Last Updated: June 10, 2024, 9:55 am by TRUiC Team

How to Start an LLC in Virginia (2024 Guide)

Wondering how to start an LLC in Virginia? We’ve got you covered.

To get started, you'll need to pick a suitable business name, choose a registered agent, and file your Articles of Organization with the Virginia State Corporation Commission ($100 processing fee). 

You can do this independently, consult with a business attorney for specialized legal guidance, or join the other 65% of our readers and hire a specialized Virginia LLC formation service (recommended).

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Northwest ($29 + State Fees)

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LegalZoom ($249 + State Fees)

Cost to Start an LLC in Virginia

How to Form an LLC in Virginia in 6 Steps

In order to form your LLC in Virginia, there are certain steps you’ll need to complete:

  1. Name Your Virginia LLC
  2. Choose a Registered Agent
  3. File the Articles of Organization
  4. Create an Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN
  6. File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report

Step 1: Name Your Virginia LLC

Before you get started, you will need to pick a suitable name for your Virginia LLC. 

This will need to comply with all applicable naming requirements under Virginia law and be both succinct and memorable, as this will make it easily searchable by your potential clients.

1. Important Naming Guidelines for Virginia LLCs:

  • Your name must include the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or one of its abbreviations (e.g., LLC, L.L.C., LC, etc.). 
  • Your name cannot include words that imply that your LLC is affiliated with a state or government agency (e.g., FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your LLC.
  • Your name must be distinguishable from any other Virginia limited liability companies, corporations, business trusts, and limited partnerships.
    • Virginia’s State Corporation Commission may allow you to use a name that isn’t distinguishable from an existing name if the entity currently using it consents in writing and agrees to change its name to something distinguishable.

For a complete list of naming rules in Virginia, you can read the State Corporation Commission guidelines.

2. Is the name available in Virginia?

To check whether your desired name has already been taken by another business entity in Virginia, you can perform a Business Entity Search on the Virginia SCC website.

If you’re not going to start your LLC right away, it might be a good idea to consider reserving your name for up to 120 days ($10 processing fee).

For more information, you can have a look at our Virginia LLC Name Search guide.

3. Is the URL available?

You should check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don’t plan to make a business website right away, this is an extremely important step as it will prevent others from acquiring it, potentially saving you both time and money in the long term. 

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Once you have verified your name is available, you may now select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you.

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FAQ: Naming a Virginia LLC

LLC is short for “limited liability company.” It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while providing many of the same benefits. Read our What is a Limited Liability Company guide for more information.

Or, watch our two-minute video: What is an LLC?

You must follow the Virginia limited liability company naming guidelines when choosing a name for your LLC:

  • Include the phrase "limited liability company" or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
  • Do not use words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, State Department, CIA, etc.).
  • Receive the proper licensing when using the words such as lawyer or doctor.

If you are having trouble coming up with a name for your LLC, use our LLC Name Generator. That will not only find a unique name for your business but an available URL to match.

Most LLCs do not need a DBA, known in Virginia as a fictitious or assumed name. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name and you can accept checks and other payments under that name as well. However, you may wish to register a DBA if you would like to conduct business under another name.

To learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA guide.

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Virginia

After you find the right name for your LLC, you will need to nominate a Virginia registered agent. This is a necessary step in your Articles of Organization (i.e., the document used to file and register your LLC with the State Corporation Commission).

What is a registered agent? A registered agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving important tax forms, legal documents, notice of lawsuits, and official government correspondence on behalf of your business. You can think of your registered agent as your business’s primary point of contact with the state.

Who can be a registered agent? A registered agent must be a resident of Virginia or a corporation, such as a registered agent service, authorized to transact business in the state of Virginia. If you choose to act as your own registered agent, you will need to appoint an individual within the company as Virginia law prevents business entities from acting as their own registered agents.

For a more detailed explanation of the requirements for registered agents in this state, you can refer to the rules found in Chapter 12, Article 3 of the Code of Virginia.

Get Free Registered Agent Services

Form an LLC with Northwest Registered Agent to get one year of registered agent services free of charge.

FAQ: Nominating a Registered Agent

Yes. You can choose to act as your own registered agent, appoint a member of your LLC, work with a business attorney, or hire a professional registered agent service (recommended). 

Read more about being your own registered agent.

Using a professional registered agent service is an affordable way to manage government filings for your LLC. For most businesses, the advantages of using a professional service significantly outweigh the annual costs.

Step 3: File the Virginia LLC Articles of Organization

To register your Virginia LLC, you'll need to file Form LLC1011: Articles of Organization with the State Corporation Commission. You can do this online or by mail.

Virginia LLC Formation Document

Before filing, make sure you have completed your Articles of Organization correctly. You will need to have filled in the following sections:

  • The name of your LLC
  • The physical address of your LLC’s principal executive office
  • The name and address of your registered agent
  • The signature and printed name of the organizer

File the Articles of Organization

OPTION 1: File Online With the Virginia State Corporation Commission

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: File Form LLC1011 by Mail

Download Form

State Filing Cost: $100, payable to the State Corporation Commission. (Nonrefundable)

Mailing Address:
State Corporation Commission
Clerk's Office
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23218-1197

For help with completing the form, visit our Virginia Articles of Organization guide.

Note: If you're expanding your existing business to the state of Virginia, you'll need to register as a foreign limited liability company (LLC).

FAQ: Filing Virginia LLC Documents

Filing the Articles of Organization takes between 3 and 12 days to process, though the following expedited options are available if you file online:

  • Next-Day Processing: $50
  • Same-Day Processing: $200

An LLC is referred to as a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. A foreign limited liability company must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.

Read our What Is a Foreign LLC article to learn more.

The cost to file your Articles of Organization and start your LLC in Virginia is $100. It’s worth noting that your total cost may vary depending on whether you opt for expedited filing or hire a business attorney to guide you through this process.

To learn more, read our guide on the cost to form a Virginia LLC.

Step 4: Create a Virginia LLC Operating Agreement

In Virginia, LLCs are not required to have a written operating agreement, but it's a good practice to have one. 

What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.

Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all LLC members are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.

For more information on operating agreements, read our Virginia LLC operating agreement guide.

FAQ: Creating a Virginia LLC Operating Agreement

No. The operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference. However, many other states legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement.

Step 5: Get an EIN for Your Virginia LLC

You can get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for free. It is used to identify a business entity and keep track of a business's tax reporting. It is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for the company.

Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number is required for the following:

  • To open a business bank account for the company
  • For federal and state tax purposes
  • To hire employees for the company

Where do I get an EIN? An EIN is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after forming the company. This can be done online or by mail.

FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: You do not need an SSN to get an EIN. Learn more here.

Get an EIN

Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS

Apply Online

- OR -

Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax

Download Form

Mail to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935

Fee: Free

FAQ: Getting an EIN

A Social Security number is not required to get an EIN. You can simply fill out IRS Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. Then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Learn more about applying as an international applicant.

All LLCs with employees, or any LLC with more than one member, must have an EIN. This is required by the IRS.

Learn why we recommend always getting an EIN and how to get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.

When you get an EIN, you will be informed of the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.

However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by choosing the S corporation (S corp) status. To learn more, read our LLC vs. S Corp guide.

Step 6: File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report

Beginning January 2024, LLC owners will need to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Existing LLCs can file their report any time between January 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025, while new LLCs will need to file their report within 90 days of formation

This contains similar information to that of your Articles of Organization, such as your LLC name and member information, and can be filed online for free. Failure to file an accurate report on time can result in a $500 per day fine.

Note: There are certain filing exemptions, such as for large companies (i.e., more than 20 full-time employees), tax-exempt entities, and publicly traded companies. 

Considering Using an LLC Formation Service?

We reviewed and ranked the top LLC formation services. Find out which is best for you.


Maintain Your Virginia LLC

After you’ve successfully formed your LLC, there are a couple of steps you’ll need to periodically take in order to maintain it, including:

  • Paying the annual registration fee
  • Sorting out your tax responsibilities

We’ve broken down how to complete each of these steps in greater detail below.

Pay the Annual Registration Fee

Instead of a full annual report, Virginia requires payment of a $50 annual registration fee to the State Corporation Commission. This can be paid online and is due on the last day of the month in which your LLC was registered to transact business in Virginia.

Note: If your LLC misses the filing deadline for annual registration, it will be charged a $25 late fee. If you have failed to pay your annual registration within three months of this deadline, your LLC will be administratively dissolved. 

Sort Out Your Taxes

Regardless of where your LLC is registered, you will be required to pay certain federal taxes. At a federal level, LLCs taxed as pass-through entities will likely need to pay self-employment taxes and personal income taxes, while those structured as corporations will need to pay corporate income taxes and employer taxes.

In addition, there are a number of different taxes you’ll be required to pay at a local and state level, which can vary depending on the nature of your business.

Below are some of the most common taxes in Virginia:

Income Taxes

Virginia has two main types of income tax that you’ll need to be aware of as an LLC owner in this state:

  • Personal Income Tax: This tax is applied at a graduated rate between 2% and 5.75% on the distributions the members from a default-structure LLC receive from the business’s total earnings.
  • Corporate Income Tax: LLCs choosing to be treated as a corporation for tax purposes will pay this flat tax of 6% on the business’s total taxable income.

State tax returns are typically due each year by May 1, though fiscal year filers will need to submit returns by the 15th day of the fourth month after the previous fiscal year. You can calculate how much you owe in income tax as well as file your state tax return online through the Virginia Department of Taxation website. 

Sales Tax

If your business plans to sell physical products within the state, it will need to collect sales tax from customers and remit it to the Virginia State Tax Department. The general statewide rate for sales and use tax is 5.30%, with additional local rates that range between 0% and 2.70% also being added in certain jurisdictions.

You can use the Virginia Department of Taxation’s Sales Tax Rate Lookup tool to find the tax rate in effect in the locality your LLC is based in. 

Note: To be able to collect this tax, your LLC must first register for a seller’s permit through the Virginia State Tax Department.

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Steps After LLC Formation

After forming your LLC, you will need to get a business bank account and website, sort out any required business licenses, and purchase workers' compensation insurance, among other things. 

Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.

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