STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE BRAND NAME

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered Vermont name, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through state, and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

Keep in mind your name must include words like “Corporation”, “Incorporated”, “Company”, or “Limited”. Abbreviations like “Corp.”, “Inc.”, “Co.” or “Ltd.” are also acceptable. If needed, you can file an Application to Reserve Specified Business Name form that’s good for 120 days.

Filing Fee: $20

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

A Vermont registered agent can be an individual resident of the state or a legally registered business entity with a physical street address and regular M-F business hours. On behalf of your corporation they receive and help process important business documents like state filings, tax forms, legal notices and so on. They’re essential and required by law.

That said, you can work with a professional and expect to pay up to $160/yr, or get a registered agent free of charge when you incorporate with IncFile or Incorporate.com. They handle this along with much more depending on which startup package you opt for.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLC

Now that you’ve got a registered agent, to make your corporation an official business entity by filing Articles of Incorporation with the Sec. of State that disclose for the public record some basics of your brand including:

  • Corporate name, address, and statement of purpose,
  • Corporate registered agent name, signature and address,
  • Number of shares corporation is allowed to issue,
  • Corporate officers and directors names and addresses,
  • Incorporator name and address and so forth.

Filing Fee: $75

STEP 4) GET A CORPORATE RECORDS BOOK

File Annual Reports & Publication Requirements

Think of this as the hard copy record book where all critical corporate documents are kept like the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, meeting minutes, stock certificate ledger, stock certificates, stock certificate stubs, stock transfer documents, etc. It’s the ultimate company binder! They’re very common and while not necessary having one is highly recommended for all serious business entities.

You can find them at nearby office supply stores or on Amazon, but we’re huge fans of Corporate Kits which include gorgeous records books/binders you can brand for as little as $99.

STEP 5) ELECT DIRECTORS, MEET, DISCUSS BYLAWS

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Appoint at least 3 initial directors who among other things will oversee the Vermont corporation until the first shareholder meeting where new directors will be voted in. Prepare an “Incorporator Statement” with complete names and addresses of each director and keep it in your records book. Once elected, an initial meeting should:

  • Appoint officers & discuss/create Corporate Bylaws.
  • Choose a bank & approve the issuance of stock certificates.
  • Agree on corporate seal and adopt official stock certificate form.
  • Approve s-corp (opt.). Record Minutes of Meeting, have directors sign, then add to records book.

STEP 6) OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT FOR BUSINESS

Best Business Bank Account

When you start a Corporation in Vermont, it’s very important to keep all personal and business assets/accounts completely separate. So don’t take this lightly. Where should you start building the financial foundation of your brand? Who is offering the best overall business services to corporate clients, relative to location and other conveniences?

If you think it’ll be helpful, look into this short breakdown of Business Checking Accounts to start brushing up if all this is unfamiliar territory. Where your corporation banks is a critical move, which is why it should be discussed at length in your initial shareholder meeting.

STEP 7) HANDLE TAXATION & LICENSING/PERMITS

Business Licenses

As a legally operating Vermont corporation, you’re required to be 100% compliant with all relevant local/state/federal agencies. Ideally you should have an attorney or be working with a filing service. Otherwise, here are four resources to get started:

  1. Get an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, free and easy through the IRS website.
  2. Bookmark the Montpelier Small Business Admin and the state’s chapter of the SBDC.
  3. To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
  4. Consider professional business license research packages that handle the legwork for you.

OPTIONAL) WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanWhat’s the first thing VC-types, investors, banks, crowdfunders, incubation programs and business organizations want to see when you approach them for a serious partnership or funding? That’s right, your corporate business plan. They want to know you’re a serious operation. They want to see your marketing approach, executive summary, pitch, etc. They want to see your numbers!

Will you need it on day 1? Perhaps, some corporations have deals waiting for when they go public. Most will need their plan polished and funding/presentation-ready within the first 6 months or so. Thankfully these days software is making the process simpler and less expensive.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • Use our Business Plan Software guide to see which mobile-friendly solution best suits your team. We’re huge fans of LivePlan, plus they offer our readers a special discount.

OPTIONAL) PUBLISH A COMPANY WEBSITE

Build a Business Website

If there’s already a web designer/developer on your team and your company site is already published, then fabulous. However, for those of you who have done everything above, but don’t have one – we understand it can be daunting. Should you outsource? Yes, probably.

That is unless you have someone that understands the big website-builder platforms like Wix or SquareSpace. These days you don’t necessarily need to spend as much or hire a full-time developer to get a basic, responsive agency-style site published.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom

Note that this article on how to form a Vermont Corporation isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding how to form a Vermont Corporation or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.