A cooperative corporation (coop) is a 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.
In Vermont, there are five types of cooperatives:
Consumers’ CooperativeA nonprofit corporation formed for the acquisition and distribution for the benefit of ultimate consumers of property, goods, commodities, or services.
Marketing CooperativeA nonprofit corporation formed for the marketing of agricultural or handcrafted products.
Railroad CooperativeA nonprofit corporation formed for the organization, acquisition, and operation of a general transportation business by railroad. This includes truck, bus, air, and water transportation subsidiaries of the railroad.
Worker Cooperative CorporationA corporation self-managed by its workers. Any for-profit corporation may elect to be governed as a worker cooperative corporation in accordance with 11 V.S.A. Ch.8.
Cooperative Housing Corporation
A corporation that owns a group of housing units with common areas for the use of all the residents. Any for-profit corporation may elect to be governed as a cooperative housing corporation in accordance with 11 V.S.A. Ch.14.
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:
- "corporation" (Corp)
- "incorporated" (Inc)
- "company" (Co)
- "limited" (Ltd)
The business name of a cooperative corporation MAY contain the word "cooperative."
Please visit 11 V.S.A. Ch.7 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 a nonprofit 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.
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 “deceptively similar” 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.
Online registration is the preferred method. There is no extra fee and turnaround times are much faster. For information and instructions about online registration, please see our Online Registration Guide. To begin your online registration, please visit the Online Business Service Center:
Registration by Mail
To create a Vermont (domestic) cooperative corporation for:
Consumers,’ marketing, or railroad cooperatives
Please use the Articles of Incorporation (Cooperative) form.
Cooperative housing corporations
Please use the Articles of Incorporation (Housing) form.
Worker cooperative corporations
To create a worker cooperative 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 worker cooperative corporation on that form.
To register a non-Vermont (foreign) cooperative corporation:
Please file an Application for Certificate of Authority.