As a service to our users, we have attempted to compile a comprehensive guide to help you determine what additional obligations you may have as a Massachusetts business, employer, and/or practitioner of a profession or trade. Because many state and local agencies regulate business activity, and because information can become outdated due to unforeseen regulatory changes, this information may not always be complete or accurate with respect to your particular situation. Be sure to follow up with the appropriate authority or authorities.

Topics on this page include:

Professional and Trade Licenses

Division of Professional Licensure
This agency coordinates many of the boards which regulate various trades and professions. Go to this Web site to see which professions and trades they regulate. At this Web site, you can also change your address for an existing license. You may also access an index of "Associated State Agencies" responsible for licensing.

  • Physicians
    Board of Registration in Medicine

    All physicians practicing medicine in Massachusetts must be licensed.

  • Attorneys
    Board of Bar Overseers
    All attorneys practicing law in Massachusetts must be licensed.

  • Building Trades
    Board of Building Regulations and Standards

    This agency promulgates state building code regulations and regulates and licenses carpenters; home improvement contractors; construction supervisors; riggers and painters; producers of native lumber; concrete testing laboratories; and masons.

Environmental and Natural Resource Regulations and Permits

Department of Environmental Protection
The Department of Environmental Protection regulates a variety of business activities that affect our environment.

Department of Conservation and Recreation
The Department of Conservation and Recreation regulates and licenses well-drillers and timber harvesters; and issues dam safety permits.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority is the regional water and sewer authority for eastern Massachusetts.

Department of Telecommunications and Energy
The Department of Telecommunications and Energy is the regulatory body for the Commonwealth's energy, telecommunications and transportation industries.

Miscellaneous Business and Consumer Protection Regulation

Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
The Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation has created a table to assist citizens and businesses in determining which agencies have regulatory authority over a particular activity, business, or profession.

  • Additional Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Links for Businesses

    Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission
    Licenses and monitors the manufacture, import, export, storage, transport, quality, and sales of all alcoholic beverages in Massachusetts.

    Division of Banks
    Regulates, supervises and audits state-chartered trust companies, savings banks, cooperative banks, credit unions, finance companies, mortgage brokers and lenders and collection agencies.

    Division of Insurance
    Regulates all aspects of the insurance industry.

    Division of Standards
    Sets standards for and tests accuracy of all weighing and measuring devices used in the sale of food, fuels, and other products. Licenses hawkers, peddlers, transient vendors, automotive repair shops, motor fuel and motor oil dealers, auctioneers, and enforces pricing laws and regulations.

Health and Safety Regulation and Licensing

The Department of Labor Standards (formerly the Division of Occupational Safety) administers several workplace safety and health programs. This agency also issues licenses to individuals and businesses that provide temporary employment services or that perform lead or asbestos abatement work.

Department of Public Health
The Department of Public Health regulates and licenses hospitals; long term care facilities; home health care agencies; controlled substances; EMT/EMS; X-ray technicians and mammography; lead inspectors; meat, poultry, and shellfish processors; and nurse assistants.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration
This federal agency is responsible for regulating workplace and worker safety.

Local Business Licensing in Massachusetts
To start a business in one of Massachusetts' 351 cities and towns, the first step is contacting the city or town or town clerk, who licenses all local businesses. But the local licensing process doesn't stop there. The clerk may direct you to other municipal departments to apply for any additional licenses that may be necessary, depending on your business or industry.

Want to get in touch with your city or town hall?

Licenses for several other business types, professions, trades and industries must be obtained from state and/or federal agencies. See the Professional & Trade Licenses and Miscellaneous Business & Consumer Protection Regulation sections.

Certificate of Good Standing
Businesses and individuals can request a Certificate of Good Standing or Tax Compliance from the Department. You will receive verification that all taxes are paid in full. The online applications for businesses and individuals will also inform you of any liabilities or non-filed periods, and allow you to file and pay these taxes to obtain your certificate. Learn more about Certificates of Good Standing or Tax Compliance.