Business Certificates

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 100 §5 explains that a DBA (doing business as) is the registration form that must be filed where a business is located if that business is run under any name other than the real name of the business owner. Filing a DBA does not authorize a business to operate as it is not a license. Many businesses do require specific licensing or permits from either State or Town Departments but the filing of a DBA is a merely a means of creating a public record of the name and address of the true owner(s) of a business. A Business Certificate is not required if any corporation is doing business under its true corporate name, nor is it required for any partnership doing business under any title which includes the true surname of any partner, however, many banks now consider it a requirement for opening a business account.

Here in Massachusetts this DBA filing is done at the local level. Each municipality has its own form for such a purpose but they all require the names and addresses of all owners, the name and address of the business and the type of business. All are valid for 4 years.

In Manchester-By-The-Sea, filing a DBA costs $40. Because of COVID-19 precautions, it is suggested that one download the Business Certificate Form (PDF) and have an outside notary public validate the signers of the document. The form must still be submitted to the Town Clerk's office with a payment for $40, upon which the Town shall record and return the approved certificate to the applicant.


A Business Certificate does not grant any rights or licenses from the Town to conduct business.  The signatories acknowledge the Certificate is not proof of conformity to Zoning Bylaws or Board of Health regulations.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to contact the Building Inspector and Health Agent in order to comply with Town Bylaws, rules and regulations. Business owners are also required to register with the Board of Assessors for tax information.