Start a Business in Massachusetts

This guide on starting your business in Massachusetts provides step-by-step instructions on the paperwork to file formation documents, obtain tax IDs, and set up company records.

how to start a business

Step-By-Step Startup

Below is an overview of the paperwork, cost, and time to form each of the most popular business structures. Simply click on the link for your desired structure to view detailed step-by-step instructions.

  • If you have not decided whether you want to form an LLC, corporation, or other business structure, click here.
  • If wish to form your business in a different state than Massachusetts, click here.
Structure Paperwork Cost Time

Massachusetts Limited Liability Company

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  • Form D: Limited Liability Company Certificate of Organization
  • Operating Agreement
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Massachusetts Department of Revenue - WebFile for Businesses - Form TA-1
  • Formation: $500 + optional $25 expedite fee
  • Formation: ~2-3 business days by mail (plus mail time). ~1-2 business days by fax with $25 expedite fee.

Massachusetts Corporation

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  • Articles of Organization (It's odd but true: Massachusetts calls the Articles of Incorporation the Articles of Organization)
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form 2553: S-Corp Election, if desired
  • Massachusetts Department of Revenue - WebFile for Businesses - Form TA-1
  • Incorporation: $275 + optional $25 expedite fee + $100 for each 100,000 authorized shares over 275,000
  • Incorporation: ~2-3 business days by mail (plus mail time). ~1-3 business days by fax with $25 expedite fee.

Massachusetts Nonprofit

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  • Massachusetts Articles of Organization
  • Bylaws
  • IRS Form SS-4: Apply for EIN
  • IRS Form 1023: Application for 501(c)(3) Exemption
  • IRS Determination Letter
  • Massachusetts Form TA-1: Application for Registration (WebFile)
  • Massachusetts Corporate Excise Tax Exemption Application
  • Massachusetts Property Tax Exemption Application
  • URS Charitable Registration, if applicable
  • Massachusetts Form PC or Short Form PC: Charitable Registration
  • Incorporation: $35
  • 501(c): $400 or $850 IRS fee
  • Massachusetts Charitable Registration: usually $150
  • Incorporation: ~2-3 business days
  • 501(c): 2 weeks to 3 months
  • Massachusetts Charitable Registration: 6-8 weeks

Top 5 Tips on Registering a Business in Massachusetts

  1. The costs to start an LLC in Massachusetts are significant. LLCs pay a $500 formation fee and $500 annual report fee. Most corporations pay only $275 to get started then $125 per year.
  2. Massachusetts registered agent and resident agent are synonymous. Both refer to an individual or business who receives service of process and government notices on behalf of the business.
  3. It's odd but true: Massachusetts calls the Articles of Incorporation the Articles of Organization
  4. If needed, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue will mail you Form ST-1: Sales and Use Tax Registration. Access to this form is restricted.
  5. The state filing fee for incorporation is $100 extra for each 100,000 authorized shares over 275,000. This will not apply to most start-ups.


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Incorporation Service

Your specialist works with you 1-on-1 to form your LLC, corporation, or other business structure. We prepare and file most formations in just one business day!

Start My Business

Incorporation Service

Your specialist works with you 1-on-1 to form your LLC, corporation, or other business structure. We prepare and file most formations in just one business day!

This page was last fact-checked January 22, 2014.