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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.
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- 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
Searching the Massachusetts Name Database
1. Visit the Corporations Division Business Entity Search
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.
Once you find a Massachusetts LLC name that is unique and distinguishable, you’re ready to select your LLC’s Registered Agent. We’ll discuss this in the next lesson: Massachusetts LLC Registered Agent.
And check out TRUIC’s business name generator if you need help coming up with an LLC name.
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.
How do I change my LLC name?
You can change your LLC’s name later by filing an Amendment form with the Secretary of State.
We have step-by-step instructions on how to change an LLC name in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts LLC Act: Section 3
Massachusetts LLC Act: Section 4
Massachusetts Business Entity Search Tools
Massachusetts Division of Corporations: LLC Information
Massachusetts Division of Corporations: Name Reservations
MASSACHUSETTS LLC GUIDE
Follow the lessons below to form your Massachusetts LLC.
9 comments on “Massachusetts Name Search”
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.
How many years is the mass LLC good for?
So, for Massachusetts, even just to ‘hold’ an LLC that’s not yet active or generating no revenue, or in the building process, it will cost at least $956 a year? ($500 annual ‘report’ and $456 minimum tax).
Hi Luftweg, yes, you are correct. Unfortunately, Massachusetts has a very expensive Annual Report (compared to the national average). Hope that helps.
I recently purchased(deed) a house under an LLC. However I established homeowners insurance under my name due to delays with IRS issuing EIN numbers. Can I keep this under my name(I am a member of LLC),
Hi Dan, the delays with the IRS have been a major pain. However, we recommend having the LLC hold the insurance policy. You can switch things over once you have the EIN. Hope that helps.
Thank you Matt. Talking with insurance agent now to get adjusted to LLC name.
You’re welcome Dan :)
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!
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 :)