Forming an LLC in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia is located on the East Coast of the U.S. between North Carolina, Maryland and West Virginia. With its northeastern border brushing up against the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C., Virginia is a state that’s both close to power and ideally suited for people who want to start powerful businesses.
The commonwealth is home to more than 8 million people and has a strong economy, international transport links, a highly educated population and great weather. Of Virginia’s 4 million workers, a third are in the service sector, and the state also boasts the highest concentration of technology workers of any state. Northern Virginia is home to major communications, software, technology and defense businesses, especially in the Dulles Technology Corridor. A 2014 survey of small businesses declared Virginia to be one of the friendliest states for small businesses.
For most business owners, the fastest and easiest way to start a business in Virginia is by creating a Virginia LLC. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a type of business entity that’s ideal for startups and small- to medium-sized businesses. You get the advantages and protections of larger Virginia corporations but with much simpler rules and regulations.
Briefly, the benefits of starting an LLC in Virginia include:
Separating and limiting your personal liability from your business liability and debts
Quick and simple filing, management, compliance, regulations and administration of your Virginia LLC
Easy tax filing and potential advantages for tax treatment
Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure here.
Six Quick Steps to Starting an LLC in Virginia
This guide has plenty of information on how to create your Virginia LLC, but you can break down the basics of forming a business in VA into just a few simple steps.
STEP 1: Gather Information for Your Members
First, you need to gather basic information about your LLC, including the names and addresses of the managers or members. The LLC members are typically the people who own and run the business. They are also the ones who can take profits out of the business to pay themselves.
STEP 2: Search for and Choose a Unique Business Name for Your Virginia LLC
You will need a distinctive and original name for your Virginia LLC that’s not used by any other business in VA. To find out if another company is using your chosen business name, carry out a Virginia business entity name search on the VA State Corporation Commission website.
There are a few rules you’ll need to follow when choosing an LLC name. You can find out more in our guide to searching for and naming your Virginia LLC.
Learn about Virginia LLC business naming rules.
STEP 3: Provide an Official Address for Your VA LLC
Every Virginia LLC must have a designated street address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), your company’s office building or any physical address of your preference. The address can be outside the state of Virginia, but it cannot be a P.O. Box.
STEP 4: Assign a Registered Agent for Your Virginia LLC
Every VA LLC must have a “Registered Agent.” This is an official position; the Registered Agent is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. Your VA Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Virginia and must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours.
At Incfile, all of our packages include a Virginia Registered Agent service that is free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on your behalf.
Learn more about Virginia Registered Agents.
STEP 5: Get an Employee Identification Number (EIN) From the Internal Revenue Service
You will need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number when filing and paying taxes or when submitting payroll information and payments for your employees. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or we can get one for you as part of the Virginia LLC business formation process.
STEP 6: File Articles of Organization With the Virginia State Corporation Commission
Once you've gathered all the information for your Virginia LLC, you’ll need to file a formal document with the VA State Corporation Commission. This document is known as your “Articles of Organization,” and filing the document creates your Virginia LLC. Here’s what is typically included:
You can file your Virginia LLC Articles of Organization online, mail in a form or have Incfile do it on your behalf. There is a fee to file and start an LLC in Virginia. You only need to file your Articles of Organization once.
Form Your LLC Now
Review Information From the Virginia State Corporation Commission
In most states, LLC formation and registration is handled by the Secretary of State. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, businesses are administered by the VA State Corporation Commission. They have plenty of information on forming and registering a business in Virginia.
These are all the basic steps for forming an LLC in Virginia. You’ll find other useful information below.
Virginia State Corporation Commission for forming and running your VA LLC
Virginia Department of Labor and Industry for VA employers and hiring
Virginia Department of Taxation for VA taxes
Special Types of Virginia LLCs
A regular Virginia LLC is suitable for most business needs, but you also have a few other options to incorporate a special type of LLC.
Form a Professional Virginia LLC
Some states, including Virginia, allow certain occupations to form “Professional LLCs.” These types of businesses typically have special requirements and licensing. Here are the occupations that the VA State Corporation Commission allows to form Virginia professional LLCs:
Certified interior designers
Certified landscape architects
Certified public accountants
Clinical nurse specialists
Practitioners of the behavioral science professions
Practitioners of the healing arts
Form a Foreign LLC in Virginia
What to Do After Setting up Your Virginia LLC
Want to know your next steps after creating a new LLC in Virginia? We’ve got you covered. Here’s our guide to understanding your ongoing requirements, setting up new bank accounts, protecting your business name, getting accounting in place and more.
Detailed Information for Your Virginia LLC
You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:
How to search the Virginia business registry of the VA State Corporation Commission and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, fictitious names, reserving a Virginia LLC name and more.
How to appoint a Virginia Registered Agent to your new LLC or change to a different Registered Agent. Includes information on Registered Agent rules and searching for Virginia Registered Agents.
How to understand the various fees you’ll need to pay and the requirements you’ll need to meet for both federal and Virginia rules. Includes details of Employee Identification Numbers (EINs), Virginia and federal business licenses, Virginia Annual Reports and more.
How to understand the various taxes you will need to pay to the federal and Virginia government. Includes details of federal taxes like income and self-employment, and Virginia taxes like sales tax and income tax.