Starting a Business Step 3: Legal Obligations

Select a Structure

Every business needs a legal structure. Examples include: Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company, Corporation, or Non-Profit. Please consult with business advisors to determine which structure is in your best interest and register your business as appropriate.

  • Sole Proprietorships and General Partnerships are registered at the Circuit Court.
  • Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, Corporations and Non-Profits must be registered through the State Corporation Commission. Franchises also may need to be registered with the State Corporation Commission.

For any questions about any state requirements, visit Virginia’s Business One-Stop or call the Virginia Business Hotline at 804-786-6585.

Register Trade Name or Fictitious Name

If your business operates under a trade name or a fictitious name, that name must be registered in the Circuit Court in each jurisdiction in which you do business. Businesses using the name that is registered with the SCC are not required to file a trade name certificate at the county level. 

Get Your Professional Licenses

As part of the county's permitting process, you may be required to demonstrate that you have your required professional license. Some professions are also regulated by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR).

Business-Specific Licenses & Permits

Depending on your business type, there may be other Fairfax County permits, licenses or taxes required.


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