Business License Tax

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General Information and Terms
The Commissioner of the Revenue assesses all businesses operating within the City of Fairfax for the privilege of conducting their business in the City. All businesses operating in the City of Fairfax must apply for an annual license with the Commissioner of the Revenue. Business license taxes are levied annually and are typically based on a business’s gross receipts. All new businesses must submit an application within 30 days of the start of operations. All business licenses expire at the end of each calendar year and must be renewed annually by March 1

Filing and Payment Procedures
It is the duty for every person operating a new business, profession or trade in the City of Fairfax to file an Application for City of Fairfax Business License and Instructions within 30 days of the start of operations. Existing businesses, professions or trade must renew their Business Licenses annually and remit taxes due to the Commissioner of the Revenue on or before March 1 of each calendar year.

How to Obtain a Business License
Obtaining a business license in the City of Fairfax is usually a two-step process.

Step 1: Is your business a properly registered business?

In order to receive a City of Fairfax business license you may first need to register your business. If your business is a Corporation or Limited Partnership, all such organizations conducting business in the Commonwealth of Virginia must register with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. To incorporate your business in Virginia, you must file articles of incorporation and amendments with the: 

Virginia State Corporation Commission
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23209
(800) 522-7945 or (804) 371-9733

If your business is a General Partnership or you wish to use a trade name you must register with:

Clerk of the Circuit Court
Fairfax County
4110 Chain Bridge Road
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 246-4100

Step 2: Have you obtained zoning approval and complied with all city occupancy and uses codes?

All businesses in the City of Fairfax must obtain zoning approval and a Non-Residential or Minor Home Occupancy Permit permit before being issued a license or conducting business. The zoning approval insures that the business you wish to conduct is appropriate for the location you have selected.

If you need assistance contact:
Community Development and Planning
zoning@fairfaxva.gov
City of Fairfax
10455 Armstrong Street
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 385-7820 

Most businesses in the City of Fairfax will need to have their commercial space inspected by the Fire Marshall. Some businesses, handling combustible materials or those, which act as places of assembly, will need to obtain a Fire Prevention Certificate (FPC). For Fire Prevention Certificates contact: 

Department of Fire Department Services
Building and Fire Code Administration
City of Fairfax
10455 Armstrong Street
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 385-7847

Computation of Tax
Businesses in the City of Fairfax are taxed on either their gross receipts or a flat rate basis or both. Most businesses are taxed based on gross receipts. The BPOL tax rate is established annually by the City Council for each business category. Calculate your business tax by using the Business Calculator for all tax rates and business categories. To calculate the tax due multiply the tax rate per $100 of gross receipts.

New Businesses
Every person beginning a new business, profession or trade in the City of Fairfax must submit an application within 30 days of the start of operations. In addition new business taxpayers are required to estimate the gross receipts that their business will generate for the taxable year which they began business. The current year’s BPOL tax is computed on this estimate. This estimate is then adjusted when the license is renewed the following year using the business’ actual gross receipts. If the taxpayer has overestimated gross receipts, then a credit is issued on the BPOL tax for the upcoming year. If the taxpayer has underestimated gross receipts, then that amount is immediately due and added to the BPOL tax for the taxable year. Refer to the Business License Tax Schedule.

Existing Businesses
Once established each existing business, profession, or trade within the City of Fairfax must file an annual license renewal and pay the BPOL tax by March 1. Most businesses in the city are taxed based on gross receipts, however some businesses are taxed on a flat rate basis. Refer to the Business License Tax Rate Schedule.

Record-keeping and Audits
All persons engaged in business, profession of trades in the City of Fairfax shall keep sufficient records to enable the Commissioner of the Revenue to verify the correctness of tax due. All records, books of accounts and other information pertaining to a business in the City of Fairfax shall be open to inspection and examination by the Commissioner of the Revenue to enable the Commissioner of the Revenue to ascertain and verify the appropriate amount of tax due.

Failure to File
Any person that engages in a business in the City of Fairfax without first obtaining a license shall, upon conviction thereof, be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. Any person who fails to file obtain a license and pay the tax in the manner prescribed, there shall be added to the tax due a penalty of ten (10) percent thereof, plus interest. Furthermore, the Commissioner of the Revenue shall proceed, in a manner he may deem best, to assess against such person failing or refusing file the tax due plus penalty and interest.

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