While business licensing requirements vary from state to state, some of the more common types are listed below.
Business licenses: A state business license is the main document required for tax purposes and conducting other basic business functions. Many states have established small business assistance agencies to help small businesses comply with state requirements.
Occupations and professions: State licenses are frequently required for occupations as varied as building contractors, physicians, appraisers, accountants, barbers, real estate agents, auctioneers, private investigators, private security guards, funeral directors, bill collectors, and cosmetologists. Since you can’t always guess which occupations and professions are licensed by your state, you should always check with your state licensing authorities.
Licenses based on products sold: Some state licensing requirements are based on the product sold. For example, most states require special licenses to sell liquor, lottery tickets, gasoline, or firearms. Contact your state licensing authorities to determine the licensing requirements of your business.
Tax registration: If the state in which you operate has a state income tax, you’ll have to register and obtain an employer identification number from your state Department of Revenue or Treasury Department. If you’re engaging in retail sales, you will need to obtain a sales tax license.
Trade name registration: If your business will only be operated in your local community, registering your company name with the state may be sufficient.
Employer registrations: If you have any employees, you’ll probably be required to make unemployment insurance contributions. For more information, contact your state Department of Revenue or Department of Labor.
In Virginia, the Department of Business Assistance has created a convenient online system that will create a list of required registrations, licenses, and permits for your business at http://www.vdba.virginia.gov/.