How to Start an LLC in Virginia: If you’re looking to start a Virginia LLC, you’ve come to the right page. Setting up an LLC is easy and cost-effective. To form an LLC, you must follow a few steps that include naming your LLC, hiring a registered agent, filing your formation documents, doing the operating agreement, and finally obtaining the EIN. You can easily set up your LLC at a very low cost in Virginia. Though, you must pay the mandatory state filing fee. These fees and charges can be tax deductible, making the LLC formation cost almost negligible.
On this page, You’ll find all the steps that must be taken to ensure that your Virginia LLC has been correctly formed. We recommend you read the whole article very carefully, word by word, don’t miss anything 🙂
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
- How to Start an LLC in Virginia
- After Starting Your Virginia LLC
- Virginia Foreign LLC
- Virginia LLC Formation Review
How to Start an LLC in Virginia
An LLC (aka Limited Liability Company) is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It separates your personal assets from your business assets, thus giving you personal asset protection. For an LLC, members’ personal assets are not affected by business debts. However, in some cases, if the LLC is sued for business debts, courts might pierce the corporate veil and use the owner’s personal assets to meet their corporate liabilities.
If you wish to start an LLC, you must file your Articles of Organization with the State and pay a filing fee of $100. While it’s the most important step, it’s not the only one. There are 4 other crucial steps to follow to get your LLC formed in Virginia. Below are all 5 steps that explain everything you need to do to start a Virginia LLC in 2023. Let’s get started! You can always hire a professional LLC formation service in Virginia to set up your LLC instead of doing it alone; a Pro service will ensure everything is done properly.
Step 1: Decide a Name for Your Virginia LLC
The first step while forming a limited liability company in Virginia is to give a proper name to your LLC. Before you name your business, you must know that the name should be easy to remember, available in the state, and follows all the LLC naming guidelines.
LLC Naming Guidelines in Virginia
There are a few specific official naming requirements all the LLCs in Virginia must follow while naming their Company. Some of the most important requirements are as follows:
- Your business name should be available and no other existing business in Virginia can have the same name. ZenBusiness offers unlimited business name searches without any hassle.
- “Limited Liability Company”, “Limited Company”, “LC”, “L.C.”, “LLC”, and “L.L.C.” – any one of these has to be used as a suffix in your business name.
- You cannot use any name for your business that is confusing or misleading. Terms such as “Treasury”, “State Department”, “FBI”, “CIA”, etc. shouldn’t be included.
- Terms like “Bank“, “University“, “Attorney“, “Doctor“, etc can be added only after the additional requirements by Virginia State Government are fulfilled.
- (Optional) It’s better to name your business something for which your desired domain is available.
|Important Links –||Submit Offline Form to –|
|Virginia Business Entity Search – Online Name Search|
Name Reservation Form – PDF
Name Availability Standards – Guidelines
Virginia LLC Name Search – Instructions
Office of the Clerk
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1197
Reserve Business Name for Future
If you do not wish to file your LLC right now but want to hold the name you have decided on, you can reserve your LLC name for 120 days. To keep the name, you must file a name reservation application and pay $10 to reserve your name with the Virginia Secretary of State.
Doing Business As (DBA) or Trade Name
Once you have a legal name for your LLC, you can register it. However, it is not mandatory. You can, instead, use DBA, Fictitious Name, or Trade Name. In that case, you must register your name with the Virginia Secretary of State by submitting an Application to Register or Trade Name in Virginia, along with the filing fee of $10.
Recommended: You can do name search, business domain, website, emails, and a lot more in one place by hiring a professional service. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 for LLC Formation)
Apart from LLC formation, ZenBusiness offers customized website templates and business emails at a very reasonable price. If you plan to get a website, then it is wise to have a “.com” domain for your business, but these days you can also use other TLDs like “.io”, “.company”, “.xyz,” etc. Here you can get everything you need for your business in one dashboard.
It is not legally mandatory to use the word LLC in your domain name or email. If you want, you can use it. However, it is recommended not to use LLC in the domain name. A domain name should be short and easy to remember.
Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in Virginia
The second step to forming an LLC in Virginia is to appoint a Registered Agent. A registered agent is a person or business entity working on your LLC’s behalf. This person or business will receive important tax forms, legal documents, formal government documents, business documents, any additional documents, all notices of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in Virginia. Hence, hiring a competent Virginia Registered Agent for your LLC is necessary.
Make sure your registered agent is a resident of Virginia or has a physical street address. This address will be used as the principal address of your LLC to receive any legal documents. Most LLC formation companies also provide registered agent services. Below are two great LLC formation services; even if you buy their cheapest plan (normally $49/year), you also get registered agent service and other services at a very reasonable price.
These two are our top recommendations for registered agent service, as they are competent and authorized to conduct business in Virginia. Some LLC formation services also offer standalone Virginia registered agent services. You can purchase only Registered Agent services without purchasing any other LLC formation services. This standalone service might become handy if you are doing it yourself and don’t want to disclose your home address or you don’t want to pierce the corporate veil.
A person above 18 years of age with a physical address in the state of Virginia can be a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent can be an independent person or can be a business entity. One is responsible for handling all the legal documents on the LLCs behalf.
Yes, you can be your own registered agent for service of process if you are a resident of the state of Virginia and you are above 18 years of age. To become a registered agent, you must have the authority to conduct any type of business in Virginia.
There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t be your own registered agent. The address of the registered agent is used to communicate with the SOS or for any legal activities. If you are your own registered agent, you might have to upload your personal address to the public forum. Besides, the registered agent must be at the address during business hours. It won’t be easy for you as you also have to take care of other things in your LLC. Hence, it is wiser to appoint a separate entity as your registered agent.
If an LLC is sued in Virginia, in some cases, courts might decide to lift the corporate veil, which means the owners of the LLC will be personally liable for their business debts. They might have to forgo their personal assets to repay their business debts. This is called piercing the corporate veil, where personal and business assets are not separated anymore. Your personal assets can be protected if you have enough capital and all your LLC documents are properly filed.
Registered Agent Consent Application
In Virginia, there is no separate Consent Letter to be produced to the Secretary of State. At the time of change of Registered Agent (or the name or address), the new Registered Agent has to sign the consent letter. It comes with the Application form to Change the Registered Agent. The filing fee should be paid for it.
Step 3: File Articles of Organization in Virginia
The third and most important step in forming an LLC is to file the Certificate of Formation. This Virginia Articles of Organization is a legal document that is required to register your business with the Virginia Secretary of State. It costs $100 (by mail and online) to file your formation certificate in Virginia.
The Articles of Organization include details like the name of the LLC, the registered agent’s name, address, employees’ details, and the company’s structure (member-managed or manager-managed). Before hiring employees in Virginia LLC, one should know about the rules and regulations thoroughly. Also, if you are expanding your existing business (an LLC) in other states to Virginia, you must register as a Virginia Foreign LLC.
How to File Online
Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. You will get the online service page. If you are already a user, click the “log in to Subscribe Account” option and log in with your credentials. If you’re not subscribed, you can directly start filing your LLC by clicking on the “Online Filing” button below. Read more about the Virginia Articles of Organization for online registration.
How to File by Mail
If you prefer filing real-life forms for your LLC registration, you can download Domestic LLC Formation Form. Read the form thoroughly, fill it out, and mail it to the following address,
State Corporation Commission
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23218-1197
Processing Time: Normally, it takes around 7 business days (approx) to get your LLC formed in Virginia. The processing time for online filing might be a little faster than offline filing. However, the document processing time can be changed due to various factors.
Recommended: Online LLC Formation service can provide all these documents way faster than usual time with lifetime customer support and 100% accuracy. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
Every LLC owner has to pay the filing fees to register their business in Virginia. This fee is mandatory but also tax deductible. If you’re doing it yourself (filing on your own), it will not cost you any additional service fee. However, it is not feasible to do that as the DIY process might be delayed, complicated, and messy, especially if you’re a novice entrepreneur. Hence, it is recommended to get professional guidance to get your LLC formed in Virginia.
Step 4: Create Your LLC Operating Agreement in Virginia
Moving on to the fourth step, filing your operating agreement. An operating agreement is a document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC. This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.
When it comes to filing a Virginia LLC Operating Agreement, the state does not require you to have a comprehensive operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all the details of your business operation that helps in taking future business decisions, especially if you decide to dissolve Virginia LLC later. Hence, having an operating agreement may not be necessary, but it is surely ideal.
Recommended: You can get a professionally made operating agreement for very less cost with ZenBusiness. You don’t need to worry about drafting it as they will take care of it on your behalf. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
The operating agreement draft can be created for free if you don’t hire a professional. However, there is an advantage to appointing a proficient person/service. You will get a businesslike quality operating agreement at a very cheap fee, which will help you in the future. Hiring a professional service means you can sleep well at night 🙂
Step 5: Filing an LLC EIN in Virginia
The Employer Identification Number (aka EIN) is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify the type of business for tax purposes and taxes in general. The EIN is necessary for any active business or any form of business, for that matter.
EIN is needed when the LLC hires employees. Hiring employees in Virginia LLC requires following specific rules and regulations. On the other side, EIN for Virginia foreign LLC should be obtained if your LLC is based in other states.
To obtain EIN (aka FEIN), one has to fill up a form (Online or by mail) and submit it to the IRS. Enter details of your LLC, and finally, complete the form and send it to the address given. You can also get an EIN Assistant to help you with the process.
Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free
Recommended: This hassle will be reduced when you hire an LLC formation service. They take care of obtaining EIN and all other things for your LLC. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
Note: You don’t need a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.
Congratulations, you are now done with all the necessary steps to form your Limited Liability Company in Virginia. If you do it yourself, it should take you a long time to understand and do all the steps properly.
However, if you use ZenBusiness, it should be way faster. You will always have a live chat option and phone support with experts for any help you need. Their worry-free service will make things easier for you.
After Starting Your Virginia LLC
After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. The most important thing is to separate your business and personal assets. LLCs have limited liability protection that protects your personal assets from business liability. This is called a corporate veil. However, the corporate veil can be lifted or pierced by the court if the LLC is sued. In that case, the owners of the LLC become personally liable for their corporate debts. A few things like appointing a legit registered agent, having enough capital, and filing all the major documents with the state can save the LLCs from being pierced into the corporate veil.
Apart from that, there are a few things you need to take note of,
- Get a company business bank account. Besides, get a business credit card and other business accounting tools and business accounting software if needed.
- File Virginia business permits & licenses. There are many business license providers. Get all the details of business licenses and get the ones your business need.
- Get general liability insurance and professional liability insurance with coverage for employees.
- File a Virginia LLC annual report or biennial report
This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings, to make sure your LLC is up-to-date.
Cost of Starting an LLC in the State of Virginia
LLCs can be formed by spending very less price. Apart from the mandatory state filing fees, you don’t have to bear additional service charges if you do it yourself. Following are the fees and taxes LLCs in Virginia must pay to register and run a business in the state. Forming an LLC is no doubt cost-effective compared to other business structures. However, the fees and charges (tax-deductible) that you must pay to the state, such as name reservation fee, name filing fee, LLC filing fee, and Franchise Tax & Sales Tax (If applicable). Here are the main fees and taxes you must pay while forming your limited liability company in Virginia,
|Fees/Tax||Amount to be Paid|
|Name Reservation Fee||$10|
|Articles of Organization Fee||$100|
|LLC Annual Fee||$50|
In Virginia, an LLC name reservation is mandatory. You can register your LLC name at the time of registering your LLC. If you wish to hold the name for some time without registering your LLC, then you can do that online. Your LLC name will be reserved for 120 days without registering your LLC. It can be done by paying $10.
In Virginia, an Annual Report has to be produced every year. It costs $50. Also, the State of Virginia requires LLCs to pay a Sales Tax of 4.3%. Read our guide on LLC costs in Virginia for more information.
Virginia Foreign LLC
If you are interested in forming a Foreign LLC in the state of Virginia, then you need to file the Certificate of Foreign LLC to the Virginia Secretary of State. Foreign LLCs allow you to operate your business in more than one state. Along with the Certificate of Foreign LLC, you need to submit some more documents, like the Certificate of Good Standing, etc., to the Virginia SOS to form your foreign LLC in the state of Virginia. To know more in detail, check out our guide on Virginia Foreign LLC.
Reasons to Start an LLC in Virginia
Virginia is listed at number 4 regarding business establishment and number 1 regarding rules and regulations. This becomes a significant advantage for a business that is thinking of establishing itself in the state. Moreover, there are many benefits, like reducing tax liabilities and various business funding options offered to LLCs here. Read more on Virginia’s classification of LLC tax. If you are interested in starting one, then you should take a glimpse of the benefits mentioned.
Business Grants for Small Businesses in Virginia
Small business is always nurtured and pushed forward toward growth by the state of Virginia. There are many ups and downs that a small business goes through; that is why there is some grants program that is offered to these small businesses to help them get over these ups and downs easily. The grants are discussed below.
- Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant is the first and most famous grant in Virginia to an LLC based on its performance. Governments list out the small businesses, and out of them, those performing well are provided with grant offers. Consuming them, they can think of expansion and create more jobs in the state.
- Next is Virginia Investment Partnership Program, in which a grant is provided to LLCs for using advanced technology in their business and focusing more on capital growth.
- The Commonwealth opportunity fund is another business incentive that can support projects and promote new jobs.
The Virginia Enterprise Zone
Some enterprise zones in the state are an opportunity for LLC in Virginia. There are many incentives provided to businesses that especially come and establish their business in these areas. Some of the incentives offered are:-
- Rebates are offered on fees that are taken for permits and rezoning.
- A net grant of 50% is provided for businesses looking for an upgrade in their tools and machinery.
- A commercial loan façade program helps an eligible business to gain a loan of $5000 to around $50,000.
Some general benefits
There are some general benefits of Virginia State that leverage this state’s option over others to Start an LLC in Virginia.
- Access to the major US markets is readily available in Virginia.
- The labor force that is available in the state is highly educated and well skilled.
- There are many Workforce development programs that help out a business in making the desired workforce.
- The state is right to work, which means no union membership is required if a person wants employment, making it easy to grab a job and find new candidates.
Biggest Businesses in Virginia
As a business person, if you are looking forward to starting an LLC in the state of Virginia, then knowing the state economics is very important. You should study the details of Virginia state businesses and their contribution to the state economy.
The services-providing businesses own the biggest chunk of the share in the GDP of Virginia state, i.e., around 66.67%. Yes, the state’s entire service sector is growing at a furious rate as the quality of services here is much better than in other states. The interesting fact is that only 33.3% of people are working in this sector, which means that the per capita income of this sector is also high. The total contribution of the service sector to GDP is around $226.4 billion, which is immense.
The sector includes education and health care sectors with professional and financing services. There is a small contribution of the real estate sector also in this value.
The numbers of technology workers that are present in the state are maximum as compared to other states. The state has exported the maximum number of computer chips to people worldwide, which has made the state one of the best exporters around the world. The state’s technology corridor has many firms related to technology and internet-based software, which is also booming at a huge rate.
The technology sector has alone accounted for the production of $1 billion amount of chips exported worldwide.
Almost 32% of the land of Virginia is occupied by the agriculture sector, which is providing around 357,000 jobs to people around. Although tobacco is not the state’s main crop, it still ranks 5th in terms of its production in the country. The main things for which the state is famous are peaches and plums in crops and turkey raising operations when it comes to poultry.
Top small business ideas that are famous in the state are:-
- Pool cleaning and maintenance business
- Pest control businesses
- Dog grooming business
Virginia LLC Formation Review
Time needed: 5 minutes
Just to recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in Virginia. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.
- Name your Virginia LLC
The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should be unique, easy to find, and available in the state.
- Choose a Registered Agent
In Virginia, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. Get a professional Registered Agent from LLC formation services to get things done hassle-free.
- File a Formation Certificate
Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming a Limited Liability Company in Virginia. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
- Create an Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not a strict requirement in Virginia, but something encouraged when you start an LLC to avoid future conflicts.
- Get an EIN
The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity, like a social security number, but for a company.
Things to Consider While Starting an LLC in the State of Virginia
This article has all the key steps to start your LLC. However, there are some additional steps to take while setting up your business. Whether you’re setting up an online business or an offline one, these steps must be taken to run your LLC. If you have more than one business, like a separate business, your formation process will be separated too. These basic requirements are needed to be fulfilled. The first thing is a business plan. Professional services provide business plan examples and business plan templates added to their packages.
In general, forming an LLC is a straightforward process. The legal paperwork and the formation paperwork can be done in a few hours. In Virginia, different business filing service options are available. It can be done online or through mail documents. Some states offer expedited service at an additional fee. It takes an average of 1-3 business days to file your LLC. LLC is a business type that can be formed as a manager-managed company or member-managed company. There are some business naming rules to be followed. You can also hire a business attorney to form your company.
Another key step in forming an LLC in the state of Virginia is to get licenses. With the professionals, the business license report service can be purchased if required. Basically, with the LLC service provider, rush-filing services, filing business documents, and other worry-free services are available. Also, the LLC needs to get insurance. Businesses with employees need to get coverage for employee injury or any type of physical damage.
In Virginia, LLCs have to pay usual income taxes, as in federal income taxes. There are no direct business taxes LLCs need to pay. There might be self-employment taxes and sales taxes to be paid to the state department of taxation. LLC is a type of business entity that has additional tax benefits.
Apart from the above-mentioned points, there are bank accounts, credit cards, licenses, permits, and insurance are required to consider. Business banks are required to keep personal and business expenses separate.
Hiring a professional service will give you many things under one roof. A business entity search tool, business advisors, business email, business insurance options, business income coverage, business name reservation service, certified agent service, and business dissolution guide if you and your business partners want to dissolve the company in future.
If you are a resident of Virginia, then you can file your LLC by yourself. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it yourself to handle legal complexities, paperwork, and other documentation.
Apart from the formation fee of $100 (domestic LLC) and $100 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in Virginia include $50 for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay a sales tax of 4.3% every year.
It takes no time to get an LLC in Virginia if you file it online. For the mail filing, it takes 7 business days to get an LLC. If you hire a professional LLC service, then it might take less than that. We recommend ZenBusiness, which has an impeccable turnaround time.
Every year all the LLCs have to submit an Annual Report and pay $50 to the Virginia Secretary of State and renew the LLC. It is mandatory to renew your LLC every year.
Generally, for LLCs, it is a default tax structure. Once you obtain the EIN, you will get the various tax structure options to select. Sometimes LLCs choose S Corp to reduce federal tax burdens. Read more on the Virginia Classification of LLC Tax.
How Fast Can I Form an LLC in Virginia
The filing procedures for LLC in Virginia can be completed in 1 week by mail. For online filing, it may be completed immediately, once the payment is received.
The process of forming an LLC in Virginia generally involves a few key steps. First, prospective business owners need to carefully select a name for their LLC. While this task may seem straightforward, it’s crucial to ensure that the chosen name adheres to the state’s regulations. Names that are already in use or too similar to existing LLCs cannot be used, so it’s wise to check the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s online database before settling on a name.
After determining an available name, the next step is to file the necessary paperwork with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. The commission provides online filing options, making the process more accessible and efficient. However, it’s vital to double-check the accuracy of the submitted information, as any errors could potentially lead to delays or complications down the line. Attention to detail is crucial to ensure a smooth formation process.
Once the LLC’s formation documents are submitted and approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission, it’s time for entrepreneurs to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This number is necessary for tax purposes and allows the LLC to open bank accounts, hire employees, and conduct other financial transactions. While this step may take a few days, it can generally be obtained relatively quickly through the IRS’s online application system.
Virginia also provides the option for expedited processing, allowing business owners to fast-track the formation of their LLC. This expedited service shortens the typical processing time and can significantly speed up the overall formation process. However, it’s important to note that additional fees apply for expedited processing. Depending on the circumstances and urgency, these additional fees can be well worth the cost to get the LLC up and running expeditiously.
In Virginia, the duration to form an LLC can vary depending on several factors, such as the accuracy of the submitted documents, the workload of the Virginia State Corporation Commission, and whether or not expedited processing is used. As is the case with any bureaucratic procedure, unexpected delays can occur, and it’s wise to allow some flexibility when considering timelines.
Individuals who would like to form an LLC in Virginia should also consider consulting legal and financial professionals to ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations. Such experts can provide guidance and assistance throughout the process, reducing the chances of errors or complications that could lead to time-consuming setbacks.
Forming an LLC in Virginia is an exciting and potentially rewarding endeavor. By following the necessary steps and paying attention to the details, the process can generally be completed relatively swiftly. Preparedness, attention to detail, and a proactive attitude will contribute to successfully establishing an LLC within an acceptable timeframe.
LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups, can easily start an LLC in the state of Virginia at a bare minimum cost. LLCs have a ‘pass-through taxation’ advantage for which they are excluded from certain taxes. The formation of limited liability companies requires much lesser documents and legal processes. Share your queries with us, and leave a comment below.