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Start a Business in Massachusetts

Starting a business in Massachusetts is easy. All you need to do is file a few forms with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth and start running your business. Below, we show you how to get started and walk you through some of your options.

One option is, of course, to stop reading and just hire us to start your business for you. At Northwest, we form businesses and provide registered agent service throughout the US. That’s our business, and obviously we recommend starting your business in a certain way. We call it “Starting a Business the Right Way."

Starting your business the right way means hiring a registered agent to form your LLC or corporation so you can protect your privacy and receive the care your business needs to stay active. If you hire us to start your Massachusetts business, we’ll be your registered agent, provide Privacy by Default®, a business address, mail forwarding and local Corporate Guide® service for life.

All You Need

Hire us to start your Massachusetts LLC or corporation and get all the tools you need to start fast:

  • MA registered agent service

  • MA business forms

  • Online client account

  • Easy access to all our business services & answers to your business questions

Start Your Business the Right Way

As your registered agent, when we start your business, we give you what other filing services can’t:

  • Privacy by Default®
  • Business address
  • Free mail forwarding
  • Lifetime support from local Corporate Guides®

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How to Start a Massachusetts Business


You file articles of organization for a Massachusetts corporation or certificate of organization for a Massachusetts LLC with the MA Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Federal Tax ID

You obtain a federal tax ID number (FEIN or EIN) with the IRS after you have confirmation and filed articles from the State of Massachusetts showing your approved Massachusetts business.

Bank Account

Opening a business banking account under your new Massachusetts business name should be easy with these two items.

Department of Revenue

If you’re going to have employees or need to withhold sales tax, you will probably need to register with the MA department of revenue. We provide all these links in your online account.

Trade License

If your business trade requires a license, you’ll have to apply for a license with the Massachusetts licensing board. (Most businesses don’t.) But if you do, these quick links and contact details are in your online account.

Local License

Some local cities or counties have a general license, but most don’t.
You obtain a local trade license if the city or county you’re going to be working in requires it.


If you’re going to have an office or shop you might need an approval from the city zoning for your type of business in that location.

Get Going

If you get overwhelmed, just get your business pulling in money and worry about regulations later.

Are You A Do-It-Yourselfer? You Can Save Some Money:

If you want to start a business in Massachusetts yourself, you can just hire us as your Massachusetts registered agent, and you’ll instantly have the Massachusetts LLC or corporation forms to file along with filing instructions on the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to incorporate a Massachusetts corporation or form a Massachusetts LLC. You’ll get the ongoing support of our online tools, reminders and the support of a professional Massachusetts registered agent service.


Massachusetts LLC vs Corporation

Small business owners enjoy the easy maintenance of an LLC. They have fewer annual requirements and offer flexible management structures. Corporations are best for anyone seeking to grow a larger business. Plus, having the ability to sell stock helps attract top investors.

But, what about Massachusetts? Any pros and cons for a Massachusetts LLC vs corporation?

In terms of initial formation and annual report fees, Massachusetts corporations are significantly cheaper than Massachusetts LLCs. The cost of submitting the Articles of Organization is $275 for up to 275,000 shares whereas the Certificate of Organization requires a payment of $500. Both entities are required to file an annual report and list officer/director or member/manager information; however, corporations will pay much less—$110 vs $520.

However, during tax season, Massachusetts corporations will get the short end of the stick. Unfortunately, the state’s corporate excise tax is a combination of income and net worth, which can make this tax expensive for C corporations. Also, traditional corporations are taxed twice—first on the state level, then through shareholder returns. The rate for personal income is fixed—5.05%. So, traditionally-taxed LLCs (regardless of income) will pay less annually.

If you want a corporation, you file Massachusetts articles of organization:

The Massachusetts corporation articles of organization cost $275 minimum to file with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. We custom draft your Massachusetts articles of organization when you hire Northwest to start your Massachusetts business.

The basic requirements of Massachusetts corporations are:

  • The Massachusetts corporation must have a corporate ending such as incorporated, corporation or an abbreviation thereof.
  • The duration of the corporation is “perpetual” unless otherwise stated.
  • The purpose of the Massachusetts corporation.
  • The number of shares the Massachusetts corporation is authorized to issue and par value.
  • The name of the registered agent in Massachusetts and the registered office address.
  • The name and address of the directors of the Massachusetts corporation.
  • The name and address of the Massachusetts incorporators.
  • Date of execution.
  • The Massachusetts incorporator must sign the articles of organization.
  • The name and business address of the person preparing the MA articles of organization

Massachusetts requires original signatures on mailed filings. Faxed documents do not have this requirement. The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth does not return the filed document to you. You have to do a name search on their website to see if you’ve been filed and download your filed articles.

Start Your Massachusetts Business!

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If you want an LLC, you file Massachusetts Certificate of organization:

To form a Massachusetts LLC, file a certificate of organization with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The MA LLC filing fee is $500.

The basic requirements of Massachusetts LLC filings are:

  • The business name must have a LLC ending or variation of it.
  • The Massachusetts company name must be different than already registered Massachusetts companies.
  • The street address of the office in MA where records will be maintained.
  • The character of the Massachusetts Limited Liability Company.
  • The LLC has a perpetual duration unless you state a date of dissolution.
  • The Massachusetts registered agent name and physical address.
  • The names and addresses of each manager.
  • The names and addresses of those authorized to execute documents.
  • The name and business address of each person authorized to execute, acknowledge, deliver and record any recordable instrument regarding any interest in real property recorded with a registry of deeds or district office of the land court.
  • Optional provisions or additional matters.
  • Consent of registered agent.
  • The Massachusetts organizer or authorized person must sign.
  • Contact information.

Massachusetts requires original signatures on mailed filings. Faxed documents do not have this requirement. The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth does not return the filed document to you. You have to do a name search on their website to see if you’ve been filed and download your filed articles.

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