Business Certificates

Business Certificates

Q: What types of businesses require filing a business certificate?

A:  In order to regulate trade, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 110, Section 5 requires any person conducting a business, whether individually or as a partnership, under any title other than the real name of the person conducting the business to file a business certificate with the City Clerk.  These certificates are often referred to a “doing business as” certificates.  For example, if you are Jane Smith selling books as a sole proprietor, a partnership, or a corporation, and you are using Books Galore as a business name, you are required to have a business certificate on file with the City Clerk unless the business is incorporated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


Q: How long are business certificates valid?

A:  Business certificates are valid for four years from the date of issuance.


Q: Does a business certificate need to be posted?

A:  The business certificate should be posted in the place of business and be furnished upon request by any person who has purchased goods or services from such business.


Q: How do I apply for a business certificate?

A:  Prior to filing a business certificate, we encourage you to visit the Building Inspector for the following: 

  • If your business will be located on commercial property, a Zoning Verification Certificate from the Building Inspector must accompany your application.  If you are not the property owner, the Building Inspector with require a copy of a lease authorizing your use of the property.
  • If your business will be a home-based business, a Certificate of Home Occupation issued by the Building Inspector must accompany your application.  If you are not the home owner, the Building Inspector will require written permission from the home owner to conduct your business from said home.

All owners must appear together.  Bring the completed, unsigned, Business Certificate Application to the City Clerk, along with: 

  • Photo identification for notary public
  • $25.00 fee (cash or check made payable to the City of Pittsfield)


Q: How do I modify my existing business certificate?

A:  You must modify your existing certificate of any business changes or file a Discontinuance with the City Clerk if your business ceases to operate.  The fee for these filings is $10.00.


 

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