What should I know about business licenses in Massachusetts?
Most municipalities in Massachusetts have done away with their business licenses, but that’s not the end of the business license story in The Bay State.
For one thing, every business in Massachusetts is required to obtain a business certificate (if they’re operating under a DBA). Failure to retain this critical license can lead to stiff penalties.
Some industries, particularly those that are heavily regulated, face additional hurdles. Food service businesses, such as restaurants, bars, diners, and cafes, must obtain proper food permits, but this can be tricky since they are typically handled by local municipalities.
Consequently, it’s not as easy as one would think to track down the necessary forms, instructions, deadlines, and schedules. Advanced planning is typically recommended to fulfill your Massachusetts business license compliance requirements.
How many business licenses do you need?
The number of business licenses you need in Massachusetts depends on a number of unique factors.
These factors include...
- Within which city/county will you operate your business?
- What business activities will you be conducting?
- How heavily regulated is your industry? Etc.
To put it in perspective, we ran the following queries through our own business license research tool. Here are some authentic results:
This may include a local Boston peddler/solicitor – transient merchant license. That means a business owner likely needs to submit a Vending License Application Form.
This may include a state-specific Massachusetts optical/eyecare license. There are many forms and documents a business owner will need to review, including some as obscure as a Notice of Office Location Form and the Certification for Use of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents.
This may include a local Springfield food establishment permit.
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Common Massachusetts business license questions
Trying to open your Bay State business? Here’s some of what you need to know about Massachusetts business licenses.
There’s a good chance you’ll need a business license to operate in Massachusetts. Lots of businesses require licenses in Massachusetts, especially for specific industries and professions.
How much your business license in Massachusetts costs may depend on several factors such as your city and type of business. There is a $50 fee to file your business application in both Worcester and Northampton, MA. The fee can start as low as $65 if your business is in Boston, and there’s an additional $35 fee if you’re not a Massachusetts resident. Certain kinds of businesses may require other fees and permits.
The good news is that you can apply online for many of the business licenses you need. Even so, you’ll still need to identify the right licenses, and may need to reach out to the city clerk in your area.
Avalara can also help you identify the licenses you need and prepare applications.