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What is a Business Certificate?

A business certificate is the registration of a business that is being conducted and is located within the Town of Dedham. It is commonly called a “d/b/a” (doing business as). Its primary purpose is to protect consumers or creditors by identifying the names and address of the owners of the business. Business certificates are mandated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. If you would like to apply for a business certificate, you may download the application.

**If you are applying in Person Please call ahead 781-751-9200

Who Must File?

Any person conducting a business in Dedham, individually or as a partnership, under any title or name other than their own name, must file a business certificate with the Town Clerk. If a corporation is operating a business in a name, other than the incorporated name, they too need to file.


The following are exempted from filing a business certificate with the Town Clerk:

  • A corporation doing business under its true corporate name which is required to file records and reports with the state secretary, corporations division.
  • A partnership doing business under a title which includes the true surname of any partner.
  • An association which has complied with M.G.L. c. 159, §5 & §6 related to common carriers whose agents must file information with the state treasurer.
  • A partnership, joint stock company, or association conducted under a written instrument or declaration of trust, provided that the names of the trustees, with a reference to the instrument or declaration of trust, have been filed on a business certificate.

Where does one File?

File with the Town Clerk, either in person or by mail. If filing by mail the business certificate must be completed, signed, and notarized. A check in the amount of $40.00 made payable to the Town of Dedham, and a self-addressed stamped envelope must accompany the certificate.

If your Business is located in your residence you must check with the Building Inspector and/or Health Inspector to see if any special permits are required depending on the nature of your business.

What if I am no longer in Business or I move?

If a business is discontinued, or if the information related to the business or the individuals conducting the business changes after the original filing, a statement of discontinuance or the new information must be filed with the Town Clerk.

The fee for withdrawals, discontinuances, changes, etc. is $10.00.

Does a Business Certificate Expire?

A business certificate is in force and effect for four (4) years from the date of issue. A new filing must be made every four years as long as the business is conducted.

Do I have to Display the Certificate?

No, however you must provide a copy on request during regular business hours, to any person who has purchased goods or services from such business.


Violations of these provisions shall be subject to a fine of not more than three hundred dollars ($300) for each month during which such violation continues.

Please be advised: The issuance of a Business Certificate by the Town Clerk does not certify or imply that the business registered thereunder is in conformance with applicable local, state, or federal laws or regulations. It shall be the responsibility of the business owner to demonstrate compliance with all Town of Dedham Building, Zoning, Health, and Licensing requirements.