Welcome to the official Start a Business portal for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Throughout this page you will find information relating to the formation of many different types of entities including corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships, as well as other information pertaining to entity management. Forming entities in Massachusetts typically requires the filling out of a few basic forms and their subsequent filing either online (in some cases) or by fax or mail. Filing fees tend to be high, sometimes ranging as high as $500 for a single filing, but the ease-of-use offered by the state in some ways explains this price tag.
For more information on entity formation, including access to all requisite forms, tutorial guides to formation, and the like, please scroll down and discover why Start a Business is the leading authority on entity formation in America.
Start an Entity
Search for a Name
Whether you are looking for a Certificate of Good Standing for a given entity, a history of their filings, or you are perusing the entity database to help you parse down options for naming your own soon-to-be entity, the Massachusetts business search portal will be an invaluable asset. The search can be completed by means of several different identifying criteria and in all cases will display the full information set for any public entity which exists, or has existed within the state. Please follow the link above to access our official tutorial relating to the Massachusetts business search portal.
How to File in Massachusetts
Step 1 – The first step in creating an entity, no matter the type, is choosing a name to operate by that is available, unique, and abides by state regulations. There is no formal name inquiry that can be filed, however you are free to cross-reference the business entity database with your desired operating name(s) to check for its availability. Once complete, you may want to reserve the name for a period of 60 days to give you ample time to file.
Step 2 – You must now decide which entity type best suits your business needs. Below we have a comprehensive list of available entity types in Massachusetts with accompanying filing tutorials. Select the type that is best suited for you to continue.
- Standard Domestic Corporation
- Professional Domestic Corporation
- Non-Profit Domestic Corporation
- Standard Foreign Corporation
- Professional Foreign Corporation
- Domestic Limited Partnership
- Foreign Limited Partnership
- Domestic Limited Liability Partnership
- Domestic Professional Limited Liability Partnership
- Foreign Limited Liability Partnership
Step 3 – Next, you will need to pay the fees associated with both your entity type and your filing method. Please scroll down to access our fee breakdown to determine what, exactly, you will owe. Online and fax filers will pay fees online by either credit card or electronic check while mail/in person filers will have to make out a check to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in order to complete the payment. Individuals filing by fax will also need to create a fax voucher coversheet via the Commonwealth’s online portal. Complete fax packages will need to be sent to 617-624-3891 to be considered complete. Individuals filing by mail or in person will need to send their filing package to the following address:
1 Ashburton Place, Room 1717
Boston, MA 02108-1512
- Standard Domestic Corporation – $250 ($265 online or by fax)
- Professional Domestic Corporation – $250 ($265 by fax)
- Non-Profit Domestic Corporation – $35 ($40 online or by fax)
- Standard Foreign Corporation – $400 ($390 by fax)
- Professional Foreign Corporation – $400 ($390 by fax)
- Domestic – $500 ($520 online or by fax)
- Foreign – $500 ($520 by fax)
- LP – $200 ($215 online or by fax)
- Foreign LP – $200 ($215 by fax)
- LLP – $500 ($520 by fax)
- Professional LLP – $500 ($520 by fax)
- Foreign LLP – $500 ($520 by fax)
Although it is not legally required, reserving a name for your soon-to-be entity can, in many cases, prove to be a vital step taken during the overall process of entity formation. The reservation, which lasts a period of sixty (60) days and costs $30, will prevent competitors from snatching your desired trade name while your own entity undergoes the necessary preparatory steps needed to file with Secretary of the Commonwealth. For more information on reserving an entity name in Massachusetts, including access to the PDF form, click here.
Certificate of Good Standing
For every entity which exists or has ever existed in Massachusetts, the Secretary of the Commonwealth can generate a document entitled the Certificate of Good Standing which spells out in no uncertain detail the exact legal standing of the entity in question. This document is often necessary for foreign incorporation (including branching your entity into other states in the US) as well as for simple financial proceedings such as acquiring bank loans. For more information on acquiring the Certificate of Good Standing for either your own entity or that of another entity of interest, please feel free to consult our tutorial, located here.
All entities benefit from drafting agreements of some sort to delineate the financial and bureaucratic organization of the entity. These documents will not only make the running of the business clearer but they should, if drafted correctly, help to avoid future litigation between partners or between the entity and the government. Although they are not legally required for each entity type we highly recommend that anyone forming a new entity draft an agreement as part of their entity creation process. For more information on each specific type of agreement, as well as access to our PDF or MS Word formatted templates, please select the link which corresponds to your entity below.
Employer Identification Number
Almost every entity in existence in the United States of America is required to operate financially with the blessing of the IRS in the form of an EIN, or employer identification number. This number will make a given entity taxable, federally, and thus it will enable any and all financial maneuvers to take place above the table in full legality. This includes acquiring a loan, applying for a business credit card, and the completion of more complicated deals, such as mergers. To obtain an EIN for your entity you may apply via the IRS website or you may download the application form SS-4 in PDF and submit by mail or in person. We strongly recommend that all recently formed entities apply for an EIN immediately.