allows you to run a search through its business registration site to find any registered DBAs in the city.

2. Find the DBA registration form.

Go to the website of the clerk's office in the city where you will be conducting business and find the city's DBA registration form. If operating in more than one city, you need to obtain the registration form from each city clerk's office.

Once you find the DBA registration form on the city clerk's website, download the form and print it out. Some cities in Massachusetts do not have an online registration, so you may need to either physically obtain one from the city clerk's office or call the clerk's office to mail you the registration form.

3. Complete the DBA registration form.

Fill in all of the required information on the DBA registration form. Generally, you need to include the legal name, address, and phone number of the business, as well as the contact information for all business owners. You also need to provide the name of the desired DBA.

4. Get the registration form notarized.

Once you have completed the DBA registration form, you must get it notarized. Many banks or city offices have a notary public available.

5. Submit the DBA registration form and filing fee.

The final step is submitting the completed DBA registration form and required filing fee to the city clerk's office. You can submit them in person or by mail.

Once you have submitted the registration form, you have completed the registration process. You should receive confirmation from the city clerk's office that they received your registration form. If you follow these steps, you can have your Massachusetts DBA set up in a short period of time.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.