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How to Register a Business Name in Vermont – Complete Guide

    How to Register a Business Name in Vermont
    (Last Updated On: September 17, 2023)

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    Looking to establish your business presence in the Green Mountain State? Register a business name in Vermont is a pivotal first step toward legal compliance and brand recognition. Whether you’re planning to form an LLC or corporation or secure a “doing business as” (DBA) name, we’re here to guide you through the registration process. Vermont offers a straightforward approach to registering your business name, accommodating various business structures. 

    To streamline the process and receive expert assistance, consider partnering with ZenBusiness. Together, we’ll navigate the registration journey and set the foundation for your Vermont business success!

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    4 Steps to Register Your Business Name in Vermont

    When it comes to solidifying your business presence in the Green Mountain State, registering your business name is an essential initial stride. To support you in navigating this procedure, here are four uncomplicated stages to achieve the official registration of your business name in Vermont:

    Step 1: Choose Your Business Structure in Vermont

    Before delving into the registration process, it’s imperative to determine the most suitable business structure for your venture. This decision hinges on factors such as the nature of your business and your expansion aspirations. 

    In Vermont, a diverse range of options exists for both incorporated and unincorporated businesses. To set the stage for a successful registration, let’s explore each of these business structures in detail and gain a comprehensive understanding of how they operate.

    It’s important to note that the requirement to register your business with the Vermont Secretary of State applies only if you opt for a structure that necessitates incorporation. Such structures include:

    Sole Proprietorship

    A sole proprietorship stands as the simplest business structure in Vermont. Here, the owner and the business are regarded as a single entity in the eyes of the law. This implies that the owner assumes personal responsibility for the business’s debts and liabilities. Creating a sole proprietorship involves minimal legal and administrative requirements, making the setup process straightforward. While registering a sole proprietorship with the state isn’t obligatory in Vermont, local permits or licenses might be required.

    General Partnership

    A general partnership involves joint ownership by two or more individuals who share both profits and losses. Each partner assumes personal liability for the business’s financial obligations and legal commitments. While a general partnership need not be formally registered with the state in Vermont, filing a “Vermont Assumed Business Name” (DBA) in the county where your business operates could be necessary.

    Limited Partnership (LP)

    A limited partnership in Vermont comprises one or more general partners, who hold unlimited personal liability and manage the business, alongside limited partners who contribute capital and enjoy limited liability. Establishing an LP necessitates filing a “Certificate of Limited Partnership” with the Vermont Secretary of State.

    Limited Liability Company (LLC)

    The LLC structure offers flexibility by combining the liability protection of a corporation with the tax advantages and simplicity of a partnership. To form an LLC in Vermont, filing Articles of Organization with the Vermont Secretary of State is required. Additionally, crafting an Operating Agreement to outline ownership and management aspects is crucial.


    A corporation in Vermont is an independent legal entity separate from its shareholders. This structure provides limited liability protection. There are two main types of corporations:

    • C-corporations
    • S-corporations

    Creating a corporation in Vermont mandates filing Articles of Incorporation with the Vermont Secretary of State. The choice between a “For-Profit Corporation” and a “Nonprofit Corporation” depends on your business’s nature. Corporations involve additional formalities, including establishing bylaws, issuing stocks, and conducting regular board and shareholder meetings.

    Ultimately, the selection of your business structure in Vermont should align with your specific needs, taking into account considerations such as liability protection, tax implications, and managerial demands. Should you require guidance in this pivotal decision-making process, seeking advice from legal or business professionals is highly recommended.

    In the upcoming segments of this series, we will delve deeper into the subsequent steps of registering your business name in Vermont, providing you with a comprehensive roadmap to successfully establish your business within the state’s legal framework.

    >> Register Your Vermont Business Name with ZenBusiness >>

    Step 2: Select a Unique Business Name in Vermont

    In Vermont, crafting a name for your business involves strategic decision-making. You can take different routes, such as registering a legal entity name, securing a trademark, or operating under an alternative name while maintaining a registered one. However, it’s essential to grasp the specific naming regulations in Vermont, as they differ from state to state.

    Just like the incorporation process, your choice of business name in Vermont should align with your entity’s unique requirements and context.

    Though not mandatory, pursuing all three naming avenues can provide comprehensive name protection. Alternatively, you can select a single naming option. For clarity and consistency, it’s generally advisable to use the same name across all registration methods.

    Let’s delve into each naming option available in Vermont:

    Vermont mandates businesses to register a legal entity name, acting as the state’s identifier for your company. This name must be distinct to prevent any confusion with other businesses.

    Vermont’s naming regulations include directives on company suffixes (e.g., LLC, LP, Corp) and the necessity for the name to accurately represent the registered business type. You can confirm name availability through the Vermont Secretary of State’s online business search tool.


    Securing a trademark in Vermont provides intellectual property protection for your business name or logo on a national scale. Ensuring the exclusivity of your name or logo involves conducting a thorough search in the USPTO database to check for existing registrations.

    Once your trademark is established, it guards against others using a similar name or logo for comparable goods or services, offering nationwide protection. Nonetheless, a trademark doesn’t automatically grant unrestricted usage of the name or logo in all scenarios.

    Doing Business As (DBA)

    Vermont offers the option of registering your business under an official name while operating under a different alias, known as a Doing Business As (DBA) name. To proceed, a DBA registration must be filed with the Secretary of State’s office. While these names adhere to federal trademark laws, they don’t require uniqueness at the state level.

    By comprehending and thoughtfully evaluating these naming avenues, you can effectively register your business name in Vermont while safeguarding your brand identity. This strategic approach ensures that your business is poised for success within the state’s regulatory framework.

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    Step 3: Check Business Name Availability in Vermont

    Before proceeding with business registration, it’s essential to check whether your desired business name is already in use. This step is crucial to ensure your chosen name is unique and available for use in Vermont. To conduct a comprehensive search for business name availability, it’s necessary to perform three specific types of searches:

    The initial stage of confirming the availability of a business name in Vermont involves conducting a federal trademark search. Trademarks are registered on a national level and hold precedence over state-level registrations. Therefore, it’s important to confirm that your preferred business name isn’t already trademarked. If it’s indeed trademarked, you will need to select a different business name.

    To perform a federal trademark search, visit the official website of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and utilize the TESS Search tool.

    >> File a Trademark with IncFile >>

    Once you’ve established that your chosen name isn’t trademarked, the next step is to verify its availability specifically for use within Vermont. Utilize the Vermont Business Search tool to search for registered business names in the state.

    During this search, ensure that not only your exact business name is available but also confirm that there are no other businesses utilizing substantially similar names.

    After confirming that your business name is both available for use in Vermont and not trademarked, it’s advisable to conduct a search to determine the availability of the .com version of your chosen name. While not all businesses may intend to establish a website, it’s still recommended to secure the .com domain corresponding to your business name.

    By securing the .com domain for your business name through ZenBusiness, you prevent others from using the same website name. With domain registration costs, it’s a cost-effective method to safeguard your business identity.

    By following these steps, you can ensure that your chosen business name is unique, not trademarked, and available for use in Vermont, as well as potentially secure the corresponding .com domain for future online presence.

    Step 4: Form Your Business With the State of Vermont

    Once you’ve determined your preferred business structure and chosen a name, the next step involves submitting the necessary documents for business formation to the state. This process ensures that your business becomes officially registered in Vermont.

    For the registration of your Vermont-based LLC, you’re required to complete and file the Articles of Organization with the Vermont Secretary of State. This can be accomplished through online submission or traditional mail. In the case of a Vermont corporation, you’ll need to file the Articles of Incorporation with the Vermont Department of State.

    You May Also Want to Know

    Protect Your Business Name With a Trademark

    After verifying the availability of your selected business name and securing it, you have the option to seek trademark protection for your business. The associated costs typically range from $225 to $400, in addition to potential attorney fees, along with a renewal fee due every decade.

    Although this investment might seem substantial for a startup or emerging business, it grants your company national branding protection as provided by federal law. This means that if other entities attempt to use an identical or similar name, you’ll have legal precedence on your side. 

    However, for most small businesses, pursuing trademark protection isn’t essential unless they have aspirations of expanding on a national level.

    >> File a Trademark with IncFile >>

    How to File a Vermont Fictitious Name – DBA?

    To file a fictitious name (DBA) in Vermont, follow these steps:

    1. Choose a Name: Pick a name that’s unique and not already in use by another business in Vermont
    1. Check Availability: Verify if the chosen name is available by searching the Vermont Secretary of State’s business name database
    1. Download Form: Download and fill out the “Trade Name Registration” form available on the Vermont Secretary of State’s website
    1. Complete the Form: Provide your personal and business information, including the chosen fictitious name, business address, and description of the business
    1. Notarize: Some forms may require notarization. Check the form’s instructions to see if notarization is needed
    1. Submit: Send the completed form, along with any required fees, to the Vermont Secretary of State’s office. You can mail the form or submit it in person
    1. Publication: In some cases, you might need to publish a notice of your fictitious name in a local newspaper. Check with the Vermont Secretary of State for publication requirements
    1. Renewal: Fictitious names typically need to be renewed periodically. Keep track of renewal dates to maintain your registration

    Remember to double-check all requirements with the Vermont Secretary of State’s office or their official website before submitting your application.

    How to Change the Name of a Vermont Business?

    Changing the name of your business in Vermont can be achieved through two distinct approaches: filing for a trade name or submitting an amendment to modify the existing legal business name.

    Opting for a trade name (also referred to as a DBA name) is the simplest way to operate under an alternate name without necessitating a legal name change. This method is especially applicable for sole proprietorships and general partnerships seeking a different business identity. It’s also a straightforward solution for LLCs and corporations, allowing them to conduct business under brand names that exclude the mandatory “LLC” or “Inc.” suffix present in their legal names.

    In situations where you desire to alter the legal name of your LLC or corporation, the recommended approach is to file an amendment to adjust the existing legal business name. This can be conveniently submitted online through the Vermont Secretary of State’s platform, along with a filing fee of $25.

    >> Get Expert Assistance from ZenBusiness >>

    Business Name Registration Laws in Vermont

    Here are some laws regarding business name registration in Vermont:

    • Choosing a Name: Your chosen business name must not already be in use by another registered business in Vermont. It’s advisable to conduct a search in the Vermont Secretary of State’s business name database to check the availability of your desired name.
    • Trade Name Registration: If you’re operating as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or any other business entity under a name other than your legal name, you’ll need to file a Trade Name Registration form. This form provides information about the business, the owner(s), and the desired trade name.
    • Corporations and LLCs: If you’re registering a business entity like a corporation or a Limited Liability Company (LLC), the entity’s legal name is usually registered during the formation process with the Vermont Secretary of State. If you intend to do business under a name other than the entity’s legal name, you may need to file a Trade Name Registration.
    • Filing Process: Typically, you would need to complete the appropriate registration form and submit it to the Vermont Secretary of State’s office, along with the required filing fee. The registration process can often be completed online, in person, or by mail.
    • Duration: Business name registrations are typically valid for a certain period, after which they may need to be renewed to remain in effect.
    • Renewal: If your business name registration needs to be renewed, you will be required to file a renewal form and pay the associated renewal fee.

    Remember that laws and regulations can change, so it’s crucial to verify the most current information from the official Vermont Secretary of State’s website or consult with legal professionals before making any decisions related to business name registration.

    Bottom Line on How to Register a Business Name in Vermont

    In summary, taking steps to register your business name in Vermont is the crucial foundation for your entrepreneurial endeavors. Through careful selection of your business structure and a distinctive name, coupled with completing essential registrations and exploring potential trademark protection or a DBA name, you’re setting the stage for a prosperous journey ahead.

    Leverage resources like the Vermont Secretary of State’s office for guidance, and consider enlisting the support of services like ZenBusiness for a seamless registration process. With determination and innovation, your registered business name will shine brightly in Vermont’s diverse and vibrant business landscape.

    >> Use ZenBusiness To Register a Business Name in Vermont >>

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