How to Register an LLC in Massachusetts: A Step-by-Step Guide

Avatar photo
By: Michaela Dale Updated on: June 13, 2024

Massachusetts boasts an educated workforce and reasonable business taxes, making it a strong choice of state to launch your business. If you’re ready to register an LLC in Massachusetts, look no further. We’ve rounded up all the steps you need to take in order to start your own business. 

Don't want to deal with all the boring paperwork? Let Northwest handle it for you! Start your business with Northwest for just $29 + state fees and get back to the fun stuff!
  • Formation and FREE registered agent services for your first year
  • Best privacy protection and customer service
Do It For Me

Massachusetts LLC Quick Facts

  • Registering an LLC in Massachusetts provides personal liability protection and brand credibility. 
  • To form an LLC in Massachusetts, you need to file a Certificate of Organization. 
  • The filing fee for registering an LLC is $500. 
  • To maintain an LLC, you must file an annual report. 

6 Steps to Registering an LLC in Massachusetts

In order to start an LLC in Massachusetts, you need to follow these six steps. 

Ready to launch your LLC? Let’s get started!

  1. Name Your Massachusetts LLC
  2. Appoint a Registered Agent
  3. File a Certificate of Organization
  4. Create an Operating Agreement
  5. Obtain an EIN and Handle Taxes
  6. File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report

Step 1: Name Your Massachusetts LLC 

To start your business, the first step is choosing a name for your LLC. 

A few basic LLC naming rules you need to follow include: 

  • The name should include the words “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or “Limited Company.”
  • It must be unique and distinguishable from any other business entity in the state.
  • Terms that imply government affiliation or falsify the business’s purpose are not allowed.

We recommend that you review the state’s LLC naming guidelines in their entirety before selecting a name. 

Make sure to confirm that your desired name is available by conducting a name search on the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth website

Your LLC name needs a matching URL. Secure yours today with GoDaddy. 

Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent

Appointing a resident agent, commonly known as a registered agent, is required to form an LLC in Massachusetts. A resident agent is a person or business entity responsible for receiving legal documents and important communications on behalf of your LLC. 

A resident agent in Massachusetts must: 

  • Be a resident of Massachusetts 
  • Have a physical address in the state wherein they are present during normal business hours 
  • Not be the LLC itself 

Who Is Eligible to be a Registered Agent in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, a registered agent can be the LLC owner, an employee of the company, a friend, a family member, or a hired registered agent service.

Step 3: File a Certificate of Organization

To officially register your LLC with the state, you must submit a Certificate of Organization to the Secretary of State of the Commonwealth. You can choose to file online or by submitting this form either by mail, by fax, or in person. 

The filing fee is $500

We recommend that you prepare the following details: 

  • Your LLC’s name and street address 
  • The general character of your business 
  • Each LLC manager’s name and address 
  • Your resident agent’s name and address 

Quick Note: If your business is already established in another state, you will need to register as a Massachusetts foreign LLC. This process can be done by submitting an Application for Registration online, by mail, by fax, or in person along with a $500 filing fee. 

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

One important aspect of registering an LLC in Massachusetts is to create and implement your operating agreement. This document outlines the internal procedures and ownership details of the company, helping to keep LLC members in alignment and prevent future conflicts. While this document does not have to be filed with the state, it is crucial for your LLC to keep an updated operating agreement on file.

Step 5: Obtain an EIN and Handle Taxes 

To complete the process of registering an LLC in Massachusetts, it is essential to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business. This unique identifier allows the IRS to track your business for tax reporting purposes and is mandatory for tax filings, hiring employees, and opening a business bank account. 

You can easily obtain an EIN for free by visiting the IRS website.

Additionally, it is important to identify any additional tax requirements specific to your business by consulting the Massachusetts Department of Revenue website

Step 6: File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report 

New LLCs must file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) within 90 days of formation. 

Existing LLCs have a window between January 1st, 2024, and January 1st, 2025, to complete this filing. 

Failure to do so will result in a fine of $500 per day. 

Filing can be done online for free on the FinCEN website.

Next Steps 

  • Open a business bank account to separate and protect your personal assets. With Lili Banking and Accounting Services, you can sign up for your business bank account in just minutes. 

Lili is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Sunrise Banks N.A., Member FDIC.

  • Identify and obtain any necessary licenses and permits required at the federal or state level to operate your LLC legally in Massachusetts. Visit the Mass.gov website for more information. 
  • File an annual report to keep your business in good standing with the state. Learn more on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website
  • Secure the appropriate insurance for your LLC, such as general liability, workers’ compensation, and personal liability insurance, to protect your business from potential risks. We recommend NEXT Insurance for fast, affordable coverage.

Additional Tips for Success 

  • Building a strong network of fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, and industry leaders can provide valuable support and new opportunities for your LLC. 
  • Keeping track of compliance requirements, such as reporting and fee obligations, is crucial to maintaining the legality of your business in Massachusetts. 
  • Planning for the future by setting goals and milestones for your company can help guide its growth and success.

Conclusion

When registering an LLC in Massachusetts, it is important to ensure that all the required steps are completed accurately and in a timely manner to set your business up for success. By following these steps and fulfilling all legal requirements, you can establish your LLC in Massachusetts and start your entrepreneurial journey with confidence.