How to Start an LLC in Vermont

Written by: Kevelyn Rodriguez

Last updated:

Vermont LLC is one of the most simple, cost-effective, and quick business structures to form. Even so, navigating the formation process can seem daunting without clear guidance and an actionable plan.

In this How to Start an LLC in Vermont guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know to form your LLC, from the steps you’ll need to take to get started to maintaining your structure.

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Vermont LLC

In order to form an LLC in Vermont, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Name Your Vermont LLC
  2. Pick a Vermont Registered Agent
  3. Submit Your LLC’s Articles of Organization
  4. Create a Vermont LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN
  6. File Your BOI Report

In the sections below, we’ve broken down each of these steps in more detail.

Step 1: Name Your Vermont LLC

The first thing you’ll need to do before getting started is picking the right name for your LLC. This is important because your business’s name will need to represent your brand accurately, as well as be as memorable as possible. 

In Vermont, all LLC names need to abide by the following statutory guidelines in order to be accepted by the Secretary of State:

  • Distinguishable in the Records: Your LLC’s name must be sufficiently distinctive from any other registered business name in Vermont. Keep in mind that:
    • Your LLC’s name should avoid using the same key words in a different order (e.g., “Gray Theater, LLP” and “Theater Gray, LLP”, etc)
    • Your LLC’s name should avoid adding, omitting, or substituting key words or numerals (e.g., “241 Main Street, LLC” and “Main Street, LLC”, etc)
    • Your LLC’s name should avoid using different words with similar meanings (e.g., “Theater Red, LLC” and “Theater Rouge, LLC”, etc)
    • Your LLC’s name should avoid using homophones (e.g., “241 Main Street, PLC” and “Two for One Main Street, PLC”, etc)
  • General Content Restrictions: Your LLC’s name must not use language that is:
    • Discriminatory language: This includes words or phrases that denigrate, defame, or infer a lower status of persons or groups based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, place of birth, age, or disability
    • Indecent language: This refers to words or phrases that depict or describe offensive sexual or excretory organs or activities
    • Obscene language: This includes words or phrases that appeal to prurient interest or describe offensive sexual conduct

You can find more information on Vermont’s LLC name registration guidelines and restrictions by visiting the Vermont Secretary of State’s Business Name Rules page. 

Keep in mind that even though picking an LLC name in itself has no cost, there are certain fees that can be associated with the overall process. 

Reserve an LLC Name

If you’re not yet ready to launch your business and still need a little more time, you can choose to reserve your desired LLC name for later by submitting an Entity Name Reservation form to the Vermont Corporation Division ($20 fee). This will keep anyone from being able to take the name you plan to use for 120 days.

If you need any longer than this, you’ll need to renew your registration and pay the same fee as originally charged ($20).

Register a DBA Name

Another potential cost associated with naming your LLC is a “doing business as” (or DBA) name. This is essentially a nickname that you can choose to register for your business to operate under — particularly if you’re not content with your LLC’s legal name.

You can register a DBA name online through the Vermont Secretary of State’s Corporation Division website for a fee of $50.

Note: DBA names in Vermont expire every 5 years from the date of the initial registration.

Buy a Domain Name

Finally, you’ll want to focus on securing a good domain name (which is your website’s URL address) for your business. For this, try to focus on choosing one that’s easy for customers to remember, relevant to your business, and accurately reflects your brand. 

After confirming the domain name you want to use is actually available, you can purchase it through a trusted registrar.

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Step 2: Pick a Registered Agent

The next step you’ll need to take toward forming your LLC is to pick a registered agent.

This is an individual or business entity that accepts legal correspondence on behalf of your business, such as service of process, notice of lawsuits, and official government communications; you’re required to continuously maintain one as long as your LLC is active.

Registered agents in Vermont are legally required to have a street and mailing address within the state.

In case you’re wondering, you can choose to act as your own registered agent (e.g., if you’re looking to save money, etc.).

Having said that, this is typically not recommended as you’re much more likely to suffer fines and penalties due to non-compliance than if you just hire a professional service.

On top of this, you’ll lose any anonymity your LLC would have given you since your name, address, and contact information will be publicly available.

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If you’re ready to get started, you can form your LLC with Northwest Registered Agent and get a free registered agent service for your first year (normally costs $125).

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Step 3: Submit Your LLC’s Articles of Organization

In Vermont, the Articles of Organization is the filing document that you’ll need to submit with the Secretary of State in order to officially register your LLC.

You will need to include the following information when submitting your LLC’s Articles of Organization.

  • Business Name: You will need to state your LLC’s initial name
  • Registered Agent: You will need to provide the name and physical address of your LLC’s registered agent
  • Management Structure: You will need to specify whether your LLC will be Member-Managed or Manager-Managed
  • Special Types of LLCs: You will need to indicate if your LLC falls into specialized LLC types (e.g., Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC), Low-Profit LLC (L3C), Blockchain-Based LLC, etc.)

After you’ve completed all required sections, you’ll be able to file your Articles of Organization in one of two ways:

Office of the Vermont Secretary of State
128 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05633
(802) 828-2363

Mail filings are generally processed within seven to 10 business days.

Regardless of the method you choose, you will need to pay a filing fee of $50.

Step 4: Create a Vermont LLC Operating Agreement

Once this is completed, the next step you’ll need to take is to create an operating agreement.

This is an internal document that clearly outlines the ownership and management structure of your company in order to reduce potential future conflict.

While this document isn’t legally mandated in Vermont, all LLCs are recommended to have one as it can help maintain both: smooth operations and your LLC’s corporate veil.

A number of companies provide drafting services for operating agreements online, typically for a fee of around a few hundred dollars. However, it’s quite easy to sort this out by yourself if you want to save money, and you can even find a number of free templates online to help with this.

Step 5: Get an EIN

Even though it’s not a legal requirement (unless your LLC has employees or multiple members), all Vermont LLCs should apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

This is a free, nine-digit number used by the IRS to identify your business and keep track of its tax reporting — much like a Social Security Number (SSN) for individuals.

You’ll need an EIN to be able to:

  • Hire employees
  • Open a business bank account
  • Apply for some business licenses/permits
  • Establish a line of credit

On top of this, using an EIN instead of a Social Security Number (SSN) helps to protect your personal information and safeguard your anonymity as the business owner of your LLC.

You can quickly apply for an EIN for your LLC online through the IRS website. You’re also able to submit a paper application using Form SS-4 either via fax to (855) 641-6935, or by mailing it to the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Note: Don’t worry if you don’t already have an SSN, it’s not necessary to have one in order to apply for an EIN — instead, you can just leave Section 7b of the application blank and call the IRS on (267) 941-1099.

Step 6: File a BOI Report

Starting January 2024, the vast majority of LLC owners will be required to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

This is part of an initiative by the U.S. government to stop individuals and entities engaging in illegal or unethical activities from being able to conceal this using “opaque ownership structures”, like shell companies, to hide their true identities.

Existing LLCs will be able to file this report anytime between January 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025, while new LLCs will have up to 90 days after the date they were initially formed to do so (30 days for LLCs formed after the start of 2025).

Keep in mind that failure to file your LLC’s BOI report on time can result in exorbitantly high fines (i.e., $591 per day) or even jail time (up to two years).

Note: Not every LLC owner is required to file a BOI report. For example, companies with more than 20 full-time employees, accounting firms, and banks are exempt. For a full list of filing exemptions, you can have a look at FinCEN’s website.

How to Maintain Your Vermont LLC

In order to keep operating legally in the state of Vermont, you’ll need to file an annual report with the Secretary of State each year.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to complete this step, as we’ve detailed all the information you’ll need to know in the sections below.

Submit an Annual Report

All LLCs in Vermont are required to file an Annual Report with the Corporations Division of the Secretary of State each year.

This is done to keep the state informed about your LLC’s key information, such as its legal name, business ID, and principal business address.

You can file your LLC’s Annual Report either online through the Secretary of State’s Business Service Division website or by making a Forms Request and submitting it by mail.

Regardless of the method you chose, a $35 processing fee will need to be paid in order for your submission to be processed.

Please note that your Annual Report must be submitted within three months following the close of the previous fiscal year. If you fail to meet this deadline, you will need to pay a $25 reinstatement fee.

Vermont vs Other States

Vermont stands out for its distinctive business environment, characterized by supportive policies and a commitment to sustainable business practices.

While the state’s formation costs for LLCs are slightly higher than the national average, its maintenance costs are moderate compared to most other states. This balance makes Vermont an appealing option for entrepreneurs seeking a cost-effective location for long-term operations.

Regardless, keep in mind that the best state to form your LLC is almost always the state that you will be operating in; this is because otherwise you’ll likely be required to register as a foreign LLC in your home state, meaning that you’ll need to pay registration and maintenance fees twice.

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Vermont Secretary of State Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Vermont Secretary of State
Corporations Division
128 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05633-1104
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Contact Information:
Phone: (802) 828-2386

How to Start an LLC in Vermont FAQ

How much does it cost to start an LLC in Vermont?

Starting an LLC in Vermont requires a $50 fee for filing the Articles of Organization. If you choose to reserve a business name beforehand, you will have to pay an additional $20 fee.

For more information on managing your Vermont business expenses, you can check out our Vermont LLC Cost guide.

How long does it take to set up an LLC in Vermont?

Forming an LLC in Vermont can be quick if filed online, with processing typically completed in less than one business day.

If you submit your Articles of Organization by mail, however, it will generally take anywhere between seven and 10 business days.

Interested in finding out more? You can have a look at our state-specific How to Start an LLC guide.

What are the benefits of an LLC in Vermont?

An LLC in Vermont provides personal liability protection, safeguarding your personal assets from business debts and claims.

It also offers flexibility in management and potential tax advantages that can optimize your business income.

Do you need a registered agent for an LLC in Vermont?

Yes, every Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Vermont is required to have a registered agent with a physical address in the state in order to handle government correspondence.

For more information on this topic, you can check out our guide on How to Start an LLC in Vermont.

Do I need to register for sales tax for my online business in Vermont?

Potentially. If your Vermont business sells tangible personal property, you will need to pay sales tax, which you can do electronically through myVTax.

This is the state’s free, secure online filing site.

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