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Franklin D. Edmondson, MCR
Commissioner of the Revenue
City Hall Building
801 Crawford Street
Portsmouth, VA. 23704
(757) 393-8771


 

Office of the Commissioner of The Revenue
FAQ - Business

We wish you much success and thank you
for opening and operating a business in Portsmouth!

  1. Will your business be located within the city limits of Portsmouth? or, Will you conduct business within the city limits?
    • Yes, go to #2.

    • No, then you do not need a City of Portsmouth Business License.

  2. Do you need to know if your business is zoned to conduct your type of business at your proposed business location or, do you need to know if the property or space you are about to rent will pass building and fire code requirements?

    • Yes, contact Portsmouth Department of Permits and Inspections, 801 Crawford Street (City Hall), (757) 393-8531

    • No, continue to #3.

  3. Are you looking for available property or building to conduct your business?

    • Yes, contact Economic Development, 200 High Street, Suite 200, Portsmouth, VA 23704 (757) 393-8804

    • No, continue to #4.

  4. Will you be using a sign to advertise your business? or, Will any building construction or tenant improvements be required for your business? or, Will there be a change in property use from the previous business occupant?

    • Yes, to any of the above three questions, contact Portsmouth Department of Permits and Inspections, 801 Crawford Street (City Hall), (757) 393-8531 for sign code compliance; or, for plan review, permit and certificate of occupancy issuance. After contact, continue to #5.

    • No, continue to #5.

  5. Will your business operate out of your home?

    • Yes, contact Portsmouth Department of Permits and Inspections, 801 Crawford Street (City Hall), (757) 393-8531. After contact, continue to #6.

    • No, continue to #6.

  6. Will your business sell or serve beer, wine and/or liquor?
    • Yes, contact Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, local office – 1103 S. Military Highway, (757) 424-6700 for state licensing. Once state licensing is received contact City of Portsmouth Commissioner of the Revenue's Business Tax Section, 801 Crawford St. (City Hall), (757) 393-8866 for local business licensing. After contact, continue to #7.

    • No, continue to #7.

  7. Will your business involve food preparation, tattoo or massage facility, hotel or public pool?

    • Yes, contact Portsmouth Health Department, 1701 High Street, and (757) 393-8585 for approval. After contact, continue to #8.

    • No, continue to #8.

  8. Will your business involve manufacturing?

    • Yes, contact City of Portsmouth Commissioner of the Revenue's Business Tax Section, 801 Crawford Street (City Hall), (757) 393-8866. After contact, continue to #9.

    • No, continue to #9.

  9. Will you have three or more employees other than yourself?

    • Yes, contact the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission, 1000 DMV Drive, Richmond, VA (877) 664-2566 to inquire about workers' compensation insurance requirements. You may obtain workers' compensation insurance from your own insurance company. After contact, continue to #10.

    • No, continue to #10.

  10. Are you a general or sub-contractor?

  11. Will your business be a Corporation or a Limited Liability Company? or, Is your business incorporated or registered in another state?
    • Yes, contact the State Corporation Commission, P.O. Box 1197, Richmond, VA (866) 722-2551. After contact, continue to #12.

    • No, continue to #12.

  12. Do you need Federal Internal Revenue Service forms, a Federal ID Number or other tax information?

  13. Are you applying for a City of Portsmouth Business License that will require you to collect or pass on the tax on retail sales? Will you require Virginia Sales Tax information, on either sales or use tax?
    • Yes, contact Virginia Department of Taxation, Post Office Box 1115, Richmond, VA 23218-1115, (804) 367-8037. After contact, continue to #14..

    • No, continue to #14.

  14. Will you use a fictitious trade name or "doing business as" name?

    • Yes, contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court, 601 Crawford Street (757) 393-8631 to register a trade name. After contact, continue to #15.

    • No, continue to #15.

  15. Will you be using personal property or machinery and tools for business purposes?

    • Yes, contact the Business Unit of the Portsmouth Commissioner of the Revenue Office, 801 Crawford Street (757) 393-8866 for information concerning the taxation of business personal property. After contact, continue to #16.

    • No, continue to #16.

  16. Where do I obtain my Business License?

The appropriate Business License can be issued through the Business Tax Section
Office of the Commissioner of the Revenue
801 Crawford Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704


As you have seen from the above information, the types of licenses vary depending upon your business activity.

Contact the Business Tax Section of the Commissioner of the Revenue Office at (757) 393-8866 for additional information and assistance at any time during the above steps.

Remember that it is your responsibility to learn what local, state and federal laws and regulations apply to your business.

Congratulations and thanks again for opening and operating your business in the City of Portsmouth, Virginia!

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City of Portsmouth, Virginia · All Rights Reserved · Portsmouth City Hall · 801 Crawford Street · Portsmouth, VA 23704 · 757-393-8000