Massachusetts Filing Fees

What are the Business Filing Fees in Massachusetts?

Starting a business in Massachusetts means paying a variety of government filing fees. We’ve compiled the most common ones here so that you’ll know what to expect.

FILE YOUR BUSINESS

To know what Massachusetts filing fees your new business will pay, you’ll start by choosing a business structure. All businesses are likely to need to pay at least some fees to meet various licensing and permitting requirements. Additionally, statutory entities, including corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and limited partnerships (LPs), must register and pay to file their Massachusetts formation documents. We’ve compiled a list of the fees you may encounter when forming your business in Massachusetts to help guide you.

Step 1: Pay your Massachusetts business’s initial filing fees

The Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Corporate Division manages business filings within Massachusetts. You will pay a filing fee when you file your formation documents. The document you need will depend on the type of business you form.

  • Domestic profit corporation: Articles of Organization
  • Nonprofit corporation: Articles of Organization
  • Domestic limited liability company (LLC): Certificate of Organization
  • Domestic limited partnership (LP): Limited Partnership Certificate
  • Domestic benefit corporation: Articles of Organization

The Corporate Division accepts filings online, by fax, by mail, or in-person. If you choose to submit online or by fax, you will pay an expedited fee, but you can file 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. When the Division’s office receives corporate filings, they’re effective immediately. LLC and LP filings are effective once approved. When you’re ready to submit your Massachusetts formation fees, our expedited filing service can do the work for you.

Step 2: Reserve your Massachusetts business’s name

Massachusetts doesn’t require businesses to register their name before conducting business in the state, but filing an Application of Reservation of Name (for a small fee) grants you exclusive use of the name for 60 days.

You can re-file to extend the reservation for another 60 days. If you need to extend for another 60 days, you must wait one business day to re-file. Our name reservation service does this for you and includes a search to check that your intended name is available.

Step 3: Reserve a “doing business as” name in Massachusetts

Your business might use a “doing business as” (DBA) name if it goes by a name other than its legal, registered name. DBAs are beneficial for sole proprietorships because you don’t need to use your personal name as the business name. A corporation or LLC might use a DBA if the business uses a shortened name or abbreviation or if the business wants to distinguish between the different services it provides. Massachusetts registers DBAs at the local level through your town or city clerk’s office. We have DBA registration experience and can help with your DBA search and registration.  

Step 4: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Massachusetts requests your business’s Employer Identification Number (EIN) when you file formation documents. Your business will need an EIN to pay its Massachusetts and federal taxes and report employee wage tax withholding.

You can get your EIN from the IRS, or we can do it for you with our EIN service.

Step 5: Draft an operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or partnership agreement for your Massachusetts business

Operating agreements, corporate bylaws, and partnership agreements, known as “governing documents,” set the rules for operating a business, allocating profits and losses, and resolving ownership disputes. Although Massachusetts doesn’t require a business to file its governing documents, it does require LLCs that have operating agreements to keep copies at their offices. Corporations must enact bylaws at their first corporate meeting. When you’re ready to draft your operating agreement or corporate bylaws, you can write them yourself — but this isn’t advisable. You can hire an attorney, but this can be expensive. We offer an online operating agreement template that you can customize to your business.

Step 6: Apply for your Massachusetts business’s necessary licenses and permits

Business licensing happens at the state, county, or local level and varies depending on the industry or business activity you want to engage in. These usually involve an initial fee and a fee to renew. There is no one-stop shop to tell you every license or permit your business needs or what the fees for those will be, so you’ll have to do some research. If you’d rather not have to do the research, our Business License Report can help you find the licensing you need.

Step 7: Pay registration fees for out-of-state businesses

A business that wishes to operate in Massachusetts but is registered in another state is a “foreign business.” Foreign businesses must file a Foreign Corporation Certificate of Registration by fax, mail, or in-person only (no electronic filing) within 10 days of operating in the state. Foreign businesses must submit a Certificate of Legal Existence, Good Standing, or Authority from their home state. A foreign business that does business in the state but isn’t registered may be subject to a penalty fee. 

Domestic businesses wishing to register in other states must obtain a Certificate of Good Standing or a Certificate of Legal Existence for a small fee. We offer a Certificate of Good Standing service to handle this process for you.

Step 8: Check Massachusetts’s annual report requirements and fees

Massachusetts requires some business entities to file an annual report and pay a fee with each filing. Corporations must file their annual reports within two-and-one-half months of the fiscal year end. LLCs and LPs must file before the anniversary date of the filing of their original Certificate of Organization. Massachusetts accepts annual reports online via MassTaxConnect. In general, a Massachusetts corporation owes both an income measure tax and a non-income measure tax or a minimum corporate excise tax. You may encounter other tax obligations, such as a sales or use tax, meals tax, or withholding tax for wages paid. Our annual report service can help you meet your deadlines.

Step 9: Keep your Massachusetts business legally compliant

To make changes to your business, you may need to file paperwork with the state of Massachusetts. The changes you might file and pay a fee for are:

  • Articles of Amendment
  • Statement of Change of Supplemental Information Contained in Article CII of Articles of Organization
  • Statement of Appointment of Registered Agent/Registered Office
  • Statement of Change of Registered Office Address by Registered Agent
  • Statement of Resignation of Registered Agent
  • Articles of Correction
  • Restated Articles of Organization
  • Articles of Merger
  • Stock changes
  • Certificate of Resignation of Director or Officer

If your business needs to make changes, our amendment filing service can do the work for you. Our Worry-Free Compliance service includes two amendments every year and can help your business stay in good standing with the state.

We make it easy to form and maintain your Massachusetts business

While finding all the Massachusetts filing fees can be overwhelming, we can help you know what you’ll need to pay. We simplify the red tape and jargon, so you can start, run, and grow your business. Let the formation experts help you start your business today!

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.

FAQs

  • Are there penalties for paying my fees late in Massachusetts?

    If you can’t pay your business formation fees, the Secretary of the Commonwealth will reject your registration, and you must refile.

  • What happens if I can’t pay my fees to the Massachusetts government?

    If you’re late filing your annual report and paying your taxes, you will pay late penalties and interest depending on how many days you’re late.

  • Who receives the fees for forming my Massachusetts business?

    The Secretary of the Commonwealth: Corporations Division collects business formation fees. The Division administers the provisions of the Massachusetts General Laws pertaining to businesses.

  • What is usually the biggest fee I will pay when I form my Massachusetts business?

    The biggest fee you will pay to form your Massachusetts business is the initial formation fee.

  • What payment methods can I use to pay my LLC or corporation filing fees to the Massachusetts government?

    Online or fax filing requires credit card payment or e-check. If you’re filing in person, you can pay with cash, check or money order. You can send a check or money order to pay your Massachusetts filing fees when filing by mail.

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