Massachusetts Business Name Search

How to Do a Business Name Search in Massachusetts

Selecting the right name is an essential first step for your Massachusetts LLC, requiring you to ensure the name’s availability. A business entity database search in Massachusetts is vital to avoid infringing on existing business names and intellectual property rights within the state.

Our Massachusetts LLC name search guide offers essential tips on checking LLC name availability in Massachusetts, reservation, and registration, helping you secure a unique and compliant business identity efficiently.

Massachusetts Entity Name Search (Summary)

An illustration of a woman doing a Massachusetts entity name search online.

To search the Massachusetts business entity database for name availability, you can follow these steps:

  1. Visit the official website of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Their website provides access to various business-related services and information. Search the Massachusetts Taxable Entity Search.
  2. On the website, locate the “Business Entity Search” or “Corporate Search” function. This feature allows you to search for registered businesses within the state.
  3. Enter the name you want to search for in the provided search box. It’s recommended to enter specific keywords or the complete name for more accurate results.
  4. Click on the search button or similar option to initiate the search. The system will then generate a list of businesses matching your search criteria.
  5. Review the search results to find the desired business name. The results may include additional details such as the entity type, registration status, and contact information.

What is a Massachusetts Entity?

A Massachusetts business entity refers to a business that is legally recognized and registered to operate within the state of Massachusetts. The formation and operation of such entities in Massachusetts are overseen by the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Like other states, Massachusetts recognizes several types of business entities, including:

  1. Sole Proprietorship: This is a business owned and operated by a single person. The owner has full control of the business, but also full liability.
  2. Partnership: A partnership can be a general partnership, limited partnership, or limited liability partnership. It involves two or more individuals who agree to share the profits and losses of the business.
  3. Corporation: This is a legal entity separate from its owners (shareholders). A corporation can be a for-profit entity (like a C corporation or S corporation) or a nonprofit entity.
  4. Limited Liability Company (LLC): This is a hybrid structure that offers the limited liability features of a corporation with the operational flexibility and tax benefits of a partnership.

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Name Search

To form a business entity in Massachusetts, one needs to file the appropriate documents (such as Articles of Incorporation for a corporation or Articles of Organization for an LLC) with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, pay any required fees, and meet other regulatory requirements.

Businesses in Massachusetts may also need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS, register for state taxes, and obtain any necessary licenses or permits. The specific requirements can depend on the type of business and its specific activities.


Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Reference Links

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXXII/Chapter156C/Section3
https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXXII/Chapter156C/Section4

Massachusetts Entity Name Search and Reservation

A corporate name cannot be identical to one of an existing corporation, registered entity, or business name that has been reserved by another person.

You can apply for name reservation if you want to reserve a corporate title before you file the incorporation documents.

You must follow these steps to reserve corporate names:

  • Send an application to the Corporations Section of the Commonwealth.
  • A $30 filing fee is required.

If the secretary is satisfied that you have the required corporate name, he will hold the name for you for 60 days. You can request an extension for the reservation within 60 days for a $30 fee.

A preliminary search is usually done to check name availability.

Man with laptop doing a Massachusetts business name search

Search by Name

These steps will guide you through the process of searching the entity database.

  1. Go to the search page.
  2. Check the box that corresponds to the entity name search.
  3. Enter the company name that you wish to search.
  4. Select the type of search you want to perform.
  5. Choose “Search corporations”

You will get a variety of results when you query the entity. To find out more about any entity, click on its name to visit the information page.

This page will provide all information about the chosen entity. This page will allow you to see filings, request certificates, and perform a new search.

Click on the “Search by Entity Name” option. In the “Enter name‚ÄĚ field, enter the LLC name. When entering the name, do not include the word “LLC”. If possible, you should also leave out punctuation. Capitalization is not necessary.

Change the “Search type” setting to “Begins With.”

You can set the results to display 100 pages of items, then click on “Search Corporations”.

If no records are found, this means that your preferred name is not available.

Your proposed business name can be used if the names in the results are not similar to yours (meaning people are unlikely to mistake your business for any of the listed entities).

If the name you searched is listed in the search results exactly the way you intended, it means your name is unavailable.

You will need to look for a new name. If you see a name that is identical to yours in the search results, your name will not be available. You’ll need to create a new name.

Search the Massachusetts Name Database

An illustration of a woman at a desk Searching the Massachusetts entity name database online.

  1. Visit the Business Entity Search Page of the Corporations Division.
  2. You might try searching for your name with several variations.
  3. Enter the name you want to register and perform a search. Print the search results and keep them for your records.
  4. To find names that are similar to yours, don’t forget to do a partial search.

Search by Individual Name

A search can be done with the individual’s name, such as the name of an officer or director of an entity. This process is very similar to the entity search.

  1. Go to the search page, and check the box that corresponds to individual name search.
  2. Continue by entering the name of the person.
  3. Select the type of search that you wish to do and then click the “search corporations” button.

Based on your query, you’ll receive a list of names. You can select the entity name that you wish to view more information.

You will find all information on the chosen entity on the information page. You will be able to see a complete list of filings, request certificates, or conduct a new search.

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth (Contact)

Mailing Address

William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108

Physical Address

William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Corporations Division
McCormack Building
One Ashburton Place, 17th floor
Boston, MA 02108

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Email: corpinfo@sec.state.ma.us

Phone: (617) 727-9640


Massachusetts Business Tips

When it comes to forming an LLC in Massachusetts, it’s essential to consider the best LLC services and registered agents in Massachusetts. A good LLC service may prevent delays and effect the length of time to form your Massachusetts LLC due to filing errors from diy entreprenuers. Choosing a Massachusetts LLC vs S Corp is another issue to consider.

To begin, conduct a Massachusetts LLC name search to ensure the availability of your desired business name.

Once you’ve confirmed its availability, you can proceed with preparing the essential formation documents, including registering your Massachusetts business name and drafting a Massachusetts LLC operating agreement, which outlines the internal structure and management of your LLC.

It’s advisable to gather all required information and submit your filings promptly. Furthermore, obtaining a Massachusetts Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS is essential for tax purposes if you plan to have employees.

If you ever want to change your Massachusetts registered agent, the options are available for a smooth transition.

In the event that you decide to dissolve an LLC in Massachusetts, ensure compliance with the state’s dissolution procedures to avoid any potential legal or financial complications.

Consulting with professional dissolution services like Incfile can provide valuable guidance and assistance throughout the dissolution process, ensuring a smooth conclusion to your LLC’s operations in Massachusetts.


Business Name Search in Massachusetts: Additional Steps to Consider

1. Trademark Search

Checking if a Name is Trademarked. An illustration of a man with a laptop, checking if a business name is trademarked.

When searching for a business name, it’s important to note that availability doesn’t necessarily mean the name is free to use if it’s already a registered trademark.

To avoid potential complications down the line, it’s wise to conduct a thorough trademark search using the Trademark Electronic Search System before finalizing a business name.

2. Choose a Registered Agent

After you have chosen an LLC name that is distinctive and unique, you can now choose your LLC’s Registered Agent.

3. Check if the Domain Name is Available

To check if a domain name is available, you can follow these steps:

  1. Go to a domain registrar website, such as GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com.
  2. In the search bar on the homepage, type in the domain name you want to check.
  3. Click on the search button to see if the domain name is available or not.
  4. If the domain name is available, you will be prompted to purchase it. If it’s not available, the registrar will suggest some alternative options or you can try a different domain name.

4. Check if Social Media Name is Available

Check if a social media name is available for a new business name

5. Register Massachusetts Business Entity

When you complete the required documents for filing a new business entity, you then register your business and business name with the state. The state of Massachusetts will either approve your business name or reject it.

If you hire a good LLC service like Northwest Registered Agent, ZenBusiness or Bizee, these LLC services have business name tools available for you to do a quick search.

6. Register an Employer ID Number (EIN) With the IRS

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify businesses and other entities for tax purposes.

7. Create a Brand Logo

Creating a business logo involves several steps. There are affordable online services that can design a logo for you and assist with the process.

Define your brand: Before you start creating a logo, you need to define your brand’s personality, values, and mission. This will help you create a logo that accurately represents your brand.

8. Write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan involves a comprehensive process that covers various aspects of your business, including the industry, market research, marketing and sales strategies, financial projections, and more.

9. Open a Business Bank Account in Massachusetts

A bank account is generally required for a new Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation to separate personal finances from business finances and to establish a clear record of business transactions.

Business Name Search in Massachusetts: FAQs

How can I ensure that the business name I want to use for my new LLC in Massachusetts is available and compliant with state naming laws?

Before proceeding with Business Name Registration in Massachusetts, you can perform an Online Business Name Search through the Secretary of the Commonwealth Search function to check the Business Name Database.

This step will reveal any Name Conflict or Duplicate Name Search issues. Make sure you also follow LLC Name Guidelines and Business Name Requirements set by the state. A Name Verification against State Business Records will also tell you if the name is unique.

To add another layer of assurance, you could go through a Trademark Search to avoid legal implications. Massachusetts has Business Naming Laws that dictate Business Name Compliance and Entity Name Criteria, so it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with these before finalizing your Legal Business Name.

Once you have identified a name that seems available, you can proceed with the Name Reservation Process for extra security.

What are the steps to resolve conflicts if the desired business name in Massachusetts shows up in a state or corporate name database search?

If a Name Conflict arises during your State Entity Search, Massachusetts provides Business Name Conflict Resolution procedures. You’ll first need to review the Business Entity Status of the conflicting name by looking at the Business Name Report.

You can also consult the Corporate Name Database and perform a Registered Entity Search for additional information. Your Business Identifier and Entity Type Identifier can play a role in resolving conflicts.

If your business structure is different from the existing entity, you might still be able to proceed, depending on State Compliance for Business Names. Always perform an Availability Check for Trade Name Availability and consider how your desired name aligns with existing Business Formation Documents.

If the name you had in mind is already registered, you might need to go back to the drawing board to ensure Business Name Uniqueness before you can secure Name Approval.

 

author avatar
Brian Wilson Writer and Editor
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar. Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor's degree in business from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications. Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email:   info@llcradar.com Phone: 972-776-4050

8 Comments

  1. Avatar Chloe Brooks says:

    Hi Brian, thanks for the practical advice. Your blog post about business name searches has motivated me to prioritize this aspect before doing the filing.

  2. Avatar Zoe Murphy says:

    Hi Brian, great article. I plan to check these links that you gave for some insights into any specific naming restrictions or guidelines that are unique to the state of Massachusetts. I was just wondering if there are any cultural or regional considerations to keep in mind while selecting a business name in this particular state.

  3. Avatar James Grayson says:

    Hi Brian, great article.

  4. Avatar Natalie Flores says:

    Very informative article, Brian. Researching business name availability is definitely one of the first things to do before filing. I did a search and picked a name, and Northwest is doing the filing right now, they said it would be 1 to 3 business days.

Comments are closed.

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