The purpose of a Business Certificate, also known as a D/B/A (Doing Business As), is to disclose business ownership information. Many banks consider it a requirement for opening a business banking account.
A Business Certificate only registers your name in town – it does not give you permission to operate. It is the responsibility of the applicant to contact the Building Inspector and the Board of Health and to obtain any other required licenses or permits in order to comply with Town Bylaws, rules and regulations.
Massachusetts General Laws, Ch.110 § 5 require that all businesses operating under any title other than the real name of the person conducting the business, whether individually or as partnership, obtain a Business Certificate.
A Business Certificate is not required if any corporation is doing business under its true corporate name, nor is it required to any partnership doing business under any title which includes the true surname of any partner. For details, refer to Massachusetts General Laws, Ch.110 § 6.
The Business Certificate is valid for four (4) years and costs $25, cash or check made payable to the Town of Essex. Applicants must apply in person at the Town Clerk's office with valid photo ID and all owners of the business must be present to sign the documents. Alternatively, applicants can download the application, complete it, have all signatures notarized and then submit the original to the Town Clerk's office with payment.
A Business Certificate does not protect your business name or trademark. For details regarding incorporating your business, starting a Limited Liability Company, or protecting your trademark, visit the Secretary of State's website here.