DBA in Massachusetts

If you’re a businessperson planning to do a startup in Massachusetts, filing for a DBA, also known as Doing Business As, is a vital step. Having a DBA not only lets you enjoy legal protection but also stabilizes your business while enabling you to have an official identity that can be used for banking and other financial transactions.

In this article, you will learn valuable information about the process of obtaining a DBA in Massachusetts, together with its costs, as well as its benefits. By gathering information about the intricacies of a DBA, you will be equipped to make well-informed decisions and proactively establish your business.


What is DBA?


What are the advantages of a DBA?


What are the disadvantages of a DBA?

DBA Formation

What are the steps to starting a DBA?


What is the cost of forming a DBA?


Frequently asked questions about DBAs


What Is a DBA?

For businesspersons in Massachusetts, obtaining a DBA is an essential step to the success of their business. It allows you to operate under a chosen name other than your legal entity, consequently opening up new opportunities that come with the recognition of your brand and protection.

Doing business As (DBA) can be used for a variety of purposes like differentiating between business divisions, creating a brand identity, and staying in compliance with the state laws. In Massachusetts, the application for DBA is simple and straightforward.

You must file an application to the Secretary of State’s office and pay the application fees. Once approved, your business will receive a recognition letter from the state regarding your newly chosen name and can begin operating as that entity in Massachusetts.


What Are the Advantages of a DBA in Massachusetts?

It’s important to know the potential benefits a DBA can offer your business. By having an understanding of the benefits ahead of time, you will be able to make an informed decision and determine if applying for a DBA in Massachusetts aligns with your business goals:

Privacy and separation of personal and business identities

The fact that a DBA keeps your private information separate from your business’s operations is its key significant advantage. This means that all correspondence with regard to the business will be sent to your business’ location and not your personal address. A DBA safeguards your privacy and, at the same time, ensures that any legal issues pertaining to the company are kept separate.

In fact, this may be very important during the event that your business is sued or goes bankrupt, as it can be challenging for business owners, especially the new ones, to identify their personal funds. Hence, regardless of the success of your business, a DBA makes sure that your personal assets are safeguarded.

Testing new ventures and diversifying business activities

An excellent chance to test out brand-new business concepts without the need for separate legal entities can be provided by a DBA to Massachusetts-based business owners. You can create several enterprises or product lines that are connected to your primary firm by submitting a single DBA and enjoy cost savings from reduced administrative burdens. 

For instance, the owner of one of Boston’s most well-known restaurants, “Bistro Bites,” also runs several other eateries under the same DBA, including “Taco Town” and “Veggie Delight,” allowing them to offer a variety of different types of cuisines without having to establish separate business entities for each restaurant.

Quick market entry and operational agility

Having a DBA registered in Massachusetts allows you to enter the market quickly and start operations under a preferred name. In addition to avoiding cumbersome legal procedures, you can respond promptly to changing market needs, pivot your strategies if needed, and seamlessly rebrand to ensure agility in your operations.

Take Winooski as an example, a Boston-based startup that offers a local marketplace for local businesses. For their first business launch, they registered a DBA under the name “Winooski Marketplace” to capitalize on its catchy alliteration and memorable wordplay. Without having to complete long legal processes or deal with cumbersome paperwork, they quickly gained traction and scaled up their operations.


What Are the Disadvantages of a DBA in Massachusetts?

You are better equipped to make well-thought-out decisions if you are aware of the limitations and challenges associated with a DBA registration.

It is important to note that when operating under a DBA, you are not protected from personal liability, unlike when operating under a separate legal entity like a corporation or limited liability company. As a result, you could be personally liable for any losses your customers or creditors suffer due to problems with your business operations. A DBA can also make it challenging to obtain financing since lenders may not want to take on the risk of an unprotected business.

A DBA-based business is not recognized or protected under Massachusetts law. In other words, legal disputes regarding contracts or other matters of law are likely to be treated as if your business operates independently without state recognition.

If you are considering establishing a Massachusetts DBA, you should understand the potential risks and drawbacks before moving forward. The lack of legal protection and difficulty obtaining financing should not be overlooked despite the advantages of operating as a DBA, such as lower startup costs.

DBA Formation

How to Get a DBA in Massachusetts

Massachusetts requires specific documents, forms, and requirements in order to obtain a DBA:

Pick a unique name

The first step is to decide what your business’ name will be. After selecting an appropriate name that is not already registered with the Secretary of State’s office of Massachusetts, you can begin the registration process.

Fill out forms

Fill out Form LLC-12: Application of Registration of Fictitious Business Name. You can find this form on the website of the Secretary of State. After completing the form, you have to notarize it and submit it along with $100 to the Secretary of State’s office.

Receive Certificate of Registration

Your application will be reviewed by the state and processed, and you will be contacted if further instructions are needed. In approximately two weeks after your application is approved, you will receive a Certificate of Registration. Your DBA registration certificate proves your authorization to conduct business under that name.

Publish a legal notice

After filing the application with the state, two newspapers must publish a notice of registration within 30 days. It is your responsibility to contact local newspapers and arrange for them to publish a legal notice stating that you have registered a DBA with the Secretary of State. You must submit a copy of each notice to the Secretary of State once it is completed.

If you wish to avoid any delays or complications, be sure to familiarize yourself with the specific guidelines set forth by the Secretary of State’s office. It won’t take you long to register your DBA in Massachusetts with the right preparation and attention to detail.


How Much is a DBA in Massachusetts?

It is relatively simple and inexpensive to register a Doing Business As (DBA) in Massachusetts. It costs $50 to file and must be paid by check or cash to the “Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” If you want to expedite your filing, you can pay an additional fee between $50 and $200.

Additional expenses may be associated with registering your DBA in Massachusetts in addition to the filing fee. The state law also requires you to publish the trade name notice in two newspapers of general circulation. Renewal of your registration must also be done every five years, and a renewal fee of $25 must be paid.

There is no doubt that obtaining a DBA (Doing Business As) is an excellent way for entrepreneurs and small business owners to establish their credibility and further develop their businesses. By creating a DBA, business owners in Massachusetts can conduct business under an assumed name and create an identity that is separate from their own personal identity or existing business. Massachusetts is one of the states in which the process of applying for a DBA is relatively straightforward, and it only requires filling out some paperwork and paying the appropriate fees. 

In Massachusetts, a DBA has numerous advantages. The assumed name not only allows business owners to conduct their business under a different name but also allows them to open bank accounts and accept payments in their business’ name. A DBA can also be used to gain recognition through marketing and advertising initiatives.

With all of these reasons in mind, it is definitely worth considering registering for a DBA if you are an entrepreneur or own a small business. Nonetheless, it is important for any business owner to take into account all the factors that need to be considered, such as the cost of registration and specific regulations that may apply in Massachusetts, before taking the necessary steps to file for a DBA registration.


Frequently Asked Questions About A DBA

Here are the most commonly asked questions about forming a DBA:

Yes, you can use a single DBA for multiple business ventures in Massachusetts. A DBA allows you to operate multiple businesses or offer various products and services under a single registered name, simplifying your administrative obligations and reducing costs.

In Massachusetts, a DBA registration is valid for five years from the date of filing. It is essential to renew your DBA before the expiration date to maintain your rights to the registered name. Failure to renew may result in losing the protection and benefits associated with your DBA.

Yes, you can change or transfer your DBA name to Massachusetts. If you wish to modify your registered DBA name, you will need to follow the state’s procedures for amending your DBA registration. Similarly, if you want to transfer the DBA to another individual or entity, you must comply with the necessary requirements and notify the appropriate authorities.

Yes, Massachusetts requires DBA registrants to publish a notice in a local newspaper within the county where the business operates. The publication must occur within the first six weeks of registering the DBA. The purpose of this requirement is to inform the public about your business name change or usage.

Yes, you can open a bank account under your DBA in Massachusetts. Banks generally accept DBAs as valid business names and allow you to establish a separate business account. However, it’s recommended to check with individual banks regarding their specific requirements and documentation needed to open a business account under a DBA.

No, a DBA in Massachusetts is not a separate legal entity on its own. It is simply a registered name under which you conduct business. If you wish to establish a different legal entity, such as a Massachusetts LLC or corporation, you would need to go through the process of forming that entity separately. While you can operate your business under a DBA, it does not have the same legal status and protections as a separate entity.