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How to apply for a business certificate

How to apply for a business certificate

Businesses in Boston need to get a business certificate through the City Clerk’s office. You need to renew your certificate every four years.

Last updated: 6/8/18
Step
1

Prepare your application

You need to give us the name and address of your business, along with the names and addresses of any people who have an interest in your business. You CANNOT use a post office box for a business address.

Complete and print out a business certificate form. Check the box that says "new filing." The business owner’s signature needs to be notarized. We can also notarize your signature at the City Clerk's Office if you have a valid picture identification.

Will the business certificate be associated with a legally established corporation? The signature on the certificate must be one of the listed officers or directors of the corporation, as filed with the
Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office, or any other state jurisdiction.

Filing fee

The filing fee is $65. If you are not a Massachusetts resident but you want to conduct business in the state, you need to pay an additional $35:

  • When applying in person, you can pay with cash, a check or money order, or by debit card.
  • If you send your payment by mail, please include a check or money order made payable to the City of Boston.
Step
2

Make sure you have all your information

For some businesses, we require other documents.

If you plan to open a daycare business, you must give us a copy of a state-issued daycare provider license.

If you want to open a livery business, you also need to give us copies of this information:

  • registrations for all cars used in the business
  • insurance binders
  • two utility bills
  • Massachusetts licenses for all drivers
  • the lease where the business is operating, and
  • livery plates issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Are you a home improvement or construction contractor? You need to give us a copy of your valid construction or contractor license from the Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

If there is a business certificate on file with the same name or address as your business, you must give us:

  • a notarized letter from the landlord that states the previous business owner is gone, and
  • a copy of your lease agreement that includes signatures and start and end dates of the lease. Don’t have a lease? Please give us a notarized letter from your landlord stating that your business is a tenant. The letter must include start and end dates for your tenancy.
Step
3

Pick up the certificate in person

Bring your documents, payment, and completed form to City Hall:

City Clerk’s Office, Room 601
1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

You can also visit the City Hall to Go truck (Drop-off only). Find out when the truck is in your neighborhoodIf you use City Hall to Go, your info is forwarded to the City Clerk.  If approved, we will mail you an official copy of your certificate within 10 business days.

Step
4

Or mail us your info

Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope in your letter. Mail your documents, payment, and completed form to:

Office of the City Clerk, 1 City Hall Square
Room 601, ATTN: Business Certificates
Boston, MA 02201
United States
Step
1

Prepare your renewal application

You need to give us the name and address of your business, along with the names and addresses of any people who have an interest in your business. You CANNOT use a post office box for a business address.

Complete and print out a business certificate form. Check the box that says "renewal." The business owner’s signature needs to be notarized. We can also notarize your signature at the City Clerk's Office if you have a valid picture ID.

Is your business certificate associated with a legally established corporation? The signature on the certificate must be one of the listed officers or directors of the corporation, as filed with the
Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office, or any other state jurisdiction.

Filing fee

The filing fee is $65. If you are not a Massachusetts resident but you want to conduct business in the state, you need to pay an additional $35:

  • When applying in person, you can pay with cash, a check or money order, or by debit card.
  • If you send your payment by mail, please include a check or money order made payable to the City of Boston.
Step
2

Make sure you have all your information

For some businesses, we require other documents.

If you plan to open a daycare business, you must give us a copy of a state-issued daycare provider license.

If you want to open a livery business, you also need to give us copies of this information:

  • registrations for all cars used in the business
  • insurance binders
  • two utility bills
  • Massachusetts licenses for all drivers
  • the lease where the business is operating, and
  • livery plates issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Are you a home improvement or construction contractor? You need to give us a copy of your valid construction or contractor license from the Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

If there is a business certificate on file with the same name or address as your business, you must give us:

  • a notarized letter from the landlord that states the previous business owner is gone, and
  • a copy of your lease agreement that includes signatures and start and end dates of the lease. Don’t have a lease? Please give us a notarized letter from your landlord stating that your business is a tenant. The letter must include start and end dates for your tenancy.
Step
3

Pick up the certificate in person

Bring your documents, payment, and completed form, to City Hall:

City Clerk’s Office, Room 601
1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

You can also visit the City Hall to Go truck (Drop-off only):

Step
4

Or mail us your info

Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope in your letter. Mail your documents, payment, and completed form to:

Office of the City Clerk, 1 City Hall Square
Room 601, ATTN: Business Certificates
Boston, MA 02201
United States
Step
1

Gather your information and payment

You need to give us the name and address of your business, along with the names and addresses of any people who have an interest in your business. You CANNOT use a post office box for a business address.

Complete and print out a change of location formThe business owner’s signature needs to be notarized. We can also notarize your signature at the City Clerk's Office if you have a valid picture ID.

Is your business certificate associated with a legally established corporation? The signature on the certificate must be one of the listed officers or directors of the corporation, as filed with the
Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office, or any other state jurisdiction.

Filing fee

The filing fee is $50. When applying in person, you can pay with cash, a check or money order, or by debit card. If you send your payment by mail, please include a check or money order made payable to the City of Boston.

Step
2

Change the address in person

Bring your payment and completed form to City Hall:

City Clerk’s Office, Room 601
1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

You can also visit the City Hall to Go truck (Drop-off only). Find out when the truck is in your neighborhoodIf you use City Hall to Go, your info is forwarded to the City Clerk. If approved, we will mail you an official copy of your certificate with the address change within 10 business days.

Step
3

Or mail us your info

Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope in your letter. Mail your payment and completed form to:

Office of the City Clerk, 1 City Hall Square
Room 601, ATTN: Business Certificates
Boston, MA 02201
United States
Step
1

Fill out the form

You need to give us the name and address of your business, along with the names and addresses of any people who have an interest in your business. You CANNOT use a post office box for a business address.

Complete and print out a withdrawal of business certificate form. The business owner’s signature needs to be notarized. We can also notarize your signature at the City Clerk's Office if you have a valid picture ID.

Is your business certificate associated with a legally established corporation? The signature on the certificate must be one of the listed officers or directors of the corporation, as filed with the
Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office, or any other state jurisdiction.

Filing fee

The filing fee is $50. When applying in person, you can pay with cash, a check or money order, or by debit card. If you send your payment by mail, please include a check or money order made payable to the City of Boston.

If you only want to remove a person’s name from a business certificate, complete and print out a withdrawal of names form. The filing fee is still $50.

Step
2

Withdraw the certificate in person

Bring your payment and completed form to City Hall:

City Clerk’s Office, Room 601
1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

You can also visit the City Hall to Go truck (Drop-off only). Find out when the truck is in your neighborhoodIf you use City Hall to Go, your info is forwarded to the City Clerk. We will mail you an official notice that your certificate was removed within 10 business days.

Step
3

Or mail us your info

Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope in your letter. Mail your payment and completed form to:

Office of the City Clerk, 1 City Hall Square
Room 601, ATTN: Business Certificates
Boston, MA 02201
United States
Need to Know:
  • Starting on July 1, 2018, all businesses in the City of Boston not registered with the City Clerk will be fined up to $300 per month. Learn more about the law.
  • The business certificate needs to be renewed every four years from the date the business was registered with the City Clerk.
Important forms and resources
STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?
Contact:
City Clerk
1 City Hall Square
Room 601
Boston, MA 02201-2014
United States