Quick Start Guide
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Vermont.
Vermont LLC Costs:
Vermont LLC filing fee: $125
Vermont LLC annual report fee: $35
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The first step to forming an LLC in Vermont is to compare your desired LLC name against the names of existing businesses registered in the state and make sure it’s available for use.
You can browse existing business names in Vermont using the link below, but we strongly recommend reading this entire lesson first as there are important requirements and restrictions you need to be aware of before naming your Vermont LLC. The #1 reason LLC filings are rejected in Vermont is because of name issues.
Vermont Secretary of State Business Search:
How to Search an LLC Name in Vermont
1. It’s best to search only part of your LLC name to ensure that you see everything that is potentially similar. For example, if your desired Vermont LLC name is “Smith Tours LLC”, it’s best to just search “Smith” or “Smith Tour”.
Why: This way, if there is a “Smith Tour” or “Smith’s Tours”, you’ll see both of them; which is important, since they will be confusingly similar to your name and the state will reject your LLC filing.
2. Leave out the designator, such as “LLC”, “L.L.C.”, etc. when doing your searches.
3. Leave out any punctuation like commas, periods, apostrophes, quotes, hyphens, etc.
4. The Vermont name database ignores capitalization so you can search using uppercase or lowercase letters.
5. By default, you’ll be doing your searches with “Starts With” as the search parameter. Make sure to do your searches a second time and change the parameter to “Contains“. This will help ensure you see all names that are potentially similar to yours.
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)
(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)
Understanding the Vermont Business Search Results
• If the results show names that are not too similar to yours, then your desired Vermont LLC name is available for use.
• If a “No data found with your search criteria” message appears, this means your desired Vermont LLC name is unique and available for use.
• If your desired LLC name already appears in the list exactly as you want it, your desired Vermont LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to come up with a new name or unique variation that makes your LLC name distinguishable.
• If the results show a name that is deceptively similar to yours, your desired Vermont LLC name will likely be rejected. We recommend coming up with a new name or unique variation that makes your LLC distinguishable.
Definition of Statuses
During your Vermont LLC name search, you’re going to come across existing businesses with different statuses.
If you see any of the following statuses attached to an existing business name, you will not be able to use the same names: “Active”, “Terminated”, “Expiration Pending”, “Registered”, “Reserved”, or “Hold”.
If you see any of the following statuses attached to an existing business name, you will be able to use the same name: “Inactive”, “Expired”, “Dissolved”, “Withdrawn”, “Canceled”, “Merged” or “Converted”.
However, there is a chance the prior owners of those names can make a claim against your business. Additionally, courts, collection agencies, or similar places may mistake your new company for someone’s old company. In order to avoid any future headaches, lawsuits, or claims, we recommend choosing a Vermont LLC name that is truly unique instead of using someone’s old name.
Vermont LLC Name Requirements & Restrictions
Before finalizing your LLC name, it’s important to understand the requirements and restrictions in Vermont.
Your Vermont LLC must contain one of the following designators at the end of its name:
– LLC (most popular)
– Ltd. Liability Co.
– Ltd. Liability Company
– Limited Liability Co.
– Limited Liability Company
Example: If your desired name is “Mike’s Footwear Store”, it must be officially filed as “Mike’s Footwear Store LLC”, “Mike’s Footwear Store L.L.C.”, etc.
Your Vermont LLC cannot imply that it is a Corporation, Limited Partnership, or any other type of business entity besides an LLC.
You cannot use the following designators anywhere in your LLC name: Corporation, Corp., Inc., Incorporated, Cooperative, Limited Partnership, LP, L.P., Ltd., Limited Liability Partnership, LLP, or L.L.P.
Comma in LLC Name:
Vermont allows for LLCs to have a comma in their name or no comma in their name. It’s up to your personal choice. For example, you can file as either “Betty’s Catering, LLC” or “Betty’s Catering LLC”. Both are acceptable as per Vermont law.
Restricted and Prohibited Words:
Restricted words require approval from certain institutions, like departments of banking, insurance, education, and professional organizations. Prohibited words are those that are simply not allowed.
Restricted words: Bank, Banking, Banker, Credit Union, Trust, Insurance, Mortgage, College, University, Redevelopment, and Olympic.
Unless members are forming a Professional LLC (PLLC) and are licensed by the state, you cannot use the words Attorney, Lawyer, Engineer, Engineering, Doctors, Dentists, Architect, Land Surveyor, Appraiser, etc.
Prohibited words: Federal, Government, FBI, United States of America, United States, City, Borough, Township, and County. You cannot use curse words or vulgar words. You cannot use words that imply illegal activity, or words that suggest the company is a part of a local, state, or federal government, or falsely leads the public to believe the company is associated with certain public institutions.
“Distinguishable in the Records”
Vermont law (Title 11 Section 405) states that an LLC name “shall be distinguishable in the records of the Secretary of State”.
Distinguishable is just a fancy word that means your LLC must be unique and not deceptively similar to any existing names. In the series of examples below, we will provide a number of names that are distinguishable and names that are not.
The following examples show LLC names that are distinguishable. Meaning, the state will allow both of these names to be in existence at the same time.
LLC names with the same keywords or numerals but which are ordered differently:
– Sweets Cafe LLC and Cafe Sweets LLC
– 123 Learning Academy LLC and Learning Academy 123 LLC
LLC names with one or more additional keywords or numerals:
– Smith Consulting LLC and Smith Consulting Services LLC
– Smith Consulting LLC and Smith Consulting 2 LLC
LLC names that contain one or more keywords or numbers that are different:
– 123 Math Tutor LLC and 123 Math Teacher LLC
– 123 Math Tutor LLC and 124 Math Tutor LLC
LLC names that contain keywords with the same or similar meaning, but are using different words:
– The Red Cafe LLC and The Rojo Cafe LLC
– Mobile Phone Repair LLC and Mobile Phone Fixers LLC
– Spruce Construction LLC and Spruce Builders LLC
Not “Distinguishable in the Records”
The following examples show LLC names that are not distinguishable. Meaning, the state will not allow both of these names to be in existence at the same time.
LLC names being the same as other name with different designators:
– JJ’s Fishing LLC and JJ’s Fishing Inc.
– RT Builders LLC and RT Builders LP
LLC names with different punctuation marks, special characters, or spacing:
– Goodtime Cafe LLC and Good Time Cafe
– 101 Apparel LLC, 1.01 Apparel LLC, and 1 0 1 Apparel LLC
LLC names with articles, prepositions, conjunctions, symbols, or special characters:
– The Corner Pizzeria LLC and A Corner Pizzeria LLC
– Tea Time @ Main LLC and Tea Time at Main LLC
– Luxury Jewels Plus LLC and Luxury Jewels + LLC
Note: The above are just a few examples. The same thing applies if you find names with any of the following: a, an, and, at, by, for, in, plus, the, to, with, &, @, and +.
LLC name with prefixes, suffixes, and plural/singular:
– Finish Line LLC and Finish Lines LLC
– Run Club LLC, Runners Club LLC, and Running Club LLC
LLC Names with abbreviations, contractions, or alternative spelling:
– Vermont Mountain Brew LLC and VT Mountain Brew LLC
– Bob’s Ammunition LLC and Bob’s Ammo LLC
– Do Not Enter LLC and Don’t Enter LLC
– Barbecue Pit LLC and BBQ Pit LLC
The examples above show the most common things you’ll run across while searching your Vermont LLC name.
However, if you’d like to see a more comprehensive list of examples, the Vermont Secretary of State has put together a helpful page:
Reminders & Tips
Do not apply for your Federal Tax ID Number (EIN) until your Vermont LLC is approved.
Also, do not order business cards, letterhead, signs, marketing materials, etc., until the Vermont Secretary of State approves your LLC.
Once you find a Vermont LLC name that is unique and distinguishable, you’re ready to select your LLC’s Registered Agent. We’ll discuss this in the next Lesson: Vermont LLC Registered Agent.
And check out TRUIC’s business name generator if you need help coming up with an LLC name.
Vermont Secretary of State Contact Info
If you have any questions, you can contact the Vermont Secretary of State at 802-828-2386 (Monday through Friday, 7:45am – 4:30pm).