Business Certificates

Business Cert

Commonly referred to by the name D.B.A.s (Doing Business As), a business certificate creates a public record of the name and address of the owner(s) of a business. Consumers are entitled to this information which may not otherwise be readily available.

Download the Home Occupation Questionnaire
Download the Business Certificate

When a Business Certificate is Required

Massachusetts General Law states that any person conducting business in the Commonwealth under any title other than the real name of the person conducting the business, whether individually or as a partnership, shall file (a certificate) in the office of the clerk of every city or town where an office of any such person or partnership may be situated.

Under Chapter 110, §6, a business certificate is not required if a 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 associations and partnerships may also be exempt (refer to above citation for details).

Filing & Renewing Business Certificates

Business Certificate filing Instructions (3 steps)

(M.G.L. Ch. 110, Sec. 5)

Step 1: Completely fill out the Business Certificate with all parties appearing in person but do not sign unless you are in the Town Clerk’s Office. Please note that you may not use a P.O. Box for a business address. If your business is out of your home, you must complete Step 3 first.

Step 2: If your business is based out of your home, you must be listed on the Annual Town Census. The Town Clerk’s Office will check your address via the state database before moving forward.

Step 3: Completely fill out the Home Occupancy Questionnaire  and have it notarized prior to submitting it to the Town Clerk who will forward this to the Building Commissioner for approval prior to the issuance of the business certificate. Please note: the questionnaire applies solely to home based businesses.  Click here for a list of local Notaries.

Filing fee: There is a $40 filing fee for the business certificate which puts the name of the business on file in the Office of the Town Clerk for (4) four years. This does not protect the business name. 

Please make check or money order payable to: Town of Ashland; we also accept cash and credit cards (for a fee).

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.

Should you have any questions, please contact the Town Clerk’s Office at 508-881-0100 ext. 7127 and we will assist you.

Please see excerpt below:

Chapter 110: Section 5. Certificates of persons conducting businesses; contents; filing; fees; index

Section 5. Any person conducting business in the commonwealth under any title other than the real name of the person conducting the business, whether individually or as a partnership, shall file in the office of the clerk of every city or town where an office of any such person or partnership may be situated a certificate stating the full name and residence of each person conducting such business, the place, including street and number, where, and the title under which, it is conducted, and pay the fee as provided by clause (20) of section thirty-four of chapter two hundred and sixty-two. Such certificate shall be executed under oath by each person whose name appears therein as conducting such business and shall be signed by each such person in the presence of the city or town clerk or a person designated by him or in the presence of a person authorized to take oaths.


Public Documentation

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.

Trademarks

Filing for a business certificate does not prevent other businesses using the same name. The protection of a trademark (word, name, symbol, or device) in Massachusetts is accomplished through the Secretary of State’s Office.

Quick Facts

Access additional information from the state about starting a business in Massachusetts.