Launch Your Business
You've planned your business including having a business plan. Now you are ready to launch your business. This list is more of a checklist than order to follow.
Jump to the section you need:
Find a location.
Be sure you are going to be able to finance and move ahead with the business before committing to a lease or purchase. Check out Plan Your Business page.
Verify zoning requirements and understand any restrictions on operation or required permits. Do not assume that the existence of a similar business or past businesses at that site means your business will be acceptable. Home-based businesses also may require permits and zoning. Contact the Fluvanna Planning Office at (434) 591-1910 to learn about your local requirements.
Choose a business name.
Investigate names in use in the geographic area and industry niche you will be serving. Conduct a search of Web sites and phone directories. Pay attention to other similar sounding names in your market area. You can also check the availability of an entity name at the State Corporation Commission.
Choose your legal structure.
The best legal entity varies for each owner and each business. There is no one “best” structure to use. It is wise to consult with an attorney, an accountant, and/or business advisor. Consider the type of business, your business and personal goals, and your personal finances when making this decision. For any legal structure other than sole proprietorship, register the appropriate documents with the SCC: www.scc.virginia.gov/clk/begin.aspx.
Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).
The EIN identifies your business's tax accounts on all federal and state tax forms. All employers, corporations, partnerships, and LLCs are required to obtain an EIN. A sole proprietor without employees does not need one, but would have to display the owner’s social security number instead. Your EIN is provided FREE from the Internal Revenue Service.
Determine state tax requirements.
Every company transacting business in Virginia must register with the Virginia Department of Taxation for all taxes that may apply to the operations. Form R-1, the Combined Registration Application Form allows registration for all of the taxes listed below. No application fee is required. Find the form and more information under the Businesses link on their site. You will be assigned a Virginia Tax Identification Number, also called your Certificate Registration Number, to be included on all correspondence with the Department.
-Sales and Use Tax: If you indicate on your R-1 Application that you will be collecting sales tax or remitting use tax, the Department will send you a Virginia Certificate of Registration for Sales Tax. This is your permit to collect sales tax and to issue and receive exemption certificates. The Virginia Certificate of Registration must be displayed at your place of business. The Department will also send ST-9 forms (used to report sales & use tax liabilities and to submit the taxes). Reporting and payment can also be made on-line.
-Employee Withholding: If federal law requires an employer to withhold taxes from any employee’s pay, the Virginia Department of Taxation will also require Virginia withholding. You will register as a Virginia employer on Form R-1 and the Department will send you the correct forms to use. Reporting and payment can also be accomplished on-line from www.tax.virginia.gov.
-Other taxes: Corporate Income, Litter, various agricultural, and other taxes are also covered on the R-1 form.
-Certificate of Exemption: If you will be purchasing goods for resale, you will need to provide a Sales and Use Certificate of Exemption to the seller. This certificate affirms that you do not have to pay sales tax as you will be re-selling the goods and will collect sales tax at the time of the sale. Obtain Form ST-10.
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Register with the Virginia Employment Commission.
Employers are liable for unemployment taxes in Virginia if you have had one employee in each of 20 weeks or more during a calendar year or have had a quarterly payroll of $1,500 or more. If you are subject to any Federal Unemployment, you are also liable in Virginia. Full details are available at the VEC website or your local VEC field office.
File an assumed or fictitious name.
Any business using a name which does not identify the owner of the business must register a trade name with the State Corporation Commission.
Complete Fluvanna business personal property return.
All businesses in Fluvanna are required to complete a return of business personal property with the Commissioner of the Revenue. Contact the Fluvanna Commissioner of the Revenue at (434) 591-1940 to provide the information needed to set up tangible business personal property tax returns that will be filed annually. Fluvanna County does not have a business license.
Obtain insurance needed.
Discuss property, liability, and other insurance needs with a qualified insurance professional to manage your risk and protection. Virginia law requires every employer who regularly employs three or more full-time or part-time employees to purchase and maintain workers’ compensation insurance. Employers with fewer than three employees may voluntarily come under the Act. Please see the VWC website for details.
Consider professional or occupational licenses specific to your industry or trade.
Information regarding Virginia's regulations at the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.
Open a business bank account.
It is vital you keep your business and personal finances separate. An integral part of that is a separate business checking account and/or credit card so that all business records are clear and documented and not at risk of being mixed with personal expenditures. Consult your banker for best options for a business account.
-Employment & Hiring Practices: Complete Employment Eligibility Verification Forms (Form I-9) for all employees.
-Employment Taxes: Virginia Withholding Tax Guide; Federal Employer’s Tax Guide
-eVA Registration: Virginia’s web-based electronic marketplace to bring government buyers and sellers together.
-Small, Women or Minority-Owned (SWAM) Certifications: Certification of minority and women-owned businesses who wish to do business with state government agencies. Learn more at the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity.