You may be asked to provide a certificate of legal existence for your Massachusetts limited liability company (LLC) at some point. In addition, banks and creditors often ask for this document before issuing business credit to ensure you comply.
A Massachusetts certificate of legal existence is relatively easy to obtain, but it does take some know-how.
What Is a Massachusetts Certificate of Legal Existence?
In Massachusetts, a certificate of legal existence, known as a certificate of good standing in most states, verifies that your LLC complies with state regulations. The state will issue the certificate once you’ve met all deadlines and filed all relevant reports.
You’re not required to get a certificate of legal existence in Massachusetts, but banks and creditors might request one, so it’s wise to have it on hand.
In What Situations Would I Need a Certificate of Legal Existence?
A bank or creditor might request a certificate of legal existence as part of their due diligence when they apply for a business loan or business credit. This simply confirms your business has no outstanding regulatory issues.
In addition, if you expand your business to other states, you’ll have to register as a foreign LLC. In such cases, the new state may request a certificate of legal existence from your home state.
Requirements to Obtain a Certificate of Legal Existence in Massachusetts
You must have a registered business LLC in the state to receive a certificate of existence. Corporations can receive a certificate of good standing or legal existence. Sole proprietorships and partnerships do not register with the state, so they cannot obtain a certificate of legal existence or good standing.
You’ll also need to be up to date on all Massachusetts business licenses, permits, and reporting requirements for your LLC or corporation in Massachusetts.
Which Department Issues Certificates of Legal Existence in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, the Secretary of State issues certificates of legal existence. You can obtain one online at the Secretary of State’s website.
Fill in the requested information and choose to receive your certificate by email or regular mail.
The fee is $12, and, assuming your LLC is in full compliance, you should receive your certificate within 48 hours if you elect to receive it by email.
You cannot request your certificate by mail. You can only request it online.
In Massachusetts, you can also order a certificate of good standing that states that you’re up to date on all state tax payments. The Department of Revenue issues these certificates through your Mass Tax Connect account. There is no fee.