Starting a company

How To File A DBA In Massachusetts

Key Highlights

  • Learn about DBAs, or doing business as, and how they are used when a company operates under a name different from its legal one.
  • Understand how and where a DBA is required. Massachusetts counties have different filing fees.
  • Learn how employing a DBA may be advantageous for branding and marketing, although it doesn't result in forming a new legal firm.
  • Find more about the restrictions on DBA names in Massachusetts and why ensuring the chosen name is valid and pronounceable is vital.
  • Consider how it's crucial to consider the legal and tax repercussions before filing for a DBA and, if necessary, talk with an attorney or accountant.

What is DBA?

In business, knowledge reigns supreme. Doing business As, or "DBA," is an essential concept to understand, especially if you wish to conduct business in the United States under a name other than your legal one. Understanding this idea is crucial since it influences your branding, marketing, and compliance with the law.

However, believing that DBA's meaning is the same in all regions would be foolish. In certain nations, this is known as a "Fictitious Business Name" or an "Assumed Name." Companies occasionally even go so far as to use a name entirely fictitious and unrelated to their real one. These seemingly little issues can have a substantial influence on the financial and legal position of your company. Therefore, you must become aware of these subtleties as a wise business owner and understand how they apply to your situation.

Remember that success in the business world requires knowledge. Understanding DBA is just one piece of the problem. 

Why do you need a DBA?

One of a company's most significant assets in the business world is its name. It serves as a symbol of the company's reputation, core principles, and client commitments. A firm occasionally needs to alter its name to reflect a new direction, reach a different market, or repair a damaged reputation.

This is where DBA is beneficial. When a company does business under a name other than its legal name, it is known as "doing business as" or "DBA." Let's take the case of XYZ Inc. A business decided to introduce a new product line called "ABC Products."To inform everyone that XYZ Inc. is now conducting Business as ABC Products, the company must submit a DBA application to the relevant regulatory agency (often at the state or municipal level). 

There are several tactical and strategic advantages to hiring a DBA. Using a DBA can make it simpler to create bank accounts, obtain company licenses, and submit loan applications on a practical level. It can be difficult to demonstrate that a firm is the same thing when it uses a name other than its legal name, leading to delays and hassles. But a DBA makes it evident that the company's trade and legal names are related, which may simplify many administrative duties.

Utilizing a DBA can help organizations more strategically accomplish their objectives. For instance, a company may use a new name to enter a new market or concentrate on a certain product line. They can develop a distinctive brand identity that appeals to the target audience by using a name other than their legal name. Alternatively, a name change could be required due to a purchase, merger, or change in the company's primary market. In these situations, a DBA may assist in letting consumers and stakeholders know about the changes, making the transition easier and less perplexing.

How to set up a DBA in Massachusetts

Establishing a DBA (Doing Business As) in Massachusetts is straightforward, but it's essential to follow the right steps to ensure your company runs smoothly and legally. Here is a complete guide on how to create a DBA in Massachusetts.

Select the title

You must select an available name before starting the DBA creation procedure in Massachusetts. On the Massachusetts Secretary of State's website, you may look for existing company names. After choosing a name, make sure it complies with Massachusetts' naming requirements and is not too similar to a brand-new company.

Verify any trademarks

A search for any trademark infringements must follow the choice of a name. On the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, a trademark query can be performed to achieve this. To prevent legal complications, be sure your name does not conflict with any already registered trademarks.

Enroll Your DBA

After choosing a name and confirming its availability, the following step is to set up your DBA with the Massachusetts Secretary of State. Online, in person, or by mail are all acceptable ways to finish this process. A Certificate of Business or Organisation must be filled out, submitted, and the required costs must be paid.

Obtain the necessary licenses and permits

You must secure the licenses and permits required for the kind of business you are planning if you want to operate in the beautiful state of Massachusetts. If you don't, you might face a complete kaleidoscope of unfavorable repercussions, from substantial fines to legal action being taken against you.

Massachusetts DBA name restrictions

It's important to consider certain limitations and specifications for naming your firm while setting up a DBA (Doing firm As) in Massachusetts. Several limitations have been put in place to avoid confusion and ensure that your DBA name can be distinguished from other registered business names in the state.

Your DBA name must be distinct from other registered business names in Massachusetts, which is a crucial requirement. Therefore, you are not permitted to use a name that another company inside the state is currently using. Before choosing a name for your DBA, it's a good idea to perform a comprehensive search of already-used company names and trademarks to eliminate any potential conflicts.

Unless you have authorization to use that name, your DBA name cannot contain any text that implies it is associated with a government agency or other body. This is a crucial restriction. By doing this, you may avoid misunderstanding and ensure that clients aren't led to believe that your company is affiliated with a government body or any other type of organization.

Your DBA name cannot indicate a company, limited partnership, or LLC unless it has been registered as such. This mandate protects consumers by ensuring that companies are legitimately registered and preventing false representations that a company is a corporation, limited partnership, or LLC.

Furthermore, your DBA name may not use vulgar or derogatory words. This limitation aids in ensuring that companies conduct themselves professionally and with consideration for their clients and the neighborhood.

Last but not least, your DBA name cannot in any way imply that your company offers services that it does not. This mandate guarantees that companies conduct themselves with honesty and integrity and that clients are not tricked into believing they would obtain services that are not provided.

Forms needed to file a DBA in Massachusetts

You must fill out and submit the necessary forms, which include the following, to register for a DBA in Massachusetts.

Certificate of Business or Organization

All firms that conduct Business in Massachusetts, regardless of whether they're doing so under a DBA, must submit a Certificate of Business or Organisation. It contains the minimum information about your company, such as its name, address, and legal form.

DBA Statement of Intention

Use this form to state your intent to conduct business under a DBA. It comprises the official title of your company, the name(s) of the owner(s), and the location where your company will be located.

There are several avenues available for submitting forms. The traditional postal mail method, physical delivery, or electronic form are all options. The option of filling the forms online is a quick and practical method. It entails completing the paperwork online and submitting it through the Massachusetts Secretary of State website. However, suppose the physical or postal method is preferred. In that case, the necessary information must be entered into the forms, printed off, and sent to the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office with the required filing fee.

Massachusetts DBA filing & registration

One of the initial steps in starting a business in Massachusetts is registering your name as "Doing Business As," or DBA. However, choosing a unique and widely available name for your firm is essential before you plunge into the fascinating world of business ownership. Sounds simple enough, no? Unfortunately, if you are unsure of where to start, the procedure may become taxing and time-consuming.

Start the naming quest by thoroughly searching the Massachusetts Secretary of State website for already registered business names. By doing this crucial step, you can ensure that no other state business has already registered your desired name. If you find an unclaimed name that appeals to you, the next step is to ensure it complies with Massachusetts' strict naming requirements. It is strongly advised against choosing a name almost identical to or similar to one used by an existing firm to avoid potential legal entanglements.

A trademark search on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website is crucial once you've finally decided on a name. This check will ensure that your name doesn't conflict with any already registered trademarks. We assure you that you don't want to become embroiled in a legal dispute over your company's name.

There are various ways to register, including in person, online, or the conventional postal service. Whatever route you take, you must ensure that all necessary paperwork has been filled out, finished, and submitted for registration, including the vital Certificate of Business or Organisation.

There is still more to the registration procedure, so don't rejoice. A notice of your DBA must also appear in a newspaper in the county where your company's headquarters are located. This has to be done in the first 90 days after registering your DBA since it's a legal necessity. 

You should ensure you have all the required licenses and permissions to conduct business lawfully in Massachusetts. The state's website is a great place to look for the necessary licenses and approvals. Heavy fines, penalties, or even legal action could result from failing to get these papers. Stop allowing this to happen to you!

Massachusetts DBA tax considerations

The tax repercussions of running a business under a different name must be considered when filing a DBA in Massachusetts. The following are some crucial tax factors to bear in mind:

Business Structure

How your DBA revenue is taxed will depend on your company's structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc.). For instance, if you are a sole proprietor, your DBA revenue will be taxed on your tax return as personal income.

Sales Tax

You must apply for a Massachusetts transactions Tax Permit and collect sales tax on all taxable transactions if you intend to conduct Business in Massachusetts using your DBA to sell products or taxable services.

Business Taxes

Alongside the personal income tax, your DBA might be liable to additional Massachusetts business taxes, including corporation excise tax or annual report filing fees for LLCs. Investigating and comprehending the tax obligations for your particular business structure is crucial.

Employer Taxes

If your DBA employs people, you must get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS and pay employer taxes, such as Social Security and Medicare.

Estimated Taxes

To prevent penalties and interest on underpaid taxes, you may be obliged to pay estimated taxes throughout the year based on your business structure and income.

How much does a DBA filing cost in Massachusetts?

Submitting a DBA in Massachusetts can be expensive depending on several variables, including the kind of company entity you select and the filing method you utilize.

If you register a DBA in Massachusetts online, the registration price is typically $60; however, if you prefer to file on paper, the fee increases to $70. However, additional costs can apply if you need rapid processing or other services. Always check the Massachusetts Secretary of State's website to stay informed about current rules and expenses. 


In conclusion, setting up a DBA in Massachusetts can be smooth if you follow the established rules and criteria. In Massachusetts, a DBA can be a practical approach to offer your company a distinctive brand identity. Always consult a professional and keep accurate financial records to ensure you stay within the law. By doing this, you may confidently launch your company in the Bay State and position yourself for success.

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At Levy, we help early-stage founders streamline and automate regulatory and legal ops, HR, and finance so you can focus on what matters most — your business.

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Note: Our content is for general information purposes only. Levy does not provide legal, accounting, or certified expert advice. Consult a lawyer, CPA, or other professional for such services.

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