Business Certificate - Requirement & Forms
What is a business certificate?
A business certificate is the registration of a business that is being conducted and is located within the Town of Easton. It is commonly referred to as a " DBA" or "Doing Business As" certificate. Its purpose is primarily for consumer protection and public information. Essentially, it creates a public record of the name and address of the owner of a business. Consumers are entitled to this information and it may not otherwise be readily available.
Who must file a business certificate?
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 110, §5 states that any person conducting business under any title or business name other than the real name of the person conducting the business must file a certificate. A person is defined as an individual, a partnership, or a corporation.
Exemptions to filing are allowed under §6 if the corporation is doing business in its true corporate name, or if a partnership is doing business under any title which includes the true surname of any partner. Certain other exemptions exist for trusts and limited partnerships..
How do I file or renew a business certificate?
Forms for filing are available in the Town Clerk's Office. The certificate includes the name and residence of each person conducting the business, and the location where the business is conducted. The named individuals must either appear in person at the Town Clerk's Office in order to execute the document,or have their signatures on the form notarized by a Notary Public. The Town Clerk's Office does provide notary services. The filing fee is $50, and the certificate is valid for four years from date of execution. Click here for the fillable form or download and print the PDF form.
What do I do if I discontinue or withdraw from the business, or move to another location?
A "Statement of Discontinuance, Change of Residence..." form must be completed and filed with the Town Clerk if one of the following occurs before the expiration:
- Business is discontinued.
- One or more of the persons named on the certificate is withdrawn or retired from the business or partnership.
- One or more of the persons named on the certificate dies.
- Change of residence of one of the named persons on the certificate.
- Change of location where the business is conducted.
This form is available from the Town Clerk's Office or you may download the PDF to print and complete. The filing fee for discontinuance, withdrawal, or termination is $25.
What is the penalty for failing to file a business certificate?
The requirement to file a business certificate is a State Law (MGL Chapter 110, §5). Failure to do so is punishable by a fine of up to $300.00 Per Month that the infraction continues.
Are business certificates public documents?
Yes. The business certificates are on file with the Town Clerk's Office until one year after expiration, and may be viewed by anyone making a request. Copies are currently available for 20¢ a page.
Does the filing of a business certificate protect me from others using the same name?
No. The protection of a trademark (word, name, symbol or device) in Massachusetts is accomplished through the Secretary of State's Office. The current fee for such filing is $25, and is good for ten years. Although there is no requirement to register a trademark, doing so can often avoid controversies, confusion, and legal problems over the use of similar or identical name or symbol by others.
Where can I obtain further information?
For further information about filing a business certificate, call the Easton Town Clerk's Office at 508-230-0530. For further information about registering a trademark or trade name, contact the Secretary of State's Office at 617-727-8329.