Virginia Cleaning Business Start-up Laws

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This article provides three key state business startup requirements for self-employed sole proprietors and general partners who run residential house cleaning businesses. Information from the Secretary of State, the Virginia Department of Taxation and selected city and county government sources were used to research this article.

Be aware that sole proprietor and general partner startup requirements in this state are always changing. Some requirements even vary from county to county.  It is important that you call or visit your local county or city government to find out local requirements for residential house cleaning businesses and home-based businesses. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal or tax advice.

Business Name Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners who want a business name that does not include the owner(s) full names (for example, Janice Smith’s Cleaning Service or Martha Harris’ and Tom Graham’s Maid Service) need to find out whether the name they want to use is available in the state. Start with a statewide corporate business name search to avoid legal problems and customer confusion.

Then do an online search for names similar to the one you plan to use. For example, if you want to use the name, Crystal Clean Maid Service, do simple Google searches for “Crystal Clean Maid Service+Virginia” plus Crystal Clean Maid Service+your county” and “Crystal Clean Maid Service+your town or city”. Search beyond the first page of results. Go at least five pages deep into the search results to see if the name you want or similar names are being used in your state, county or city.

Sole proprietors and general partners are required to file a Fictitious Name Certificate with the county Circuit Court Clerk’s Office in the Virginia county (or counties) where the Fictitious business name will be used. The county Circuit Court Clerk’s Office can provide certified or attested copies of the Fictitious Name Certificate for a fee, so be sure to request a couple of certified copies, one for the bank and one for your business records.   Find a County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office in Virginia.

In the state of Virginia, filing a Fictitious Name Certificate does not guarantee a business sole rights to the use of that name. Other businesses in the county and state may also register the same assumed name. Registered businesses are expected to legally defend their trade names.

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Business License Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners do not have to apply for a business license with the state of Virginia. Residential house cleaning businesses should check with the local city or county clerk’s office for licensing requirements.

Virginia provides an online business resource portal, the Business One Stop to help new and established businesses.

In Virginia, a general partnership is created when two or more owners form an oral or written agreement to start a business together. General partners are not required to file any documents with the State Corporation Commission (SCC). It is advisable for general partners to file a Fictitious Name Certificate or DBA in the county where the business is based plus a Statement Of Partnership Authority (Form UPA-93). A written partnership agreement drawn up by a lawyer is important for both or all partners. Partnership agreements do not have to be filed with the state.

Sole proprietors and general partners may apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS even if they do not plan to hire employees. Getting an EIN may make it easier to open a bank account and reduce your risk of identity theft. You can apply for an EIN online. In addition, some business registration forms will require a NAICS business classification number for the house cleaning industry.

Business Tax Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners must register for a tax account with the Virginia Department of Taxation.

Residential house cleaning services are not taxable in the state of Virginia. Cleaning businesses do not have to collect and send sales taxes to the Virginia Department of Taxation.

Sole proprietors and general partners must pay taxes on the business income they earn through individual state income tax returns. Sole proprietors and general partners are responsible for paying estimated self-employment income taxes in Virginia (on Form 760ES) similar to the way self employment taxes are paid to the federal government. Get more information about estimated tax requirements by calling the Virginia Department of Taxation at (804) 367-8031, Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 5pm

Virginia general partnerships that file a Federal partnership information Form 1065, may need to file state income tax Form 502. Get more information from a CPA or qualified tax preparer to find out if your partnership must file those returns.

Selected Virginia City Licenses

Alexandria Business License:

Chesapeake Business License:

Hampton/Hamn Business License:

Newport News Business License:

Norfolk Business License:

Richmond Business License:

Roanoke Business License:

Virginia Beach Business License:

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