How to Get Business Licenses in Vermont | A Comprehensive Guide

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Vermont Business License

Starting a new business is an exciting venture, but it’s essential to understand the various licenses required to operate legally within Vermont. Forming an LLC in Vermont requires licenses, as different industries and locations have specific regulations. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to Vermont Business Licenses, helping you navigate the process and ensure your new venture complies with all necessary requirements. By understanding the permitting landscape in Vermont, you can ensure that your business is fully prepared to succeed while avoiding potential legal pitfalls.

Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you easily obtain a business license in Vermont. You must be guided by all the factors gathered in this article.

What is a Business License in Vermont?

A business license is a legal authorization, permit, or document that allows a business to operate within a specific jurisdiction, such as a city, county, or state. Vermont business licenses are issued by Vermont Secretary of State and ensure businesses comply with applicable laws, regulations, and standards in their respective industries.

A business license protects public health, safety, and welfare by ensuring businesses operate responsibly and lawfully. Acquiring a business license often involves registering the business, paying applicable fees, and meeting specific requirements or qualifications for the type of business.

Business licenses can vary greatly depending on the location and nature of the business. Some common types of business licenses include:

1. General Business License: This is a basic license required for most businesses to operate within a specific jurisdiction, such as a city or county.

2. Professional and Occupational Licenses: These licenses are specific to certain industries or professions, such as healthcare, construction, real estate, or cosmetology, and are typically issued by state licensing boards or agencies.

You must have a professional and occupational license to form Vermont General Partnership and offer your service. 

Here are some examples of Professional and Occupational Licenses:

  • Medical License: Physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals must obtain a medical license to practice medicine in a specific state. The Vermont medical board issues this license after verifying the applicant’s education, training, and examination results.
  • Realtor License: To become a realtor in Vermont, you must obtain a real estate license to buy, sell, or lease properties on behalf of clients. Vermont has its own real estate commission or board responsible for issuing licenses and regulating the industry.
  • Contractor License: General contractors, electricians, plumbers, and other construction professionals must often have a contractor license to work in Vermont. 
  • Cosmetology License: Professionals in the beauty industry, such as hairstylists, estheticians, and nail technicians, must obtain a cosmetology license to provide services. Vermont Boards of Cosmetology oversee licensing and regulations for this industry.
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) License: Accountants who wish to become a CPA in Vermont must designate and provide specific services, such as auditing financial statements and obtaining a CPA license from Vermont’s Board of Accountancy.
  • Architect License: Architects must obtain a license to practice architecture in Vermont. This typically involves meeting education and experience requirements and passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).
  • Attorney License: Vermont Business Attorneys must obtain a license to practice law in a particular jurisdiction, typically by passing the state’s bar examination and meeting other requirements set by the Vermont bar association.

3. Health and Safety Permits: Vermont businesses involved in food service, hospitality, or other industries directly impacting public health and safety may require specific permits from local health departments or regulatory agencies.

4. Environmental Permits: Vermont businesses that involve activities that may impact the environment, such as waste disposal, air or water emissions, or hazardous materials handling, may require permits from local, state, or federal environmental agencies.

5. Sales Tax License: Vermont businesses that sell goods or services may be required to collect sales tax from customers and remit it to the appropriate tax authority. A sales tax license is typically required to collect and remit sales tax legally.

Vermont business owners must research the specific licensing requirements for their business in their jurisdiction and obtain all necessary licenses and permits to operate legally and avoid potential fines, penalties, or legal troubles.

Requirements For Getting Business Licenses in Vermont

If you start an LLC or any other type of business, you must wait until your Vermont business registration is complete. Once you have completed the necessary steps to register your business in Vermont, you must be prepared with the required documents to apply for business licenses.

  • Name of your company
  • Phone number and company address
  • Employee Identification Number (EIN)
  • Your company’s legal structure (Corporation, Partnership, or LLC)
  • Your business strategy, which includes revenues and costs

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How to Get a Business License in Vermont

To get a business license, you must follow the guidelines below, including determining if your Vermont business requires a license or permit, identifying the appropriate licensing agencies, researching license and permit requirements, completing and submitting license applications, and maintaining license and permit requirements.

Step 1: Determine The Required License or Permit

The first step in obtaining a business license is determining if your business needs one. Some businesses may not require a license or permit, while others may need multiple licenses depending on their industry and location. Some businesses typically require some form of licensing or permit:

  • Professional services, such as medical, legal, and accounting
  • Food establishments, including restaurants, bars, and catering businesses
  • Retail businesses, including stores, shops, and online retailers
  • Construction and contracting companies
  • Manufacturing and industrial businesses

State Licenses

The licenses that you must get first are the licenses within the state. Vermont state licenses require individuals or businesses to engage in certain activities or professions legally. The state government issues these licenses and serves as proof that the license holder has met certain qualifications and standards set by the state. The types of licenses vary depending on the profession or activity, including but not limited to healthcare professionals, contractors, real estate agents, and drivers.

State licenses assure the public that the license holder has undergone the necessary training and education to perform their duties safely and competently.

Federal Licenses

Federal licenses in Vermont are granted by federal agencies and are required for certain activities and industries that fall under federal jurisdiction. These licenses ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations and are necessary for individuals or businesses engaged in the following services.

  • Agriculture: License issued by The U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Aviation: License issued by The Federal Aviation Administration
  • Alcohol & Tobacco: License issued by The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
  • Ammunition, Explosive, & Firearms: License issued by The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
  • Commercial Fisheries: License issued by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service
  • Mining & Drilling: License issued by The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
  • Nuclear Energy: License issued by The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Radio & Television (Broadcast): License issued by The Federal Communications Commission
  • Transportation by Sea: License issued by The Federal Maritime Commission
  • Wildlife & Fisheries: License issued by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Obtaining a federal license in Vermont involves meeting specific criteria and adhering to federal laws and regulations, which can vary depending on the activity or industry.

City-Based License

City-based licenses in Vermont are granted by local municipalities and are required for certain activities or businesses operating within the city limits. These licenses ensure businesses comply with local regulations and ordinances and typically cover business operations, health and safety, zoning, and permits.

City-based licenses vary depending on the location and the nature of the business, but examples may include restaurant licenses, liquor licenses, taxi licenses, and street vendor licenses. Obtaining a city-based license in Vermont involves submitting an application, paying the necessary fees, and meeting specific requirements set by the local government.

Home-Based License

Home-based licenses in Vermont are required for individuals or businesses that operate from their residential property. These licenses regulate and permit activities conducted within a residential setting, such as home-based businesses or rental properties. Home-based licenses ensure these activities comply with local regulations, building codes, zoning requirements, and health and safety standards.

The specific requirements for obtaining a home-based license in Vermont can vary depending on the type of activity and the local municipality but typically involve submitting an application, paying any necessary fees, and meeting specific criteria set by the local government.

Professional License

Professional licenses in Vermont are mandatory for individuals pursuing specific careers or professions that require specialized knowledge, skills, and expertise. The state government grants these licenses and serves to regulate and ensure the competency and ethical practice of professionals in fields such as law, medicine, engineering, teaching, and accounting.

To obtain a professional license in Vermont, individuals must meet education, experience, and examination requirements specific to their profession. These licenses assure the public that they receive services from qualified professionals and protect consumers from potential harm or malpractice.

Step 2: Identify the Vermont Licensing Agencies

Once you’ve determined that your business requires a license or permit, you must identify the appropriate Vermont agencies responsible for issuing these documents. In Vermont, numerous agencies oversee licensing and permitting, including:

  • Vermont Secretary of State: This office is responsible for issuing licenses for many professional services, including legal, medical, and accounting.
  • Vermont Department of Health: Food establishments, healthcare providers, and other businesses related to health and safety may require licenses from this department.
  • Vermont Department of Taxes: If your business sells goods, you may need a sales tax license or permit from this department.
  • Vermont Department of Labor: Businesses that involve construction or contracting may need licenses from this department.
  • Local City or County Governments: Depending on your business’s location, you may also need to obtain licenses or permits from your local government.

Step 3: Research License and Permit Requirements

After identifying the appropriate agencies, research the specific requirements for each license or permit your business needs. This may involve reviewing the Vermont agency’s website, contacting their office directly, or consulting a legal or business professional. Some common requirements for obtaining a business license or permit include:

  • Completing an application form
  • Providing proof of insurance or bonding
  • Passing background checks or inspections
  • Paying application fees

Some licenses or permits may have ongoing requirements, such as annual renewals, inspections, or reporting.

Step 4: Complete and Submit License Applications

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information and documents, complete the application forms for each required license or permit. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions provided by each Vermont agency, as incomplete or incorrect applications can lead to delays or denials.

In addition to the application forms, you may also need to submit supporting documentation, such as:

Proof of Business Registration

You can find it on the Vermont Secretary of State’s website. There should be a search feature specifically for businesses. This will often be labeled “Vermont Secretary of State Corporations Division“. In the search feature, enter the name of the business you are looking for, and once it appears, you will now have proof of your business registration.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Aside from opening a bank account, you must have an Employer Identification Number in Vermont to file and submit for a business license. An EIN, also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your business for tax purposes. You’ll need an EIN to open a business bank account, file taxes, and hire employees. 

The application of an EIN in Vermont can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone-International Applicants – International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

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Proof of Insurance, Bonding, or Worker’s Compensation Coverage

To have a business license, you need proof of insurance, bonding, or worker’s compensation. You need to obtain a certificate or policy document as additional documents for your proof of insurance. Also, there is a database of businesses with worker’s compensation coverage or require businesses to register their insurance or bonding information. Visit your Vermont Department of Labor, Department of Insurance, or another relevant agency website for information about the business’s coverage.

Professional Certifications or Licenses

As I have mentioned, if you will form a general partnership and offer your service, you must have professional certifications or licenses. 

Submit your completed applications and the Vermont business license fee, which ranges from $50 – $300. The processing times for license and permit applications can vary, so plan accordingly and allow ample time for approval.

Step 5: Maintain License and Permit Compliance

Once you’ve obtained the necessary licenses and permits for your Vermont business, it’s essential to maintain compliance with all requirements. This may include:

  • Keep your Vermont licenses and permits current by renewing them on time, typically annually.
  • Reporting any changes to your business, such as a changing Vermont LLC address. You may amend your Vermont Articles of Organization if you change anything in your Vermont business.
  • Maintaining proper insurance, bonding, or worker’s compensation coverage.
  • Complying with any inspection, reporting, or record-keeping requirements.

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Additional Considerations

In addition to the steps outlined above, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind when navigating the Vermont business licensing process:

  • Licenses and permits are often industry-specific, so research your business type’s requirements.
  • Some businesses may need licenses or permits from multiple agencies at the state and local levels. Be sure to research and comply with all necessary requirements to avoid complications.
  • If your business operates in multiple locations or across state lines, you may need to obtain licenses or permits for each jurisdiction in which you operate. You can form Vermont Foreign LLC
  • Stay informed about licensing and permitting requirements changes, as regulations can change over time.

FAQs

What is the first step to obtaining a business license in Vermont?
The first step is to determine what type of license your business needs.
What types of businesses need a license in Vermont?
Many types of businesses in Vermont require a license, including food establishments, childcare facilities, and home improvement contractors.
How do I apply for a business license in Vermont?
You can apply for a business license in Vermont by visiting the Vermont Secretary of State’s website.
Is there a fee to obtain a business license in Vermont?
Yes, there is a fee to obtain a business license in Vermont. The fee varies depending on the type of license you need.
What are the requirements for obtaining a business license in Vermont?
The requirements for obtaining a business license in Vermont vary depending on the type of license you need.
How long does it take to obtain a business license in Vermont?
The length of time it takes to obtain a business license in Vermont varies depending on the type of license you need.
Can I operate my business without a license in Vermont?
No, operating a business without a license in Vermont is illegal.
How do I renew my business license in Vermont?
You can renew your business license in Vermont by visiting the Vermont Secretary of State’s website.
How often do I need to renew my business license in Vermont?
The frequency with which you need to renew your business license in Vermont varies depending on the type of license you need.
Can I transfer my business license to Vermont?
Yes, you can transfer your business license to Vermont if you are relocating your business.
How do I transfer my business license to Vermont?
You can transfer your business license to Vermont by contacting the Vermont Secretary of State’s office.
What should I do if I am unsure if my business needs a license in Vermont?
Contact the Vermont Secretary of State’s office to determine whether your business requires a license.
What happens if I operate a business without a license in Vermont?
You may face penalties or fines if you operate a business without a license in Vermont.
Can I apply for a business license online in Vermont?
Yes, you can apply for a business license in Vermont online through the Secretary of State’s website.
Are there any exemptions for businesses to obtain a license in Vermont?
Certain businesses may be exempt from obtaining a license in Vermont. Check with the Vermont Secretary of State’s office for more information.
How can I check the status of my business license application in Vermont?
You can check the status of your business license application in Vermont by contacting the Secretary of State’s office.
Who do I contact if I have questions about my business license in Vermont?
Contact the Secretary of State’s office with any questions about your business license in Vermont.
Can I apply for multiple licenses at once in Vermont?
Yes, it’s possible to apply for multiple licenses at once in Vermont if your business requires them.
Can I appeal if my Vermont business license application is denied?
Yes, you can appeal if your Vermont business license application is denied.
How can I appeal if my Vermont business license application is denied?
You can appeal if your Vermont business license application is denied by contacting the Vermont Secretary of State’s office.
Do I need a business plan to obtain a license in Vermont?
It depends on the requirements for the type of license your business needs.
How do I know if my business plan meets the requirements for obtaining a license in Vermont?
Check with the Vermont Secretary of State’s office to see what the requirements are for your specific type of business.
What are the consequences of providing false information on a business license application in Vermont?
Providing false information on a business license application in Vermont may result in penalties or fines.
Are there any Vermont-specific requirements for starting a daycare or child care facility?
Yes, there are Vermont-specific requirements for starting a daycare or child care facility. Check with the Vermont Secretary of State’s office for more information.
Can I operate a food truck in Vermont without a business license?
No, operating a food truck without a business license in Vermont is illegal.
Can I operate a home-based business in Vermont with just a trade name?
No, you need a business license to operate any type of business in Vermont.
Are there any Vermont-specific requirements for employing contractors when starting a construction business?
Yes, there are Vermont-specific requirements for employing contractors when starting a construction business. Check with the Vermont Secretary of State’s office for more information.
How do I obtain a license to sell alcohol in Vermont?
You can obtain a license to sell alcohol in Vermont by contacting the Department of Liquor Control.
What type of businesses need a license in Vermont?
Many types of businesses require a license in Vermont, including those involved in healthcare, construction, and the hospitality industry.
How do I determine if my business needs a Vermont license?
Review the Vermont government website or speak with a representative to determine if your specific business requires a license.
How do I apply for a Vermont business license?
You can apply online or by submitting the necessary forms and fees to the state.
What fees are associated with obtaining a Vermont business license?
Fees vary depending on the type of license you need, but they generally range from $20 to $500.
Is there an application deadline for a Vermont business license?
No, but it is recommended to apply as early as possible to avoid delays in processing.
How long does it take to obtain a Vermont business license?
Typically, licenses are processed within 30 to 60 days.
Can I operate my business without a Vermont license while I am waiting for my application to be processed?
No, you cannot legally operate your business without a valid license.
What happens if I operate my business without a Vermont license?
You could face fines, legal penalties, and potential closure of your business.
How often do I need to renew my Vermont business license?
Licenses generally need to be renewed annually or biennially.
What information do I need to provide when applying for a Vermont business license?
Application requirements can vary, but you will generally need to provide information about your business, including your name, business structure, and contact information.
Can I obtain a Vermont business license if I run my business out of my home?
Yes, as long as you meet the specific regulations for home-based businesses outlined by the state.
Can I transfer my Vermont business license from one business to another?
It depends on the type of license and circumstances surrounding the transfer. Contact the state for specific instructions.
How many people must I employ to require to get a Vermont business license?
The requirement depends on the type of business. Speak with a representative from the Vermont government for specific instructions.
What permits do I need for my business in Vermont?
Many businesses require special permits in addition to a business license, such as food service and alcohol permits. Check the website or speak with representatives for details.
How do I maintain my Vermont business license?
This varies by license type, but generally, businesses must be in compliance with applicable regulations and laws.
What is the Vermont Business Registry?
A central repository for businesses registered in Vermont.
How do I update information about my Vermont business in the registry?
You can update your company information through the Vermont Business Registry online.
What is the process for closing down or dissolving a Vermont business?
You need to contact several government departments to close or dissolve your business.
Where can I find out about local zoning laws for my Vermont business?
Speak with the city or town hall for detailed zoning information specific to your potential business location.
What are some resources for minority or women-owned Vermont businesses?
Contact the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
How can I get a tax identification number for my Vermont business?
Apply online through the IRS or state government website.
What is a sales tax license?
A sales tax license is a permit needed by businesses that sell goods or services and are subject to state sales tax.
How much does a Vermont sales tax license cost?
There is no fee to obtain a Vermont Sales Tax License.
What taxes do Vermont businesses have to pay?
Vermont sales tax, corporate income tax, and employer taxes.
How do I pay the business taxes as an employer in Vermont?
Register with the Vermont Department of Taxes online and manage the beneficiary unemployment insurance tax.
How do I obtain a construction contractor’s registration in Vermont?
Submit the necessary forms and applicable fees.
Can a self-employed or single officer corporation do business in Vermont without employee workers insurance?
It depends on the type of work and structure, contact authorities for guidance.
Is an intern a considered an employees in Vermont and do they need to be covered under the employer insurance rules?
It depends on the type of employer and how the internship is carried out, checking with guidelines of the governing.
Does a non-profit organization need a Vermont business license?
Yes, every business is required to have registration with the State of Vermont regardless of its business structure.

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Conclusion

Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits is crucial in starting a new business in Vermont. Following the steps outlined in this guide and consulting with the appropriate agencies or professionals, you can ensure that your business complies with all state and local requirements. This will protect your business from legal issues and help establish your reputation as a responsible and trustworthy business operator.

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