Obtaining a Certificate of Compliance in Massachusetts

Elevate the credibility and legal standing of your business in Massachusetts with a Certificate of Good Standing. Explore our comprehensive guide to understand the importance of this certificate and follow the steps to ensure your business thrives with a solid reputation.

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A Massachusetts Certificate of Good Standing (CGS) is an easy way to prove that your business is in compliance with the laws of the commonwealth. It shows that your business entity is legally incorporated and up-to-date on all its required filings.

In this guide, we’ll tell you all about the Massachusetts CGS and how to get it.

What is a Massachusetts Certificate of Good Standing (CGS)?

Also called the Certificate of Authorization or Certificate of Existence, a CGS proves that you’re compliant with the commonwealth laws at every step. It’s a legal document that shows your business is registered and authorized to operate in Massachusetts.

The certificate verifies your entity’s good standing with the commonwealth and helps expand your business in the future. As per the commonwealth laws, this certificate is essential if you want to:

  • Get business financing
  • Renew your business licenses
  • Expand into new territories
  • Sell or dissolve your business

It shows you meet all your tax obligations and have good standing with the commonwealth.

Which Massachusetts office issues Certificates of Good Standing?

You can apply for a Massachusetts CGS with the Secretary of the Commonwealth Corporations Division. The process is straightforward, and you can apply online, by mail, or in person. The processing fees to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing are $12.00 for corporations and $25.00 for a limited liability corporation (LLC) or a limited liability partnership (LLP). You may also apply for this certificate through MassTaxConnect from its Business Section.

You may find it confusing or lack the time to file it. If that’s the case, get in touch with ZenBusiness and let us handle the task for you with our worry-free compliance service or our Certificate of Good Standing service. We’ll apply for your Massachusetts CGS per commonwealth requirements.

What does a Certificate of Good Standing confirm?

A CGS confirms that you pay your franchise taxes and fees. In return, the commonwealth allows you to do business.

Per the Corporations Division, register your company with the Secretary of the Commonwealth as a corporation, LLP, or LLC to get your CGS. The certificate shows that your entity has not defaulted or been suspended and files annual reports without delay.

The information on the certificate includes:

  • Business name
  • Formation date
  • A declaration to verify an uninterrupted existence and operations since the time of incorporation
  • A declaration that the commonwealth has not initiated any proceedings under the General Laws Chapter 156D for your entity’s dissolution
  • An acknowledgment that your company has paid all dues and filed annual reports with the respective fees
  • A declaration that the company is in good standing with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Corporations Division

Why might a business need a Massachusetts Certificate of Good Standing?

According to commonwealth laws, you don’t need a CGS for operating your business in the commonwealth. However, it’s a good idea to get one. For example, you need it for:

Registering to do business in another state

When your company wants to expand beyond Massachusetts, it becomes a foreign business entity and must obtain a Massachusetts CGS as part of the authorization process to conduct business beyond Massachusetts.

Securing funding

If you want to apply for a line of business credit, you need a Massachusetts CGS.

Opening a business bank account

You need a business bank account to operate your business. However, banks and credit unions may demand a Certificate of Good Standing alongside your Certificate of Organization or operating agreement to open an account.

Buying business insurance

Every LLC, LLP, or corporation in Massachusetts needs proper insurance to remain compliant with commonwealth laws. This includes workers’ compensation insurance and professional malpractice insurance. General liability insurance is encouraged, but not required.

A CGS assures the insurer about your credibility and adherence to commonwealth laws.

Contract formation with the commonwealth/other business

When expanding your business, you may want to enter into a contract with the commonwealth or another business. Here again, you need a Massachusetts CGS to prove your entity’s existence, history, and legal status.

Selling the business

If you want to sell a part of or transfer ownership of your entire business, you’ll need this certificate to certify its compliance and existence.

Renewing certain permits and licenses

A Certificate of Good Standing is essential if you want to obtain or renew business licenses or commonwealth permits. For example, you may need a CGS to meet Department of Revenue compliance as a training provider.

What Massachusetts entities can obtain a CGS?

Per the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, any business entity properly registered in the commonwealth and up to date with all taxes and required reports can apply for a CGS.

How to get a Massachusetts Certificate of Good Standing

With a simple online process, you can request your CGS from the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The process involves the following steps:

Check to make sure your business is in compliance

To apply for a Massachusetts CGS, make sure your business is up to date with its taxes and annual reports. As a registered entity, you must have the required local, federal, and commonwealth licenses to do your business. Make sure that your licenses are up to date.

Also, file your annual reports with the registered agent details and principal office address before or on the anniversary of your incorporation. If this seems overwhelming, get in touch with ZenBusiness for a worry-free compliance check of your entity.

Go to Massachusetts’s business website to request a CGS

If your business is compliant with commonwealth laws and files taxes regularly, you can apply for a CGS at MassTaxConnect. Sign in to the business portal and request a Certificate of Good Standing from the “Other Actions” tab. If you don’t have a log-in, you can request this document directly from the portal’s homepage under the Business section.

Pay a non-refundable fee of $12.00 for corporations and $25.00 for LLCs and PLLCs. You can apply online or print the form and mail it with the fee to:

Massachusetts Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 7073
Boston, MA 02204

Send to requesting party

Once you receive your certificate of good standing in 5 to 7 working days, you can send it to the requesting party.


With this guide, you have all the information you need about a Massachusetts Certificate of Good Standing. Of course, if you’d rather not deal with the hassle of getting your own COGS, ZenBusiness can help. Contact us today to see about our Certificate of Good Standing service and other ways we can help your business grow and succeed.

Massachusetts Certificate of Good Standing FAQs

  • You need to pay a fee of $12.00 to get a CGS for a professional or profit corporation. The fee is $25.00 for LLCs and PLLCs.

  • The mailed-in application may take 4 to 6 weeks to process, so you may prefer the online method to apply and get your Massachusetts CGS in 5 to 15 business days- You can seek the help of ZenBusiness to streamline the process.

  • Yes. You can expedite the process. It needs an additional fee of $3.00 for orders up to $14.99 and $6.00 for orders totaled at $25 to $84.99.

  • It’s not necessary to have a CGS on hand to stay compliant in Massachusetts. The certificate helps you obtain finances, open a bank account, expand to other states, and renew your licenses. Some requesting parties will stipulate that any submitted CGS must be issued within a certain time frame. For example, a bank might require a CGS obtained within 30 days of applying for a business account.

    Compliance may not be simple to keep up with, especially when considering all the other aspects that make a business go round. At ZenBusiness, we understand that your business needs don’t stop after the business has been registered. ZenBusiness can keep you in good standing with our worry-free compliance service. With this service, we not only help keep your business in compliance, but we can also secure a Massachusetts CGS for you if you need one; you just pay the state fees. And, if you don’t have worry-free compliance but still need a CGS, our Certificate of Good Standing service can help.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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