You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, dreams of a thriving Vermont LLC, and you’re mentally prepared to make it happen.
But the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and for you, that first step is filing the Certificate of Formation.
With such grand plans, the last thing you might want to do is file paperwork, but completing the Certificate of Formation is what authenticates your LLC, making it official in Vermont. It’s perhaps the most important step in starting your Vermont LLC. Following this guide will help take the tedium out of paperwork and get your business started quickly.
But before you dive into the Certificate of Formation, you should have a few pieces of information ready to help streamline the process.
Recommended ✔If you want to make sure your LLC is formed correctly, hire an LLC service. Below are the top two that will take care of all the legal paperwork:
If getting the most value out of an LLC service is your priority, choose ZenBusiness. They charge one of the lowest rates online and include all the most important features when starting a business. Read Review. If you're on a strict budget and prefer using the cheapest LLC service, choose IncFile. They will form an LLC for free (plus state filing fee) and give you great features along the way. Read Review.
If getting the most value out of an LLC service is your priority, choose ZenBusiness. They charge one of the lowest rates online and include all the most important features when starting a business. Read Review.
If you're on a strict budget and prefer using the cheapest LLC service, choose IncFile. They will form an LLC for free (plus state filing fee) and give you great features along the way. Read Review.
Choosing an LLC Name
Before anything else, you will need to decide on an LLC name. You must include a business name on your Articles of Organization, and if the Secretary of State deems that name unacceptable or unavailable, the document will be rejected, so make sure you nail down a good name right away.
As you brainstorm names, you’ll want to keep Vermont’s LLC name requirements in mind. According to the LLC Act, your name must include the words “limited liability company” or “limited company” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.,” “LLC,” “L.C.,” or “LC.” Further, it cannot use any language that implies an affiliation with the government. Nor can it include any obscene, indecent, or discriminatory language – keep that name family friendly!
Your name may adhere to all these rules, but if it’s already been taken, you’re out of luck. Make sure your name is distinguishable by performing a name search.
Once you’ve found your perfect name, include it on your Articles of Organization to automatically register it. In the event that you’re not quite ready to file an LLC, you can place a 120-day hold on your name by submitting a name reservation request.
IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to get your business domain name so nobody else can use it. This will protect your brand and make things much easier for you down the road. Secure it easily through GoDaddy.
Choosing a Vermont Registered Agent
A registered agent is your LLC’s liaison to the state, the mediator who takes care of all your important legal, tax, and compliance documents, keeping your business in good standing. The Articles of Organization includes a section specifically for your agent’s name, address, and email address. Without a valid registered agent listed, your application will be rejected.
Your registered agent can be an individual – as long as they are a Vermont resident and have a physical address in the state – or a business entity like a registered agent service, provided that they are authorized to do business in Vermont.
Quick Note: If your first choice doesn’t work out, don’t worry. You can always change your registered agent in the future.
Preparing to File Your Vermont Articles of Organization
Now for the main event: the Articles of Organization. Here’s your opportunity to get your LLC officially on record and authorized to conduct business in Vermont.
A smart move is to gather all necessary business information prior to starting your Articles of Organization. This way, you can breeze right through it without any obstacles. Here’s what the form requires:
- Your LLC’s name
- A business description
- A business email address to which you have regular access
- The LLC’s physical address
- A mailing address (optional)
- Registered agent name, street address, and email address
- Whether the LLC is managed by members or managers
- Name(s) and address(es) of member(s) or manager(s
- Effective Date
- Organizer name, address, signature, and title
And let’s not forget about payment. Unfortunately, the Articles of Organization isn’t free; it costs $125, so have a credit card or check ready to go when you file.
If you choose to file online, your form will be processed within one day, but if you mail a hard copy, it will take 7-10 business days.
The Secretary of State prefers that you file the Articles of Organization online, but using a paper application is also a valid option. Here’s how to go each route.
This is the quickest and easiest way to file so it’s no wonder the Secretary of State recommends it. Go to the Online Business Service Center, click “Start or Register Your Business” and you’ll be well on your way. This requires an account, so create one if you haven’t already.
Hard Copy Filing
Obtaining a paper application is possible, but somewhat more difficult. You can access the Articles of Organization through the Online Business Service Center and print it instead of completing it electronically. Or, you can use the Form Requests page. Either way, when you’ve finished the form, mail or hand-deliver it (with your fee payment) to:
Vermont Secretary of State
128 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05633-1104
There you go! You’ve successfully submitted your Articles of Organization. Now you just need to wait for the Secretary of State to process it. Then, your LLC will be official.
What About Foreign LLCs?
The process outlined above works for domestic LLCs (those formed in Vermont), but what if your business is expanding to Vermont from another state? If so, forget about the Articles of Organization; your process will be slightly different.
Out-of-state entities file a different formation document – the Application for Certificate of Authority – to foreign qualify in Vermont. Just like the Articles of Organization, you can file this form online (the preferred method) or by requesting a paper copy here. Don’t start doing business before you’ve foreign qualified, as this can lead to expensive fines and other penalties.
But after you receive your Certificate of Authority, you’re free to kick off your business activities in Vermont.
Want Help Filing Your Articles of Organization?
Let’s be honest: you’ve got a lot on your plate. Filing paperwork can take time away from your other tasks, ones more focused on setting your budding LLC up for success.
The good news is that you don’t need to file the Articles of Organization yourself. But if an attorney is out of your price range, hiring an LLC creation service is a great option.
There’s no shortage of business incorporation services out there, but not all of them are equal. Each one offers different packages, costs, and processing times, so it’s important to find the right fit for your LLC.
While each service has optional upgrades and perks packages, on the most basic level, they will review your business information, prepare your formation documents, and submit them to the Vermont Secretary of State. They will complete everything outlined in this guide and notify you when your Articles of Organization has been filed. You won’t have to lift a finger.
There are other benefits too. Some services will include a year of free registered agent service when you hire them. Other services offer order tracking, notifications on future documents (like Annual Reports), assistance drafting your operating agreement, or coverage of certain LLC formation costs.