Massachusetts Name Search

Last updated on

Deal alert! Our favorite company, Northwest, is forming LLCs for $39 (60% off!) See details.

Massachusetts LLC Name Search

How to form an LLC in Massachusetts
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Massachusetts.

Detailed Lessons:

 

Massachusetts LLC costs:
LLC formation cost: $500 by mail or $520 online (one-time fee)
Annual report: $500 by mail or $520 online (every year)

Need help?
Hire a company to form your Massachusetts LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

The first step to forming an LLC in Massachusetts is to search your desired LLC name and make sure it is available for use.

Your Massachusetts LLC name must be unique and must follow certain state requirements.

Massachusetts LLC Name Requirements

Before searching your LLC name in Massachusetts, there are a few requirements you need to know:

1. The abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C.” must be used at the end of your Massachusetts LLC name. The abbreviation “LLC” is the most common.

2. Because a Massachusetts LLC is not a Corporation, your desired LLC name cannot use the word “Corporation”, “Incorporated,” or their abbreviations (“Corp.” or “Inc.”).

3. Your desired LLC name must be distinguishable. This means it must be different and unique from all other businesses registered in Massachusetts.

Differences in designators, which are the identifiers at the end of a business name (LLC, Inc., etc.) do not create distinguishability.

Differences in grammar also do not create distinguishability.

For example:
• LLC, L.L.C, Inc., Corp.
• singular, plural, and possessive
• A, An, The
• and, or, &
• hyphens, slashes, periods, commas
• three vs. 3

The following examples are NOT distinguishable:
– Smith Investments, LLC vs. Smith Investments, Inc.
– Apple Farm, LLC vs. Apple Farms, LLC
– Print Shop, LLC vs. The Print Shop, LLC
– Night & Day, LLC vs. Night and Day, LLC
– Peter Paul & Mary Studios, LLC vs. Peter-Paul-Mary Studios, Inc
– Three Teachers Consulting, LLC vs. 3 Teachers Consulting, LLC

Need to save time? Hire a professional to form your LLC in Massachusetts:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

Searching the Massachusetts Name Database

1. Visit the Corporations Division Business Entity Search
http://corp.sec.state.ma.us/corpweb/CorpSearch/CorpSearch.aspx

2. Search Your LLC Name
Select “Search by entity name”, then enter your desired LLC name in the “Enter name” box.

• Leave out the ending “LLC” and any punctuation.

• Capitalization doesn’t matter.

• Leave the “Search type” as “Begins with”.

• To be thorough, just enter the first word or two of your LLC name to ensure you see everything that is potentially similar. (Ex: if your desired Massachusetts LLC name is “Johnny Apple Farm LLC”, just enter “johnny apple”).

• To be even more thorough, just enter a part of the first word. (Ex: if your desired Massachusetts LLC name is “Printing Solutions LLC”, just enter “print”).

3. Browse the Results
Change the “Display number of items to view” to 100 items per page. Then click the “Search Corporations” button and browse the list of existing Massachusetts businesses:

• If a “No records found; try a new search using different criteria” message appears, that means your desired LLC name is unique and available for use.

• If the results show names that are not too similar to yours (meaning yours is distinguishable), then your desired LLC name is available for use.

• If your desired LLC name appears exactly as you want it in the search results, your desired Massachusetts LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a unique variation.

• If the search results show a name that is deceptively similar to your desired LLC name, your desired Massachusetts LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a unique variation.

Tip: If you’re not 100% sure that your desired Massachusetts LLC name is distinguishable, just file your paperwork with the state. If your name is not available, the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth will send back your filing and let you know that the name needs to be changed.

Next Step

Once you find a Massachusetts LLC name that is unique and distinguishable, you’re ready to select your LLC’s Resident Agent. We’ll discuss this in the next lesson: Massachusetts LLC Resident Agent.

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Contact Info

If you have any questions, you can contact the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth at 617-727-9640.

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.
Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

2 Comments

  1. Adriel Rodriguez April 19, 2018

    Hey Matt,

    How are you? I hope all is well. I just filed my LLC for a Web Design business with my partner. It will just be him and I doing all the work. No employees for the first year. I was wondering how we go about taxes? I filed my LLC through legalzoom.

    I bought their “compliance, tax and legal” advice. They are all $320/each per year. I know I need the legal advice in case my business gets sued. But do I really need the tax and compliance advice? Let me know.

    Thank you, mate!

    Best,
    Adriel

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz April 21, 2018

      Hi Adriel, I don’t know the ins and outs of those 3 packages, however, I believe the compliance they are referring to is the Massachusetts LLC Annual Report. I’m not sure what is included in the tax advice, but our recommendation is to hire an accountant. You could also keep the packages (and use them) to see if there is value in it for you, and then choose to renew or cancel next year. Hope that helps :)

      reply

Leave a comment or question

Comments are temporarily disabled.