Why Create a Massachusetts LLC?
The state offers a handful of business incentives and tax credits provided your LLC meets specific criteria. The state's Economic Development Incentive Program Credit (EDIPC) was created to attract new businesses and encourage job creation in distressed areas. It offers tax credits to businesses meeting those and other requirements.
For example, if your business is certified under the EDIPC as a job creation project, you may receive a tax credit of up to $5,000 per job created.
For most people wanting to start a business, creating a Massachusetts limited liability company (LLC) is the fastest and easiest way. An LLC is an ideal business entity for startups and small- to medium-sized businesses, granting you the advantages and protections that larger Massachusetts corporations benefit from, but with simplified rules and regulations.
Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure.
In this guide, you’ll find information on naming your LLC, securing a Registered Agent, the fees you’ll need to pay, Massachusetts business taxes and much more. We also cover everything you'll need to file your LLC, and the various ways you’ll interact with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Note: Most states have a Secretary of State who administers business formation, among other duties. Because Massachusetts is technically a commonwealth and not a state, this government entity is called the Secretary of the Commonwealth. We may use both terms interchangeably throughout this guide in an effort to accommodate those who may be unaware of this difference and are seeking information about the "Massachusetts Secretary of State."
How to Form an LLC in Massachusetts Yourself in 6 Steps
Complete a Massachusetts LLC Search and Choose a Unique Business Name
You’ll need a distinctive and original name for your LLC that’s not used by any other business in the state. If you’re having trouble coming up with a name, our Business Name Generator can help you brainstorm ideas. You'll also need to follow a few naming rules, which you can read about in detail on the Massachusetts Business Names page.
Once you’ve chosen a name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available in Massachusetts. To find out whether another company is using your chosen business name, use our tool to do a business name search. Alternatively, you can carry out a name search on the Massachusetts Secretary of State (Commonwealth) website.
Provide an Official Business Address for Your LLC
Every Massachusetts LLC must have a designated street address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), your company’s office building or any physical address of your preference. The address must be in the State of Massachusetts and cannot be a P.O. Box.
Instead, you may be able to use a virtual mailbox for your business address. Incfile can provide you with a Massachusetts virtual mailbox, where we'll receive your mail and scan it for your online review. This may be of particular interest if you run a home-based business and don't want your home address to become public record.
Assign a Registered Agent
Someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and is responsible for filing reports with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth is called a Registered Agent. Every LLC in Massachusetts is required to have a Registered Agent.
This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. If your Massachusetts Registered Agent is a person, they must reside and have a physical street address in Massachusetts, and they must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours. In Massachusetts, you designate your Registered Agent when you file your Certificate of Organization and formally create your business.
All of Incfile's packages include Registered Agent service. It's free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. We have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document we've received on your behalf.
File Your Certificate of Organization with the Massachusetts Secretary of State (Commonwealth)
Once you've gathered all the information for your LLC, you’ll need to file a formal document with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. Some states call this document "Articles of Organization." In Massachusetts, it's a “Certificate of Organization.” Filing this document officially creates your LLC.
File by Mail
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place, Room 1717
Boston, MA 02108-1512
You only need to file your Certificate of Organization once, but every year after you must file an annual report. Incfile can remind you to do this or do it for you.
What are the fees and requirements to form a business in Massachusetts?
Anniversary date of formation or registration.
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
You’ll need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. This number is used when you file and pay taxes or when submitting payroll information and payments for your employees. An EIN is also required to open a business bank account. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or Incfile can get one for you as part of the Massachusetts LLC formation process.
Create an Operating Agreement
A kind of "instruction manual" that explains how you'll run your business, an LLC Operating Agreement details how decisions will be made, how the business is divided among members and what will happen if a member leaves the company.
Some states require that a company have an Operating Agreement in place. You're not legally required to have a Massachusetts LLC Operating Agreement in place, but it’s a good idea to have one nonetheless.
Other Massachusetts LLC Types
Some states, including Massachusetts, allow those who provide professional services to form Professional Limited Liability Companies (PLLCs). These entities typically have specialized requirements and licensing applicable to certain fields, such as law and medicine. In order to form a PLLC, you may need a state license to practice.
To form a Massachusetts PLLC, you'll need to file a Professional Limited Liability Company Certificate of Organization form with the Secretary of the Commonwealth and pay a $500 filing fee.
Learn more about PLLC vs. LLC and which one may be right for your business.
If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to Massachusetts — or vice versa — you’ll need to form a Foreign LLC.
Learn more about Massachusetts Foreign LLC registration.