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How to Get a Certificate of Legal Existence in Massachusetts

Written by:

Edited by:

Reviewed by: Daniel Javor

Published on June 26, 2022

Updated on November 17, 2022

How to Get a Certificate of Legal Existence in Massachusetts

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How to Get a Certificate of Legal Existence in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, potential creditors or investors might request a certificate of legal existence for your LLC, and you’ll need to provide one or risk losing crucial financing. Thankfully, this guide provides all the information you need to get this certificate in Massachusetts. 

What is a Certificate of Legal Existence for Massachusetts? 

In Massachusetts, a certificate of legal existence, known as a certificate of good standing in most other states, verifies that you’re a legally registered business entity that is up to date on all filings and fees and permitted to do business in the state. You do not have to obtain this certificate to do business in Massachusetts, or in any state. It is simply used to verify your strong status to third parties such as banks.

view of downtown cityscape massachusetts

Why Do I Need a Certificate of Legal Existence?

Your LLC only needs a certificate of legal existence if another party requests one. For instance, a bank might request one if you’re opening a bank account or applying for a loan. A credit firm might request one if you apply for a business credit card, or if you set up credit card processing for customer payments.

If you’re registering as a foreign LLC in another state, you will probably be asked for a certificate of legal existence. 

A foreign entity is simply a business entity doing business in a state other than the one in which it’s registered. For example, if your business is registered in Massachusetts, but you also do business in Georgia, you’ll need to register a foreign entity in Georgia.

Where to Get a Certificate of Legal Existence in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, the Secretary of State issues certificates of legal existence. Just go to the secretary of state’s website to fill out the required form. The cost is $12 and you should receive your certificate within 48 hours. 

Requirements for a Certificate of Legal Existence

You must be registered as a business entity in that state. Operating as a sole proprietorship or a partnership does not require registration in Massachusetts, so those entities are not able to obtain a certificate of legal existence. 

Corporations and LLCs, like your business, must be registered with the state, so they are able to obtain the certificate. 

How Much Does a Massachusetts Certificate of Legal Existence Cost? 

Again, the fee to obtain a certificate of good standing in Massachusetts is $12. But it’s well worth it because this is an official document that proves your business’ financial accountability and could open the door to greater investment and expansion.