Business Taxes

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: In order to ensure everyone's safety during the pandemic, please connect with us virtually. Use our website, send an email, or call us weekdays from 8AM to 4:30PM. We are open for walk-in traffic Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 9AM to 3PM.

12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 223
Fairfax, VA 22035

Juan Rengel,
Division Director

Business Taxes - Frequently Asked Questions

Most businesses located in Fairfax County, including those that are home-based may  be subject to BPOL tax. Individuals engaging in most home occupations and self-employment must file if gross receipts are greater than $10,000. Businesses with annual gross receipts of $10,000 or less are not required to get a business license.

Businesses required to get a business license with the Department of Tax Administration should file within 75 days of commencing operations. Forms and step-by-step instructions are available on the Information for New Businesses webpage.

A Home Occupation Permit from the Zoning Permits Branch of the Department of Planning and Development may also be required. More information is available on the Home Occupation Permits webpage.

If you are a first-time applicant, you may download the Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) application from our website. Once you have completed the application, you may return it via email, fax, mail, or in person to our business department.

  • Email: dtappdbusiness@fairfaxcounty.gov
  • Fax number: 703-324-3505
  • Mailing address:
    Department of Tax Administration
    12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 223
    Fairfax, VA 22035.

New business owners are required to file within 75 days of beginning business. If not filed within 75 days, penalties will apply.

When completing the BPOL license application, you will be required to provide the owner name, trade name, business address, description of business, estimated first year gross receipts, and start date.

Businesses are also required to obtain a residential or non-residential use permit from the Department of Planning and Zoning. For more information, visit their website or contact them via telephone at 703-222-1082 or in person at 12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA, 22035.

BPOL Fees and Rates

Gross Receipts Fee License/Tax
$0 - $10,000 No Fee
$10,001 - $50,000 $30.00
$50,001 - $100,000 $50.00
$100,000 + BPOL Rates Apply

Refer to the BPOL Ordinance for more information regarding business rates and classifications.

"Gross receipts" means the whole, entire, total receipts, without deduction”. Code of Virginia§ 58.1-3700.1. "Gross receipts" means the whole, entire, total receipts, of money or other consideration received by the taxpayer as a result of transactions with others besides himself and that are derived from the exercise of the licensed privilege to engage in a business or profession in the ordinary course of business, without deduction or exclusion except as provided by law”. Administrative Code 23VAC10-500-10. Income that is not derived from the exercise of the privilege for which the taxpayer is licensed by the locality do not constitute gross receipts for purposes of BPOL taxation. Activities of a taxpayer that serve only the taxpayer's interest, and no other, do not give rise to gross receipts.

Pursuant to the Code of Virginia and Virginia Administrative Code, extraordinary COVID-19 loans/grants such as economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, and Fairfax Rise grants can be excluded from taxable gross receipts when filing your Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) tax returns. Va. Code § 58.1-3732(A)(4),23VAC10-500-60. PPP loans that are not yet forgiven are expressly excluded from gross receipts for purposes of computing County BPOL taxes by Virginia Code and the County’s BPOL ordinance Tax Commissioner PD-21-12.

Please submit an amendment request by email at dtappdbusiness@fairfaxcounty.gov. Be sure to include the business name, account #, amount in RISE PPP or other funding that was included in the gross receipts, and documentation supporting the amount of the amendment (grant/loan award letter for example). If the account us paid in full, a refund will be processed for the overpayment once the amendment is processed. For more information, call us at 703-222-8234 (options 4) between 8-4:30pm Mondays - Fridays.

These are considered to have been received as a result of transactions with others besides yourself that are derived from the exercise of the licensed privilege to engage in a business or profession in the ordinary course of business. Generally, gross receipts for license tax purposes exclude any amount not derived from the exercise of the licensed privilege to engage in a business or profession in the ordinary course of business. Engaged in business typically means operating with the intent of earning a profit. Expenses paid on behalf of a customer, even without a markup, are generally considered to be a cost of doing business or an expense of the ultimate service provided by the taxpayer.Travel expenses for example are typically necessary to conduct business. Presumably, these expenses were passed on to the customer without any markup. Absent an agency relationship, the expenses were a necessary cost of doing business and as such were receipts derived from the exercise of a licensed privilege to do business.

There are specific exemptions, deductions and exclusions that are either provided by statute or affirmed through Supreme Court decisions, opinions of the Attorney General and rulings by the Department. One such area is that of agency relationships. The Virginia Supreme Court established three criteria that must be met if a taxpayer is to establish it has an agency relationship with its clients:

  1. Contractual relationships exist between the taxpayer and the client, and there is a stated relationship between the client and the taxpayer
  2. The taxpayer does not commingle its "agency" funds with other sources; rather it must have a separate accounting system or a fiduciary account where the pass through receipts from its clients are recorded
  3. the taxpayer does not report these "pass through costs" on its income tax returns.

The contract between the taxpayer and the customer is analogous to a cost-plus contract. Amounts expended by the taxpayer to perform under a cost-plus contract with the customer, and for which the taxpayer is reimbursed, are included in the calculation of its gross receipts for BPOL tax purposes. If out of pocket reimbursements are reported as income on its income tax returns, you do not meet the third criteria for an agency relationship. If you reported your combined gross receipts from earnings and out of pocket expense reimbursements on your income tax return, the assessment is based on the taxpayer's total gross receipts pursuant to Va. Code § 58.1-3700.1.

See Virginia Supreme Court Decision CITY OF ALEXANDRIA v. MORRISON | 288.S.E.2d 482 (1982) | se2d4821749 | Leagle.com. Virginia Tax Commissioner ruling 14-146 and 17-8.

Gross receipts for license tax purposes exclude any amount not derived from the exercise of licensed privilege to engage in all businesses or profession in the ordinary course of business. 23VAC10-500-70 provides a partial list as illustration. Examples of other exclusions and deductions from gross receipts may be deemed not to be receipts derived from the licensable business are listed in 23VAC10-500-90. Also refer to Code of Virginia §58.1-3732.

Other limitations on gross receipts:

§58.1-3732.1. Pari-mutual wagering

§ 58.1-3732.2. Real estate brokers

§58.1-3732.3. Providers of funeral services

§58.1-3732.4. Staffing firms

§58.1-3732.5. Security brokers and dealers

The Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) Exclusion Worksheet is to be used as an attachment to the business license application to identify exclusions and detail certain adjustments that are allowed by the Fairfax County Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) Ordinance (Article 7, Article 7.1, Article 7.2).

 

Examples of business tangible property include desks, chairs, other furniture, computer hardware, specialized tools, machinery, and equipment.

Business vehicles are assessed and taxed like any other vehicle in the county except that they are not eligible to receive the state’s Personal Property Tax Relief Act subsidy that is available for personal use vehicles. Refer to our Understanding Vehicle Taxes web page for more information about vehicle taxes.

The current tax rate is $4.57 per $100 of assessed value. To compute the tax on an item assessed at $5,000, divide the assessed value by 100 and multiply by the tax rate:

($5,000 ÷ 100) × $4.57 = $228.50

The method used to determine assessed value varies by equipment type.

The assessed value of equipment (except motor vehicles and computer equipment) is 80% of the original cost for the first year the property is owned. For each of the six subsequent years, the assessed value declines by 10% according to the following schedule:

Depreciation Schedule for Business Tangible Property (except vehicles and computer equipment)
Year of Ownership Percentage of Original Cost
1st 80
2nd 70
3rd 60
4th 50
5th 40
6th 30
7th 20

Computer equipment is assessed at 50% of the original cost the first year owned and declines for the next four years according to the following schedule:

Depreciation Schedule for Business Tangible Property (computer equipment)
Year of Ownership Percentage of Original Cost
1st 50
2nd 35
3rd 20
4th 10
5th 2

Most business vehicles are assessed based on the January 1 value in the January J.D. Power’s National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Used Car Guide. For trucks with a gross weight of over 14,000 pounds, the value is determined by the percentage of cost and the year it was purchased. Taxicabs are valued at 50% of the average loan value. The vehicle tax is prorated for the portion of the year the vehicle is located in the County.

The Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration has a different mailing address to secure returns and supporting documentation with a document management service which the County utilizes for processing returns. The document management service receives, scan and secures the Business Tangible returns and documents are immediately available to the Department of Tax Administration electronically. This has increased efficiencies and the security of all confidential information provided.

Please be sure to mail your Business Tangible Personal Property Returns and supporting documentation by May 1 to:

County of Fairfax

Department of Tax Administration

PO Box 529

Southampton, Pa 18966-0529

Please email us at dtappdbusiness@fairfaxcounty.gov or call us at 703-222-8234, option 4, with any questions.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant