How Much Is A Business License In Massachusetts?

Massachusetts has no general business license like other states, but instead companies who want to register here will have to seek out the individual town or city where the business intends to be based. Business license registration is slightly different in Massachusetts than everywhere else, including the way the state calculates application costs.

How much is a Massachusetts business license? Business license applications in Massachusetts cost between $25 to $50 to apply for, but special licenses like a Limited Liability Corporation could charge fees of up to $500. Massachusetts business licenses have to be registered with the town or city in which the main office or representative branch will be located.

All businesses who want to operate within Massachusetts will require a basic business license to operate. Basic business licenses in Massachusetts work differently to most other states, and there is no general state-wide license or permit for the whole of Massachusetts.

Business Licenses in Massachusetts

All businesses in Massachusetts need a basic business license to remain compliant with the state’s tax laws. Additional permits could be required for specific businesses, but a basic license will always have to be applied for first.

Business license applications in Massachusetts must be made with the specific city or town where the business intends to operate. Massachusetts is one of only a handful of states that do not have a generalized, state-wide business licenses for the entire area.

Applications cost $25 to $50, although the cost might increase with specific company registration such as a Limited Liability Corporation. Administration fees might be charged by the relevant city office, but this is individual.

A Massachusetts business license remains valid for a period of 4 years, though other permits might need more regular renewal. Businesses in Maryland are expected to renew their licenses before or after the deadline. Fees are charged for businesses who miss the cut off date for renewal.

Business license applications can be made either online or through the relevant physical office. State resources recommend online applications for their speed.

How long it takes to get a Massachusetts business license depends on the resources that are available to the individual office applied through. Some departments are faster than others, though a turnaround time of approximately 14 days is normal for most applications.

After an application has been processed, the business will receive a temporary certificate to display their number – and the physical license documents are usually sent via the mail with a notification to the applicant.

In most of Massachusetts, application fees are non-refundable. State resources advise everyone who applies to make sure that information displayed is correct.

Massachusetts requires all businesses to have a basic sales license, even ones that provide a service or sell online. Any businesses who trade without a license could be forced to close until they have brought their paperwork up to date.

Even if other permits or licenses are necessary, a business license is the single most important document for doing legal business in Massachusetts.            

How long does a business license in Massachusetts take?

Business licenses applied for in Massachusetts can take approximately 14 days to process from application date. Processing speed can depend on your individual city or town office and staffing capacity. 

When does a business license in Massachusetts expire?

Massachusetts business licenses are valid for a period of 4 years from their approval date, and must be renewed by the person who applied for it. There are exceptions, and some permits or licenses have to be renewed sooner than this.

How do I register for a nonprofit license in Massachusetts?

Businesses who are classified as not-for-profit have to be registered separately. This can be done through the same channels as basic business license registration: applicants are advised to approach their local or state office.

Where can I apply for a business license in Massachusetts?

There is no general business license for the entire state of Massachusetts. Businesses who want to trade in this state have to apply with their individual town or city in Massachusetts, either through a representative office or online.

What if my business license is delayed?

Business license applications in Massachusetts are meant to be quick, with online applications recommended for faster processing speed. Delays can happen due to resource issues and at busy times of the year. State resources advise a follow up if no reference number is received.

Types of Business Licenses

An LLC or CompanyAn LLC is a special type of business license that needs to be registered in Massachusetts, and it might cost up to $500.
A General Operating LicenseA general operating license or business license is required from each individual town or city in Massachusetts, not at state-wide level.
A Food LicenseFood licenses are a specific type of business license that only applies to businesses who buy, sell or process food-related stock. 

Massachusetts Business Facts

• Massachusetts employs approximately 1.4 million people in the small business sector.

• There are more than 600, 000 small businesses registered in Massachusetts state.

• Massachusetts is ranked as one of the best states in which to start a business.

• Small businesses contain less than 500 employees by definition.

Small Business Licenses in Massachusetts

Business licenses are easy to register for in Massachusetts, but there are some differences which set this state apart from others. There is no general state business license for Massachusetts, but instead individual city or town registration permits to remain tax compliant.

The cost for a small business license in Massachusetts can vary from one city to another town, but tends to range from $25 and up. Special companies like LLCs are charged at higher rates, and cost up to $500.

Here are the business license costs in other states: