A Vermont business entity search is done to find detailed information on a business that's registered in the state or to check the availability of a business name if you want to use it. There are several ways to conduct a search to get the information you're looking for.

How to Search an LLC Name in Vermont

If you want a business name for a new company, you'll have to check the availability of your desired name. You'll look at existing business names registered in the state to see if your preferred name is already in use. The top reason for LLC filing rejections is an issue with the name.

The best search criterion to enter when looking for the same or similar names is simply part of your desired name. Not only will the state reject your filing if you choose an identical name of an existing business, but it will also reject it if your desired business name is too similar to an existing name. 

If the name you want to use is “Smith Cleaning Service LLC,” search terms “Smith” or “Smith Cleaning." In case there's a “Smith's Cleaning Service” or “Smith Cleaning Services,” it will show up in the results. These business names are considered confusingly similar to the name you want to use. The state will reject your filing for that reason.

When conducting a search, leave off designators like “LLC." “L.L.C.,” etc. Omit punctuation, such as periods, commas, hyphens, apostrophes, and quotation marks.

As a default, your search parameter will be “Starts With.” To ensure you get all relevant results, search again and use “Contains” as your search parameter. This will show business names that contain any matching part of your search criteria. 

The state will only approve a business name once it's distinguishable from all existing names. You can conduct your search at the Vermont Secretary of State website to check the availability of a name you want to use.

Understanding the Business Search Results

Your search will result in one of the following:

  • If no results show any names too similar to your desired name, that business name is available to use in Vermont. You might see a message that reads “No data found with your search criteria," which means your name is unique for you to use.
  • If you see your desired business name in the results, in the exact way you wish to use it, that name isn't available. You'll have to think up another name or a variation of the name that makes it unique and distinguishable.
  • If you get results for a name that's very similar to your desired business name, it's highly likely the state will reject your filing. It's important to come up with a new name altogether or a variation that makes your LLC distinguishable.

Definition of Statuses

When you conduct a search for LLC names in Vermont, you'll get results for existing businesses, and each result will have a status associated with it. Any of the following status messages will prohibit you from being able to use the name: 

  • Registered
  • Active
  • Reserved
  • Hold
  • Terminated
  • Expiration Pending

You will be able to use a name if you see any of the following status messages associated with the name: 

  • Expired
  • Inactive
  • Withdrawn
  • Dissolved
  • Merged
  • Canceled
  • Converted

If you decide to file one of the names with a status of expired, inactive, dissolved, etc., the previous owners of that name may decide to make a claim against you. In addition, there's the potential for confusion if collection agencies, courts, and other agencies mistake your new business for the prior business with that same name.

It makes the most sense to choose a name that's truly distinguishable and unique from all other registered businesses in the state. You'll avoid a lot of potential headaches and legal issues that way.

While a business entity search is useful for checking the availability of a business name you want to use, it also comes in handy if you'd like detailed public information about current registered businesses in the state. You can always visit the Secretary of State website to find out more.

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