How to Get a DBA Name in Massachusetts | A Step-By-Step Guide

Steve Bennett
Business Formation Expert  |   Fact Checked by Editorial Team
Last updated: 
WebinarCare offers informative content for educational purposes only, not as a substitute for professional legal or tax advice. We may earn commissions if you use the services we recommend on this site.
WebinarCare is led by Steve Bennett, a seasoned expert in the business world. He's gathered a team that's passionate about giving you reliable advice on everything from starting a business to picking the right tools. We base our tips and guides on real-life experience, ensuring you get straightforward and proven advice. Our goal is to make your business journey smoother and more successful. When you choose WebinarCare, you're choosing a trustworthy guide for all things business.
Get a DBA Name in Massachusetts

Have you ever wondered how to get a DBA for your Limited Liability Company? If you have, then you are on the right page. Doing Business As (DBA) names, also known as trade names, fictitious names, or assumed names, are an essential aspect of businesses in Massachusetts. A DBA name allows companies to operate under a name different from their legal business name since it is important for branding, marketing, and legal purposes. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to getting a DBA name in Massachusetts.

Through thorough research and market study, Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you learn about the DBA name. It would be best to cross-check all the factors before obtaining one for your Massachusetts business.

What is a DBA Name?

A DBA (Doing Business As) name in Massachusetts is a name under which a business operates that is different from its legal name. It is also known as a trading, fictitious, or assumed name. A DBA name allows companies to start a limited liability company in Massachusetts, and market themselves under a separate name from their legal business name. Registering a DBA name in Massachusetts, provides businesses with branding, marketing, and legal benefits while also helping to prevent other businesses from using the same or a similar name within the state.

Example of a DBA

A DBA (Doing Business As) example can be illustrated through a fictional scenario involving a sole proprietor named John Smith. Let’s say John owns a bakery business and wants to operate it under a different name rather than using his name.

Legal Business Name: John Smith (sole proprietor)

DBA Name: Sweet Treats Bakery

In this case, John would register “Sweet Treats Bakery” as his DBA name. By doing so, he can legally conduct his bakery business using the name “Sweet Treats Bakery” for branding, marketing, and legal purposes, instead of using his name, John Smith. This allows John to establish a professional identity for his bakery and distinguish it from other businesses.

If you start an LLC in Massachusetts, registering a DBA name is important when it comes to remembering your business. However, it is best to consult with a legal professional before you begin registering your DBA name. This is to ensure that your business name is available in Massachusetts.

WEBINARCARE EDITORIAL TEAM

How to Get a DBA Name in Massachusetts

Starting a business in Massachusetts can be exciting and challenging. One crucial step in establishing your business’s identity is choosing and registering a Doing Business As (DBA) name. Here are the steps to get a DBA in Massachusetts.

Step 1: Choose a Unique and Appropriate Name

The first step in registering a DBA name is selecting a unique and appropriate name for your business. Your chosen name should be easy to remember and represent your business’s products or services. 

Consider the following tips when choosing a DBA name in Massachusetts:

  • Avoid using names too similar to existing businesses, as this may lead to confusion and potential legal issues.
  • Stay away from names that may be considered offensive or misleading.
  • Research Massachusetts naming requirements, as some have specific restrictions on what words and phrases can be included in a business name. 

Recommended: Embark on your entrepreneurial journey confidently and affordably with LegalZoom’s DBA service, the beacon that guides businesses to credible branding and comprehensive compliance. Discover how effortless success can truly be!

LegalZoom – ($99 + Filling Fees)

Step 2: Conduct a Name Search

Once you have chosen a suitable name for your business, conducting Massachusetts Business Name Search is essential to ensure the name is not already used. In Massachusetts, they have an online business name database that you can search, usually found on the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Corporations Division . Sometimes, you may also need to check with your local county clerk’s office to ensure the name is not already used at the county level.

If your chosen name is already in use, select a different name and repeat the search until you find an available name.

Step 3: Register the DBA Name

After confirming that your chosen name is available, the next step is registering your DBA name with the appropriate state or county agency. In Massachusetts, you will need to complete a DBA registration form, which can often be found on Massachusetts Secretary of State website. Massachusetts may require additional documentation, such as proof of business ownership or a business license in Massachusetts.

When filling out the registration form, provide accurate and complete information. Any errors or omissions may lead to delays in processing or even the rejection of your application.

Step 4: Pay the Registration Fee

A fee is typically associated with registering a DBA name. In Massachusetts, there are two methods, by mail and in person. The cost of filing a DBA is $65 Filing fee and $35 Additional fee if a non-Massachusetts resident. However, renewing your DBA every four years would be best. Sometimes, there may be separate fees for Massachusetts DBA registrations. Be prepared to pay these fees when submitting your registration form.

Step 5: Publish a Notice of Your New DBA Name

Massachusetts requires you to publish a notice of your new DBA name in a local newspaper. This step will inform the public of your intention to operate under a fictitious name. 

The notice must typically include your DBA name, legal business name, business address, and owner’s name. You may need to provide proof of publication to Massachusetts or the county agency responsible for DBA registrations.

Step 6: Obtain Any Necessary Permits or Licenses

Depending on your Massachusetts business’s nature and location, you may need additional permits or licenses to operate under your DBA name.

The permits and licenses required for your business will depend on your business’s nature, location, and local and state regulations. Here are some common types of permits and licenses that might be required when operating under a DBA:

  • Business License: A general business license may be required in Massachusetts to operate your business legally. This license ensures your business meets local zoning, safety, and regulatory requirements. In Massachusetts, the costs of obtaining a business license range from $50 – $300.
  • Sales Tax Permit: If your business sells taxable goods or services, you may need a Sales Tax Permit from Massachusetts Department of Revenue.
  • Professional Licenses: Depending on your business type, you may need specific professional licenses or certifications. For example, if you are operating a restaurant, you may need a food handler’s permit; if you offer professional services such as accounting or legal services, you may need a professional license from Massachusetts state board. DBA filing requires professional licenses if you operate under a General Partnership in Massachusetts
  • Health and Safety Permits: Businesses in certain industries, such as food service, may require health and safety permits to ensure compliance with state and local regulations.
  • Zoning Permits: Depending on your business location and the type of business you are operating, you may need a zoning permit from your local planning or zoning department.
  • Environmental Permits: If your business involves activities that could impact the environment, you may need permits from Massachusetts state or federal environmental agencies.

Step 7: Renew Your DBA Registration as Needed

In Massachusetts, you are required to renew your DBA registration periodically. This renewal process may involve completing a renewal form, paying a renewal fee, and sometimes republishing the notice of your DBA name. Stay up-to-date with your state’s renewal requirements to maintain your DBA name and avoid penalties.

Maintaining the DBA Name

Once your DBA name is registered and published, it is essential to maintain it to remain in good standing with Massachusetts. Here are some important aspects to consider:

  • Renewal or Expiration: Depending on Massachusetts’s regulations, your DBA name registration may expire or need to be renewed periodically. Keep track of these deadlines to avoid losing your DBA name.
  • Updating Business Information: If your business undergoes significant changes (such as a change in ownership or address), you may need to update your DBA name registration with the appropriate agency.
  • Canceling or Discontinuing the DBA Name: If you decide to stop using your DBA name or close your business, notify the appropriate agency and follow any required procedures for canceling or discontinuing the name.

Is a DBA in Massachusetts the same as a Trade Name?

Yes, in Massachusetts, a DBA (Doing Business As) is the same as a trading name. Both terms refer to a name under which a business operates differently from its legal name. A DBA or trade name allows companies to conduct business and market themselves using a different name from their legal business name. Other terms for DBA or trade name include fictitious name and assumed name. Registering a DBA or trade name in Massachusetts may vary depending on the type of business and the state’s specific regulations.

Do I need to register my Massachusetts DBA in the Internal Revenue Service?

No, you do not need to register your DBA (Doing Business As) name in Massachusetts with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The registration of a DBA is typically done at the state or local level, depending on the specific regulations of Massachusetts. The IRS is not involved in the DBA registration process.

However, once your DBA is registered in Massachusetts, you may need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in Massachusetts from the IRS if your business has employees, operates as a corporation or partnership, or meets certain tax-filing requirements.

Do I need to file for a DBA if I already have Massachusetts Registered Business Name?

If you already have a registered business name in Massachusetts and you plan to conduct business using that exact name, you do not need to file for a DBA (Doing Business As). A DBA is required when a business wants to operate under a name different from its legal business name. 

However, you must file for a DBA if you have a registered business name and wish to conduct business under a different name. This applies to sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations that intend to use a name other than their legally registered name.

FAQs

What is a DBA name in Massachusetts?
A DBA (Doing Business As) name is the name a business uses instead of the owner’s personal name or the official name registered with the state.
Who needs a DBA name in Massachusetts?
Any sole proprietor, partnership, LLC or corporation who does business in Massachusetts under a name that’s different than their legal name will need to file for a DBA in the state.
How do I check if my DBA is available in Massachusetts?
You can check the availability of your DBA name through the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s website or by calling them directly.
How much does it cost to file for a DBA in Massachusetts?
The filing fee for a DBA name in Massachusetts is $50.
Do I need to register my DBA name in Massachusetts annually?
No, once you have filed for your DBA name, it is valid until the business closes or the name is changed.
Do I need a separate DBA registration for each location in Massachusetts?
No, a single DBA registration is sufficient, even if you have multiple locations in Massachusetts.
Can I sell products or services under my DBA name in Massachusetts?
Yes, once you have registered your DBA name, you can use it for all business operations, including selling products or services.
Can I use a DBA name that is already being used in Massachusetts?
No, if someone else is already using the same DBA name in Massachusetts, you will need to choose a different one.
How long does it take to process a DBA name registration in Massachusetts?
It typically takes 7-10 business days to process a DBA registration in Massachusetts.
Will the Massachusetts Secretary of State notify me when my DBA registration is approved?
Yes, you will receive a written notice from the Massachusetts Secretary of State once your DBA registration has been approved.
Can I register a DBA name online in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can file for a DBA name online through the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s website.
Can an LLC have a DBA name in Massachusetts?
Yes, an LLC can operate under a DBA name in Massachusetts, as long as it has been properly registered.
Can I use an abbreviation or acronym for my DBA name in Massachusetts?
Yes, as long as the abbreviation or acronym is not already being used by another business in Massachusetts.
How long does a DBA registration last in Massachusetts?
A DBA registration in Massachusetts is valid until the business changes its name or ceases operation.
Can I apply for a federal trademark on my DBA name in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can apply for a federal trademark on your DBA name if it is unique and not already being used by another business.
Is a DBA name and business name the same thing in Massachusetts?
Not necessarily. Your business name is the legal name of your organization as it is registered with the state, whereas your DBA name is the assumed name you use for marketing and branding purposes.
Can I change my DBA name after it has been approved in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can change your DBA name in Massachusetts, however, you will need to file a new registration and pay the filing fee.
Do I need a separate tax ID number for my DBA name in Massachusetts?
No, you can use your existing tax ID number for all business operations, regardless of whether you are using your legal business name or your DBA name.
Should I trademark my DBA name in Massachusetts?
Trademarking your DBA name is not required, but it can give you legal protection against potential trademark infringement, so it’s a good idea to consider it.
Can I use my DBA name to open a bank account in Massachusetts?
Yes, once you have registered your DBA name, it can be used for all aspects of your business operations, including opening a bank account.
How do I renew my DBA registration in Massachusetts?
You do not need to renew your DBA registration in Massachusetts, it is valid until the business ceases operation or changes its name.
What happens if someone infringes on my DBA name in Massachusetts?
If your DBA name has been trademarked, and someone uses your name without permission, you can take legal action against them in court.
Can I register a DBA name using a PO box in Massachusetts?
No, DBA registrations must use the physical address of the business or one of its owners.
Can I use a DBA name for an online business in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can use your DBA name for any business operation, whether it’s a brick and mortar store or an online business.
Can I register a DBA name for a non-profit organization in Massachusetts?
Yes, non-profit organizations can use a DBA name in Massachusetts, but they must still file for it and pay the filing fee.
What is the penalty for not registering a DBA name in Massachusetts?
Operating a business without registering a DBA name in Massachusetts can result in fines and penalties, and the business may be forced to stop operating until the proper forms have been filed.
Is a DBA name registration in Massachusetts required for a freelancer or independent contractor?
If the person is self-employed and operating under a business name, then a DBA registration in Massachusetts is required.
How do I change the address associated with my DBA name registration in Massachusetts?
If the physical address of the business or one of its owners changes, you will need to file for a new DBA registration with the updated address.
Is a DBA registration in Massachusetts required for a trade name?
Yes, any name being used for business operations that’s different from the official legal name of the business must be filed as a DBA name in Massachusetts.
What is a DBA?
“DBA” stands for “Doing Business As.”
How do I obtain a DBA name in Massachusetts?
You can obtain a DBA name in Massachusetts by filing a form with the Secretary of State’s office and paying a fee.
Do I need to obtain a DBA name in Massachusetts?
If you want to do business under a name that is different from your own name or the name of your corporation, LLC, or partnership, you need to obtain a DBA name.
Is there a fee to register a DBA name in Massachusetts online?
Yes, there is a fee to register a DBA name in Massachusetts online.
What is the fee to register a DBA name in Massachusetts?
The fee to register a DBA name in Massachusetts is currently $50.
How long will it take to process my DBA registration in Massachusetts?
It typically takes one day to process your DBA registration in Massachusetts.
Does registering a DBA name in Massachusetts protect my business name?
Registering a DBA name in Massachusetts does not provide legal protection for your business name. You may want to consider registering a trademark for your business name.
What should I do if the DBA name I want to use is already taken in Massachusetts?
You will need to choose a different DBA name if the name you want to use is already taken in Massachusetts.
Can I use my personal name for my DBA name in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can use your personal name for your DBA name in Massachusetts.
Do I need a separate DBA name for each business location in Massachusetts?
No, you do not need a separate DBA name for each business location in Massachusetts.
Can I use a DBA name for my freelance work in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can use a DBA name for your freelance work in Massachusetts.
Can I change my DBA name in Massachusetts after registering it?
Yes, you can change your DBA name in Massachusetts after registering it.
Is a DBA name the same as a trade name in Massachusetts?
Yes, a DBA name is the same as a trade name in Massachusetts.
Can I use a DBA name if I have already registered my business name in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can use a DBA name if you have already registered your business name in Massachusetts.
Do I need to renew my DBA registration in Massachusetts?
You need to renew your DBA registration in Massachusetts every four years.
Can I transfer my DBA registration from one business owner to another in Massachusetts?
No, you cannot transfer your DBA registration from one business owner to another in Massachusetts.
How many DBA names can I register in Massachusetts?
There is no limit to the number of DBA names you can register in Massachusetts.
Can I use a DBA name for my non-profit organization in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can use a DBA name for your non-profit organization in Massachusetts.
Can I register a DBA name in Massachusetts if I am not a resident of Massachusetts?
Yes, you can register a DBA name in Massachusetts if you are not a resident of Massachusetts.
Do I need to file a separate tax return for my DBA in Massachusetts?
No, you do not need to file a separate tax return for your DBA in Massachusetts.
Can I reserve a DBA name in Massachusetts?
No, you cannot reserve a DBA name in Massachusetts.
Can I register a DBA name in Massachusetts if my business is located outside of Massachusetts?
Yes, you can register a DBA name in Massachusetts if your business is located outside of Massachusetts.
Is there a penalty for not registering a DBA name in Massachusetts?
Yes, there is a penalty for not registering a DBA name in Massachusetts.
Can I use a DBA name that includes “Inc.” or “LLC” in Massachusetts?
No, you cannot use a DBA name that includes “Inc.” or “LLC” in Massachusetts.
Can I use a DBA name that includes “Co.” in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can use a DBA name that includes “Co.” in Massachusetts.
Can I use a DBA name that includes a trademarked term in Massachusetts?
No, you cannot use a DBA name that includes a trademarked term in Massachusetts.
Can I operate under multiple DBA names for the same business in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can operate under multiple DBA names for the same business in Massachusetts.
Can I apply for a DBA name in Massachusetts if my business is not yet formed?
No, you must have a business entity formed before applying for a DBA name in Massachusetts.

Also Read

Conclusion

Getting a DBA name in Massachusetts is crucial for many businesses, providing branding, marketing, and legal benefits. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can successfully register a DBA name in Massachusetts and enhance your business’s credibility and recognition in the market. Remember to stay up-to-date with Massachusetts’s rules and regulations surrounding DBA names, and maintain your registration to ensure your business remains compliant.

Leave a Comment