Forming a corporation in Massachusetts is relatively simple. The state is kind enough, or forward-thinking enough, to provide multiple filing methods for each corporation type (online, fax, mail, in person) as well as to provide ready-made forms for filing for all corporation types. Payments (outlined below) are easily made via check, electronic check, credit card, or via the web portal (assuming you have filed before and have an account). The pricing scheme is as follows:
- 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)
Below you will find a general overview of the incorporation process, but before you read on, if you do intend to incorporate, you should ensure the eligibility of your desired operating name. To do so, you’ll have to cross-check your desired name against the list of established entity names within the business entity database, which you can do by performing a quick business entity search. Once you’ve made sure that the name is unique and available, you might want to consider reserving the name via the official name reservation process ($30). For the purposes of our corporation tutorials we will be assuming that you have indeed chosen a unique operating name and that it is available.
How to File
Step 1 – As mentioned above, there are several different corporation types available in Massachusetts. You must first select the type which fits your needs and/or circumstances:
The filings processes are mostly similar, although only standard domestic and non-profit corporations can file online.
Step 2 – You must now decide which filing method suits your circumstances best. As mentioned above, standard domestic and non-profit domestic corporations can file online. All corporation types can otherwise file by fax or otherwise through the mail/in person. Each method has a slightly different pricing scheme (outlined above).
Step 3 – You will now need to fill out the form required for your given corporation type. Online filers will generate this form with the help of a webform while all other filers must download the appropriate form and fill it in either on the computer or by hand.
Step 4a – Individuals filing online or by fax will pay their fees online by either credit card, electronic check, or through a pre-existing online account with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Fax filers will, in the process, generate a fax voucher coversheet which will be necessary eventually for fax filing. Complete fax packages will need to be sent to 617-624-3891 to be considered complete.
Step 4b – If you would like to file by mail or in person you must ensure your form(s) reach the following address with an appropriately apportioned check made out to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts attached:
1 Ashburton Place, Room 1717
Boston, MA 02108-1512
EIN – All corporations are required to register with the IRS, either with the Online form or through the mail with the PDF Form SS-4, in order to get their unique EIN, or employer identification number. It is this number, and none other, that allows a given entity to operate financially in the US. Without an EIN even the simplest of financial maneuvers, including applying for a corporate credit card, becomes impossible. For more information on acquiring an EIN please follow the link to the left.
Corporate Bylaws– In most states corporate bylaws are required for incorporation, and with good reason, as they are typically the only document acting as a sort of constitution for the corporation. They delineate in black-and-white the financial and organizational structure of the corporation, noting which members are responsible for what and the financial obligations of each. Furthermore, this document represents the one place where rules such as meeting times and the like can be laid down with the official consent of all pertinent members. For more information on drafting corporate bylaws please follow the link to the left. On this page you will have accessto our bylaw template, available in both MS Word and PDF formats, which could save you invaluable time in drafting a bylaw of your own.
Renewal – In order to remain in good standing all corporations must file an annual report with the Commonwealth. This report can be completed online at the link to the left (note: you will need to have your LLC’s customer ID number and PIN on hand to complete the filing) or by fax or mail/in person using the following forms:
- Domestic / Foreign Corporations – $125 ($135 online or by fax)
- Non-Profit Corporations – $15 ($20 online or by fax)
- Professional Domestic / Foreign Corporations – $125 ($135 online or by fax)
For instructions on fax filing please click here. Filing by fax requires the generation of a fax voucher coversheet, the process of generating which will include the payment of the aforementioned fees. To generate your tax voucher please continue to this page. Finally, if you would prefer to file by mail/in person you must deliver your forms to the following address with a properly apportioned check made out to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts attached:
1 Ashburton Place, Room 1717
Boston, MA 02108-1512