State by State Guide
Starting a Business in Virginia
According to Forbes Magazine’s Best States for Business list, Virginia is the #1 state for business http://www.forbes.com/best-states-for-business/ . Virginia has been in the top 2 for the past 8 years Forbes Magazine has started the list, and in 2013, Virginia got back the top spot. Virginia has business-friendly government policies and offer strong incentives for businesses.
Here are steps and resources to help you start a business in Virginia:
- Go to the Virginia Business One Stop website, which is run by Virginia Department of Business Assistance, and use their Online Business Registration system. The Business One Stop business will assist you in registering your business with several Virginia state and local agencies at the same time.
- To create a Virginia Limited Liability Company or a Virginia Stock Corporation, use the eFile system by the State Corporation Commission
- To register a sole proprietorship, simply register your trade name and obtain a business license in your locality. Go to the Circuit Court’s Clerk Office in your county or city.
Business Licenses and Permits
- Contact your city/county Commissioner of Revenue or Department of Finance for business licensing
- Contact your city/county Zoning Office for zoning permits.
- Go to Virginia.gov DBA website to check for the required state occupational, professional or specialty licenses
- Read the Frequently Asked Questions prepared by the State Corporation Commission regarding Virginia’s guidelines on business entity names
- To determine the availability of a business name, use the Name Distinguishability search offered by the State Corporation Commission. Type in the name and you will be shown a list of existing businesses using the name.
- Check with the IRS if you need to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). You will need an EIN if you have employees, if you will register your business as a corporation or partnership, you have a Keogh plan, and you will withhold taxes on income to a non-resident alien, among other requirements.
- All businesses in Virginia must register with the Virginia Department of Taxation. Use the VATAX Online Services to register your business. Once you have registered your business, you will be assigned a Virginia tax account number.
Other Things You Need to Know About Starting a Business in Virginia
- If you are a small business (under 250 employees, $10M revenue), women-owned or minority-owned, you can register for the Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned Business (SWaM) certification program. The certification can help your increase your chance of participating in procurement opportunities of state-funded projects.
Where to Get Help
There are a number of ways to get more information and help in starting a business in Virginia.
- Call Virginia’s Business Information Hotline at 866-248-8814
- If you are starting an agriculture and forestry-based business, contact the Agriculture and Forestry Development Services for assistance
Mentorship, Counselling and Assistance
- If you are looking for advice, mentorship and guidance, there are a number of organizations that can help you in starting your business in Virginia:
- Contact the SBA Virginia’s Richmond District Office
- Go to the Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for counseling, training and participation in their programs.
- Get business counselling assistance from retired executives of SCORE. Check out the different SCORE chapters in Virginia:
- Charlottesville – Central Virginia SCORE
- Hampton – Peninsula SCORE
- Lynchburg – Greater Lynchburg SCORE
- Martinsville – Martinsville SCORE
- Norfolk – Hampton Roads SCORE
- Richmond – Richmond SCORE
- Waynesboro – Shenandoah Valley SCORE
- Williamsburg – Williamsburg SCORE