How to File a Vermont Assumed Business Name Registration
In Vermont, a business operating under a fictitious name will need to register for an Assumed Business Name, commonly referred to as a DBA. Learn more about what an Assumed Business Name is, who needs one and how to register.
Related: How to start a business in Vermont
What is an Assumed Business Name?
An Assumed Business Name, also known as a Vermont DBA, “Doing Business As,” Fictitious Name or Trade Name registration, is a name used by a business that is different from the legal name of the business.
When a business wants to operate under a name other than its legal name, the state of Vermont, like most states, requires the business to register its business name. The registration requirement was designed to protect consumers from business owners hiding anonymously behind the name of a business.
What is an Assumed Business Name good for?
An Assumed Name registration is required for any business in Vermont that operates under a name that is different from its legal name. In addition to the legal requirement, a DBA offers other benefits such as proving the existence of a business, opening a bank account under a business name, registering a merchant account to accept credit cards, and others.
Who needs to register?
The requirements and need to register an Assumed Business Name are organized under Vermont law, 11 V.S.A. § 1621. These requirements vary depending on the type of business entity.
Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common entities to register for a Vermont DBA name.
The legal name of a sole proprietor or partnership can be the full legal name of the owner, which can be used without registering. For example, if John Smith starts a business repairing computers operating under John Smith, he doesn’t need to register. If John decides to name his business John’s Computer Repair, then he will need to register his Vermont business name.
Corporations and Limited Liability Companies won’t typically register a fictitious name since a unique entity name is created during the formation process. Some will file for a DBA if they have another business they want to operate under their corporate/LLC umbrella to keep the liability protection without having to form another entity.
How much does an Assumed Business Name registration cost in Vermont?
The Vermont Secretary of State charges a $50 filing fee to register an Assumed Business Name.
What are the steps to file a DBA in Vermont?
Step 1: Verify Name Availability
A business may not register a name that is the same or similar to another business in Vermont.
Existing registered names can be found on the Vermont Secretary of State’s, Corporation Division website. Learn how to do a business name search in Vermont.
When picking a name, it’s important to know that there are some restrictions to the words that can be registered. A few restrictions include those that:
– Includes any business entity suffix that falsely implies the type of business entity that is being operated. For example, a sole proprietorship can’t use the LLC suffix.
– Could imply government affiliation
– Use a term that is given to a financial institution such as a bank, credit union, or similar words
– Use discriminatory language
– Use indecent or obscene language
Step 2: Fill out the Form
The form to register a Trade Name in Vermont is available on the Secretary of State’s website. Information requested on the form includes:
– Trade Name being requested
– Type of business entity
– Principal office address
– Name and address of the owners/members/officers
Step 3: Submit the Form
Submit the filing fee and form to the Secretary of State. Name registrations typically take one business day to process.
If you have questions about the process, you can contact the Secretary of State at 888-647-4585 or in-person at 128 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05633.
How long does it take to process the Vermont Assumed Business Name application?
It normally takes 7-10 business days for the Secretary of State to process the Assumed Business Name registration.
Can someone steal my business name after registering?
While registering your Vermont Assumed Business Name will keep someone else from registering the exact same name in Vermont, it does very little to stop someone else from operating a business under that name in other states. If stopping others from using your business name is important, you can protect it through a trademark.
Learn more about trademarking a business name.
Does a DBA need an EIN?
An EIN or Employer Identification Number (sometimes referred to as a tax ID number) is a unique nine-digit number that some businesses will register for through the Internal Revenue Department (IRS). An EIN is required for partnerships, corporations, multi-member LLCs, or any business that has employees.
Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s social security number to identify the business.
There is no cost to get an EIN when registering directly from the IRS.
Related: How to register for an EIN in Vermont.
Does Vermont require an Assumed Business Name?
An Assumed Business Name registration is required for any business operating in Vermont under a name that is different than the legal name of the business.