Apply For A Business License Virginia - VA

What licenses do I need to conduct business in Virginia?

The state of Virginia does not have a general business license that all businesses must have to conduct business in the state. However, it does regulate certain occupations and professions through the use of licensing boards. These licensing boards are overseen by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation and include professions such as auctioneers, barbers, home inspectors, engineers, and real estate agents to name a few. Licensing through these boards varies by profession but normally involves meeting certain education standards and successfully passing an administered examination. If your occupation is one that is covered by a licensing board, then all licensing and certification must be completed prior to your business opening.

What are the registration requirements for my business in Virginia?

All businesses operating in Virginia except for sole proprietors must register with the State Corporation Commission. Many of these businesses must also renew their registration annually. In addition, any business, including sole proprietors, that operates in Virginia under a name other than their legal name must register a fictitious name certificate with the Office of the Clerk for the Circuit Court in the county or city where they are located. Corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships who file fictitious names certificates must also file the certificate with the State Corporation Commission.

Are there local business license requirements?

The common form of local business licenses in Virginia is the license tax. Typically, this is an annual application that all businesses must file where the fee is a calculation based off your gross receipts from the previous year. Some businesses may be subject only to a flat fee charge or be exempt altogether depending on the local regulations. While the license tax is normally paid to the city, in some places such as Arlington the license tax is paid to the county rather than the city where the business is located. In others, the county is responsible for all licensing outside of specific incorporated areas. In addition to the license tax, businesses that are typically subject to inspection such as restaurants or entertainment venues may need additional licenses and permits in order to operate in a city. Because local business licenses are set by city ordinance and are subject to change without notice, you should always check with your local city and/or county government to find out exactly what licensing requirements your business must satisfy.

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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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