Business Certificates

Click here for a Business Certificate Form

What is a Business Certificate?
A Business Certificate is a registration of a business that is being conducted within the Town of Winchendon. It is commonly referred to as a "d/b/a form" or "Doing Business As". Its purpose is primarily for consumer protection and public information purposes. Essentially, the public has a right to know who "is"îa particular business, since a customer will not know who "owns" the business simply by the name of that business.

Who must file a Business Certificate?
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 110, section 5, states that any person conducting business under any title (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.
Exemptions to filing are allowed under section 6 if the corporation is doing business in its true corporate name, or if a partnership is doing business under any title, which includes the true surname of any partner. Certain other exemptions exist for trusts and limited partnerships.
Who must sign the Business Certificate?
If solely one person owns the business only that person need sign. If it is a partnership, both or all the partners must sign. If it is a corporation, an officer who has signatory authority must sign - which is usually the President, but not always. All signatures must be made in front of a notary, the Town Clerk or the Assistant Town Clerk. Do not sign the certificate unless it is in front of one of these three individuals.
An individual MUST be 18 years of age or older to legally sign a Business Certificate.
How long are they good for?
Business Certificates are valid for a period of four (4) years from the date of its original filing. They must be renewed every four years for as long as the business is "in business".
What if I "go out of business", change my residence, change the location of the business, or want to change the name of the business?
If you change your residence as listed on the certificate, or change the location of your business within town (but keep the same name) you must file either a Statement of Change of Residence, or a Statement of Change of Location of Business.
If you discontinue your business, retire, or withdraw from conducting business (i.e.: go out of business or move to another town) you must file a Statement of Discontinuance.
If you wish to change the name of your business you must file a Discontinuance and then file a new certificate for the new business name. You cannot simply change the name of the business because technically you are stopping business in one name and starting business in a new name.
In the case of death of such a person, the executor or administrator of the estate may file a statement.
How much does it cost to file a Business Certificate?
The cost to file a Business Certificate is $25.00.
Must I display a copy of my Business Certificate?
The law states that copies of your certificate must be available at the address at which the business is conducted, and shall be furnished on request during regular business hours to any person who has purchased goods or services from such business.
What is the penalty if I do not file a certificate?
The law states that violations will be punished by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars for each month during which the violation continues.