Start a Business in Massachusetts

Whether you are following the EverEmployed program or going it on your own, many entrepreneurs choose to operate as an S-corp for a number of reasons. While we can’t offer legal advice, here are general instructions and resources on setting up an S-corp in Massachusetts. If you are still unsure as to what an S-Corp is, please refer to our article, “What is an S-Corp?

Choosing a Corporation Name

One of the most simple steps in starting a business in Massachusetts is to choose a name for the corporation. Though you may have come up with this in the past, there are a few rules you will want to consider.

The State Corporations Division specifies that a corporation name must contain one of the following business designators (Or an abbreviated version): Incorporated (Inc.), Corporation (Corp.), Company (Co), or Limited (Ltd.).

The name chosen must also be recognizably different from any other entity currently registered. You may perform a name availability search through the Corporation Division Name Database. 

If you have chosen a name, determined its availability and are not yet ready to move forward in organizing the corporation, you may file a name reservation form with the Corporations Division. This form reserves the name for a 60 day period, and it may be extended for an additional 60 days.

Proceed to the Paperwork

A corporation legally begins to exist when it files the Articles of Organization with the Corporations Division. This form requires that you have already obtained a Federal Employer Identification number (EIN) from the IRS. (The EIN form is only a few short questions and an EIN will be issued for download immediately).

Once the EIN is obtained; you are ready to proceed with the Articles of Organization. This form will detail the name, address and purpose of the organization, the number and class of shares of stock to be issued, the effective date of organization, the name and addresses of the directors, and the filers contact information.

Each organization will also need to appoint a registered agent who will accept legal paperwork on the corporations behalf. This agent may be an individual or entity with a Massachusetts address who agrees to serve in this capacity.

Corporations doing business in the state must also complete an annual report with the Corporations Division. The report can be filed online and must be filed within 2.5 months of the fiscal years end.

Federal Forms to File

At this point, you have already obtained your EIN, but in order to elect S-Corp status from the IRS, the corporation will need to file Form 2553: Election by a Small Business Corporation. The form will need to be signed by all shareholders and filed within 2.5 months of the beginning of the first tax year.

You Are Official!

 Congratulations! You have completed the first steps to becoming a legally recognized company! Once your S-corp is set up, remember to get a business license in the city you are operating.  Most cities pull data from newly-registered businesses in the state so they can track down who in their city should have a license.  While you can wait for your city to come knocking if you are on a tight budget (and many will simply give you a deadline to get a license), some municipalities may not be so friendly about it.
Please continue on to our “What Do I Do Next?” article for more guidance on where to go from here.
If you have helpful information or insights to add about starting a business in Massachusetts, feel free to comment below.
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