Massachusetts General Law Chapter 100 §5 explains that a DBA (doing business as) is the registration form that must be filed where a business is located if that business is run under any name other than the real name of the business owner. Filing a DBA does not authorize a business to operate as it is not a license. Many businesses do require specific licensing or permits from either State or Town Departments but the filing of a DBA is a merely a means of creating a public record of the name and address of the true owner(s) of a business.
The primary purpose of filing a business certificate is to protect consumers or creditors by identifying the names and addresses of the owners of the business. The filing of a business certificate does not protect a business name as does a corporate filing or a trademark registration. A business certificate filing is commonly called a "dba" or doing business as.
Any person conducting a business, individually or as a partnership, in the commonwealth under any title or name other than his real name, must file a business certificate with the clerk of the city or town in which the business has an office. The term person includes a corporation.
The certificate must include the full name and residence of each person conducting the business; the place, including street and number, where the business is conducted; and the title under which the business is conducted. The certificate must be signed under oath by each person conducting the business, certifying that the statements contained in the certificate are true. The certificate may be signed in the presence of any of the following: the town clerk, the assistant town clerk, or a person authorized to take oaths, such as a notary public. Each person wishing to file a business must produce evidence of his identity.
All parties whose name will appear on the Business Certificate will need to appear together at the Town Clerk's office. Fee for filing a business certificate is $20.00 - expires in 4 years. When paying at the Town Clerk's office, we can only accept cash or check.
Here in Massachusetts this DBA filing is done at the local level. Each municipality has its own form for such a purpose but they all require the names and addresses of all owners, the name and address of the business and the type of business. In Wenham as in many other communities, filing a DBA is a process.
An application needs to be completed and paid for ($20) and returned to Town Clerk.
The Town Clerk will work with the applicant to ensure appropriate town / zoning bylaws are followed. Once this is completed, the applicant will be given a signed, certified dba.
Questions regarding business certificates can be directed to the Town Clerk at 978-468-5520 x1 or firstname.lastname@example.org