Massachusetts Corporation Search is the state’s database that has information on business entities in the state. While it’s called corporation search, it includes information on entities like LLCs, partnerships, corporations, and more.
This feature is the Massachusetts business entity search and is useful for several purposes, including finding information on existing businesses, or checking for name availability when setting up a new business.
The state requires that the name of a new business entity be unique and distinguishable upon record. Running intended names through the corporation search makes it very easy to check if entities with the same or similar names exist.
The corporation search/entity search database is maintained by the office of the MA Secretary of State.
Accessing And Using Massachusetts Business Entity Search
You can access the Massachusetts Secretary Of State Corporation Search through its website. The page is fairly simple and intuitive, making it easy to conduct the search. Additionally, the search section has information on policies and an assistance section that explains various aspects of the search.
The following options are available for use as search parameters:
- Business Name
- Individual Name
- Identification Number
- Filing Number
Conducting Massachusetts Corporation Search Using Business Name
Using search by business name is the option to use when searching for a name for your new business entity. It’s also a very useful option for checking existing entities. After all, we recognize businesses best by their names, not ID numbers.
The business name search has these options:
- Begins With: It’s very useful if you don’t know the full name of an entity. You can start by entering the beginning of the name. The results will show all entities that have their names starting with the search term entered.
- Exact Match: This is an exact search and only displays a business entity whose name is an exact match to the search term.
- Full Text: The search results will show entities whose name contains all words in the search term. As long as these words are present, they don’t need to be in the order of the search term.
- Soundex: This analyzes the entered search term and returns results that are phonetically similar (sound similar) to existing entities.
Other Options For Massachusetts Business Entity Search
As listed earlier, there are other options available for entity search. Here’s how you can work with them.
- Individual Name: This enables conducting a search using the name of a person associated with a company. These include officers, directors, or Massachusetts Resident Agent of the business. Since an individual (or agent) can be associated with multiple businesses, this search may show multiple results.
- Identification Number: This is an exact search that shows a business associated with its specific identification number.
- Filing Number: Very similar to the Identification Number, except it uses the filing number for search.
Available Information With The Corporation Search
The search results page shows the entity name, ID number, old ID number, and address. Clicking on the entity name will take you to a page with more detailed information on the business entity.
This page includes detailed information on the selected entity, like its name, type, address, date of organization, fiscal month/day, etc. You’ll also find a list of officers/directors of the entity, and the name and address of its registered agent. In case the entity has shares/stock listed, they’ll be visible too.
Additionally, you can view the filings, request a certificate, or conduct a new search from this page.
How To Reserve A Business Name In Massachusetts
Every business wants an attractive name that leaves a positive impression on prospective clients and customers. However, given the large number of existing businesses, it is tough to find a business name. So, if you have a name idea that feels right, it makes sense to grab it as soon as you can.
You may get a name idea but aren’t ready to launch your business yet. Alternatively, you may want to delay forming the business for any number of reasons, including logistics, administrations, and taxation. A name reservation can be a viable option in situations like these.
Is It Mandatory To Reserve A Business Name In MA?
No, MA doesn’t require you to reserve a business name. In fact, if you’re not worried about name availability or someone else snagging it up, you can safely choose to ignore the reservation process. In such cases, it would be better not to spend time and resources on this exercise.
How Long Does MA Name Reservation Last And What Does It Cost?
Once the Commonwealth of Massachusetts accepts a name reservation request, it remains valid for 60 days. The filing fee for this form is $30. If you need more time, you can file for an extension of the reservation. This grants another 60 days for the reservation and adds a cost of $30.
MA Name Reservation Search
Searching your intended business name through the business entity database or corporation search gives you a good idea of its availability. The commonwealth also offers a separate section to search for reserved business names.
You can check for reserved entity names by using:
- Search by business entity name
- Search by requester name
If you intend to reserve a name, search by business entity name should be enough. This will let you know if the intended name has already been reserved by someone else.
Ideally, you should use the reservation search as well as corporation search to better affirm availability.
Reserving A Business Name In Massachusetts
The website of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides good information on the name reservation process.
You’ll have to file an Application of Reservation of Name with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The $30 filing fee for the form should be paid via a check drawn out to “Secretary of the Commonwealth”.
When you’ve completed the form and included the filing fee, mail the documents to:
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place, Room 1717
Boston, Massachusetts 02108-1512
Massachusetts currently doesn’t accept this form via electronic means like fax or online submission. So, filing via mail is the only choice available.
Since the state offers only one option for name reservation, it’s a good idea to be thorough with the Massachusetts Corporation Search and MA Name Reservation search to ensure that the desired name is available.