Checklist for Locating Your Business in Arlington
Please click on each step for more information on what is involved in locating your business in Arlington:
|Step 1: Determine the Location of Your Business
The Arlington County Zoning Ordinance regulates the location of various kinds of land uses including different types of businesses. A business cannot operate at certain locations unless permitted by the Zoning Ordinance, which is given through the Certificate of Occupancy (see Step 5). To help guide your planning, you may obtain a zoning map from the zoning office.
There are three types of zoned business locations in Arlington:
By special exemption, certain businesses may locate in zones that otherwise would not be permitted subject to obtaining a use permit. View the Zoning Ordinance for further detail.
As a business owner, you will need to familiarize yourself with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are certain federal requirements related to the build out and maintenance of both commercial and retail locations.
Please review the ADA website to ensure that your business complies with ADA requirements.
Businesses are required by law to recycle the two recyclable materials it generates in the greatest quantities. They must submit a recycling plan with Arlington's Department of Environmental Services within thirty days of receiving a Certificate of Occupancy and have an operational recycling program in place within ninety days. Forms are available online. If a business qualifies for a Home Occupancy Permit, it is exempt from this requirement. For additional information contact: Department of Environmental Services Solid Waste Division 4300 S. 29th Street, Arlington, Virginia 22206 or call 703-228-6570.
|Step 2: Register Your Business with the Commonwealth of Virginia
To register and organize your business in the Commonwealth of Virginia, visit the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC). If your company is incorporated in a different state, it must register with the SCC as a “foreign corporation.” You can access Virigina State Forms online.
International companies doing business in the United States must apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) on the IRS Web site.
Your business type may also be regulated by the State. The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) regulates more than 30 occupations and professions through 19 boards composed of practitioners and citizens appointed by the Governor. Visit DPOR’s website to learn which industry sectors are state-regulated. You’ll be able to download the appropriate forms and register for courses.
|Step 3: Register Your Trade Name (if applicable)
If a company is incorporated with the Commonwealth of Virginia and is doing business in Arlington County under a fictitious name, the Company must register the fictitious trade names at the County level. The Arlington County Commissioner of Revenue will register your official trade name. Submit forms online to the Commissioner's Office.
If the company is incorporated with the Commonwealth of Virginia and is doing business in Arlington County under the corporate name, the company DOES NOT have to register the name at the County level.
There are three types of Fictitious Trade Name applications:
||Step 4: Apply For Your Business License and Business Tangible Taxes
The Business License tax (also known as BPOL) is the means through which Arlington-based companies pay for the right to conduct business in the County.
Tip: Apply for your business license and your Certificate of Occupancy (see Step 5) simultaneously.
Business License Tax
The Commissioner of Revenue assesses Arlington County business privilege license taxes on business conducted in Arlington County, including home-based businesses. New businesses must apply for the initial business license prior to opening or conducting business activities. It is unlawful to engage in any business without first obtaining a business license. Applications for renewals of licenses by existing businesses must be filed by March of each year.
Business Tangible Personal Property Tax
Arlington County levies a tax on tangible personal property located in Arlington on January 1 and used in a trade or business. This includes items such as furniture, fixtures, machinery, tools, and programmable computer equipment. Businesses must itemize personal property and/or equipment, supplying the dates of acquisition and original purchase prices. You must file a return by May 1; payment is due by September 5. Business tangible personal property tax is not prorated if you should cease business during the year.
Other Business Taxes
The following taxes are levied on industry specific activities:
You can obtain local tax forms online.
|Step 5: Certificate of Occupancy
A Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is required by Arlington County to ensure the premises for your business comply with applicable laws, County Ordinances, and regulations. No occupancy can take place until a CO is issued. A CO is necessary for new buildings, a change in a nonconforming use, and a change in occupant (including subleases). Generally, only one CO Permit is required for each new project or tenant.
Visit the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development’s (CPHD) website for more information about the Certificate of Occupancy.
|Step 6: Inspection Services and Permits
Your business may require a variety of permits issued by Arlington County to operate legally. Arlington County provides detailed information on the necessary required permits and how to acquire permits.
Not sure if you need a permit? Find out when a permit is required.
If you are a small business, Arlington County has prepared Small Business Permits: Top Tips for Success for small businesses which are moving into new space or renovating their existing location. Their most important tip? Be patient and plan ahead. Construction and build-outs take time and require that you follow all the correct procedures.