Massachusetts law states that if you are using a name for your business other than your legal name, the business must be registered with the state as a DBA ("Doing Business As"), also known as a "fictitious name." Failure to register your business can result in criminal misdemeanor penalties and a steep fine.
Things You'll Need
- Business Certificate form
- Worker's Compensation insurance affidavit
- Filing fees
Choose a name for your DBA. You can also visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website and click on the "Search The Corporate Database For Business Entities" link to see if your DBA is already taken by another entity. If your DBA is taken, choose an alternate name.
Visit the office of your local county clerk to obtain a Business Certificate form and Worker's Compensation Insurance Affidavit: General Business form. You can also provide the clerk with your desired DBA so she can double-check the database to ensure your DBA is still available.
Complete both forms. The forms don't require a lot of information--just the DBA name, the address for the business, and the name of the business owner. For the worker's compensation form, check the appropriate box if you do not have any employees.
Submit the business name certificate form and worker's compensation insurance affidavit along with the filing fee. This fee will vary from county to county, and it will range from $25 to $50. The filing fee will secure your DBA for a period of four to five years, depending on which county you live in.