A benefit corporation is an option under Vermont law that allows a for-profit corporation to incorporate a social mission with its financial goals. The benefit corporation is an option for both new and existing for-profit corporations.
This option allows the benefit corporation to consider:
- Providing low-income or under-served individuals or communities with beneficial products or services
- Promoting economic opportunities for individuals or communities beyond the creation of jobs in the normal course of business
- Preserving or improving the environment
- Accomplishing any other identifiable benefit for society or the environment
Being a benefit corporation also allows the corporation to consider the effects of any action or inaction upon, among other things:
- The shareholders or the benefit corporation
- The employees and workforce of the corporation and its subsidiaries and suppliers
- The community and societal considerations
Foreign (Non-Vermont) Benefit Corporations Doing Business in Vermont
If you are an existing out-of-state Benefit Corporation and wish to do business in Vermont, you need to obtain a Certificate of Authority from the Office of the Secretary of State. For more information about registering as a foreign corporation, please see “Foreign Business Registration.”
Business Name of a Benefit Corporation
The business name of a corporation must contain one of the following words:
- "corporation" (Corp)
- "incorporated" (Inc)
- "company" (Co)
- "limited" (Ltd)
Professional Benefit Corporations:
The business name of a professional corporation must contain 1 of the following phrases or abbreviations:
- "professional corporation" ("PC")
- "professional association" ("PA")
- "limited" ("Ltd")
- "service corporation" ("SC")
Business names may NOT contain the word "cooperative," nor the abbreviation "coop," unless duly registered with the Secretary of State as a cooperative corporation.
Benefit Corporation Law
Please visit 11A V.S.A. Ch.21 of the Vermont Statutes Online for more information.
Please see “Fees & Filings” for the costs of registration.
Duration of Registration
Once registered, you must renew your benefit corporation registration each year. For renewal information, please see “Annual/Biennial Reports.”
STOP: Before you get started, we recommend that you consult with an attorney, accountant, or business advisor about which business structure is best for you.
Do not invest in websites, signs, business cards, or other marketing materials until you receive a certificate confirming the availability and your ownership of the requested name.
To create a Vermont (domestic) benefit corporation:
To create a benefit corporation, you must first register as either a general corporation or a close corporation; select the applicable Articles of Incorporation form; then elect to be a benefit corporation on that form.
To register a non-Vermont (foreign) benefit corporation:
Please file an Application for Certificate of Authority.