Commissioner of Revenue

Information For New Businesses


Download the "Opening a New Business in Arlington County" brochure (2.21 MB PDF)


You must secure your Certificate of Occupancy (or Home Occupation Permit for home-based businesses) from the Zoning Office and register your business trade name with the Commissioner of Revenue Office prior to securing your new business license.

We STRONGLY ENCOURAGE any new business owner or a representative from any new local business office to contact one of our Business Tax Specialists by telephone at 703-228-3060; by email; or in person.  The Office of the Commissioner of Revenue is located on the 2nd floor of 2100 Clarendon Boulevard.  You will find the Business Tax Division in Suite 208.  

Please let us welcome you and help you get started fully informed about your rights and responsibilities as a part of the Arlington business community.

GUIDELINES FOR VENDORS IN ARLINGTON COUNTY  click here for complete information


In late 2009, the office of the Commissioner of Revenue began processing Trade Name Registrations and at the Business Division Counter, Suite 208, 2100 Clarendon Boulevard. The addition of this convenience for our business customers is yet another step in our continuing effort to provide the highest quality of customer service.  For additional information or to begin the process of searching, registering, or dissolving a Trade Name, please click here.  If you have any questions, please contact our office at 703-228-3060 or by email.

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All corporations and limited partnerships conducting business in Virginia must register with the State Corporation Commission. To register or to incorporate contact:

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All new businesses must file a request for a Certificate of Occupancy or a Home Occupation Permit with the Zoning Administrator of the Department of Community Planning, Housing, and Development. This needs to be done before applying for a business license. For additional information contact:

  • Department of Community Planning, Housing, and Development
    Zoning Division
    2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 810
    Arlington, Virginia 22201

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Every employer is required to have a federal employer identification number. To apply for the number, file Federal Form SS-4, which can be obtained from any Internal Revenue Office. For additional information contact:

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Business License Tax

The Commissioner of Revenue assesses Arlington County business privilege license taxes on business conducted in Arlington County, including home-based businesses. In all cases where a person begins a business at any time after January 1 of any year, such license tax and fee are due and payable when such person begins business. It is unlawful to engage in any business without first obtaining a business license.

Business Tangible Personal Property Tax

Arlington County levies a tax on all tangible personal property located in Arlington on January 1 and used in a trade or business. This includes items such as furniture, fixtures, machinery, tools, and programmable computer equipment. Businesses must itemize personal property and/or equipment, giving its date of acquisition and original purchase price. You must file a return by May 1; payment, beginning in 2010, is due by September 5. Business tangible personal property tax is not prorated if you should cease business during the year.

For additional information contact:

  • Commissioner of Revenue
    2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 208
    Arlington, Virginia 22201

Other Business Taxes

The following taxes are levied on industry specific activities:

  • Short-Term Rental Tax applies to certain rental businesses such as video rental stores.
  • Transient Occupancy Tax applies to hotel, motel, or tourist home room or space rentals.
  • Meals, Food, and Beverage Tax must be charged by a seller for prepared foods sold in Arlington.

For additional information contact:

  • Commissioner of Revenue
    2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 208
    Arlington, Virginia 22201

Vehicle Personal Property Tax

You must file a vehicle personal property return and purchase a windshield decal within 60 days of moving a vehicle into Arlington or purchasing a vehicle that will be located in Arlington or transferring the title of a vehicle located in Arlington. The annual vehicle personal property tax is due on October 5.

Vehicles are assessed at their fair market value. For automobiles, the average loan value in the NADA used car guide is used in most cases. Owners are taxed for the portion of the year that their vehicles are located in Arlington. For additional information contact:

  • Commissioner of Revenue
    2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 218
    Arlington, Virginia 22201

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Commercial establishments are required by County Code to:

  • Establish and maintain a recycling program to recycle the following materials: Mixed paper – Cardboard - Metal cans - Aluminum cans - Glass - Metal items (The recycling collection system must be separate from trash/refuse collection.)
  • File a Commercial Recycling Plan form upon receiving a Certificate of Occupancy (within 30 days).
  • Submit an updated Commercial Recycling Plan form by February 1st of every third year.
  • Disseminate educational materials to inform employees and business tenants about the program upon hire/occupancy and annually thereafter.

Commercial Recycling Plan forms and instructions are available at .

For additional information contact:

  • Department of Environmental Services
    2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 900
    Arlington, Virginia 22201

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The Arlington County Police Department requests new business owners to complete an "After Hours Emergency Contact Card" so they may contact you in the event of a fire, burglary, or other problem at your commercial business location after normal working hours. 

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Any employer who has three or more regular employees is required to furnish workers' compensation insurance coverage at no cost to the employees. The employer may either purchase the insurance through a private insurance company or apply to the Workers' Compensation Commission to be a self-insurer. Click here for additional information specific to Contractors and Subcontractors.

For additional general information contact:

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The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) exercises a monopoly over the importation and sale of all alcoholic beverages except beer and wine. The Board also issues licenses for the manufacture of liquor, the wholesaling of beer and wine, the sale of beer and wine, and the retail sale of spirits by the drink. For additional information contact:

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Contractors must register with both of the following:

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The landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enacted on July 26, 1990, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation. If a business serves the public, it must be aware of the employment and public accommodation provisions of this law. Technical assistance and information is available by calling the Arlington County Office for Persons with Physical Disabilities. For additional information contact:

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Individual Income Tax

The state income tax is based on the federal income tax return. The Commissioner of Revenue provides assistance to Arlington taxpayers in filing individual state income tax returns. For additional information contact:

  • Commissioner of Revenue
    2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 210
    Arlington, Virginia 22201

Partnership and Corporate Income Tax and Employees' Income Tax Withholding

These are state taxes that all businesses should investigate.

Retail Sales Tax

Every individual, partnership, corporation, etc., engaging in business as a retail dealer in Virginia must register with the State Department of Taxation. They must also collect the retail sales tax, file reports, and pay taxes either monthly or quarterly, depending upon the volume of business. For additional information contact:

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Both the state of Virginia and the federal government levy taxes on employees' wages. The employer pays the state tax into a state fund from which unemployment benefits are paid. For additional information contact:

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Contact the Internal Revenue Service at the address and telephone number below to ask for a business tax kit.

Employee Taxes

Employers are required to withhold Social Security (FICA) taxes from the wages of employees and are responsible for the taxes whether or not they have been collected. Employers are also required to withhold income taxes at the request of the employee.

Unemployment Tax

This Tax, known as FUTA, is assessed only on the employer. Annual tax returns must be filed.

Individual, Partnership, and Corporate Income Tax

Individual (for sole proprietor, Schedule C), partnership, and corporate income taxes must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

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AED publishes a detailed guide to starting a new business in Arlington. They also hold seminars in both English and Spanish for those considering small business ventures. For a more detailed guide to starting a business or additional information contact:

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Last Modified: April 09, 2014
2100 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington, VA 22201 Tel: 703-228-3000 TTY: 703-228-4611