Step 3: License & Taxes

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BizEX: Starting a Business Guide

Your business may have tax obligations to the federal government, the Commonwealth of Virginia and Fairfax County. Please consult a tax specialist to determine what your obligations are. Refer to Step 1: Plan and Research for business counselors who can help you understand these requirements and connect you to resources. 


Most businesses need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, which is used to identify a business entity. EINs are issued by the IRS.


Sales tax is reported and paid to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

  • Virginia cities and counties levy a 1 percent sales and use tax.
  • Localities that make up both the Northern Virginia, which includes Fairfax County, and Hampton Roads regions levy an additional 0.7 percent sales and use tax for transportation. This tax is collected at the point of sale and at the same time as the state's 4.3 percent sales and use tax, for a total of 6.0 percent.

The Virginia Department of Taxation uses Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) codes to identify where a business is located and where their sales take place. FIPS codes are a standardized set of numeric codes to ensure uniform identification of geographic entities such as cities, counties, and towns. Use the Virginia Department of Taxation's FIPS Lookup tool to determine your correct code.


Fairfax County

Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL)

All businesses with a physical location in Fairfax Countyincluding home-based businessesmust have a business license called a Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL). 

File for BPOL within 75 days of beginning operations in Fairfax County. Failure to register within 75 days will result in a 10% late filing penalty. Businesses registered with DTA in the previous year will receive a renewal application in the mail each January.

Obtaining your official BPOL license can take 4-6 weeks. For Fairfax County’s purposes, the receipt that you have filed is sufficient to meet the requirement. If you need a temporary BPOL certificate, contact the Department of Tax Administration at 703-222-8234, Option 4, or

Business owners must renew their BPOL License each year.

Business-Specific Licenses & Permits

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

BizEX: Starting a Business Guide

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