Why Start a VA Corporation?
In the state of Virginia, VEDP (Virginia Economic Development Partnership) offers existing and new business a wide range of business incentives, giving companies in Virginia a competitive edge. Your corporation may be able to take advantage of these incentives, provided it meets qualifying criteria.
For example, the Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant (VEDIG) provides grants to companies that invest and create new employment opportunities by locating significant headquarters, administrative, or service sector operations in Virginia.
For many entrepreneurs looking to start a larger business, VA incorporation may be the best choice. As a corporation, your business is able to buy and trade stock, and when it comes to excess profits, corporations offer more flexibility than a limited liability company (LLC). A corporation is allowed to pass income and losses to its shareholders, who report taxes on an individual tax return at ordinary levels.
Is an LLC Better Than a Corporation?
It all depends on your goals. For smaller businesses, limited liability companies are usually a better option. An LLC is generally easier to set up and receives many of the same benefits as corporations, but with less regulation.
Learn more about forming a Virginia LLC so you can decide which business entity is right for you.
Benefits of Forming a Virginia C Corporation
Benefits of Forming a Virginia S Corporation
It offers several advantages similar to those provided by a C Corp including, but not limited to:
- Options for creating, transferring and selling stock, though not as many as a C Corp
- The capacity for up to 100 shareholders
- Simpler rules than those that apply to C Corporations
- Easy transfer of ownership simply by selling your stock
- The possibility of saving money by allowing you to pay less self-employment tax
In this guide, you’ll find information on naming your corporation, getting a Registered Agent, the fees you’ll need to pay, business taxes and much more. We also cover what you'll need to register your corporation and how you'll interact with the State Corporation Commission (SCC) in Virginia.
Start a Business in Virginia Checklist
To help you along the way, use our Starting a Business checklist to keep track of everything you need to do to get your business up and running.
How to Form a VA Corporation Yourself in 6 Steps
Step 1 - Choose a Unique Business Name and Complete a State Business Search
Step 2 - Provide an Official Business Address for Your Corporation
Step 3 - Assign a Registered Agent
Step 4 - File Your Articles of Incorporation with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC)
Step 5 - Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
Step 6 - Write Your Bylaws
Choose a Unique Business Name and Complete a State Business Search
Every Virginia business must have a unique name that isn't being used or claimed by another business in the state. If you’re having trouble coming up with a name, try using our Business Name Generator to gather ideas. You'll need to follow a few naming rules, which you can read about in detail on the Virginia Corporation Names page.
Once you’ve picked a name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available in Virginia. To see whether another company in the state is using your preferred business name, use our tool to do a Virginia entity search.
You can also carry out a name search via the Clerk's Information System (CIS).
Provide an Official Business Address for Your Corporation
All VA corporations must have a designated address. It could be your residential address (if you’re running the company from your home), a building where your office is located or any physical address of your choice. The address can be outside the state of Virginia and can be a P.O. Box.
You may also be able to use a virtual mailbox for your business address. Incfile can provide you with a Virginia virtual mailbox where we'll receive your mail, scan it and upload it for your online review. This can be especially helpful if you run a home-based business and don't want your home address published as part of your business public record.
Assign a Registered Agent
Someone who receives official correspondence and is responsible for filing reports with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) is known as a Registered Agent. Every Virginia corporation is required to have a Registered Agent.
You can fill this position yourself, assign another manager in your business or use a Registered Agent service. If your Registered Agent in Virginia is a person, they must have a physical street address in Virginia and must be present during business hours to receive important documents on behalf of your company. You'll appoint your Registered Agent when you file your Articles of Incorporation with the SCC and formally create your corporation.
All of Incfile’s business formation packages include Registered Agent service. It’s free for the first year and just $119 per year after that. You can also access a digital dashboard to view any document we've received on your behalf.
File Your Articles of Incorporation with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC)
Once you've gathered all the information for your corporation, you’ll need to file your Articles of Incorporation with the State Corporation Commission. This will officially create your business.
You may choose to file your Articles of Incorporation online via the Clerk's Information System which may be an easier process. Or, you can mail or deliver the form to the Office of the State Corporation Commission, or Incfile can file it on your behalf. The VA Corporation filing fee is $75.
File by Mail
State Corporation Commission
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23218-1197
File in Person
Courier Delivery Address
1300 E. Main St, 1st floor
Richmond, VA 23219
You only need to file your Articles of Incorporation in Virginia once, but once every year thereafter, you'll also need to file an annual report and pay an annual registration fee to the State Corporation Commission in VA. Incfile can remind you about this every year, or we can do it for you if you have us handle the paperwork.
What are the fees and requirements to incorporate in Virginia?
Last day of anniversary month of incorporation.
*Minimum according to shares
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
You'll need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number for filing and paying taxes, submitting payroll information and payments for your employees and opening a business bank account. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or Incfile can get one for you as part of the VA corporation creation process.
A set of rules that govern how a corporation will be run, bylaws detail how many directors the corporation will have, whether the board of directors will have annual meetings and what the voting requirements will be, among other things.
Some states legally require companies to create bylaws, and the state of Virginia is one of them. You don't need to file your bylaws with the State Corporation Commission, but keep them with your other business records.
Regardless of legalities, it's always a good idea to write and follow bylaws to protect your business from any future changes and events.
Types of VA Corporations
Code of Virginia, Title 13.1, Chapter 7, § 13.1-543 also specifies a few of the professions permitted to form a Professional Corporation in Virginia, which include, but may not be limited to:
- Physical Therapists
- Physical Therapist Assistants
- Practitioners of the Healing Arts
- Nurse Practitioners
- Practitioners of the Behavioral Science Professions
- Professional Engineers
- Land Surveyors
- Landscape Architects
- Certified Interior Designers
- Public Accountants
- Certified Public Accountants
- Insurance Consultants
- Audiologists or Speech Pathologists
- Clinical Nurse Specialists
Check with the VA State Corporation Commission (SCC) to confirm whether your business should and can be a Professional Corporation.
Helpful Resources from the State of Virginia
More Information in This Guide
You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:
How to search the state business registry and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, fictitious names, reserving names for VA corporations and more.
How to appoint, change and search for Registered Agents. Also includes the duties they fulfill and the rules they’re required to follow.
Details the various fees you’ll need to pay and the state and federal requirements you’ll need to meet. Includes details about Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), state and federal business licenses, annual reports and more.
Covers the various taxes you’ll have to pay to the state and federal governments. Includes details about state taxes such as income and sales, and federal taxes such as income and self-employment.