How to Incorporate a Business in Virginia

By Stephanie Mojica

  • Overview

    Incorporating a business in Virginia is a fairly easy process that can be done independently, through a business that specializes in incorporating other companies or through an attorney. In recent years, due to simplified incorporation forms and wider access to downloadable forms, it has become far less popular for a standard company to use an attorney to become a corporation. By filling out a few simple papers and paying the appropriate fees, a business can become incorporated fairly quickly in Virginia.
    • Step 1

      Decide a name for your corporation. It usually ends in "Corporation" or "Incorporated" in the state of Virginia.
    • Step 2

      Call the Virginia State Corporation Commission at (804) 371-9733 or (866) 722-2551 to ensure your desired corporation name is available. There is not a way to check corporate names online in Virginia at this time.

    • Step 3

      Visit the Virginia State Corporation Commission website noted in the Resources section below. Under "Business Entities" and "Forms and Fees," download the forms and instructions required to incorporate a business in Virginia. Most businesses want to become a non-stockholding corporation.
    • Step 4

      Fill out the required forms, paying special attention to "Application for Reservation or for Renewal of Reservation of Corporate Name" and "Articles of Incorporation." For answers to general questions about incorporating a business, you can download a free "Business Registration Guide" from the Commonwealth of Virginia (see Resources.)
    • Step 5

      Mail the forms and the required fees. A money order is the fastest method of payment. As of 2009, Virginia charges $10 to reserve or renew a corporate name and $75 to incorporate a non-stockholding business. A stockholding corporation requires payment of a $25 filing fee plus $50 to $2,025 charter fees, depending on how many shares of stock will be available in the company. Full details on the fees can be accessed on the Virginia State Corporation Commission website under "Corporation Charter/Entrance Fee Schedule." You will receive your corporate papers within 30 days.
    • Step 6

      Hire a company to incorporate your business for you as an alternative. There are links to a couple of popular businesses that specialize in incorporating other companies in the Resources section. The typical fees are about $100 on top of state fees, and many of these firms can get your corporate documents within 1 week or less.
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Tip: As a Virginia corporation, you must secure an Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and also file annual reports and renewal of your corporate name with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
    • Warning:
    • Seek advice on the tax benefits of incorporating your company in Virginia from an attorney or accountant, if needed, since state offices will not help with such questions.

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