One of the first and most important steps of any new business is finding the perfect name for your Massachusetts LLC.
Checking the LLC name availability in Massachusetts is an important step in the business formation process. It ensures your business name is distinguishable from the names of other Massachusetts businesses so that you do not violate anyone’s intellectual property rights.
Our Massachusetts LLC Name Search guide will show you how you can find available business names in Massachusetts, and how to reserve and register your business name.
How to Search for a Massachusetts LLC Name
Below are the four steps that you need to follow in order to conduct an LLC name search in Massachusetts.
Step 1: Follow the Massachusetts LLC Naming Guidelines
Check that your selected name conforms with the Massachusetts LLC naming criteria:
- Your name must include the term “limited liability company” or one of the abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C.”
- Your name cannot include words falsely implying you have a business relationship with a government entity (FBI, Treasury, Real Estate Commission, etc.).
- Your company’s name cannot contain words that suggest it is a financial institution, corporation, financial institution, or other types of activity under deception.
- You are not authorized to use phrases that indicate your organization is formed for any cause other than those authorized. Therefore, if you use terms like “clinical” or “legal,” you may need to file supplemental documentation to verify that your LLC includes a relevant licensed professional.
- Your LLC name cannot include terms like “Region,” “Municipality,” or “Provincial,” which suggest that your firm is a governmental institution.
- You shall not use terms such as “treasury,” “trust,” and “stakeholder” unless you receive approval from the Financial Commission or Commissioner.
- Specific laws vary by state, but organization types other than LLC, such as “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” and “Limited Partnership,” are often banned.
- Your LLC must be unique and easily distinguishable from another business entity registered in your state.
Selecting a name is just one of the several requirements when forming an LLC. To avoid improper or incomplete LLC formation documents, we recommend using the assistance of an LLC formation service.
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Step 2: Look Up Massachusetts LLC Name Search Availability
The next step is to conduct a Massachusetts LLC name search. Below are a few ways to do a business name search in Massachusetts.
- LLC Name Search: Search the Massachusetts Taxable Entity Search or MA SOS Name Search to check if your chosen business name is available. You aren’t required to pay a search fee using the MA SOS Name Search. You may also try typing your business or trademark on any search engine to check businesses with similar names. This will also ensure your trademark is unique, meets the state’s requirements, and frees you from any legal hassles in the future.
- Domain Name Search: If your business name is still available, you must register for a domain name. Having a URL that matches your business name is important since this is how your potential and existing clients can find your business.
To determine the availability of your chosen URL, use a domain registrar, such as GoDaddy.
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Note: While you can use social media to search for business names to determine your desired name, the search results might not give you useful insight if your desired business name is available and exclusive for use.
Step 3: Reserve Your Massachusetts LLC Name
You are required to file for a Name Reservation Certificate in addition to your LLC Certificate of Formation. The name reservation filing fee is $30.
You can reserve a business name for 60 days with the Massachusetts Name Reservation tool online.
Name reservation renewals must be completed 30 days before expiration if you do not establish your LLC within a specific period or according to Massachusetts’ guidelines. Reservations can extend for an additional 60 days and are eligible for renewal at the end of the term.
Using a Massachusetts DBA for Your LLC
A DBA (“doing business as”) name is referenced as an assumed name in Massachusetts. With a DBA, you can conduct business under a different name than your company’s official name.
You can also use a DBA and legally operate under a new name if you want to preserve your LLC but engage in another commercial activity. The fee to obtain a Massachusetts Assumed Name Certificate is $65 Filing fee, plus $35 additional fee if a non-Massachusetts resident. The process of getting a DBA in Massachusetts is similar from city to city.
Below are some links that include the business certificate websites for these cities. If you need to file in a different city, contact the city clerk for more information.
LLC owners sometimes choose to brand their businesses with a DBA. Most sole proprietors and general partnerships use a DBA to create a brand other than their surnames.
Step 4: Register a Massachusetts LLC Trade or Service Mark
You can search a mark on the federal trademark database to determine if someone has registered your business name.
You can file a request for a trade or service mark after you confirm the availability and reservation of your LLC name.
By notifying everyone in the state that they cannot use your mark for any purpose, you can distinguish the products or services your firm offers by registering your LLC’s business “mark” (which relates to trade and service marks) with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth (such as brand name, slogans, and logos).
These factors are crucial for an LLC owner to file a mark registration with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. The filing fee for a Massachusetts Trade or Service Mark Application is $50 per class or $45 per class if filed by fax (“class” means goods and services).
Registering a trade or service mark is not the same as filing a formation document. If you’re registering a business in Massachusetts, check out the steps on how to form a Massachusetts LLC.
Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Contact Information
William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place, 17th floor
Boston, MA 02108
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Phone: (617) 727-9640
Massachusetts LLC Name Search FAQ
Why do I need to do a Massachusetts LLC name search?
When forming a Massachusetts LLC, you will be required to choose a name. This name must be unique and available for use, and should not already be registered with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. To search for available LLC names, you can use the Massachusetts Taxable Entity Search or MA SOS Name Search tool on the Secretary of the Commonwealth website. You aren’t required to pay a search fee.
How do I check if an LLC name is taken in Massachusetts?
You can use the Massachusetts Taxable Entity Search or MA Online Filing System tool to check if your business name is available. You may also contact the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth via phone at (617) 727-9640 or email at email@example.com for assistance conducting a Massachusetts LLC name search.
Can I renew a Massachusetts LLC name reservation?
Yes. You can renew a name reservation by filing a new application during the 30-day period before it expires via the MA Online FIling System.
Is the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth LLC name search reservation tool free to use?
Yes. You can use the Massachusetts Name Reservation tool to find and reserve a name for your LLC. Enter the desired name for your LLC to determine its availability.