A Complete Guide to Applying for a VA Business License

A small step in owning a business, such as registering for a Federal Tax ID number and business license, can be the most critical first step you take towards making your dream of entrepreneurship come true. For those already working on starting a business, it may feel like there is so much to do and learn that it can feel daunting and often really difficult.

This guide is meant to be a straightforward resource for those looking to take the plunge and apply for a business license VA. The steps below will walk you through how to get your business registered and help you avoid any costly mistakes, saving you time and money.

Steps to Applying for a VA Business License

According to Statista, in 2019, the number of business establishments in Virginia in the professional, scientific, and technical industries totaled 31,365.

Understanding the Business Type

First of all, it’s essential to identify the type of business you are starting. Each US state has different rules that need to be met for each type of business, so you must know what business license you will need before moving forward.

Checking the Zoning Laws & Restrictions of Your Business Location

After identifying your specific legal structure, whether it be a sole proprietorship, LLC, or Corporation, etc., it’s time to verify the laws and restrictions of your business location.

For example, in Virginia, if you are starting a business in Alexandria, the city of Alexandria’s zoning restrictions will need to be met.

On top of validating what your state may require, you must also consider any regulations imposed by your local government. Localities may have their requirements that need to be followed as well. A general online search can help guide you towards finding out these specific laws.

Identifying the Specific Business License Needed

After understanding the type of business you wish to start, and confirming that you have the proper permits and permissions, it’s time to identify which licenses are needed.

In Virginia, you need to apply for a business license in VA through the Virginia Department of Taxation.

Be sure to check your local area and other states in which you may do business, as state-level requirements can differ from those done at the city or county level.

Selecting an Appropriate License Classification

Selecting the proper license classification is more complex than it sounds. For instance, if you own a service business such as an attorney or dentist, your business license would be classified as service.

So, remember to find the appropriate license classification for your business.

Collecting Necessary Documents

The last step to starting your business is gathering all required documents and information to submit for a license application.
In Virginia, this means you will need the following documents to begin your application: Business name, physical address/location of the business, website URL if available, and a list of owners with percentage ownership.

Filling out all necessary information on the DMV form

To apply for a VA business license through the State Department of Taxation, you must fill out a form. Once all necessary documents and information are gathered and filled out on the official form, it’s time to submit your application.

You can go online or directly mail in your completed form and supporting documents in Virginia. After you file your business license application, the amount of time it takes to get approval varies depending on many factors, including what type of business you are starting and your location.

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