Commonly referred to by the name "D/B/A" (doing business as) a business certificate creates a public record of the name and address of the owner(s) of a business who has an office located in Harvard or the Harvard portion of Devens. By law consumers are entitled to this information and it may not otherwise be readily available. In accordance with MGL Chapter 110 Section 5, any person conducting a business under a name other than his/her own name is required to file a Business Certificate with this office to register the business at the address where business is to be conducted. An individual must be 18 years of age or older to legally sign a business certificate.
In Harvard, the cost for the certificate is $40, it is valid for four years from the date of issue, and must be renewed every four years. Most financial institutions require a copy of the Business Certificate prior to opening a business banking account.
If you are applying for a Business Certificate by mail please complete the Business Certificate Form and have your signature notarized by a Notary Public before sending it to: Harvard Town Clerk, 13 Ayer Road, Harvard, MA 01451. Include a check or money order for $40.00 made payable to "Town of Harvard".
The fee for an additional certified copy of a Business Certificate or a Business Name change is $10.00.
What do I do if I discontinue, withdraw from the business, or move to another location?
The Business Certificate Amendment form (see link at the top of the page) is to be filed with the Town Clerk if one of the following occurs before the expiration date:
The business is discontined.
One or more of the persons named on the certificate withdraws or retires from the business or partnership.
One or more of the persons named on the certificate dies.
Change of residence of one of the named persons on the certificate.
Change of location where the business is conducted.
Who does not need to file a DBA?
You do not have to file a DBA when you are doing business as a sole proprietor under your own complete name, such as John Smith Company, a partnership doing business under the true surname of a partner or if you are incorporated and are doing business under the true incorporated name. See MGL Chapter 110, Section 6 for more information.
For information about the process of incorporating your business, contact the State Corporations Division at 617-727-9640 or navigate through the Corporations Division website for general information.