How to Register a Business Name in Vermont

Updated: October 1, 2023
Affiliate Disclosure
We’re supported by our users. We may earn a commission if you make a purchase from our links.
Read more

A business name can be registered in Vermont in three different ways. You can create a separate legal entity by forming an LLC or Corporation. Alternatively, you can start as a sole proprietor or general partnership and register your business name by filing a DBA name (sometimes referred to as an Assumed Business Name). If you want to register your business name across the United States and have extra legal protections you also want to consider filing a federal trademark.

Registration of your Vermont business name should be completed prior to most other business filings like:

  • Registering on the myVTax website for a Vermont Business Tax Account with the Vermont Department of Taxes, which is used for sales and use tax, meals and rooms tax, and withholding tax
  • Enrolling with the Vermont Department of Labor for Unemployment Insurance (UI)
  • Obtaining required occupational and professional licenses from the Vermont Department of Labor
  • Applying for an IRS Tax ID Number (EIN)
  • Setting up a business bank account

How much does it cost to Register a Business Name in Vermont?

The cost to register a Vermont business name varies depending on the type of registration:

  • Vermont LLC cost: $125
  • Vermont Corporation cost: $125
  • Vermont DBA cost: $50

1. Check Business Name Availability

Before you jump into registering your company name, you need to do a few searches to check if you can and should use the name you’ve picked. Make sure the name you want is available and isn’t too similar to other Vermont businesses. Doing this helps you avoid issues that confuse your customers, cause legal issues, or result in your name registration getting rejected. To do this the right way, you should do three different searches:

Vermont Business Name Search Help

Get help from the pros at ZenBusiness

Start your Vermont business name search with the help of professionals.

Trademark Search

A trademark search is the first search to verify your business name’s availability. Trademark searches should be done first because trademarks supersede state or local registrations. If you do find that your business name is potentially trademarked you should choose a new name. Using a name that has potential trademark conflict can result in major problems in the future that can be very costly and may force you to change your business name anyway.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) manages federal trademarks. To search their database, visit the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) page. If you find the results from a TESS search hard to understand, we suggest using the Free Trademark Search from Trademark Engine, providing results in an easier-to-use way and searches within trademark filings and not just the filing name.

Vermont Business Name Search

After ensuring that you won’t face issues related to a trademark, it’s time to move on to a Vermont business name search. Search the database of businesses registered using the Vermont Business Search.

Remember, a thorough search goes beyond just searching for an exact match of your business name. Experiment with different search variations, incorporating partial name components or wildcard characters. If your business name resembles an existing business, it could lead to your Vermont business name registration getting rejected.

Pro Tip: Don’t overlook the history of the business name you intend to use, even if it currently appears available. Opting for a previously registered name can significantly complicate obtaining an EIN.

Choosing a name that’s been registered before often triggers the IRS’ EIN online assistant to reject your application due to reference number 101. This problem occurs when your chosen name matches or closely resembles a name that’s already been assigned an EIN. While you can still get an EIN issued when a 101 error happens, you’ll be required to call the IRS and fax the formation paperwork for your business to an IRS agent. This often takes at least an hour on the phone and requires that you have access to a fax system. Unless you’re okay with the process taking potentially hours of your time rather than the 10 minutes or less that the normal online process takes, use a different name for your company.

Website Domain Search

For most businesses, you also want to check if the website domain name matching your business name is available. If you have no plans for a website, you should still try to purchase your business’ matching domain name. This will prevent others from using it or competitors from snatching it up. You can also make your business more credible if you own a domain name, so you can use an email address with your business name in it.

Domain Name and Business Email

You can use Namecheap to verify if your domain name is available. They also offer a business email service that’s free to try for the first 60 days when you purchase a domain.

2. Choose a Business Structure

When you start registering your business name in Vermont, you must determine the appropriate business structure before filing. The specific filing process you’ll need to complete will differ depending on your chosen business structure. It also has ramifications beyond registration and impacts aspects such as personal liability protection, ease or difficulty for obtaining financing, and how business income can be taxed. You should consider variables like the number of owners (both now and in the future), the amount of capital you’ll need, your stance on personal liability exposure, and tax preferences. If you can’t decide based on the information provided below, our guide Choosing a Business Structure covers this decision in much more detail.

Recommended Business Structure:

For a new business, going the LLC route is highly recommended. Why? With an LLC you have limited personal liability, unlike sole proprietors and general partnerships, and you’re spared the complex double taxation rules that corporations contend with.

You can use an LLC formation service to ensure your LLC is formed properly. If that’s the route you go, we’ve reviewed the best LLC services to save you time finding the right one.


An LLC, short for Limited Liability Company, is business entity under Vermont law (VT Stat 11-25) that is recognized as separate from its owners. As a result, the owners have personal liability protection. LLCs provide both tax and management flexibility.

Learn More: What is an LLC

LLC Pros

  • Personal liability protection
  • Legally separate entity
  • Default pass-through taxation (business income taxed once)
  • Unlimited number of owners (members)
  • Flexible management – can be run by members or non-owner managers
  • Option for S-Corp tax status

LLC Cons

  • Upfront filing costs
  • Ongoing cost and filings to stay compliant
  • Unable to go public

Do you need to register to be an LLC in Vermont?

Yes, legally becoming an LLC in Vermont requires registration through the Vermont Secretary of State.

Jump to: Register an LLC Name


A corporation is a legally independent business entity under Vermont law (VT 11A). Stockholders own it, with limited liability. It’s a solid option for raising external funds and businesses that may consider going public in the future.

Learn More: What is a Corporation

Corporation Pros

  • Personal liability protection
  • Legally separate entity
  • Unlimited number of owners (shareholders)
  • Easier to raise capital by selling stock
  • Able to go public
  • Option for S-Corp tax status

Corporation Cons

  • Default double taxation
  • Upfront filing costs
  • Ongoing costs and filings to stay compliant
  • Increased record keeping requirements
  • Strict management structures set by law

Do you need to register to be a Corporation in Vermont?

Yes, to be legally acknowledged as a Corporation in Vermont, you’ll need to register with the Vermont Secretary of State.

Jump to: Register a Corporation Name

Sole Proprietor

A sole proprietorship is a basic one-owner setup. Start easily with a few registrations. It doesn’t establish a separate entity so the owner has unlimited personal liability.

Learn More: What is a Sole Proprietorship

Sole Proprietor Pros

  • Easy and inexpensive to start
  • Simple taxes (business income taxed once)
  • Easy to maintain
  • Complete control for owner

Sole Proprietor Cons

  • Unlimited Liability Risk
  • Hard to raise money and get loans
  • Not separate from owner
  • Difficult to sell business
  • No other tax status options

Do you need to register your sole proprietor business name in Vermont?

For sole proprietors in Vermont, if your business name doesn’t use your complete first and last name, registration for a “doing business as” name (DBA) is mandatory. For example, if your name is “Rachel Anderson” and you run a cake shop, there’s no need to register “Rachel Anderson’s Cake Shop.” However, if you wanted to use a brandable name like “Layers of Delight Bakery,” you’d need to file for a DBA name.

Jump to: Register a DBA Name


A partnership is a business with 2 or more owners who agree to work jointly together. Each partner has unlimited liability. Earnings or losses go directly to each partner, who report their portions on individual tax returns.

Learn More: What is a Partnership

Partnership Pros

  • Easy and inexpensive to start
  • Pass-through taxation (business income taxed once)
  • Unlimited number of owners (partners)
  • Shared business responsibilities

Partnership Cons

  • Unlimited Liability Risk
  • Responsible for partners’ actions
  • Hard to raise outside capital
  • Not separate from partners
  • Difficult to sell business
  • No other tax status options

Do you need to register your partnership business name in Vermont?

Operating in Vermont, partnerships need to register a “doing business as” (DBA) name unless their business name includes the last names of all partners. For example, if a photography business is started by Aubrey Wilson, Olivia Davis, and Ethan Johnson. They can use the name “Wilson, Davis & Johnson Photography” without registration. However, if they prefer the unique brand name “CapturaLens Studios”, they should file for an Assumed Business Name (DBA).

Jump to: Register a DBA Name

3. File your Vermont Business Name Registration

You’ve ticked off name availability and structure selection. The next step is submitting your Vermont business name filing. Below is the information on the registration process specific to each business structure. For clarity, sole proprietorships and partnerships will file their business name registration via a DBA filing.

Register a Vermont LLC Name

To register an LLC in Vermont, you need to file a formation document known as Articles of Organization with the Vermont Secretary of State. This filing has a state fee of $125. In your Articles of Organization submission you’ll include basic information about your business, including:

  • LLC Name
  • Information about the LLC members (owners) and managers (if applicable)
  • Business Address (Must be a physical address – PO Boxes not allowed)
  • Name and Address of your Registered Agent

Vermont LLC Name Requirements

Vermont LLCs must use a name that follows the naming rules outlined in Vermont law (11 V.S.A. § 4005):

  • Must be distinguishable (unique) from all others businesses registered with the Vermont Secretary of State
  • Must clearly denote the business is legally structured as an LLC by including the words “limited liability company” or an abbreviation such as “LLC”
  • Cannot use words or designators associated with Corporations such as “Corporation” “Incorporated” “Corp” or “Inc”
  • Cannot contain words that imply association with a government entity
  • Cannot contain words that are prohibited or require prior approval such as Bank, Insurance; Must register with the appropriate department

For more in-depth information check out our How to Start an LLC in Vermont guide, where we cover all the steps needed to form an LLC in full detail.

Want Help Starting a Vermont LLC?

Use a professional filing service like Northwest Registered Agent ($39 +state fees), which can save you $210 vs LegalZoom when forming a Vermont LLC.

Register a Vermont Corporation Name

To get a Vermont Corporation registered, you’ll need to file Articles of Incorporation with the Vermont Secretary of State. This filing costs $125 and you’ll need to include information about your business, such as:

  • Corporation Name
  • Names and addresses of the board of the directors
  • Number and type of authorized shares
  • Business Address (Must be a physical address – PO Boxes not allowed)
  • Name and Address of your Registered Agent

Vermont Corporation Name Requirements

Corporations in Vermont are required to use a name that follows the rules detailed under Vermont law (11 V.S.A. § 4.01):

  • Must be distinguishable (unique) from all others businesses registered with the Vermont Secretary of State
  • Clearly indicate the business is legally structured as a corporation by including the words “Corporation” or “Incorporated” or use an abbreviation such as “Corp” or “Inc”
  • Cannot use words or designators associated with LLCs such as “limited liability company” or “LLC”
  • Cannot contain words that imply association with a government entity
  • Cannot contain words that are prohibited or require prior approval such as Bank, Insurance; Must register with the appropriate department

Want to Incorporate in Vermont?

If you’re interested in incorporating, you can learn more with the ZenBusiness guide on How to Start a Corporation in Vermont, which covers each step you’ll need to complete to start a Vermont corporation.

Register a Vermont DBA (Assumed Business Name)

A Vermont DBA (Assumed Business Name) allows a business to operate using a business name that is different than their legal name. To register a Vermont DBA you’ll need to complete a Assumed Business Name Registration application and submit it to the Vermont Secretary of State, along with the filing fee of $50. You’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Name and address of Applicant(s)
  • Business Name (Assumed Business Name)
  • Address where business is transacted

Vermont DBA (Assumed Business Name) Requirements

The rules for a Vermont Assumed Business Name (DBAs) are not quite as strict as they are for LLCs or Corporations, however there are still restrictions. Mainly, your DBA can’t include designators used for legal entities like “LLC” or “Inc” in the Assumed Business Name. DBAs also can’t contain prohibited words or words that imply association with government entities.

Remember, if you’re running a business using any name other than your legal name in Vermont, registering a DBA is necessary. If you do not register your Vermont Assumed Business Name in violation of 11 V.S.A. § 1621, you cannot maintain any legal action related to your business in a Vermont court. You can be liable for a civil penalty of $50 per day, up to $10,000 per year you transact business without registering. In addition the Vermont Attorney General may restrain you from transacting business in the state until the business is in compliance, as detailed in 11 V.S.A. § 1626.

Vermont DBA Registration Assistance

Get help registering your Vermont DBA with Swyft Filings. Packages starting at $99 (plus filing fees).

4. File a Trademark (Optional)

Business owners who want more control and protection over their Vermont business name can opt to trademark their name. Trademarks offer federal-level protection that extends beyond state boundaries.

You can apply for a trademark online on your own but the overall process is complex and time-consuming. It usually takes around 7-9 months for a USPTO examining attorney to initially review your application. As a result, errors on the initial application can make the process take quite a long time.

Getting help from a qualified attorney or a dedicated filing service is a good idea if you want to make your trademark registration process smoother. They have the knowledge and expertise to save you time and simplify the application submission and follow-up procedures.

Trademark Filing Assistance

Ensure your trademark is filed properly with the help of the experts at Trademark Engine, who’ve helped file over 120,000 trademarks since 2016. Packages start at $99 (+USPTO fees).

Additional Business Resources in Vermont

For more help, check out our How to Start a Business in Vermont guide, or use these resources: