Business Certificates

 
 
 
FILING A BUSINESS CERTIFICATE
(Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 110, Section 5)
 
WHO MUST FILE?
  • Any person conducting business under any title other than the complete real name of the owner, whether individually or as a partnership.
  • INC., CORP., LTD MAY ONLY BE USED BY A CORPORATION
  • Any corporation doing business in a name other than the corporate name. (Must be filed by a corporate officer)
WHO DOES NOT HAVE TO FILE?

Any person doing business as a sole proprietor under their own complete name, such as John Smith Company, or if you are incorporated and are doing business under the true incorporated name.

WHERE DOES ONE FILE?
File with the Town Clerk, either on-line, in person or by mail. Mail-in Business Certificate / DBA Application Form
 

If you will be operating your business out of your home, you must also complete the Mail-in Home Occupation Application for DBA form.  This is required by Sterling's Protective (Zoning) Bylaws, Article 4, Section 4.1 Home Occupations. 

WHAT DOES IT DO?

A business certificate allows consumers and/or creditors to identify the names of the actual owners of a business. This information is a public record.

WHAT DOESN’T IT DO?
Filing a business certificate at the local Town Clerk’s office does NOT protect your name or reserve it as does a corporate filing or a trademark registration (which is done through the State). It also does not give you permission to operate a business in the town-it only registers your name. In order to legally operate a business in town you must get the appropriate permits, licenses, variance, etc., that are required by the issuing departments of the town.
 
WHAT ABOUT A CHANGE?
Upon discontinuing, retiring or withdrawing from such business or partnership, or in the case of a change of residence of such person or of the location where the business is conducted, such information must be filed with the office of the Town Clerk.
 
DOES A BUSINESS CERTIFICATE EXPIRE?
A business certificate is in force and effect for four (4) years from the date of issue. A new filing must be made every four years as long as the business is conducted.
 
DO I HAVE TO DISPLAY THE CERTIFICATE?
No.  However you must provide a copy on request, during regular business hours, to any person who has purchased goods or services from such business.
 
FEES
  • Business Certificate Filing $60.00 ($15/year)
  • Additional Certified Certificate Copies $10.00
  • No charge for Changes / Withdrawals / Discontinance.  (If a new copy of the certificate is to be issued following a change, however, the $10.00 certified copy fee applies.)