Apply For A Business License Portsmouth, Virginia

I live in Portsmouth and would like a business license. What do I need to know?

In many cities in Virginia, business license applicants are permitted to apply by mail or in person. Portsmouth, however, requires that applicants apply in person only. This is to reduce any possible errors in the application process and to increase efficiency. Likewise, the application is not available online. The City of Portsmouth, for the ease of prospective business owners has created a useful checklist that contains all of the critical items associated with a business license.

The checklist helps to ensure that everything that must be researched is done so before you are at the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office. This checklist can be located at When on the website page, look in the middle of the screen. Click on the second box down from the top, entitled“Commissioner of Revenue”, you will find the “Business License Application Checklist.” When you go to the City Hall to apply ensure that you have a valid DMV-issued driver’s license or photo I.D. If you are paying by check have multiple checks on your person as each fee requires separate checks. You may also pay via credit card. According to the City of Portsmouth, you may pay approximately $100.00 or less for the various fees such as the Business License Tax, Zoning Fees, Inspections Fees, etc. Once you are at the City Hall, you will have one-on-one assistance from a government representative who will instruct you what must be done per your business’ specifications.

Sometimes certain areas are not zoned for business. How can I find out if mine is?

The City of Portsmouth’s Planning Department advises which locations are permitted for business. All prospective business owners must have a Zoning Clearance Approval when applying for a business license. Before you go to the City Hall building, have written documentation of the location of your business such as a lease. The Zoning Clearance Approval fee is $15.00, depending on the type of inspection and the location there may be other inspection fees. For details visit the office at the City Hall Building, 801 Crawford Street, Portsmouth, VA, 23704, 4th Floor or call (757) 393-8836.

I will have a business that is a food service. Do I need any permits?

Any businesses that involve food services, barbering, or beauty and health care facilities may require permitting. It is recommended that you contact the City Health Department, located at 1701 High Street, Portsmouth, VA, 23704. The office phone number is (757) 393-8585.

When applying for a business license, at what point should I obtain a Federal Tax I.D. Number?

The City of Portsmouth suggests that as soon as you submit your application along with the required fee and a copy of a valid photo I.D., you should place your first call to the Internal Revenue Service for detailed information. Their phone number is (800) 829-1040.

I still have additional questions. Who can I contact?

If you still have further questions regarding the licensing of a business within the city limits of Portsmouth, contact the Commissioner of the Revenue, Business License Tax Department, 801 Crawford Street, Portsmouth, VA, 23704. The office phone number is (757) 393-8714. The fax number is (757) 393-8604.

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