Setting Up a DBA in Massachusetts

By Mark Kennan

A DBA, which is short for doing business as, is the registration form that a business owner must file when she does business under a name other than her real name. Not all states require you to register a DBA, but Massachusetts does. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the law requires business owners to register a DBA to create a public record of the name and address of the true owner of a business. According to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 110, Section 5, DBA registrations are required for "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." For example, if your name is Kent Plank and your business is Plank's Carpentry, you're using a name other than your real name and must register your business as a DBA. Similarly, if a corporation is named "Waldo's Wonders" in its articles of incorporation but the corporation wants to do business under a different name, the owner would have to register that name as a fictitious business name. In Massachusetts, you register a DBA in the city or town in which you do business.

Step 1

Go to the website of the clerk's office in the city or town where you do business. According to Massachusetts General Laws, you must register in every municipality in which you do business -- not with the Secretary of State. However, if you created a corporation with the Secretary of State and the corporation is doing business under the corporation's name, you don't need to register with the local municipality. For example, if you create the corporation "Frank's Chocolate" and register with the Secretary of State, you don't have to register "Frank's Chocolate" with the municipality in which you do business.

Step 2

Download the DBA registration form. Some municipalities don't have online registration, so in those instances, call the clerk's office for that municipality and ask them to mail you a form. Or, go to the clerk's office to get a paper copy.

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Step 3

Complete the DBA registration form. Generally, you need to include your name, address and phone number, as well as the name, address and phone number of any other business owners, the DBA you want to use and the address at which the business operates. For unincorporated businesses, such as sole proprietorships and partnerships, you only need to include the name and contact information for the business owners. Company officers or employees who are not owners do not need to be included on the DBA registration form. However, if the corporation is registering the DBA, you must provide the corporate name and address, plus the name and title of the signing officer. Once you've completed the form, have the form notarized.

Step 4

Submit the DBA registration, along with the required fee, to the clerk's office to complete the registration process.

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What Do You Need to Register a Business Name?

References

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How to Check for DBA (Doing Business As) Names

Business owners who use a name other than their own name are using a DBA, which is short for “doing business as” and also referred to as a trade name, assumed name or fictitious business name. A DBA is desirable when you want a name for your business that more readily identifies your products or services. Using a DBA is also the easiest and least expensive way for you to establish a name for your business. Before using a DBA, you should check available sources to determine whether another business is using the same DBA.

Do You Need a DBA for Sole Proprietorship?

A sole proprietor can work under her own name or operate under a catchy business nickname. A DBA, which stands for "doing business as," can help you create a marketable trade name and identity. State laws regarding DBAs vary. A reputable, online legal document provider can complete DBA registration requirements that may apply to you.

How to Register a Trade Name in Massachusetts

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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