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If this is a more complicated question than I'm making it, please feel free to refer me to the right government authority to get the definitive answer.

Hopefully one of the tax attorneys or CPAs will be along shortly to address the problems of tax law. In the meantime, you may want to surf over to the Commonwealth of Taxachusetts web site:
http://www.state.ma.us/

From your post, it sounds like you may have to do some i-dotting and t-crossing with business licenses. When you file your federal income tax return, the IRS will share that return with the Commonwealth revenue folks. The Commonwealth revenue folks will cross-check their records to ensure you've filed the proper forms and obtained the proper business licenses. The Commonwealth's web site will help you sort out some of those details.

You may want to think about consulting with a CPA in your area about your business. CPAs mostly focus on finance and accounting, but they can point small business owners in the right direction for staying on the right side of the law. The fees you'll pay the CPA for his or her advice is a tiny fraction of the fees and fines you'll have to pay if the local authorities decide you haven't complied with the laws, and Massachusetts has about 400 years of laws on the books.

David Jacobs
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