To start an LLC in Virginia, you must file Articles of Organization with the State Corporation Commission. You can file online or by mail. The Articles of Organization cost $100 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Virginia LLC. However, to actually ready the LLC to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Everything You Need to Know About Virginia LLCs:
Virginia LLC Formation Options
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How to Start an LLC in Virginia
To start an LLC in Virginia, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Organization with the State Corporation Commission. You can file the document online or by mail. The articles cost $100 to file. Once filed, this document formally creates your Virginia LLC.
If you’re starting a new business, you probably already know what you want to name your LLC. But you’ll need to know if your preferred name is available. To find out, visit the Virginia Business Name Search and search until you find the perfect name for your LLC.
Once you know who your registered agent will be and what your LLC name is, you’re ready to file your Virginia Articles of Organization. Follow along with our filing instructions below:
Filing the Virginia LLC Articles of Organization
Learn more about each Articles of Organization requirement below. Note that the information you provide becomes part of the public record—permanently.
Or skip the form entirely and hire us to form your Virginia LLC. We provide a free business address to list whenever possible throughout the filing to better keep your personal address private. Prefer to start a business on a budget? Pay just $35 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
1. Company Name
You must include “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited Company” or an abbreviation. Your name can’t be the same or too similar to a business name already in use in Virginia.
2. Registered Agent
For your Virginia registered agent, you can list either an individual or a business. Individuals must be Virginia residents connected to the LLC (members, managers, partners, etc.) or members of the State Bar. Businesses must be authorized to transact business in Virginia (like Northwest).
3. Registered Office
This Virginia street address becomes part of the permanent record of your Virginia LLC. Hire Northwest and our address goes here—and you can better keep your personal home or office address private.
4. Principal Office
This must be a physical address and will be part of the public record. Hire us as your registered agent and you can use our Virginia address as your principal address.
5. Virginia LLC Organizer
Your organizer is just the person who signs and submits your Virginia LLC Articles of Organization. It doesn’t have to be a member or manager. We’ll be your organizer when you hire Northwest.
Why Have a Registered Agent Form Your Virginia LLC?
Professionals in Virginia hire registered agent services like Northwest Registered Agent to start an LLC—but why?
Standard filing companies don’t have employees or offices in every state. But as a national registered agent, it’s a requirement for us, which is a benefit for our clients. Our office is in Virginia Beach, VA. We’re on a first name basis with the people who work in the State Corporation Commission. We know all the fastest filing methods, which translates to fast, professional service—without extra fees.
As your registered agent, we list our Virginia Beach registered office address on your LLC’s formation documents. Why? If you’re starting a business from your apartment in Norfolk, do you really want your apartment address as your business address? (Hint: the answer is no.) We’ll list our address, so you don’t have to list yours. Plus, we never sell your data. We don’t list your personal information on filings if we don’t have to. It’s all standard and part of our commitment to Privacy by Default®.
Free Mail Forwarding, Business Address and More
At Northwest, we do everything a registered agent should do and more. You can list our address as your business address on your state filings. We include limited digital mail forwarding with registered agent service (up to 5 pieces of regular mail per year; $15 a doc after that).
Plan on accepting credit cards? We also offer a Free Credit Card Processing Consultation. Our specialists work with processors to negotiate low rates and better contracts for our clients.
And now, try our in-house Northwest Phone Service for 60 days, free of charge with our formation service. Get a virtual phone number with your choice of area code, make and receive calls from any device, and more—for just $9 a month.
We know the in’s and out’s of each state—and we use this knowledge to help you when you need it most. Our team of Corporate Guides® has over 200 local business experts. You can call or email us for answers to all your questions about your LLC in Virginia. Our Corporate Guides are dedicated solely to helping you with your business—not selling you services or meeting quotas.
What Do I Do After My Virginia LLC Is Formed?
After your Virginia Articles of Organization are approved, you still have a few more important steps to take, including getting an EIN, drafting an operating agreement, opening a bank account, funding the LLC and learning about Virginia reporting and tax requirements.
Get an EIN
An EIN (“Employer Identification Number”) is a federal tax ID assigned to your business by the IRS. The IRS uses your EIN to easily identify your business on tax filings.
Does a Virginia LLC need an EIN?
Nearly every Virginia LLC will need an EIN. Your Virginia LLC is required to get a federal tax ID if you want to hire employees or file certain federal excise taxes. You’ll also find that as you start your business, you’ll be asked for your EIN over and over again. Just to open a bank account, you’ll likely need your EIN. To register for business permits and licenses, you typically need your EIN. To file local taxes, you usually need one.
How do I get an EIN for my LLC?
You can apply for an EIN directly from the IRS at no cost. Most businesses are able to apply online, but if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to apply with a paper form. Want one less thing to do? Add on EIN service when you hire us, and we’ll get your EIN for you. Or choose our VIP service—an EIN is included.
Write an LLC Operating Agreement
Operating agreements put into writing how your business actually operates—how much each member invested, how profits and losses will be allocated, how voting works, and what happens if there’s a dispute or if the whole business (knock on wood) falls apart.
Do I need an operating agreement for a Virginia LLC?
Virginia doesn’t legally require an operating agreement. According to VA Code § 13.1-1023 (2019), members MAY enter into an operating agreement—but the law doesn’t declare that they must.
That said, an operating agreement isn’t just annoying paperwork. It’s one of your LLC’s most important internal documents, and creating one can help your LLC with everything from opening a bank account to handling major events from mergers to dissolution.
What should be in an operating agreement?
An operating agreement should explain how the business will handle “big picture” situations—everything from allocating profits and losses to dissolving the business. Below is a list of common topics that operating agreements should cover.
Profits, losses, and distributions
Voting rights, decision-making powers, and management
Transfer of membership interest
Dissolving the business
Per VA Code § 13.1-1023 (2019), your operating agreement can cover pretty much anything as long as it isn’t contrary to Virginia law or the articles of organization.
How do I write an operating agreement?
To write an operating agreement, you need to address how your business will handle money, members, votes, management, and more. Not sure how to get started? At Northwest, we’re here to help your LLC get off on the right foot. When you hire us, we provide your business with a free LLC operating agreement, specific to your management style. We’ve spent years developing these agreements and other free LLC forms—which have been used by over a million LLCs.
Open an LLC Bank Account
Your LLC needs its own bank account. Why? An LLC gets its limited liability from being a distinct entity, separate from its members. If you mix personal and business finances, you could lose your liability protections.
How do I open a bank account for my Virginia LLC?
To open a bank account for your Virginia LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
A copy of the Virginia LLC Articles of Organization
The LLC operating agreement
The LLC’s EIN
If there are multiple members in the LLC, you may also want to bring an LLC resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the members to open the account in the name of the LLC. Northwest can help with this as well—LLC bank resolutions are one of the many free legal forms we provide to ensure you can get your LLC started fast.
Fund the LLC
Time to put some money in that new LLC bank account. What money? For starters, your initial contributions to your LLC’s capital. LLC members are owners, and each owner needs to pay for their membership interest to fund the LLC.
What is membership interest?
Membership interest is your percentage of ownership of the LLC. Membership interest is normally proportionate to your investment. So how does this work?
Imagine your LLC has 5 members. 4 members each invest $1,000 in the business. One member invests $6,000. The total contribution of all members is $10,000. The 4 members each own 10% of the business. The moneybags member who shelled out $6,000 owns 60% of the business.
Typically, this also means that the 4 members would each get 10% of any profits, and moneybags would get 60%. Exactly how profits and losses are allocated, however, can be adjusted in the operating agreement as long as changes are in line with IRS requirements and Virginia laws.
File Virginia Reports & Taxes
Each year, Virginia LLCs are required to submit a filing known as an “annual registration.” This is essentially just a yearly fee—there’s no accompanying report. Virginia LLCs are also subject to state tax filing requirements.
How much is the Virginia Annual Registration fee?
The fee for the Virginia Annual Registration is $50 and can be paid by creating an account on the Commonwealth of Virginia website.
When is the Virginia Annual Registration due?
Your Virginia Annual Registration fee is due by the end of your anniversary month (the month you initially formed your LLC). When you sign up for Northwest, we send you reminders for your annual registration due date. Want one less thing to worry about? With our business renewal service, we can complete and submit your annual registration for you for $100 plus the state fee.
What should I know about Virginia LLC taxes?
Virginia has a progressive personal net income tax with the following rates:
2%: $0 to $3,000
3%: $3,001 to $5,000
5%: $5,001 to $17,000
5.75%: $17,001 +
Virginia’s sales tax is 4.3%. Cities and counties can tack on their own sales taxes as well, making the average total rate 5.367%.
Virginia LLC FAQs
How can I submit the Virginia LLC Articles of Organization?
You can file Virginia articles online or by mail. Mailed filings must be sent to:
State Corporation Commission
PO Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23218-1197
If delivering via courier, filings can be dropped off at:
1300 E Main St, 1st floor
Richmond, VA 23219
How much does it cost to start a Virginia LLC?
The Commonwealth of Virginia’s filing fee for LLC Articles of Organization is $100. There’s also an online convenience fee of around $3.
Hire Northwest for a one-time fee of $328, including state filing fees, a year of registered agent service, limited mail forwarding and loads of useful forms and tools to help get your Virginia LLC up and running. Or, pay just $35 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
How long does it take to start a Virginia LLC?
When filing online, you can typically receive your certificate the same day. If you print and mail your Articles of Organization, your paperwork will typically be processed within 4 weeks.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we will submit your forms to the State Corporation Commission and have your Virginia LLC formed in 1 business day.
Does a Virginia LLC need a business license?
Virginia doesn’t require a general business license on the commonwealth level—just professional licensing and permits for specific business activities. General business licensing is done at the local level. Cities or counties in Virginia typically assess a “business license tax” each year on gross receipts. For example, this tax is managed on the county level for businesses in Arlington County but on the municipal level in cities like Richmond.
Need an EIN or a certified copy of your formation docs for your license applications? Northwest can help. You can easily add on these items to your LLC formation order.
Can a Virginia LLC help me live more privately?
Yes, a Virginia LLC can help you reduce your overall public footprint. For example, Virginia annual registrations only require a fee (no information updates), and Articles of Organization require minimal personal information. So, it’s possible to maintain a significant degree of address privacy by taking actions such as listing our address on your articles instead of your own. Check out our page on living privately with an LLC to learn more.
What is a foreign Virginia LLC?
A foreign Virginia LLC is any LLC formed outside of Virginia but registered to do business in the commonwealth. For example, if you formed an LLC in North Carolina but wanted to conduct business in Virginia as well, you would register as a foreign LLC in Virginia by filing an Application for Certificate of Registration with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. Like domestic LLCs, foreign LLCs in the commonwealth have to file annual registrations. Northwest can register your foreign Virginia LLC or you today!
How can I get a Virginia phone number for my LLC?
It’s a conundrum: you need a local number to display on your website and give to customers, but you don’t want to make your personal number quite so…public. We get it. And we’ve got you covered with Northwest Phone Service. We can provide you with a virtual phone number in any state—plus unlimited call forwarding and tons of easy-to-use features. You can try Phone Service free for 60 days when you hire us to form your LLC, and maintaining service is just $9 monthly after that. No contract required.
How to Order LLC Formation Service
Our Virginia LLC formation service is designed to be fast and easy—signing up takes just a couple minutes. Here’s how it works:
With Northwest, we give you flexibility on how to pay. You can pay all the fees up front (this includes one full year of registered agent service). Or, pay just $35 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option. With our VIP option, we also include an EIN. Just choose one of the buttons below, answer a few easy questions about your business and submit your payment.
We’ll prepare your Virginia Articles of Organization and send them to the State Corporation Commission for approval. In the meantime, you’ll have immediate access to your online account, where you can find useful state forms, pre-populated with your business information.
Once the Virginia State Corporation Commission has approved your filing, we notify you that your Virginia LLC has been legally formed. You can now take any necessary next steps, like getting an EIN and opening a bank account.