Business Certificate Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Business Certificate?

A Business Certificate is a registration of a business that is conducted in the Town of Williamsburg. It is commonly referred to as a "D/B/A form" or a "Doing Business As" form. Its purpose is primarily for consumer protection and public information.

Who must file a Business Certificate?

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 110, section 5, states that any person conducting a business under any title or business name other than the full real name of the person conducting the business must file a certificate. A "person" is defined as an individual, partnership, or corporation.

Exemptions to filings are allowed under section 6 if the corporation is doing business in its true corporate name, or if a legal partnership doing business under any title which includes the surname of any partner. Certain other exemptions exist for trusts and limited partnerships.

Violations of this law shall be punished by a fine of not more than three hundred ($300.00) dollars for each month during which such violation continues.

This Office advises you to adhere to the provisions of this statue in as much as these certificates are examined daily by representatives of banks and other financial institutions, state and federal tax offices, consumer groups and agencies, attorneys, utility companies, law enforcement agencies and other interested parties.

The filing of a business certificate does not imply zoning ordinance compliance and it is not a license or permit to conduct a business in the town of Williamsburg. In order to legally operate a business in town you must get the appropriate permits, licenses, variance etc. that are required by the issuing departments of the town. Please contact the Zoning Enforcement Officer before applying for a business certificate at (413) 587-1240. The filing of a business certificate at the local Town Clerk's office does not protect your name or reserve it as does a corporate filing or a trademark registration (which is done through the State).

Who must sign the Business Certificate?

If the business is owned solely by one person, only that person needs to sign. If it is a partnership or two or more people, but not a formal legal entity, both or all of the partners must sign. If it is a legal partnership, any officer who has the authority to sign on the behalf of the partnership may do so. If it is a corporation, an officer who has signatory authority must sign. All signatures must be made in front of a Notary or City or Town Clerk.

How do I file a Business Certificate?

To file a Business Certificate Filing Form, you may visit the Town Clerk's office during office hours. If you have trouble getting there during those hours, you may call (413) 268-8402 to set up an appointment which may suit your needs better.

How long is a certificate valid?

The certificate is valid for four (4) years from the date of filing. It is renewable thereafter.

What is the filing fee?

There is a $20.00 filing fee made payable to the "Town of Williamsburg." A certified Business Certificate will be provided. If you need an additional certified copy for any purpose an additional $5.00 will be charged.