Start a Massachusetts LLC

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LLC Massachusetts Experts and 5 Steps to Your MA LLC

Are you ready to take the plunge and start your own business? If so, starting an LLC in Massachusetts is common for entrepreneurs. LLCs will make your new venture official with the state and offer personal asset protection and operational flexibility.

This guide to starting an LLC in the Bay State offers step-by-step instructions on how to successfully start a Massachusetts LLC. Keep reading to learn more, and see how our formation services can help you start, run and stay compliant with the state.

How to Start an LLC in Massachusetts

To get your Massachusetts limited liability company (LLC) up and running, you must know what documents need to be filed where, if an operating agreement is required, and how to handle taxes and business licenses. Follow this step-by-step guide showing you how to get an LLC in MA. You will be on your way to becoming an official owner of a Massachusetts LLC.

Forming a Massachusetts Limited Liability Company

Your new business idea has probably already taken hours of research and planning. Before you begin doing business, you need to take care of all the paperwork to ensure your business is compliant in Massachusetts. 

Don’t you wish there was a “create LLC Massachusetts” button you could push? We have your back. Our simple guide shows where to start to get your Massachusetts limited liability company (LLC) up and running — nearly at the click of a button.

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LLC Massachusetts Formation Process

In this guide, we’ve outlined five steps and simplified the details. We’ve also shown how the right LLC service can make the process easy and quick, allowing you to focus on opening and growing your business.

Starting an LLC Massachusetts can feel overwhelming. What are the steps your business needs to take to operate? If you are setting up an LLC, there are some specific steps to take in Massachusetts to ensure your business and partners are protected. Our guide will help you understand how to create an LLC in MA, with each step of the journey and show you how our services can make the LLC formation process easier.

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Step 1: Name your Massachusetts LLC

Before you register your LLC in Massachusetts, you need to have a company name for it. Choose one that is unique, tells people who you are and what you do or offer, and resonates with your target market. You must be sure that your name isn’t taken by another company in the commonwealth. It must also be distinguishable and distinct. Slight variations in spelling, punctuation, and suffix will not suffice. Make sure not to include any offensive language or words that are derogatory in nature to adhere to commonwealth laws.

Make a list of possible names and then follow the instructions on our Massachusetts Business Entity Search page to see if your desired name is available in the commonwealth. To garner more results (and ensure the name isn’t too close to another business), enter the key portions of the name when conducting a search. The more detailed your query, the fewer results you’ll receive.

Massachusetts LLC Name Requirements

Once you’ve found an available name, decide on an LLC designator to place at the end of your company name. For instance, if your company name is “Modern Movers,” you could add “LLC” to the end to form “Modern Movers, LLC.”

A list of available LLC designators include:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Company
  • L.L.C.
  • L.C.
  • LC
  • LLC

That means you could go with other options, like “Modern Movers L.C.” or “Modern Movers Limited Company” — the official company name just has to have the LLC designator at the end.

Reserve a Business Name for a Massachusetts LLC

Once you’ve conducted your Massachusetts business lookup and found an available name, you’ll need to determine if you’re ready to file right away or if reserving the name is in your best interest. Massachusetts allows you to reserve a business name for 60 days for a fee. If you’d rather not deal with this process yourself, we have a business name reservation service that can handle it for you. As part of the service, we also check to see if your desired name is available.

Secure a Domain Name for your Business

If you choose to create a website for your company, then you’ll want to register a domain. Typically, businesses choose a domain name close to their actual company name. To find out what domains are available, do a quick domain search until you find one you’d like to use. When you’re ready to register, reach out to a partner like us to help.

Visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to see whether your business name or logo is federally trademarked. Trademarks can also happen at the state level. To find out more, go to the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth website page for trademarks.

File a DBA in Massachusetts

Lastly, if you prefer to use a different business name, you can file a Massachusetts DBA (“doing business as”) Certificate. Massachusetts DBA names are filed with the city or town clerk’s office where your company will be doing business.

Step 2: Appoint a Massachusetts resident agent

Another important step in the LLC formation process is to appoint a resident agent. A resident agent in Massachusetts is a person or entity acting as the point of contact for all service of legal documents. If your company is subpoenaed or sued, Massachusetts will deliver all necessary documents to your Massachusetts resident agent.

As the owner, you can act as your company’s resident agent. While that may seem like the easiest and most logical option, it’s not always in your best interest. After all, being served in front of customers can tank your company’s reputation.

Hire an Outside Registered Agent Service

You may benefit from hiring an outside registered agent service. Be sure to choose one that meets all requirements (Massachusetts residency, authorization to do business in Massachusetts, and a permanent address in the commonwealth).

A couple of benefits of using an outside registered agent service like ours include:

  • Control over your business hours. When you act as your LLC’s resident agent, you’re expected to hold normal business hours at your primary operating address to receive the paperwork. If you don’t want to be tied to traditional business hours, you should partner with an outside registered agent service.
  • Organization. If you use our registered agent service, we’ll accept your important legal documents and store them in your digital dashboard so you can view, download, or print them anytime online.

Step 3: File Massachusetts Certificate of Organization

The next step is to to complete your Certificate of Organization and file it with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. Or, better still, you could have us do it for you. Filing official government documents like this can be intimidating, which is why we’re here. With our business formation plans, we handle your filing to make sure it’s done quickly and correctly the first time.

But, although we can handle this for you, we’ll show you how the process works below.

Massachusetts Certificate of Organization Requirements

To accurately fill out this form, you’ll need the following:

  • Federal Identification No.: This is also known as an Employer Identification Number or EIN, and it’s usually obtained after filing your Certificate of Organization. If you do already have it, you can list it here. Otherwise, you can leave this blank.
  • Your LLC name: Here you’ll put your LLC’s chosen company name with the LLC designator at the end.
  • LLC street address: Here you’ll put your company’s street address. You can put your home address if you do not have office space. This is where you maintain your records.
  • General character of the business: Briefly explain what your business will be doing.
  • Latest date of dissolution: If you plan to end your business on a certain date, indicate that here. If you want it to exist indefinitely, leave this blank.
  • LLC resident agent name and address: You’ll need to identify your resident agent’s name and address.
  • Name and address of manager(s): If the members (owners) are running your LLC, you’ll need to provide their information. If one or more appointed managers are running your business (as opposed to members running it), list each manager’s name and office address here.
  • Document authorization: The name and business address of each person in addition to the manager(s) who has the authorization to execute documents filed with the Corporations Division. If there are no managers, you have to name at least one person.
  • Real estate authorization: The name and business address of each person authorized to sign for the LLC for real estate transactions. If there is no involvement in real estate, you can leave this section blank.
  • Resident agent consent: Your resident agent must sign the form, indicating that they accept the role of registered agent.

Mail or Submit LLC Paperwork Online

You can fill out the document and mail it in or use the online portal to submit your paperwork. You’ll be responsible for paying a substantial nonrefundable filing fee if you file by mail and slightly more if you file online.

How fast can I form my Massachusetts LLC?

If you’re ready to launch and don’t want to wait weeks for your paperwork to get processed, we can help. You can form your LLC in Massachusetts in as little as one day with our rush filing services. With our rush filing service, we prioritize your formation paperwork so you can get it filed with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth within 1-3 business days for just $100 + state fees.

If you have us handle filing your Articles of Organization, once the commonwealth approves your LLC, your paperwork will be available from your ZenBusiness dashboard. Here you can keep it and other important paperwork digitally organized.

Digitally store your Massachusetts LLC paperwork

Once you get your physical paperwork back approving your new LLC, you’ll want to keep it in a safe location along with your other important documents. These should include your operating agreement, member certificates, contracts, compliance checklists, transfer ledger, etc. We offer a customized business kit to help you keep these important documents organized and looking professional.

Step 4: Create an operating agreement

Every company has rules to follow, processes in place, and plans for the future. LLC operating agreements outline all of this and more. However, not every state requires LLCs to have one, including Massachusetts.

If you’re a single-member LLC, you may feel drafting an operating agreement is pointless, especially since there’s not a requirement in Massachusetts. But even as a single-member LLC, your company can benefit from having an operating agreement for Massachusetts. This document outlines how to run your company, how to handle finances, and how to make decisions. It also details what happens to your company if you leave or become unable to lead. An LLC operating agreement can also help protect you and your assets in the event of dissolution or bankruptcy.

Our interactive operating agreement template can help you if you’re unsure how to create an LLC operating agreement.

Step 5: Apply for an EIN

The last step is registering with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To register with the IRS, you’ll apply for an Employer Identification Number or EIN. Your EIN, also known as a Tax ID Number, is essentially your company’s Social Security number. It helps identify your business and allows you to open financial accounts, hire employees, and pay taxes.

While LLCs with multiple members or employees will be required to apply for an EIN, sole-member LLCs without employees might wonder if this step is necessary. However, obtaining an EIN can provide an additional layer of protection from identity theft, as you won’t have to use your Social Security number for business purposes.

You can get your Massachusetts LLC’s EIN through the Internal Revenue Service website, by mail, or by fax. If you’d rather leave dealing with that particular government agency to someone else, we can get it for you. Our Tax ID Number service is quick and eliminates the hassle.

Open a Business Bank Account for your LLC in Massachusetts

Once you’ve secured an EIN, you’ll be able to open a business bank account. Having separate accounts for your business and your personal banking is critical for sorting out your finances at tax time and helps you avoid commingling funds. Commingling funds can not only make your taxes more difficult. It could also be used against you if someone takes you to court to challenge whether you and your LLC are truly separate entities (i.e., they want to sue you for not just your business assets, but also your personal assets).

We offer a discounted bank account for your new business. This allows for unlimited transactions, online banking, a debit card, and more. When you want to authorize others in your business to use the account, we offer a banking resolution template to simplify the process.

For further help managing your new business’s finances, try ZenBusiness Money. It can help you create invoices, receive payments, transfer money, and manage clients all in one place.

Massachusetts LLC FAQs

Massachusetts Business Resources

Start an LLC in Your State

When it comes to compliance, costs, and other factors, these are popular states for forming an LLC.