Where can I get federal and state tax identification numbers?
Sole proprietorships without employees can use the proprietor's
social security number as a business identification number. It may, however, be
advantageous for a sole proprietorship to have an EIN number.
corporations with or without employees, and sole proprietors with employees,
must obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) (Form SS-4) from the IRS.
The form can be obtained from the IRS at
www.irs.gov or 800-392-6089.
corporations with or without employees, and sole proprietors with employees,
must register their business with the Department of Revenue. This can only be
done online by going to www.mass.gov and
registering as a new business. Further information can be obtained at
Massachusetts Department of Revenue's website at
is a DBA Certificate and where do I get one?
A business certificate is the registration of a business. It is commonly referred to as a "DBA" or "Doing Business As" certificate. Its purpose is primarily for consumer protection and public information. Essentially, it creates a public record of the name and address of the owner of a business.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 110, §5 states that any person conducting business under any title or business name other than the real name of the person conducting the business must file a
certificate. A person is defined as an individual, a partnership, or a corporation.
Forms for filing are available in the town clerk’s office where the business
is to be located.
do I become a government supplier?
MSBDC Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), clients subscribe to a free bid-matching service, which informs them daily of federal, state and municipal bidding opportunities matching their specific product and service profiles. After identifying a specific bid, clients may draw on a wealth of technical assistance to prepare their proposals. If
successful, PTAC provides assistance in post-award contract administration.
Visit PTAC's website at www.msbdc.org/ptac.
What taxes are required for my business?
Once you start your business, you will have to start paying certain taxes to both the federal government and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The specific taxes you are required to pay depend on your type of business.
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue provides a comprehensive online guide,
to Employer Tax Obligations, and also offers small
Click here to view the guide.
do I register my business name?
individual or entity may register the business name, trademark or service mark
with the Massachusetts Secretary of State's Office. A form may be obtained by
calling 617-727-2850. The completed form, along with the $50 filing fee,
should be sent to the Secretary of
State’s Office in Boston. Trademarks and service marks are renewable every
How do I find out if anyone else is
using the name that I chose for my business?
The Secretary of State’s office will do
a name search for Massachusetts only. For further information, visit
www.mass.gov/sec/cor or call 617-727-2850.
You can also contact Paulina Borrego, Librarian for Research and Learning
Services at the University of
Massachusetts, at 413-545-7891 or
is a corporation?
corporation is a separate legal entity that exists under the authority granted
by state law. A corporation has substantially all of the legal rights of an
individual and is responsible for its own debts .It must also file income tax
returns and pay taxes on income it derives from its operations. Typically, the
owners or shareholders of a corporation are protected from the liabilities of
the business. However, when a corporation is small, creditors often require
personal guarantees of the principal owners before extending credit. The legal
protection afforded the owners of a corporation can far outweigh the additional
expense of starting and administering a corporation.
Is the business that I want to
In order to answer this question, you must get copies of the seller's tax
records for the last three years, details of the sale and meet with an MSBDC
business advisor as soon as possible. The business advisor can help you value
the business and look at how the expenses may change under your management.
do I obtain health insurance?
You may contact any of the following for more information on health
Associated Industries of
Massachusetts has various insurance programs available to its
members, please visit www.aimnet.org or
Chambers of Commerce may
provide group health insurance for its members. Please contact your local
chamber for additional information.
Commonwealth Connector is
an independent state agency that helps Massachusetts residents find health
insurance coverage and avoid tax penalties, please visit
Partnership is a Massachusetts state program, which helps
qualified small businesses with uninsured employees, and the self-employed,
pay for health insurance, please visit
or call 508-698-2070.
Smaller Business Association of New
England offers a comprehensive array of insurance choices and
has the expertise to guide business owners through the evaluation and
selection process, please visit www.sbane.org
or call 781-890-9070 for more information.
Chamber Health Coop - member
businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees (those working 30 or more
hours a week) are now eligible to buy discounted health insurance through
the Chamber Health Coop. This new program, offered by the Massachusetts
Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, brings you coverage options
from three premier health plans:
Fallon Community Health Plan: Eastern and Central Massachusetts (3%
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care: Eastern and Central Massachusetts (3%
Health New England: Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Counties
With just a modest membership fee to participate, your net annual savings
could total hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The Chamber Health Coop
also provides a health and wellness program for your employees at no extra
cost, helping to keep your staff healthy and productive.
Enrollment opens in late June for coverage that can begin as soon as August
1, 2012. You can access this insurance through your regular health insurance
For additional information, please visit
the MSBDC write my business plan for me?
the MSBDC will not write your business plan for you, we will provide the guidance
needed to write the plan and can help fine-tune your plan.
insurance should I carry for my business?
An important aspect of your business is a
well-planned insurance program. Types of insurance you should consider are:
you help me obtain small business grants?
Unfortunately, for most
companies in Massachusetts, there are no small business grants. That is, there
are no grants available for start up costs, operating or other typical small
business expenses for companies which are not “non-profit” or charitable
organizations. Most grants are given by foundations or government agencies to
provide money for charitable or social purposes and they are typically only
given to organizations which have specific “non-profit” status [typically
501(c)(3)]. This automatically excludes the majority of businesses which are
operated for a profit, regardless of race or gender.
However, there are two
exceptions for specific grants for which a small business could be eligible. The
first is called an SBIR or Small Business Innovative Research grant. To qualify
for this type of grant a small business needs to have a unique technology which
an agency of the government has an interest in developing through advanced
research. This program requires a company to have qualified academic researchers
and industry experts on its staff. Additional information on SBIR can be found
The second type of grant is
a Workforce Training Grant. This grant is available to existing small businesses
that need to train their workforce to better perform their jobs. It is a
50/50 match between funds that the company puts up and funds that are
available from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Additional information on
Workforce Training grants can be found at
There are other agencies that
also offer grants. For Massachusetts grants, go to
www.mass.gov and type 'grants' in the search field, then select the quick
link for grants and funding. For non-profit organizations, grant information is
available in the library section of the Associated Grant Makers' website at
www.agmconnect.org. To learn about
federal grants, go to the U.S. Small Business Administration's website at
The U.S. Small Business
Administration (SBA) does not offer grants or free money to start
or expand small businesses. Although there are some grants available, they
generally are targeted towards specific groups, types of organizations or
activities. SBA does offer a wide variety of loan programs. Visit
www.sba.gov/financing for more
Financing for a small
business can often be a confusing and difficult process. The MSBDC can provide
valuable information that will dispel many of the myths about free money and
grants, and help individuals position themselves to start or grow a successful
small business in Massachusetts. For additional information on the process of
financing, contact the nearest MSBDC office to schedule an appointment.
Does my credit score affect my possibilities of obtaining a
balance sheet affects all aspects of your business endeavors. The purpose of
having a credit score is to determine your risk of repaying debt. Thus if you
have a low credit score it will be more difficult to obtain financing, but not
How do I certify my business as minority owned?
If you are interested in certifying your business as minority owned, you can
contact the State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance (SOMWBA) at
www.somwba.state.ma.us or call
617-973-8692 for more information on the process.
Is there a fee for using the MSBDC services?
All MSBDC services are FREE. We are a three-way partnership between the federal
government (U.S. Small Business Administration), state government (Massachusetts
Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development) and the academic sector
(University of Massachusetts) all working together to support business and
entrepreneurship throughout the Commonwealth. We do charge a nominal fee for
Does the MSBDC provide bilingual services?
Yes, most of our staff speaks Spanish and we also offer several workshops in
Spanish co-sponsored by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development
Corporation. Please visit the Español section of our website and training
calendar for more information.
Are MSBDC services only available to minority clients?
We welcome the
opportunity to leverage resources for minority entrepreneurs, however all of our
services are open to the general public.
Does the MSBDC provide legal or accounting assistance?
MSBDC does not offer any legal or accounting assistance. We can provide you with
some general concepts and guidance. However we work with many different
resources, which we can refer you to. Please see the business resources section
of our website for a listing of legal and accounting resources.
This is an
official page of the
University of Massachusetts Boston
Produced and maintained by the
Small Business Development Center Network