A Massachusetts corporate name search is an important step in forming a Massachusetts corporation, since it ensures that your business name is not similar to that of an existing corporation.

Name Reservations

You cannot have a corporate name similar to that of an existing corporation, registered business entity, or a business name reserved by someone else. If you wish to reserve a corporate name before filing the incorporation documents, you can file an application for name reservation.

For corporate name reservation, you must do the following:

  • File an application with the Commonwealth's Corporations Division.
  • Pay a filing fee of $30.

If the secretary is satisfied that the requested corporate name is available, he will reserve the name for you for a period of 60 days. Within these 60 days, you can apply for an extension of the reservation for another 60 days by paying an additional fee of $30.

Usually, a preliminary search of corporate and name reservation databases is done while checking name availability.

Searching by Name

In order to search the entity database, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the search page.
  2. Tick the indicator corresponding to the entity name search.
  3. Enter the business name you want to search for.
  4. Choose the search type you wish to conduct.
  5. Select “search corporations."

The query will return a number of results. If you'd like to have more information on any of the entities, just click on the entity name to go to the information page. This page will contain all the relevant information on the selected entity. This page allows you to view filings, request a certificate, and conduct a new search.

Select the “Search by entity name” option and in the “Enter name” field, type in the desired LLC name. While typing the name, exclude the word “LLC” at the end. Also, leave out punctuation, if any. Don't bother with capitalization. Set the “Search type” to “Begins with."

Instead of entering the complete name, just enter the starting one or two words so that you can see all the results that could be potentially similar. For example, if the name you wish to have is “Johnny Apple Farm," just type the words “johnny apple."

If you'd like to perform a still broader search, consider entering a few letters of the first word. For example, in order to search for the name “Printing Solutions LLC," just type the letters “print."

Set the results to display 100 items per page, and click on “Search Corporations”.

If there are no records found, it means that your desired name is available for use.

If the names listed in the results are not very similar to your proposed business name (meaning that people are not likely to mistake your business name for any of those listed entities), then your proposed business name is available for use.

If the name you searched for appears in the search results exactly in the manner you wished to use it, then your name is not available, and you'll have to find a new name. If any of the names listed in the search results is similar to yours, then your desired name is not available, and you'll have to come up with a new name.

Searching the Massachusetts Name Database

  1. Visit the Business Entity Search page of the Corporations Division.
  2. Try searching for your desired name with some variations.
  3. Perform a search by entering the complete name you wish to register. Take a printout of the search results for your records.
  4. Don't forget to perform a partial name search to see any names that may be close to yours.

Searching by Individual Name

You can also perform a search with an individual's name — for example, the name of a director or an officer of the entity. The process is similar to the entity name search:

  1. Visit the search page and tick the box corresponding to individual name search.
  2. Enter the individual's name and continue.
  3. Choose the type of search you want to perform and select the “search corporations” option.

You'll get a list of names based upon your query. Select the entity name you want to have view information about.

The information page will have complete information about the selected entity. It will also have several links that will allow you to view a list of filings, request a certificate, or perform a new search.

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