Massachusetts Business License

Massachusetts Business License

Massachusetts Business License

Are you interested in starting your own business in Massachusetts? Starting your own business is a dream for many people. Unfortunately, the process can be daunting and might stop some people. However, you will be on your way to your entrepreneurial dreams with the right information.

Before we jump into the steps for filing for your business license, we should start with where you can find information for Massachusetts small business owners. You will want to get familiar with the program available to you as you start your new venture.

Informational Programs for Massachusetts Small Business Owners

The Executive Office of House and Economic Development (EOHED) provides important information for small business owners in Massachusetts. A good starting point is the "Starting a Business" section of the EOHED website. The section contains a step-by-step guide for those wanting to start a business in Massachusetts. This guide helps would-be business owners avoid making several common mistakes.

The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network (MSBDC) is another reliable resource for Massachusetts business owners. The advisory and training services available take some guesswork out of starting a business.

To get started, visit the MSBDC website. In addition to the website, the MSBDC also has offices throughout the Massachusetts area. Just to name a few, there's the UMass Amherst location and the UMass Boston Regional Office & Minority Business Center.

Obtaining a General Business License

Before running your own company, you will need to file for a business license that will give you the legal right to operate a business within the state of Massachusetts. To obtain a general business license, contact the city or town office for your business location.

The office will have the information you need to obtain the necessary business license. For information on a specific city or town office, visit the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) website. The "Licensing and Regulation" section should have the information you're seeking. There you'll find information on the Massachusetts Municipal Association. This page contains links to several city and town websites.

Obtaining a Professional License

Some occupations and professions require licensing by the State of Massachusetts. To name a few, veterinarians, nurses, doctors, lawyers, accountants, dentists, engineers, and architects all require professional licenses.

These professionals doing business without an official license is breaking the law. More information is available on the Massachusetts Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) website. Visit the "License Types, Forms & Requirements" section to learn more about professional and occupational licenses.

File Official Business Forms

Before you file your business license, you will want to determine what type of business you will be starting. There are different business forms for you to file, from a sole proprietorship to limited liability companies.

Different business types often need to file official business forms or certificates with the state. For example, limited liability companies and corporations must file certain certificates and records to operate legally. If you will have employees, you will need to file for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Contact the Corporations Division of the Massachusetts Secretary of State for more information.

Using a Fictitious or Assumed Business Name

Most business owners will want their business to have an official business name. If that's the case, the owner must file a form to use the name officially. Any business using a fictitious or assumed name must register with the state. The same is true for any business "doing business as" (DBA).

Making a Trade Name, Trademark, or Service Mark Official

Trade names, trademarks, and service marks require state registration and are specific to each business identity. These identifying marks make it possible for consumers to distinguish between businesses, services, and products.

If the information isn't registered, then a competitor could start using the same information. Learn more about this subject from the Secretary of State website. You'll find a section called "About Trademarks and Service Marks."


Starting your own business can be a dream, but the paperwork can be daunting. Hopefully, this article can help make that process easier. Chamber of Commerce is here to help new business owners succeed.

There are many licensing requirements in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but it's worth it to realize your entrepreneurial dreams. Start with your business license today.