Doing Business in Northampton

  1. Starting a Business in Northampton
  2. Site Selection
  3. Tax & Financial Incentives
  4. Opportunity Zones
  5. Local & Regional Business Resources

Starting a Business

Starting a new business is a significant commitment. Learn about what you need to do and who can help!

Finding the Right Location

Determine what kind of location you are looking for based on your business model. You can fill out our Site Selection form if you'd like help searching for potential locations. Once you find a space that meets your criteria, you should consider the following:

  • Check with the city to see whether your business is already allowed in that location
  • Consider what improvements the building may need before you can open for business. Constructing new walls, installing signage or awnings, and other renovations always require building permits.
  • Depending on the prior usage, there may be other changes required. For example, you may need to make the building accessible or add an additional bathroom. 

Zoning & Land Use Permits

It is important to confirm that your business will be located in the proper zoning district. The Office of Planning & Sustainability can help identify appropriate zoning districts for your business. Some businesses are also allowed as home occupations. Please contact the Office of Planning & Sustainability for more information.

Building Permits

The Building Department issues commercial, residential, mechanical, and zoning permits. Anyone seeking to construct, reconstruct, alter, repair, or demolish a structure or install a sign must first obtain a building permit. Before any work starts, a building permit must be obtained and prominently displayed at the job site. Please reach out to the Building Department to let them know of your plans so that they can guide you in the direction to obtain all applicable permits.

Business Structure

Once you've decided on a location you'll need to decide on your business structure and register your business. This means, should you be a sole proprietor? An LLC? A corporation? The Small Business Administration compares the different options on its website. Once you decide, you will be able to determine what formal paperwork, if any, is required.

  • Business Certificates - The city clerk issues business certificates for registering a business in Northampton. A business certificate is commonly referred to as a D/B/A form or a "Doing Business As" form. A business certificate must be filed when conducting business in Northampton under any title (business name) other than the real name of the individual, partnership, or corporation.
  • Corporations - New for-profit and non-profit corporations must register with the Secretary of the Commonwealth of MA. This can be done online with the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office. Existing corporations and trademarks in Massachusetts can be searched online at the Secretary's corporate divisions section of its website.
  • Employer Identification Number - An Employer Identification Number (EIN) also known as a federal Tax Identification Number, is used to identify a business entity. This number is used for both federal and state tax purposes. To obtain a federal EIN, you must file an application for Employer Identification Number (Form SS-4) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Applications can be made online or by phone at 1-800-829-4933.

Additional Permits (if applicable)

State & Federal Taxes

Most businesses or their owners are required to pay income tax on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Other taxes that might be required are unemployment tax, worker's compensation, payroll tax, and sales tax. It is your responsibility to inform yourself and to comply with the state and federal tax filing requirements.