Business License Tax

Per Chapter 11 of the Arlington County Code, the Commissioner of Revenue licenses and assesses a business license tax on every business in Arlington, including home-based businesses and accessory home-stay rentals (Air BnB, etc.) for individuals renting or leasing houses, apartments, part of their own residences, or other types of dwellings, including vacation and transient rentals.

Businesses must submit a business license return, and make any payment required by 11:59 p.m. on March 1 of each year.  All businesses are strongly encouraged to file and pay online via CAPP, the Customer Assessment and Payment Portal.

Business license taxes are usually based on a business’s previous year’s gross receipts.

  • Businesses having less than $10,000 in gross receipts owe no tax.
  • Businesses grossing between $10,001 and $50,000 pay a flat fee of $30.00.
  • Businesses grossing between $50,001 and $100,000 pay a flat fee of $50.00.
  • Businesses with gross receipts in excess of $100,000 will utilize a tax rate dependent on their business activities to determine the tax due.

Qualified Technology Businesses

The Arlington County Board has determined that certain classes of high technology businesses, as defined by Chapter 66 of the Arlington County Code, may qualify for reduced tax rates.  If a company believes it qualifies for those reduced rates, they should apply via the CAPP, the Customer Assessment and Payment Portal. 

Instructions:

1.  Sign up for CAPP.

2.  Once logged into your account, click "Business License".

3.  In the top right hand corner, find "I Want To".

4.  Click on "Apply Qualified Technology Business".

Peddlers, Itinerant Vendors, Beer and Wine wholesalers, and Others

Although there are special situations where flat fees apply, such as for peddlers, itinerant vendors, beer and wine wholesalers, and a few other occupations, the reporting basis for most taxpayers is the previous year’s gross receipts for each business.  Please call the Business Tax Division at 703-228-3060 for questions.

COVID-19 Taxable Gross Receipts

Pursuant to Va. Code § 58.1-3732 (A)(4) and Virginia Administrative Code, extraordinary COVID-19 loans/grants such as Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, and AED’s Small Business Emergency GRANT program can be excluded from taxable gross receipts when filing your Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) tax returns. PPP loans that are not yet forgiven are expressly excluded from gross receipts for purposes of computing County BPOL; Tax Commissioner PD 21-12.

Administrative Appeals

Arlington County categorizes the various businesses subject to the business license tax into various classifications that determine the tax rate applicable to each type of business.  These classifications and rates are described in Chapter 11 of the county code.

If you believe that your business has been improperly assessed, you may file an administrative appeal with the Commissioner of Revenue.  The requirements and procedures for filing such an appeal are described here.

More information

  • The business of renting houses, apartments or other types of dwelling units means the renting of buildings or portions of buildings, each of which is designed for residential occupancy as a single dwelling unit. “Dwelling unit” means a room or rooms connected together, with independent kitchen and sleeping facilities.
  • All activities conducted by a business at one location will receive one Business License Renewal Return that includes all of those activities.
  • Businesses having more than one (1) location, even though under the same ownership, will receive a separate Business License Renewal Return for each location.
  • Each Business License Renewal Return is unique. If you lose or do not receive your Return, you will not be able to download a new form from our website. Instead, you will need to either file online or call our office at 703-228-3060 to request a new form.
  • Please call the Business Tax Division at 703-228-3060 with any questions.