How To Start a Virginia LLC

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Last Updated: August 15, 2022

Overview

Did you know that Virginia is known for the Appalachian Trail, oysters and Dirty Dancing!? Yep, I said it – Dirty Dancing. It’s called the Old Dominion State and was the 10th state of our union. The capital is Richmond and the biggest city is Virginia Beach.

I’ve never been there but I’ve heard amazing things about this spectacular state.

And, if you’re thinking of starting a business in this wonderful state, you’ll want to form a Virginia LLC.

An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is one of the most popular business structures because it allows for personal asset protection and has flexible tax rules. Before we jump into the steps that it takes to start an LLC in Virginia, it’s going to be important that you also consider the services you’ll need.

Below you’ll find the top business services that I recommend. These are incredibly important and you’re going to want to make sure they are included in your business venture.

This how to start an LLC in Virginia guide was put together just for you so enjoy!

Name Your Virginia LLC

You must specify a name that will appear on your articles for registration to your LLC. Names have an official Virginia naming requirement. List some Virginia naming regulations for your site.

Your LLC’s name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (“LLC” or “L.L.C.”).

Your LLC’s name cannot imply that it is organized for a purpose that it is not. For example, you cannot use words like “FBI” or “CIA” in your LLC’s name.

Your LLC’s name cannot be the same as the name of another business entity registered with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

The name of your LLC must be distinguishable from the names of other entities on record with the Commission.

You may reserve a name for your LLC by filing a Name Reservation Request form with the Commission. The reservation is effective for 120 days and may be renewed for an additional 120 days.

Virginia has a great (and easy to use) site that the State Corporation Commission has setup for an easy name search.

When you’re ready, go to the URL here to do a business name look up: https://cis.scc.virginia.gov/Account/NameCheckAvailability

Virginia also has a great article on ‘How can a business entity name be reserved for future use?‘ that you should check out too.

Choose your registered agent

Virginia has to hire registered representatives for the LLC. Registered agents are those authorized by your LLC to execute official documents. A registered agent may represent any person — including you, a person employed by your firm or a company providing registered agent services.

You will need the following qualifications:

  • The registered agent must have a physical address in the state of Virginia.
  • The registered agent must be available during regular business hours to receive official service of process and other correspondence on behalf of the LLC.
  • The name and address of the LLC’s registered agent will be part of the public record and available to the general public.

There is a registered agent service that you can use with any of the recommended LLC formation services that also offer help to figure out your business structure. You may not use your business address as the registered agent service so you will need to find an individual or business entity to act as your registered agent. If you try an act as your own registered agent you’re going to run into challenges because that isn’t how you’re suppose to do it!

If you’re thinking it makes a difference between single member LLC or having a multi-member LLC, it really doesn’t matter. You will have legal documents that you’ll need to use for your filing fee and make sure you’ve setup the right business name. If that business name has been taken then you’re going to need to use the search portal above to find another business name.

Prepare and File Articles of Organization

Articles of Organizations are official documents that establish an LLC by laying out basic information.

You will need to include the following information:

  • The name of your LLC and the names of all members.
  • The LLC’s principal office address.
  • The name and address of your LLC’s registered agent.
  • The LLC’s purpose — that is, what business activities it will engage in.
  • Whether the LLC will be managed by its members or by managers.
  • The effective date of the Articles of Organization, if not filed on the date of formation.

You will also need to pay a filing fee, which is currently $100. The Articles of Organization must be typewritten or printed in black ink. You may file online, by mail or in person.

To file online, visit the SCC’s eFile & Pay system. You will need to create an account if you do not already have one.

To file by mail, send the completed Articles of Organization form and the filing fee to:

State Corporation Commission

P.O. Box 1197

Richmond, VA

This is an important step and another reason why it’s important to separate business entity information from that of your personal finances. If you’re going to have business partners, this will be even more important to keep track if it because it’s not just for yourself but for others.

This leads us into the next big step which is building an LLC operating agreement which will give you the proper setup as a Virginia LLC.

Create an operating agreement

Operating agreements are documents that define how an LLC conducts business. Virginia does not require a business agreement but it is a vital part of your business process.

Having a written agreement of operation can be helpful for various purposes. Without the agreement, a judge will have to decide if an LLC or its members should have an option or not.

This Operating Agreement may include:

  • The business purpose of the LLC
  • The names of the members and managers
  • How the LLC will be managed
  • Details about how decisions will be made
  • Profits and losses division among members
  • Roles, rights, and responsibilities of each member
  • Buy-sell provisions in case a member wants to leave or dies
  • Restrictions on members
  • Dissolution procedures
  • The date the agreement was made and when it will end
  • Any other special provisions that apply to the LLC

While an operating agreement is not required in Virginia, we highly suggest you take the time to create one. This document can help prevent misunderstandings and disagreements later on down the road. If you’re starting a Virginia LLC (Limited Liability Company), you’re going to need an LLC operating agreement to make sure you’re following the right rules and pay taxes that are required for this.

I don’t think this needs to be said but it needs to be a written operating agreement – not just a verbal agreement between business partners. By

It’s best to check with an attorney or government agency to determine which professional services are going to be needed when you’re doing this. It’s not just about how you conduct business but also the type of operating agreement that you put in place.

Receive a Certificate From the State

The state will give you certifications to confirm LLC formality after submitting and approving the formation documents.

The certification enables the LLC to obtain the employee identification number and bank account.

The LLC can also use it to sign contracts and leases.

You should receive your state’s Certificate of Formation within four to six weeks. The state will mail the certificate to the registered agent’s address. If you’re not getting a written operating agreement then you’re going to run into issues.

Get your Employer Identification Number for your Virginia LLC

The next thing you’ll need to do is get your Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your LLC.

This is a nine-digit number that the IRS assigns to businesses. It’s used to identify the business on tax documents and other financial transactions.

You can apply for an EIN online, by mail, or by fax.

To apply online, you’ll need to have:

  • The LLC’s Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), which is the LLC’s EIN
  • A valid email address
  • An SSN, ITIN, or EIN if you’re the authorized representative

To apply by mail or fax, you’ll need to fill out Form SS-4 and submit it to the IRS.

You should receive your EIN within four weeks or instantly if you ask for it online.

I’ve done this a few times and it helps you make sure you’re getting a business bank account setup too. Without having a Federal Employer Identification Number, you’re not goin gto be able to setup a business bank account or really take a look at business debts and the Virginia LLC will be mashed up with your personal stuff. That is not the right place to be as a Virginia resident so make sure your Virginia LLC doesn’t have a fictitious business name and you’re focused on building a business vs. a hobby.

Setup a Business Checking Account 

The next thing you’ll need to do is open a business checking account for your LLC.

You’ll need your EIN, Certificate of Formation, and Articles of Organization to open the account.

Some banks may require additional documents, such as a resolution from the LLC’s members authorizing you to open the account.

You can usually open a business checking account online, by phone, or in person at a branch.

To open an account online, you’ll need to provide:

  • The LLC’s EIN
  • The registered agent’s name and address
  • The LLC’s formation date
  • A list of the LLC’s members
  • Accounts from other banks where you have deposits totaling more than $1,500
  • Your driver’s license or state ID

To open an account by phone, you’ll need to provide:

  • The LLC’s EIN
  • The registered agent’s name and address
  • The LLC’s formation date
  • A list of the LLC’s members
  • Your driver’s license or state ID
  • To open an account in person, you’ll need to provide:
  • The LLC’s EIN
  • The registered agent’s name and address
  • The LLC’s formation date
  • A list of the LLC’s members
  • Your driver’s license or state ID

You should receive your debit card and checks within a few days.

Some banks may require that you deposit a certain amount of money to open the account.

You’ll also need to choose a bank that’s insured by the FDIC. This will protect your deposits in case the bank fails.

You can use your LLC’s business checking account to pay bills, withdraw cash, and write checks.

You can also use it to set up direct deposit for your employees and automatic payments for your LLC’s bills.

This is also going to allow you to apply for a business credit card and make sure you’ve got the right pieces to track your business profits in place.

You’re also going to start using an account like this if you need a business attorney, pay self employment taxes and need to hire employees. If you’re going to hire employees you will need to have a bank account and start to pay federal income taxes and follow the Virginia state law.

Apply for Business Licenses and Permits 

The next step is to apply for any licenses or permits your LLC needs to operate.

The type of business you’re starting will determine the licenses and permits you need.

For example, if you’re starting a restaurant, you’ll need to get a food handler’s license and a liquor license.

If you’re starting a construction company, you’ll need to get a contractor’s license.

To find out which licenses and permits you need, contact your city or county clerk’s office or the state agency that regulates your type of business.

You can usually apply for licenses and permits online, by mail, or in person.

To apply for a license or permit online, you’ll need to provide:

  • The LLC’s EIN
  • The LLC’s registered address
  • The LLC’s contact information
  • The type of business you’re starting
  • The licenses and permits you need

To apply for a license or permit by mail, you’ll need to fill out an application and submit it to the appropriate agency.

To apply for a license or permit in person, you’ll need to go to the appropriate office and submit an application.

You may also need to submit additional documents, such as your LLC’s Articles of Organization.

The application fee for a license or permit varies depending on the type of business you’re starting and the state you’re in.

Some states also require that you post a bond before they’ll issue a license or permit.

A bond is an insurance policy that protects the state from losses caused by your business.

The cost of a bond varies depending on the type of business you’re starting and the state you’re in.

This is also going to help you as you report the IRS employer identification number which is incredibly valuable as you go through this process and start to look for business insurance as a business owner.

Get Business Insurance

Depending on the type of business, you will need to make sure you have an insurance policy. There are a variety of ways to do this but we recommend that you look at BusinessInsurance.net where they can provide a quote to make your life easy and you have less risk and stress.

The price can vary greatly depending on what you’re in need of. If you’re looking for workers compensation insurance or just business management insurance – you’ll need to get something from BusinessInsurance.net.

Summary

We’ve talked about quite a bit in this article but the key pieces to remember on how to start an LLC in Virginia is to make sure you’re getting the proper name, setting up a registered office address and making sure you’re following all the right rules for Internal Revenue Service.

If you decide to use Northwest Registered Agent, you’ll have what you need every step of the way and help you conduct business the right way in Virginia. If you’re still worried about how to start an LLC in Virginia – go talk to Northwest Registered Agent and they will get you setup correctly.

You can always talk to a lawyer and accountant who can help you follow all the right protocols to make sure the Internal Revenue Service is happy with your choices.

If you’re worried about lawsuits – purchase workers compensation insurance and pay your federal and state taxes.

Now get out of here and go start your Limited Liability Company in confidence and let me know how the process goes for your LLC in Virginia!

FAQs

How much does it cost to register an LLC in VA?

The cost of registering an LLC in Virginia is $100.

To register an LLC in Virginia, you’ll need to file Articles of Organization with the State Corporation Commission.

The filing fee for Articles of Organization is $100.

I recommend you use a service like Northwest Registered Agent to help you get the process moving. It’s not fun to do it on your own and they have done 1000s of these for others so use them. They can also help with a Virginia Limited Liability Company or any other form of business entity you want to file with the state.

How long does it take to register an LLC in Virginia?

It usually takes about 7-10 days to register an LLC in Virginia.

To register an LLC in Virginia, you’ll need to file Articles of Organization with the State Corporation Commission.

You can expect it to take 7-10 days for the state to process your Articles of Organization and approve your LLC.

Once your LLC is approved, you’ll be able to start operating your business.

From there you’ll need to make sure you’re following the annual registration fee and collect sales tax for your Virginia LLC or if it’s a foreign LLC.