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Frequently Asked Questions

  • In which category does my business belong?
    • Considering: You do not have a business. This section directs you to resources to help you decide if entrepreneurship is the right choice for you, help you write a business plan, and help you get ready to make this life decision.
    • Starting: You have decided to start, but you need to know the correct steps to proceed. This section is geared towards helping people do the required paperwork more efficiently.
    • Running: You represent a business, or have your own. Companies are required to file certain documents periodically, post certain items for employees to be able to see, and pay taxes. This area helps existing businesses do what is needed to keep your business a going concern.
    • Expanding: You represent a business, or have your own. Your business is doing well and you are looking for resources to help in that effort. This area is designed to help connect you with the resources you need to make this happen.
    • Yes Virginia: You are not located in Virginia. You represent a business, or have your own. This area is here to help you expand to Virginia, relocate to Virginia, or just to start doing business in the commonwealth.
  • I have read a lot of this and am confused. I just need a simple question answered.
    • No problem! Call us at 804-786-6585 and we will be glad to help.
  • How do I get a business license?
    • Business licenses are issued by the city or county where the business is based, usually by the Commissioner of Revenue or Department of Finance. Check out "Starting"!
  • How can I file a complaint about a business and/or get in touch with the Better Business Bureau?
    • You can file a complaint with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Office of Consumer Affairs by calling toll-free 800-662-9963.
    • You can reach the Better Business Bureau by calling 804-648-0016.
  • How can I find out who owns a company and/or whether they are a legitimate business?
  • How do I register my business name?
    • When you establish an LLC, partnership, or corporation with the State Corporation Commission, your business name is registered for use throughout the Commonwealth at that time. Sole proprietorships would register their company’s business name via a fictitious name or "Doing Business As" (or “dba”) filing with their city or county Clerk of the Circuit Court.  LLC’s, partnerships and corporations can also register additional fictitious names under their original entity.  They would file the fictitious name that you are “dba” with their city/county Clerk of the Circuit Court, then mail a copy of the filed document to the Clerk of the State Corporation Commission (
    • Check out "Starting"!
  • How does an out-of-state business register to do business in Virginia?
    • An out-of-state corporation or LLC must file a certificate to transact business as a foreign entity with the State Corporation Commission.  They may have additional registrations depending on the nature of the business they are doing in Virginia.
    • Check out "Yes Virginia"!
  • Do I need a license for _________?  (home handyman, mortgage broker, local health department, cigarette retailer, contractor, etc.)
    • Maybe, a significant number of businesses/professions have specific licensing/permitting requirements.  You can access a listing of all such professional, occupational and specialty state licenses that are required to be obtained in the name of the business at
    • Check out "Starting"!
  • How do I get a state tax ID number and/or a federal EIN number?