You can get a Business License in VA online or by mail.
We provide the information and resources you’ll need to get federal, state, and local licenses and permits for your small business, including the seller’s permit.
What Is A Business License
If you start a business in Virginia you must get a business license from a local jurisdiction; county or city. A business license is any kind of license or permit a state or other government entity requires businesses to have in order to do business. Federal, state and local agencies issue various types of business licenses and permits for a variety of business activities as well.
There are seven states in which all businesses need to obtain state business licenses, in addition to any required local licenses. But the good news is that Virginia isn’t one of those states and doesn’t have a statewide business license requirement.
Types of Business Licenses
The specific type of small-business license you need will ultimately depend on your industry and business location, meaning that you may need to obtain separate business licenses at the state, city and county levels.
Additionally, if a board, commission or association regulates your industry, you may be required to present a certification from those bodies before receiving business licensing in a state or county. You’ll need to be sure to check if your local government has specific license policies related to your business.
On top of that list, you’ll need to get a federal license if a federal agency regulates your business activities. If you run a business in one of the following industries, the SBA says you’ll need to apply for a federal business license or permit:
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Firearms, ammunition and explosives.
- Fish and wildlife.
- Commercial fisheries.
- Maritime transportation.
- Mining and drilling.
- Nuclear energy.
- Radio and television broadcasting.
- Transportation and logistics.
Do I really need to get a Business License?
It’s true that many self-employed people in especially those who work from home, never get a state or local business license.
However, if the state discovers that you’re working in an occupation that requires a license, you could face lots of new consequences. You’ll undoubtedly be ordered to stop doing business and you might also be fined. In other words, depending on your occupation, failure to obtain a state license might even constitute a crime.
If your local government finds out that you’re operating an unlicensed business, you could also face fines and potentially be prevented from doing business until you obtain a license.
Certain business types are required to provide professional licensing requirements. These businesses include:
- Architects and Engineers
- Builders, Developers, and Construction Contractors (to include landscaping contractors and painters)
Professional licensing is regulated by the Depart of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) in Virginia. DPOR issues professional credentials—licenses, certificates or registrations. DPOR also enforces standards of professional conduct.
You can get more information about professional licensing in Virginia at https://www.dpor.virginia.gov/
How to Get a Business License in VA
There are a few ways to get your business license in Virginia. You can do it all online or by mail when you apply for the right licensing or regulatory agency for your business type. The requirements will depend on the kind of business you have and the location (in the case of) zoning requirements.
The three main licensing jurisdictions are:
State of Virginia Business Licensing
The only permit or license in Virginia is the sales tax certificate (seller’s permit).
If you’re running a business in Virginia, you’ll need to obtain a seller’s permit. You’ll need the license if you’re selling or leasing tangible personal property that would normally be subject to sales tax if sold at retail.
To get the sales tax certificate, go to Virginia Tax Online.
There are certain businesses in professions and industries that also require other licenses and permits. You can find the information on this at the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. So, they let you know what you’ll need based on your state and where to obtain it.
Local Virginia Business Licensing
In the state of Virginia, you might need licenses and permits from your local government as well. This all depends on your business activity and location. For instance, the City of Richmond requires that all businesses have a city business licensed, which needs to be renewed annually.
Steps for Obtaining a Business License in Virginia
Virginia Department of Taxation
P.O. Box 1114
Richmond, VA, 23218-1114
Fax: (804) 367-2603
Other Virginia Business Licenses
You won’t need to renew your Virginia sales tax certificate. However, you’ll want to check with your state and local government to see if other licenses and permits will need to be renewed and how often.
Federal Business Licenses and Permits
For the business license, you’ll have to apply with to the right licensing and regulatory agency for the business you have. The requirements will vary depending on the activity and areas you’re doing business in.
If you have a business that is doing activity regulated by the federal government, you’ll have to apply for the right license or permit. This will depend on what kind of business you have. Here are a few of the common links:
You can access a list of all federally licensed activities, along with links to more information, by visiting this website maintained by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
VA Business License FAQ
Is there a national business license?
Some industries will require a federal business license like broadcasting, investment advising, and drug manufacturing. This is because these businesses can be far reaching to various states across the country.
Is an employer identification number (EIN) the same as a business license?
The employer identification number is issues by the IRS to keep track of the business but isn’t the license to operate. So, they are different in that regards.
Is an LLC considered a business license?
No. This is a type of business structure that is required as well but has nothing to do with the business license.
Who needs a Virginia business license?
Any business that sells a product has to have a Virginia business license as you’re subject to the state sales tax.
What is a seller’s permit?
This is the common name for a license or permit that let you sell products and services. This is the sales tax certificate in Virginia.
How much is the Virginia business license?
There is no fee to register and costs may vary depending on the licenses and permits you need for your specific business.
How do I get a Virginia business license?
There are a few ways to get it. First, you’ll want to register for the Virginia sales tax certificate online through the website. You can also download and print off the form on the site and send it by mail.
Do I have to renew my Virginia business license?
It doesn’t need to be renewed but other licenses and permits may need to be. Make sure to check with your state of local government office.