Register your business name and legal structure with the Vermont Secretary of State
If you plan to operate under a name other than your own, you must register the tradename with the Secretary of State. As part of your business planning process, you must also choose a legal structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company, S-Corp, C-Corp, nonprofit, L3C, etc.). Learn more and access the Online Business Service Center where you can submit forms digitally at https://sos.vermont.gov/corporations/. Be sure to consult with an attorney and/or an accountant to review the legal and financial considerations for each business type.
Register with the Vermont Department of Taxes
Register with the Internal Revenue Service
Partnerships and corporations, with or without employees, must obtain an employer identification number (EIN). Learn more and apply online at www.irs.gov
Contact an insurance agent
It is important to have insurance for your business. There are a variety of local insurance agencies that can provide quotes for business insurance. Among other insurance needs, Workers' Compensation insurance is required even for businesses with one employee. The Vermont Department of Labor (VT DOL) administers workers' compensation, minimum wage, and child labor laws. See the DOL's fact sheet on workers' compensation here
Special Considerations: Food and Beverage-Related Businesses, Lodgings, Amusements
Agency of Natural Resources (ANR)
ANR must certify that you (excluding caterers) have adequate water/wastewater services for the capacity of your establishment. Call a local permit specialist to have a discussion and obtain an application. It can take a few weeks to obtain permits, so plan ahead.
Department of Health (DOH)
DOH licenses and inspects food and lodging establishments, and these businesses must contact DOH for licensing requirements prior to operation. Examples of businesses requiring licensing include restaurants, mobile units, push carts, caterers, bakeries, food processors, temporary food stands (fair and farmers market vendors), hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, and children's camps. New businesses, changes of ownership, and businesses moving physical locations must also contact the DOH Food & Lodging Program for licensing changes and information.
Agency of Agriculture (VAAFM)
VAAFM licenses, registers and inspects a variety of items and devices used in retail establishments and wholesale distribution operations. These businesses must contact VAAFM for licensing requirements prior to operations or change of ownership. Examples of commodities include: any meat or poultry products, milk, frozen desserts, manufacturing ice cream, pesticides, and live plants or animals. Devices requiring licensure/inspection include: small scales used to sell products directly to the public, three or more retail scanning points, and motor fuel dispensers.