To register a business in MA, you will need to complete the appropriate steps to file for an LLC and EIN.

Steps to Start an LLC in Massachusetts

Registering a business in MA is a fast and convenient process. It requires completing the following steps:

  • Name your LLC: You will want to choose an LLC name that appropriately represents your business. You will also want to check that the intended LLC name is currently available. Additionally, the state of Massachusetts has the following regulations when naming an LLC:
    • The LLC name must include the words Limited Liability Company or LLC.
    • The LLC must avoid using restricted words (University, bank, etc). Additional paperwork is necessary for these types of businesses. A business with these restricted words may have additional requirements as to who files for the LLC.
    • Search for available business names on the IRS website. Your chosen name must already be available for use. It might also be useful to check if the URL is available.
  • Distinguish a registered agent: Massachusetts requires naming a registered agent. This person agrees to handle all legal documents and filings. The registered agent must live in the state or be approved to do business in the state of Massachusetts.
  • File the documents: File the necessary documents via mail or online. There is a cost of $500 to file.
  • Draft an operating agreement: Although an operating agreement is not required in the state of Massachusetts, it is useful to have one. This legal document states the ownership and specific operating practices of the LLC.
  • File for an EIN: An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a tax ID number for the business. It is a requirement for filing taxes and to open a banking account in the business's name. It is similar to a personal social security number. You can file for an EIN online or by mail with the IRS.

Key Steps after Forming a Business

Once you have formed an LLC, there are a few key steps to take. These steps ensure that you are following all state and federal hiring and filing regulations as a business.

  • Separate personal assets from the business: You can separate your personal assets from those of the LLC business by opening a business banking account. This protects your personal assets and makes it easier to track the profits and losses of the business for accounting and tax purposes. Opening a credit card in the name of the business can also help to separate personal assets.
  • Establish and follow accounting procedures from the beginning. Use standard accounting methods or accounting software to track the profits, losses, and expenses for your new business.
  • Register the LLC for Massachusetts State Tax: You will want to register your LLC with Massachusetts state tax with the following departments:
    • Unemployment insurance tax: You can file your LLC for unemployment insurance tax through the MA Labor and Workforce Development online system.
    • Employee withholding tax: You can file your LLC for employee withholding tax through the MA MassTaxConnect program.
    • Massachusetts sales tax: You can register the LLC for MA sales tax through the MA MassTax Connect program.
  • Establish an accounting process: Establishing an accounting process can help with tracking business finances and properly filing annual taxes. Some businesses choose to utilize accounting software programs to automate this process.
  • File for necessary business licenses and permits: The exact business licenses and permits needed will depend on the nature and services of the business. Some permits or licenses you might need include building permits, signage permits, or health permits. New businesses can find permit requirements on Massachusetts' Department of Revenue site.
  • Purchase insurance: Worker's compensation and general liability insurance is not always required but is useful to have.
  • Evaluate employee hiring compliance: If you are going to hire employees to work for your LLC, you must follow the following MA state guidelines:
    • Hire only employees that are eligible to work in the US.
    • Report all new hires to the state of MA.
    • Offer workers' compensation to all employees.
    • Withhold necessary income taxes.
    • Provide all employees with compliance information and post posters in easy to view places.
    • Pay all employees per state requirements.

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