How Much Does It Cost to Form an LLC in Massachusetts?
Registering your business — and keeping it in good standing — involves some expense. Some of these costs are payable to the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth (MA SOC), while others are payable to other state entities or the federal government. We’ve summarized the most common requirements and fees here.
Note that Massachusetts business license and permit fees may need to be paid when you first form your business, on an ongoing schedule or on an ad hoc basis. Find more details below.
Initial Massachusetts LLC Fees
When you first form your business in Massachusetts, you’ll need to file as an LLC with the MA SOC and pay a filing fee. Here are the current fees and filing times for Massachusetts:
When you form your LLC through Incfile, we charge you this fee and forward it to the MA SOC when we file your formation paperwork.
Employer Identification Number
Every LLC should have a unique Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is provided by the Internal Revenue Service and you use it when filing taxes, opening a business bank account and paying employees. You can get one yourself at no cost from the IRS or have Incfile obtain one on your behalf.
When you want to do business in a state other than the one where your business is based, you must create a foreign LLC.
Massachusetts Foreign LLC Registration
Before you can bring an arm of your business from another state into Massachusetts, you must request Massachusetts Foreign Qualification. This means the state gives you permission to conduct business there.
To request registration of a Massachusetts Foreign LLC, you must complete a Foreign Limited Liability Company Application for Registration form and pay a processing fee of $500. The state may have additional requirements, so contact the MA SOC for more information.
Foreign Qualification to Operate in Another State
If you plan to expand your Massachusetts LLC into another state, you’ll first need Foreign Qualification or a Certificate of Authority from that state. This is necessary if you'll have a physical presence, employees or banking in that state.
You'll likely have to complete at least one application and pay filing fees. Each state has different requirements, and some take longer than others to process paperwork. To plan ahead, compare state filing fees and state filing times first. Also, contact the state government entity that administers business (usually the Secretary of State) to confirm their requirements and for specific instructions.
If you need assistance, Incfile provides complete Foreign Qualification service for all states.
Annual Report Requirements
Most states — including Massachusetts — require businesses to file an annual (or other periodic) report with the Secretary of State. When you file your annual report, you'll need to pay a fee of $500. Here are the Massachusetts annual report filing requirements:
Anniversary date of formation or registration.
Massachusetts Business License and Permit Requirements
You must ensure you have the proper state, federal or local business licenses to operate your business. Some of the associated fees only need to be paid once, while others have ongoing charges.
Permits and licenses vary based on:
The state doesn't require you to have a Massachusetts LLC Operating Agreement in place.
An Operating Agreement is a document that covers how the business will be run, how managers and members are chosen, rights and duties of members and several other key areas. It's usually filed with your Certificate of Organization.
This document can be extremely helpful in making sure you’re organized and prepared for any future events that may affect your business.
Other Potential Massachusetts LLC Fees or Requirements
You may need to pay and meet several other fees and requirements during the life of your LLC. These ad hoc fees will only be payable in specific circumstances, which we’ve listed below.
Changing the Registered Agent
Your LLC needs a Massachusetts Registered Agent, which you must appoint when you file your Certificate of Organization. You can also switch to a new Registered Agent later by filing a Statement of Change form and paying a fee of $25. You may also file it online at no cost.
Reserving a Name for Your LLC
If you don’t want to form your business right away, you can reserve a name for 60 days with the MA SOC for a fee of $30. First, perform a Massachusetts business search and learn about business name rules to ensure you choose a name that meets state requirements.
Amending Certain Facts About Your LLC
Your business formation documents state certain facts about your Massachusetts business at the time it's formed. Over time, these facts may change. If they do, you'll need to file an amendment online with the MA SOC and pay a fee of $100. You can do this yourself or have Incfile complete the filing on your behalf.
Getting a Certificate of Good Standing
Some organizations will request that you prove your LLC’s compliance with laws and tax requirements. If you need to prove you have met your commitments, you'll need a Massachusetts Secretary of State Certificate of Good Standing. You can obtain one by filing a request online and paying a fee of $25.
The fees listed above detail many of the charges that a standard LLC will be required to pay in Massachusetts. In some unusual circumstances, there may be other one-off, periodic or ad hoc fees not listed above.
Of course, your LLC will also probably need to pay self-employment, payroll, federal, state and sales taxes. More information about taxes can be found on the Massachusetts Business Tax page.