Why Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

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Forming an LLC in Massachusetts

As the most populous state in New England and the home of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Pilgrim State is a prosperous and exciting place to be an entrepreneur. A rich history in academia and industry has made the Commonwealth of Massachusetts a global leader in education, science, biotechnology, finance, engineering and trade.

If you want to start your own business in Massachusetts, one of the best ways to do so is by forming a Massachusetts LLC. Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a business entity designed for startups and small- and medium-sized businesses. Massachusetts LLCs give you many of the protections and advantages of larger corporations without all the rules, regulations and compliance issues common to larger business entities. 

In Massachusetts, the Corporations Division is responsible for administering businesses, including LLCs. This is in contrast to the secretary of state, which is the entity that manages businesses in many other states.  

Briefly, the benefits of starting a Massachusetts LLC include:

  • Separating and limiting your personal liability from your business liability and debts

  • Quick and simple filing, management, compliance, regulations and administration of your Massachusetts LLC

  • Easy tax filing and potential advantages for tax treatment

Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure here.

Six Quick Steps to Setting Up an LLC in Massachusetts

We’ve got lots of useful information on setting up an LLC in MA. On this page you’ll find the basic steps of how to form a Massachusetts LLC, with more in-depth content throughout the rest of our guide.

STEP 1: Gather Information for Your Members

First, you need to gather basic information about your LLC, including the names and addresses of the managers or members. The LLC members are typically the people who own and run the business. They are also the ones who can take profits out of the business to pay themselves.

STEP 2: Search for and Choose a Unique Business Name for Your Massachusetts LLC

You will need a distinctive and original name for your Massachusetts LLC that’s not used by any other business in MA. To find out if another company is using your chosen business name, carry out a Massachusetts business entity name search on the MA Corporations Division website.

There are a few rules you’ll need to follow when choosing an LLC name. You can find out more in our guide to searching for and naming your Massachusetts LLC.

Learn about Massachusetts LLC business naming rules.

STEP 3: Provide an Official Address for Your MA 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 inside the state of Massachusetts, but it cannot be a P.O. Box.

STEP 4: Assign a Registered/Resident for Your Massachusetts LLC

Every MA LLC must have a “Registered Agent,” known in Massachusetts as a “Resident Agent” when it is formed. This is an official position; the Registered Agent is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Massachusetts Corporations Division.

This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. Your MA Resident Agent must have a physical street address in Massachusetts and must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours.

At Incfile, all of our packages include a Massachusetts Resident Agent service that is free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on your behalf.

Learn more about Massachusetts Registered Agents.

STEP 5: Get an Employee Identification Number (EIN) From the Internal Revenue Service

You will need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number when filing and paying taxes or when submitting payroll information and payments for your employees. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or we can get one for you as part of the Massachusetts LLC business formation process.

STEP 6: File Certificate of Organization With the Massachusetts Corporations Division

Once you've gathered all the information for your Massachusetts LLC, you’ll need to file a formal document with the MA Corporations Division. This document is known as your “Certificate of Organization,” and filing the document creates your Massachusetts LLC. Here’s what is typically included:

  • Your business name and address
  • The general character of the business
  • Details of your Resident Agent
  • Names of managers or members of the LLC at the time of filing
  • Addresses of managers or members of the LLC at the time of filing
  • Contact information
  • Name of the incorporator

You can file your Massachusetts LLC Certificate of Organization online, mail in a form or have Incfile do it on your behalf. There is a fee to file and start an LLC in Massachusetts. You only need to file your Certificate of Organization once. 

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Review Information From the Massachusetts Corporations Division

The MA Corporations Division has plenty of information on forming and running a business in Massachusetts. We’ve covered the basic steps for filing an LLC in Massachusetts, but you’ll find other useful information below.

Massachusetts Corporations Division for forming and running your MA LLC

Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards for MA employers and hiring

Massachusetts Department of Revenue for MA taxes

Special Types of Massachusetts LLCs

A regular Massachusetts LLC is suitable for most business needs, but you also have a few other options to incorporate a special type of LLC.

Form a Professional Massachusetts LLC

Some states, including Massachusetts, allow certain occupations to form “Professional LLCs.” These types of businesses typically have special requirements and licensing. Massachusetts does not list the specific professions that can form these LLCs.

Form a Foreign LLC in Massachusetts

If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to Massachusetts, you’ll need to form a foreign LLC.

More information on Massachusetts filing and licensing requirements here

What to Do After Forming Your Massachusetts LLC

Want to know your next steps after Massachusetts LLC filing? We’ve got you covered. Here’s our guide to understanding your ongoing requirements, setting up new bank accounts, protecting your business name, getting accounting in place and more. 

Detailed Information for Your Massachusetts LLC

You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:

Naming Your Massachusetts LLC

How to search the Massachusetts business registry of the MA Corporations Division and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, fictitious names, reserving a Massachusetts LLC name and more.

Massachusetts Resident Agents for Your LLC

How to appoint a Massachusetts Registered Agent to your new LLC or change to a different Registered Agent. Includes information on Registered Agent rules and searching for Massachusetts Registered Agents.

Fees and Requirements for Your Massachusetts LLC

How to understand the various fees you’ll need to pay and the requirements you’ll need to meet for both federal and Massachusetts rules. Includes details of Employee Identification Numbers (EINs), Massachusetts and federal business licenses, Massachusetts annual reports and more.

Federal, State, Sales and Other Taxes for Your Massachusetts LLC

How to understand the various taxes you will need to pay to the federal and Massachusetts government. Includes details of federal taxes like income and self-employment, and Massachusetts taxes like sales tax and income tax.

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What are the fees and requirements to form a business in Massachusetts?

Filing Time and Price

The state charges this amount to file a new business entity. This fee goes directly to the Secretary of State.

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$520 5 Business Days 1 Business Day

Compliance Requirements

This report is mandatory and must be filed within the specified time frame in order for the entity to remain in good standing with the state. Failure to file this report can lead to the company being revoked or administratively dissolved.

Annual Report

Frequency: Annually

Due Date: Anniversary date of formation or registration.

Filing Fee: $520

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