Virginia Business License Requirements for an LLC

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A Virginia business license gives your Limited Liability Company (LLC) permission to operate in a certain location or within a specific industry.

While we can’t walk you through any applicable license applications step-by-step, we do provide helpful resources like:

  • information about state licensing rules
  • instructions for researching municipal licenses

And if you want to just hire a company to do the research for you, we have a recommendation below.

Virginia Business License Requirements

Business License

After you form a Virginia LLC, you may need to obtain a business license or permit.

Your requirements are determined by the industry you are in and where your Virginia Limited Liability Company is located.

Because of the large number of industries and all of the municipalities in Virginia, it’s not possible for us to explain them all. However, you can use the search tools below, call your local municipality, or hire a company for help.

Need to save time? We recommend hiring MyCompanyWorks (for $99) to handle the business license research for you.

How to get a Business License in Virginia

You can obtain a business license in Virginia by applying with the relevant licensing or regulatory agency. The agency you apply with will depend on where your business is located and what business activities it engages in.

The business license application typically requires basic information, such as your LLC name, EIN Number, business address, and contact information. Many also include a questionnaire that asks about your business activity.

There are three main licensing jurisdictions:

  • State licensing
  • Local licensing, such as county, city, township, etc.
  • Federal licensing

Does Virginia Require a Business License?

That depends on where your business is located, and what it does.

There are two types of state-level business licenses:

  • a general business license
  • and an occupational license

Virginia General Business License

Some states have a general license requirement, which means all businesses operating in those states must have the license, regardless of what they do.

Although Virginia doesn’t have a general business license requirement, you do have to register with the Department of Taxation and get a Virginia State Tax Account Number.

This state tax account number is required to do business in the state, and is different from your LLC’s federal EIN number.

Apply for a Virginia State Tax Account Number

Every business operating in Virginia must have a State Tax Account.

The Virginia Department of Taxation’s Register a Business in Virginia page will guide you through the process. The Business Registration Checklist has more information on the process.

New businesses can register online using the Virginia Tax Online Services for Businesses. If your LLC can’t register online, you can register by mail using the Business Registration Form (R-1).

Virginia Occupational License

Most states have occupational business license requirements. This means a license or permit may be required depending on what your business does or what your occupation is. For example, if you sell used cars, or run a hair salon, you may need an occupational business license. But a license may not be required for other types of businesses.

This Licenses directory has links to agencies that issue the major types of business licenses in Virginia.

The Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation’s Applicants page can help you determine if your Virginia business needs an occupational license or permit, and which agency to contact about applying for the license.

You can look through this list of Professions and Occupations to see if your industry or occupation needs a business license in Virginia.

You can also contact the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation with questions.

Note: Virginia business licenses are not issued by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is responsible for business entity administration, for example Limited Liability Company formation.

How much is a Virginia Business License?

Virginia doesn’t have a general business license at the state level, so there are no fees there. And although your Virginia LLC must file a tax account registration, there’s no fee for the registration ($0).

However, your business may need a state-level occupational license or municipal-level license or permit to operate. The filing fee for these licenses will vary depending on where you’re doing business and what industry you’re in. To be honest, we can’t predict your specific Virginia business license cost.

For example, licenses issued by a county that contains a large city are usually more expensive than licenses in less populated, rural counties. And licenses for regulated industries, like child care facilities, are usually more expensive than generic business licenses.

But your LLC might not need a license or permit at all. So your Virginia business license cost could be $0.

See LLC Cost in Virginia to learn about all the possible LLC fees.

Municipal Business License

Municipal business licenses can be issued by the city, town, county, parish, township, borough, etc. We refer to all of these as a “municipality” to keep things simple.

There are two types of municipal business licenses:

  • general business license
  • industry-specific license

For example, if a municipality has a general business license requirement, all businesses operating in that municipality must have the license, regardless of what they do.

And if a municipality has industry-specific business licenses, a license or permit may be required depending on what your business does. For example, if you operate a food truck, or run a daycare, you may need an industry-specific municipal business license. Or if you’re purchasing or leasing real estate, you may need a zoning permit.

But a license may not be required for other types of businesses, like making wedding invitation templates or offering marketing consulting.

You can contact your municipality to check on their local licensing requirements. Use this list of Local Governments to find the website for your city/town and your county.

Virginia Sales Tax License

If you sell products to consumers in Virginia, you may need to collect sales tax and file a Sales and Use Tax Return.

If your business activities are subject to sales and use tax, your LLC must register with the Virginia Department of Taxation.

Note: This requirement will apply whether you sell products online or in a physical location in Virginia.

You can register for business tax with the Department of Taxation when you register your business for a state tax account number.

For additional information about the Sales Tax License, check out How to File and Pay Sales and Use Tax.

Tip: Save time by hiring an expert. We recommend using TaxJar. They'll help you register for, collect, and pay sales tax.

Do I need any federal business licenses?

Most businesses in Virginia don’t need a federal business license. However, certain industries do need federal licenses:

If your business…Contact this agency about business licenses
Transports animals, plants or biotechnology over state linesDepartment of Agriculture
Imports or exports animal products, wildlife, or products derived from wildlife (including fish)Fish and Wildlife Service
Fishes commerciallyFish and Wildlife Service
Broadcasts on radio or TVFederal Communications Commission
Makes alcohol and sells it at a retail storeTobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
Makes or sells firearms, ammunition or explosivesBureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives
Transports cargo by seaFederal Maritime Commission
Transports goods or people by airFederal Aviation Administration

Check out the Small Business Administration’s Licenses and Permits page for a full list of industries with federal license requirements.

If your business isn’t one of these special cases, then the only federal requirements are that your LLC get a Virginia EIN Number (aka Federal Employer Identification Number) and that you file taxes.

Virginia Business License FAQs

Virginia doesn’t have a general business license for LLCs, so there are no fees there.

If your business has to get an occupational license or municipal (city or county) permit, the fees are hard to predict. Depending on your LLC’s location, and what type of business or industry you’re in, the fee varies.

And you might not need a business license at all!

Unfortunately, we can’t say what your LLC’s business license costs would be, because it depends on several factors and the cost of Virginia licenses varies.

No, an LLC is not a business license. They are two completely different things.

An LLC is a type of business structure created by filing a document with the state government.

And a business license is a document that gives a person, or a company, the right to transact business. It doesn’t create an LLC.

Sometimes a new business owner chooses to operate as a Sole Proprietorship in Virginia instead of an LLC.

Even if you’re just trying out a business idea as a Sole Proprietorship, you may still be subject to license requirements at the state and municipal levels. It just depends on what you will be doing, and where you will be operating your business.

No, the Virginia Secretary of State doesn’t handle licensing requirements. Instead, they manage business entity formation and registration. For example, depending on business entity type, business owners file different paperwork with the Secretary of State to create their business entity.

For more information, or to determine if there is a Virginia business license cost for your business, we recommend contacting the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation and/or your local government agency. For example, your local county or city government will have information about any local licenses.

Here are the steps to starting an LLC in Virginia:

  1. Select a business name for your Virginia LLC
  2. Choose your Registered Agent
  3. File the LLC Articles of Organization with the state
  4. Complete and sign an LLC Operating Agreement
  5. Get a Tax ID Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  6. Open an LLC bank account
  7. Check whether you need a business license or tax permits in Virginia

Matt Horwitz
Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

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