Cooperative


Cooperative: an incorporated business structure that is an association of people governed by a common goal—united to meet their economic, social, and cultural needs through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise, for profit or nonprofit purposes.

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Cooperative Types

  • General Cooperative Association
    A corporation whose Articles of Incorporation include, or are amended to include the 6 specific provisions found in 11 V.S.A. § 981
  • Consumers’ Cooperative

    A corporation formed under 11 V.S.A. Ch. 7 for the acquisition and distribution for the benefit of ultimate consumers of property, goods, commodities, or services and whose articles of incorporation include, or are amended to include, the provisions required under 11 V.S.A. § 981.

  • Marketing Cooperative

    A corporation formed under 11 V.S.A. Ch. 7 for the marketing of agricultural or handcrafted products and whose articles of incorporation include, or are amended to include, the provisions required under 11 V.S.A. § 981.
  • Railroad Cooperative

    A corporation formed under 11 V.S.A. Ch. 7 for the organization, acquisition, and operation of a general transportation business by railroad and whose articles of incorporation include, or are amended to include, the provisions required under 11 V.S.A. § 981. This includes truck, bus, air, and water transportation subsidiaries of the railroad. 
  • Worker Cooperative Corporation

    A profit corporation that elects to be governed as a worker cooperative under the provisions of 11 V.S.A. ch. 8 to be commonly owned and managed by its workers and whose articles of incorporation include, a statement of such election.
     
  • Cooperative Housing Corporation

    A profit corporation that elects to be governed by the provisions of 11 V.S.A. ch. 14 of developing, acquiring, owning, and operating housing on a cooperative basis and include, whose articles of incorporation include, or are amended to include, a statement of such election along with the provisions required under 11 V.S.A. § 1588.

  • Electric Cooperative

    A corporation formed under and governed by the provisions of 30 V.S.A. ch. 81 for the purpose of creating or supplying energy, cable television, telecommunications, interactive media, and Internet access and facilitating and extending the use thereof, and in addition, any other lawful business not inconsistent with this chapter that utilizes the electric distribution facilities of the cooperative articles of incorporation include, or are amended to include, the provisions required under 30 V.S.A. § 3005.

Foreign (Non-Vermont) Cooperatives Doing Business in Vermont

If you are an existing out-of-state cooperative 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 Corporation

The business name of a cooperative corporation MUST contain 1 of the following words or abbreviations:

  • "corporation" (Corp.)
  • "incorporated" (Inc.)
  • "company" (Co.)
  • "limited" (Ltd.)

The business name of a cooperative corporation MAY contain the word "cooperative."
     

Cooperative Law

Please visit 11 V.S.A. Ch.7 of the Vermont Statutes Online for more information.

Registration Fees

Please see “Fees & Filings” for the costs of registration.

Duration of Registration

Once registered, you must renew a nonprofit cooperative registration every two years—or a profit (workers cooperatives) registration every 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.

Cooperative Filing

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.

The state of Vermont operates under a “distinguishable on the record” standard. Under this standard, if the requested name is too similar to an already registered name, such that it would confuse the public as to whom they are dealing with, it will be rejected.

All registrations with the Office of the Secretary of State are subject to name availability rules. Please search our online database for your desired business name to avoid any obvious conflicts.

Search Businesses

Online Filing - not available.


Filing by Mail

Please allow 7-10 business days for the processing of any filings received by mail.

   
To start a Vermont (domestic):  

  • General Cooperative Association (no form available)
    To form a general cooperative association, you must add the provisions required under 11 V.S.A. § 981 to the Articles of Incorporation of a:
    • General Corporation (drafted n accordance with 11A V.S.A. §§ 1.20, 1.22 and 2.02);
    • Close Corporation  (drafted in accordance with 11A V.S.A. §§ 1.20, 1.22, 2.02 and 20.05); or
    • Nonprofit Corporation (drafted in accordance with 11B V.S.A. §§ 1.20, 1.22 and 2.02.

Existing corporations may become General Cooperative Associations by filing Articles of Amendment or Restated Articles of Incorporation that include the provisions required under 11 V.S.A. § 981.

  • Consumers', Workers, Marketing or Railroad Cooperative Corporation
    Please request the Articles of Incorporation (Cooperative) form or draft your own Articles of Incorporation in accordance with 11 V.S.A. §§ 995 and 997.

  • Worker cooperative corporation
    To form a worker cooperative corporation, submit Articles of Incorporation, Articles of Amendment, or Restated Articles of Incorporation as either a general corporation  or a close corporation in which the corporation elects to be a worker cooperative corporation. 

    Existing corporations may become Worker Cooperative Corporations by filing Articles of Amendment or Restated Articles of Incorporation in which the corporation elects to be a worker cooperative corporation. 

  • Cooperative Housing Corporation
    To form a cooperative housing corporation, please request the Articles of Incorporation (Housing) form.

  • Electric Cooperative (no form available)
    Please draft Articles of Incorporation 30 V.S.A. § 3005 for filing requirements.


To register a non-Vermont (foreign) cooperative corporation:

Please file an Application for Certificate of Authority.

This page was last updated: 2018-11-15