Business Certificates

FILING A BUSINESS CERTIFICATE IN NORTHAMPTON

A Business Certificate is commonly referred to as a d/b/a or "Doing Business As" form. It's purpose is primarily for consumer protection and is considered a public record.

Pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 110, section 5, a person must file a business certificate when conducting business in Northampton under any title (business name) other than the real name of the individual, partnership, or corporation. (Note: Certain exemptions to filing are allowed under section 6: a corporation doing business as its true name; a legal partnership is doing business under any title which includes the true surname of any partner; certain other exemptions exist for trusts and limited partnerships.)

HOW TO APPLY

Complete and print out a business certificate form. The business owner’s signature needs to be notarized. We can also witness your signature at the City Clerk's Office if you have a valid photo identification.

BUSINESS CERTIFICATE FORM

IMPORTANT: All signatures on this form must be made in front of a Notary OR a member of our office.

FILING FEE

The filing fee is $50. Certified copies of the filing are $10 each and they are available upon request.

APPLYING IN PERSON?

  • All owners must be present to sign the filing form in front of a member of our staff (All signatures must be made in front of a Notary OR our office staff.)
  • We accept cash, credit cards, and business checks or money orders made payable to the City of Northampton.
  • If you use a credit card there is a non-refundable service fee. This fee is paid to the card processor and not kept by the City.

 APPLYING BY MAIL?

  • If you send your payment by mail, please include a business check or money order made payable to the City of Northampton.
  • All signatures on the form must be completed and notarized in front of a Notary Public (CLICK HERE for information.)
  • Return the form and payment to our office:
    • City Clerk's Office
      210 Main St., Room 4
      Northampton, MA 01060

Please note that you do not automatically receive a certified copy of your business certificate. Certified copies of the filing are $10 each and they are available upon request.

COMPLETING THE FORM

The following information about the business is required:

  • Name of the Business
  • Physical Location Where the Business is Conducted (not P.O. Box)
  • Phone Number & Mailing address for the Business
  • Owner(s) of the Business
  • Owner's Address (physical location, not P.O. Box)
  • The type of business being conducted (such as retail, restaurant, therapist, etc.)
  • DO NOT SIGN THE FORM UNLESS YOU ARE IN FRONT OF A NOTARY.

WHO MUST SIGN THE FORM?

  • For a sole proprietorship the sole owner needs to sign.
  • For a partnership of two or more people (but not a formal legal entity), both or all of the partners must sign.
  • For a legal partnership or a corporation, any officer who has signatory authority may sign.

ALL SIGNATURES MUST BE MADE IN FRONT OF A NOTARY.

HOW LONG IS A BUSINESS CERTIFICATE GOOD FOR?

The Certificate is valid for four (4) years from the date of filing. They are renewable thereafter.

WHAT IS THE COST OF THE BUSINESS CERTIFICATE?

The fee is $50 per filing, including renewal. Certified copies of the filing are $10 each.

We accept cash, credit cards, and business checks or money orders made payable to the City of Northampton.

WHAT IF I DISCONTINUE DOING BUSINESS IN NORTHAMPTON, MOVE MY BUSINESS TO A NEW LOCATION IN NORTHAMPTON, OR MOVE TO A NEW HOME ADDRESS?

This form must be completed in the City Clerk's Office. There is a $25 fee to file this form; $10 for a certified copy of the filing. We accept cash, credit cards, and business checks or money orders made payable to the City of Northampton.

The law requires that you notify us if certain changes regarding the information you provided about yourself or your business. You must file a "Statement of Discontinuance, Change of Residence, Change of Location of Business, Withdrawal, or Deceased from Business or Partnership" form with our office if any of the listed items below apply.

  • If you discontinue your business in Northampton;
  • If you move to a new home address;
  • If you withdraw or retire from the business;
  • If you move to a new location within Northampton.

CONSUMER COMPLAINTS

If you have a problem with a business you can file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office. For more information, please CLICK HERE.