How To Start & Grow Your Business

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How to Start a Business in Vermont

If you’re looking to start a new business in the state of Vermont, look no further!

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At $30 billion, Vermont has the smallest economy in the U.S. Though it has business costs above the national average, its five-year average unemployment rate of 5% was the fourth lowest among states. As a state to live in, it offers a high quality of living, and outdoor beauty with the backdrop of the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain. Also, Vermont is the leading producer of maple syrup in the country — yum!

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“How to Start a Business”

Starting a business can be both exhilarating and challenging. It requires your full attention and energy. It all begins with an idea, an observation that there is a problem and the belief that you have a new solution – or a better one. Allow us to walk you through the steps in this free guide: How to Start A Business.

General resources for starting a business in Vermont

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Fun facts about starting a business in Vermont

Famous business founded in Vermont Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry’s is a company that makes ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbet. It was founded in 1978 in Burlington, Vermont. Its headquarters today are in South Burlington, Vermont, with the main factory in Waterbury, Vermont.

Famous businessperson born in Vermont Henry Wells

Henry Wells (1805-1878) was a businessman important in the history of both the American Express Company and Wells Fargo & Company. Wells was president of American Express from 1850 to 1868. He was born in Thetford, Vermont.

“Westward, ever westward.”

Henry Wells
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Which type of legal structure is best for my business in Vermont?

At bizHUMM we strongly recommend you incorporate, but you must consider the tax, legal, and liability implications carefully before deciding on the best structure for your business.

Here are 5 helpful steps to help you determine the best legal structure:

Click one of the buttons below to learn more about the different types of business legal structures and how to start them in the state of Vermont.
LLC (Limited Liability Company)
A limited liability company, commonly called an "LLC," is a legal business structure that combines the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability of a corporation.

Steps to starting an LLC in Vermont:

  • Step 1 — Name your LLC.
  • Step 2 — File Articles of Organization.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a Registered Agent.
  • Step 4 — Create an Operating Agreement.
  • Step 5 — Comply with any publication requirements.
  • Step 6 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements
  • Step 7 — File Annual Reports.
  • Step 8 — Register foreign LLCs doing business in Vermont.

For help forming your LLC in Vermont we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Or, visit the Vermont Secretary of State website.

Other Vermont resources for LLCs:

Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your LLC name here.
File your “Business Name Reservation” here.
File your “Articles of Organization” here.
File your Annual Report here.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your LLC here. If your LLC has more than one member, you must get an EIN, even if you have no employees.

Vermont Department of Taxes: If you will be selling goods or will hire employees, you’ll need to register with this site.

Sole Proprietorship
A sole proprietorship is the simplest and most common structure chosen to start a business. It is an unincorporated business owned and run by one individual, with no distinction between the business and the owner. The owner is entitled to all profits, and is responsible for all the business’s debts, losses, and liabilities.

Steps to starting Sole Proprietorship in Vermont:

  • Step 1 — Name your sole proprietorship.
  • Step 2 — File a trade name.
  • Step 3 — Obtain licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  • Step 4 — Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For help forming your sole proprietorship in Vermont we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Alternatively, visit the Vermont Secretary of State website.

Other Vermont resources for Sole Proprietorship:

Business Name Search: Search for the availability of your business name here. A sole proprietor may use his or her given name, or an assumed business name.
Register your trade name here.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Federal database for existing trademark registrations. Click on the “TESS” link to conduct a search.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your sole proprietorship here, if you will hire employees.

Vermont Department of Taxes: If you will be selling goods or will hire employees, you’ll need to register with this site.

Partnership
A partnership is a business operation between two or more individuals who share both management and profits. The two most common types of partnerships are general and limited partnerships. Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, and shares in the profits and losses of the business.

Steps to starting Partnership in Vermont:

  • Step 1 — Choose a business name.
  • Step 2 — File a trade name.
  • Step 3 — Create a partnership agreement.
  • Step 4 — Obtain licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  • Step 5 — Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For help forming your partnership in Vermont we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Or, visit the Vermont Secretary of State website.

Other Vermont resources for Partnership:

Business Name Search: Search for the availability of your business name here. A partnership may use the surnames of the individual partners, or a fictitious business name.
Register your trade name here.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Federal database for existing trademark registrations. Click on the “TESS” link to conduct a search.

Vermont Department of Taxes: If you will be selling goods or will hire employees, you’ll need to register with this site.

S Corporation
An S corporation (or S Corp for short) is a special type of corporation created through an IRS tax election. An eligible domestic corporation can avoid double taxation (once to the corporation and again to the shareholders) by electing to be treated as an S corporation. What makes the S corp different from a traditional corporation (C corp) is that profits and losses can pass through the shareholder’s personal tax return. Consequently, the business is not taxed itself.

Steps to starting S Corporation in Vermont:

  • Step 1 — Choose a corporate name.
  • Step 2 — Prepare and file Articles of Incorporation.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Set up a corporate records book.
  • Step 5 — Prepare corporate bylaws.
  • Step 6 — Appoint initial corporate directors.
  • Step 7 — Hold your first Board of Directors meeting.
  • Step 8 — Issue stock.
  • Step 9 — Comply with Vermont Annual Report requirements.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Vermont.

For help forming your S corporation in Vermont we recommend CorpNet (there are fees for their service).

Alternatively, you can visit the Vermont Secretary of State website.

Other Vermont resources for S Corporation:

Business Name Search: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.
File your “Business Name Reservation” here.
File your “Articles of Incorporation” here.
File your Annual Report here.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation here.

IRS S corporations: Specific instructions for your tax requirements as an S corp.

Vermont Department of Taxes: Register with this site to fulfill your business tax requirements.

C Corporation
A C corporation (or C corp), refers to any corporation that is taxed separately from its owners. A C corporation is distinguished from an S corporation, which generally is not taxed separately. From a legal standpoint, C corporations are separate entities that can sue and be sued. From a tax standpoint, they are separate taxpayers, paying tax at special corporate tax rates that differ from those applicable to individuals.

Steps to starting C Corporation in Vermont:

  • Step 1 — Choose a corporate name.
  • Step 2 — Prepare and file Articles of Incorporation.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Set up a corporate records book.
  • Step 5 — Prepare corporate bylaws.
  • Step 6 — Appoint initial corporate directors.
  • Step 7 — Hold your first Board of Directors meeting.
  • Step 8 — Issue stock.
  • Step 9 — Comply with Vermont Annual Report requirements.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Vermont.

For help forming your C corporation in Vermont we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Or, visit the Vermont Secretary of State website.

Other Vermont resources for C Corporation:

Business Name Search: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.
File your “Business Name Reservation” here.
File your “Articles of Incorporation” here.
File your Annual Report here.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation here.

Vermont Department of Taxes: Register with this site to fulfill your business tax requirements.

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Why choose Vermont for my business?

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