Before doing anything, you’ll need to name your business.
Keep in mind that you will have to follow two specific guidelines when choosing a name:
Legally incorporate by filing the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of Commonwealth. You can either file online or download the forms and send them in by visiting this page.
In the Articles of Organization, be sure to include:
Filing fee: $275 for up to 275,000 shares. There is an additional $100 fee for each 100,000 shares.
The next step will be to choose or find a qualified Massachusetts Registered Agent.
A Registered Agent is someone who can legally accept notifications on behalf of your business for tax and legal purposes to stay compliant.
This can be someone in your business as long as they are a Massachusetts resident and are available during regular office hours.
That said, you can hire a Registered Agent service and pay up to $160/year, or get an Massachusetts Registered Agent free of charge when you form your Corporation with IncFile – which is $100 less than other online incorporation services.
Now you will want to start and keep a Corporate Records Binder for all the important documents, corporate bylaws, stock certificates, minutes of meetings, and more.
You can get a Corporate Records Binder at your local office supply store or through Amazon. Make sure this binder is kept at your central office of operations. This will ensure its safekeeping and easy access.
As the incorporator of the Articles of Organization, you are required to choose the initial directors of your corporation.
This will be done by filing an ‘Incorporator’s Statement’ to be placed in your Corporate Records Binder.
The statement will include the names and addresses of the initial directors you choose.
With the corporation’s initial directors you chose in Step 5, you will need to hold a board of directors meeting.
In this first meeting you will need to record actions and minutes of:
Note: If the corporation is to be an S Corp, you will need to approve that status in the first board of directors meeting as well.
After the meeting is complete, make sure you have the signature of each of the initial directors on the meeting minutes.
To take care of your Massachusetts business tax requirements, there are 3 main things you should do.
Depending on your location and industry, there will be certain licensing requirements your corporation will need to adhere to.
This will include the state, federal, and local licenses your business will need to adhere to.
To find the regulations, visit our guide: Massachusetts Business Licenses & Regulations 101
The next step to starting a healthy Massachusetts Corporation, put your profits and assets where they belong. Do this by opening a separate checking account for your business.
There are many options for opening a business checking account like Chase, Bank of America, or Citibank. Be sure to do your research and decide which is right for you. If you’d like a look at our favorite 3, see this review.
Now that you have followed the steps above, you are officially a Massachusetts Corporation. Other than those 8 steps that are based on state guidelines, here are a few additional steps based on best practices for starting a successful Corporation. Not required, but highly recommended.
Although it is not required by the state of Massachusetts to write a business plan, it is highly recommended. Especially if your corporation is going to need funding.
To help you along with this process, I highly recommend trying out LivePlan. It is a step-by-step business planning software that will help you plan for success and impress lenders in minimal time.
Try it 60 days risk free with your exclusive 25% off discount.
The next step when starting a business in Massachusetts is to build a professional and presentable website. This will give you added credibility and help future customers find out more about what you sell.
Although building a website was difficult to do in the early 2000’s, nowadays you can use a simple tool like WordPress to build a customizable website. It is free, customizable, and easy to get started. Learn more about WordPress here.
Although you never file corporate bylaws with the state, they are important for setting and keeping the basic ground rules for operation.
They are also important to show that your corporation is legitimate.
Note: Preparing corporate bylaws is not required by law, but highly recommended.
As this article should only be used for informational purposes only and serves only as a guide, we advise that you discuss with your lawyer intricate matters of forming a Massachusetts Corporation or specific questions about starting a new business.