Most Corporate Annual Reports Due in Massachusetts by March 15

If you own a corporation in Massachusetts, then you probably have to file your Annual Report with the Secretary of the Commonwealth by March 15, 2014.

Under the General Laws of Massachusetts, every corporation authorized to do business in Massachusetts MUST file an Annual Report with the Corporations Division within 2 1/2 months from the close of its fiscal year. Since many small businesses use the calendar year as their fiscal year (i.e., they close their books on December 31), then most small corporation owners MUST file the Annual Report by March 15, 2014 (which is 2 1/2 months from the end of the December 31st fiscal year).

An Annual Report provides the Secretary of the Commonwealth (and the rest of the world since the Report is a public document), with updated information about your business. The form includes information about the business name, its current location, its current officers and directors, and the general nature of the business.

Failing to file the Annual Report could lead to your corporation being dissolved by the Secretary of State. This can end up exposing your assets to personal liability because you could lose the legal protections that the corporation provides.

The Annual Report can be mailed in to the Secretary of State, Corporations Division with the correct filing fee OR it can be filed online. In this earlier video post, we provide you with detailed instructions on how to file your Annual Report online.

If you’re still uncomfortable with doing it yourself, you should consult with your business lawyer or tax preparer for some assistance.

, ,

Leave a comment

Can You Stop Your Ex-Spouse From Competing Against Your Business?

While you were married, you and your ex were running a family business together. You win the business in your divorce, but your ex now opens a competing business right next door and is siphoning away customers from you.

Sound like an episode of Two and a Half Men? What’s a business owner to do?

Well according to a recent Massachusetts decision, a Probate Court judge can order the ex-spouse to not compete against you.

Here’s what happened: a husband and wife ran a feed and grain store while they were married. The wife’s a veterinarian. In their divorce, the judge awards the business solely to the husband.

The story gets a little sketchy from there: the trial judge found that the husband’s landlord then evicted his business from the premises. Then, the wife, with the help of her parents, opened up a competing feed and grain store in the exact same location.

In the divorce, the husband asked the judge to prohibit his ex-wife from running the competing business arguing that the value of the family business awarded to him was being diminished by the ex-wife’s activities.  But, the judge refused the request.

The Appeals Court cried “foul!” They held that a divorce court judge can order an ex to not compete in the family business. The reasoning has to do with the ‘good will’ of the business which is considered a valuable asset in the going concern. If the judge awards a family business to one spouse, then the judge can make an order that will protect the value of that business by prohibiting the other spouse from directly competing against it – a non-compete agreement.

Of course, such an order has to be reasonable and no broader than necessary to protect the good will, which means that the non-compete can’t be so strict and over reaching that it prohibits the ex from making a living.

This case is a first of its kind in Massachusetts and some divorce lawyers find the decision shocking. However, if you’re awarded the family business in a divorce, you’ll be happy to know that it’s possible to prevent the ex from opening up right next door to you.

To learn more about non-compete agreements and how they can affect your small business contact Attorney Andrew Garcia and Phillips Garcia Law here.

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

February Business Client Spotlight: APC Autobody

28 Ventura Drive, North Dartmouth, Massachusetts | 508-998-9820 | 

In 2011 APC Autobody Celebrated 20 years in business repairing vehicles to pre-accident condition. They serve the consumer directly and deal with all the major carriers on their behalf. Customer satisfaction is their number one goal, and they will work tirelessly to ensure satisfied customers.

We asked Al Correia, Owner, a few questions about his business as well as his relationship with Phillips|Garcia Law.

How did you get into this type of work? I began my automotive career working in a neighbor’s garage learning how to repair cars. When I realized I had a special talent for this type of work, I went to work at a modern repair shop. Soon after I knew I wanted to open and operate my own facility.

What do you like about being in business for yourself? I like being in control of my personal and business future, making decisions that are best for me, my employees, and my customers.

What challenges do you face as a small biz owners? Politics, Taxes, and Red Tape. We do our best to run a clean and efficient operation, to be proactive rather than reactive, and to make sure everything is done correctly including paperwork.

How has Phillips|Garcia Law helped? P&G helps us maintain a healthy business. This includes any State or Federal filings, setting up new corporations, researching land we may want to purchase, and or course litigation if required. They have been a full service legal resource for APC.

If you would like contact Phillips|Garcia Law send us and email at or fill out a contact form on our firm page.

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

January Business Client Spotlight: Bay State Gymnastics Academy

Bay State Gymnastics Academy provides quality programs with organized curriculum taught in a fun and safe environment. Located at 24 Ventura Drive in North Dartmouth, MA, across the street from Phillips Garcia Law, children of all abilities and ages can find success in physical fitness. Founded in 2001 Bay State Gymnastics Academy has contributed over a decade of dedication to helping each individual student reach their goals while developing healthy minds and bodies.

Bay State Gymnastics Academy and Phillips Garcia Law have maintained a close business relationship over years. The classiness of our businesses stems from equal outstanding interest in serving their community and enhancing the lives of those they touch. Partner Andrew Garcia even maintains a more personal relationship with Bay State Gymnastics Academy through his daughter’s enrollment in the gymnastics program.

Visit Bay State Gymnastic Academy at

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

IMPORTANT: The SJC made a ruling involving wrongful foreclosures

IMPORTANT: The SJC made a ruling involving wrongful foreclosures that is being called a “major victory” for housing rights advocates and homeowners facing wrongful foreclosure.

Podcast SJC Ruling

, ,

Leave a comment

3 Things to Know When Buying a Franchise



  • Franchisor may retain how you run your systems
  • May require you to buy certain products or goods
  • Limits what you can sell


  • You may be immediately terminated if you breach a franchise agreement

If you have any questions regarding franchises or any other business legal matter please feel free to contact us toll free at 888-449-5343 or fill out the contact form.

Check out our website at for all you legal matters.

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Franchise Disclosure Document

Andrew Garcia of Phillips Garcia Law explains the importance of understanding the Franchise Disclosure Document when purchasing a franchise. If you would like to learn more about legal documents and business law contact Andrew, visit our website at or call us toll free at 888-449-5343.

, , , , , , ,

1 Comment