The MA LLC search, or Massachusetts limited liability company business entity search, is what you use to make sure the name you want for your LLC is open for use in Massachusetts. This is one of the first things you should do when setting up your LLC. When choosing an LLC name, there are some requirements you should be aware of:

  1. The abbreviation “L.L.C.” or “LLC” must follow your MA LLC name.
  2. The word “incorporated” or “corporation” cannot be used, because LLCs are not corporations.
  3. The name has to be unique; duplicate names are not allowed. Duplication is not avoided by differences in:
    • “L.L.C.,” “LLC,” “Corp.,” and “Inc.”
    • Plural, singular, and possessive forms.
    • “The,” “A,” and “An.”
    • “Or,” “and,” and “&.”
    • Slashes, hyphens, commas, and periods.
    • Numerals versus spelled out numbers.

Along with showing you the availability of business name, the MA LLCsearch also offers basic information about existing businesses. That information is:

  1. If it has been legally formed.
  2. If it is still in good standing.
  3. What its business address is.
  4. What its registered agent’s address is.

Because of this, MA LLC search is a very useful tool when forming a new LLC. It is also very simple to use.

Search the MA LLC Database

To conduct an MA LLC search, simply follow these steps:

  1. Visit the MA LLC search website. Search options there include:
  2. Conduct an LLC name search. To do this:
    • Type in your LLC name into the “Enter name” field in the “Search by entity name” option.
    • Do not type in “LLC” or any variations thereof, and leave out all punctuation.
    • Do not worry about capitalization.
    • Use “Begins with” as the search type.
    • Type in the first one or two words in your LLC’s name to make sure you get a wide field of options similar to your desired name.
    • Enter only part of the first word of your LLC’s name for even more options. 
  3. Search through the results.
    • If you get a message that says no records were found, then the LLC name you want is usable.
    • If you get results that show LLC names unlike yours by the above-listed criteria for duplication, then your LLC name is also usable.
    • If you see a listing with your exact LLC name, then your name is not usable. 
    • If you are not completely certain that the name you want is unique, you can file a name application with the state to find out. A rejection will let you know that your name is not unique.
  4. Choose a name.
    • Upon finding a name that you can use, you can then file with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to form an LLC with that name.
    • You can also reserve a name for 60 days. There is a $30 filing fee to do so.

Once you find a Massachusetts LLC name that is not taken, your next step will be to get a registered agent. You can learn more about doing so here.

Search by Name or Filing Number

If your are searching the MA LLC database to acquire information about an existing company, there are two search methods that may be especially useful—search by name and search by filing number.

If you wish to conduct a search based on the name of someone associated with a company (such as an officer or director), you can use the name search. To conduct a name search:

  1. Check the box by the “Search by an individual name” subheading on the MA LLC search page.
  2. Type the person’s full legal name into the provided field.
  3. Select the “Search Corporations” options in regards to what kind of search you want.
  4. After the results appear, select the LLC whose information you wish to view.
  5. In addition to the public information listed, you will also find links for acquiring a certificate and viewing a list of all filings.

If you wish to search by an LLC’s filing number, a filing number search can be used. To do this:

  1. From the main MA LLC search page, select the box by the “Search by Identification Number” or “Search by Filing Number” choices.
  2. Enter the filing number into the field provided.
  3. Select the “Search Corporations” options in regards to what kind of search you want.
  4. Because each number pertains to a specific company, your search will bring you straight to that company’s page, where you will be able to access the same information as you would  by a name search.

So whether you’re using the MA LLC search to form a new company or gain knowledge of an existing one, this tool has many valuable features to offer. If you need help understanding the MA LLC search, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace.

UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.