Business Certificates (DBA)



What is a Business Certificate? (MGL Ch 110 Sec.5 & 6) (‘doing business as”)

A business certificate is the registration of a business that is being conducted and is located within the Town of Grafton. 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. Many banks consider it a requirement for opening a business banking account.

Who Must File?

Any person conducting a business in Grafton, 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 Exemptions.

The following are exempted from filing a business certificate with the Town Clerk (unless a bank requires a business certificate):

  • Corporation doing business under its true corporate name which is required to file records and reports with the state secretary, corporations division.
  • Partnership doing business under a title which includes the true surname of any partner.
  • Association which has complied with MGL ch.159 sec.5 & 6 related to common carriers whose agents must file information with the state treasurer.
  • 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, 30 Providence Road, Grafton, MA 01519, either in person or by mail (Renewals only! Please call the office to confirm a mail in form can be accepted). If filing by mail the business certificate must be completed, signed and notarized. A check in the amount of $50.00 made payable to the Town of Grafton, and a self-addressed stamped envelope must accompany the certificate. Before a business certificate is issued, each person must obtain signtures from the Assessor and Building Department using the form included in the packet attached below.

Amending a Business Certificate

What if I am no longer in Business or I move? 
If a business is discontinued, or it 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 $25.00.

To amend a Business Certificate, click on Business Certificate Amendment.

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.

Home Based Business If the business is located in your home, please inquire with the ZBA/Building Department to ensure you are zoned to conduct such business.  

PLEASE NOTE: 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 Grafton Building, Zoning, Health, and Licensing requirements. Please check with the Building Inspector (508) 839-5335 X1190 to determine if the business is an allowed use in the intended zoning/residential district. Additional licenses/permits issued by other town departments may be required in order to do business.

A Business Certificate does not protect your business name or trademark. For details regarding incorporating your business, starting a Limited Liability Company, or protecting your trademark, visit the Secretary of State's website at