Business Certificates


Also known as d/b/a Certificate


Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 110, Section 5 states “Any person conducting business in the Commonwealth under any title other that the real name of the person conducting business, whether individually or as a partnership, shall file in the Office of the Clerk of every city or town where an office of any such person or partnership may be situated…”. There are two exceptions to this statute:

  1. If the business is incorporated. If the business is incorporated but doing business under a different name, you are still required to file a Business Certificate.  Please be advised that many banks require businesses to open an account, and to do so you must have a Tax ID number.  You may visit their website at: to obtain such number.
  2. If you are operating a business under your own full name. (e.g. John Doe Construction)

What is the procedure for obtaining a business certificate?

  1. The first step is to determine if the property is zoned properly for the type of business you plan to open.  To achieve this, submit a letter to the Building/Zoning Department stating the name(s) and residential address of the owner(s) of the business, and the name and address of the business. Address the letter to Building Department, 325 Main Street, Oxford, MA 01540. We suggest that you provide a telephone number in case there are any questions.  Indicate in the letter that you are seeking zoning approval for a business certificate, the type of business you plan to conduct and what it entails, the number of employees (if any), parking issues relative to customers and employees and the hours of operation. Your letter can be mailed, dropped in our drop box or emailed to: [email protected]   A few days after the letter is submitted, you may wish to call the Building Department at 508-987-6045 – Option 4 to see if the letter has been approved or if further action will be needed. 
  2. Once you receive zoning approval, you will be required to complete a Business Certificate and produce a valid picture ID.  Please click here to obtain a business certificate application. If you choose to complete the document out of the office, it must be signed by a notary.  The fee to file a Business Certificate is $30.00, and each certified copy is $10.00.  We accept payment by cash, check or money order.  The Business Certificate is valid for four years from the date of issue.
  3. Any changes that need to be made to the Business Certificate such as, discontinuing the business, adding or removing a partner, changing the location or changing the name, will require you to file an amendment.  Click here for an amendment form.  The fee for an amendment is $20.00 which includes a certified copy for your records.  A change of location will require new zoning approval and all the steps listed above. 



Once you are approved by the Zoning Enforcement Officer, please call the Clerk’s Office at 508-987-6032 option 1, to make an appointment to register the business.