All business and professional operations must purchase a business license before commencing operation in the City of Harrisonburg, including home based businesses. Licenses expire December 31st of each year, however; businesses have until March 1st of the next year to renew their license.
In order to obtain a Harrisonburg City Business License, you must have a definite place of business. A definite place of business is an office or location where a regular and continuous course of dealing occurs. Generally, under the Code of Virginia, the gross receipts of a contractor are attributed to the definite place where its services are performed. In the City of Harrisonburg, zoning laws may prohibit your business from operating at certain locations, such as a residence. The address for your business must be approved by the zoning personnel in the Department of Community Development.
Any person, partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability company, or corporation using a name which does not identify the owner of the business must register a fictitious name with the State Corporation Commission. Registering this name does not prevent your business name from being used by any other business. It is done to assist the public by providing information as to the person with whom the public will be dealing. There is a fee to register this name.
Due Date: March 1
The due date for renewing your Harrisonburg business license is March 1. It must be paid for on or before March 1 to avoid any late fees. If March 1 falls on a weekend, the following Monday shall be the due date. We will also accept as timely any renewals that are sent by mail with a post mark on or before the due date. The penalty for being late is 10% of the cost of the license.
Cost of Business License:
The cost of the business license requires an estimate for the first partial and the subsequent first full calendar year of operation in the City. Those estimates will be adjusted (+ or -) for actual gross receipts at renewal. Although the first two years of operation require an estimate of gross receipts, in reality the business is taxed on actual gross receipts since adjustments are made at the renewal time during the estimation phase. For all subsequent years, the license is based solely on the prior year actual gross receipts.
Starting in 2006, the City of Harrisonburg is employing a tier system for gross receipts $50,000 and less:
$10,000 or under in gross receipts = $0 (However, a license IS still required, even though there is no fee)
$10,001 - $25,000 = $25 fee
$25,001 - $50,000 = $50 fee
If, however, the estimate is greater than $50,000, a tax rate will be applied to your estimate. There are different rates for different types of businesses as follows:
Contractors - 16¢ per $100 gross receipts
Retail - 20¢ per $100 gross receipts
Repair, Personal and Business Services - 20¢ per $100 gross receipts
Financial, Real Estate and Professional Services - 58¢ per $100 gross receipts
Wholesale business $30 for first $1000 plus 17¢ per $100 gross receipts above $1000 ($50,000 threshold does not apply)
Some types of businesses (such as contractors, restaurants, beauty and nail salons, health spas, etc.) require inspection/licensure from other agencies such as the Health Department or Fire Department, or from state agencies, such as the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation before a City of Harrisonburg license can be issued.
Business License Applications:
To facilitate the application process, please bring with you the following information and documents:
*Note: Interactive fillable forms may not show up properly in all browsers. If you experience problems viewing a PDF with form fields, simply save the PDF file to your computer (right click the link then select "Save target as"/"Save link as") and open it using Adobe Reader. If the fillable application does not work you can download the [3.19MB] Nonfillable Business License Application and complete by hand. Please contact the office if you cannot either application to load.
If you need to renew an existing business license, please contact the Commissioner of the Revenue office at 540-432-7704.
Contractors, if you need a copy of the Workers' Compensation Form, you may download it here:
[347KB] Workers' Compensation Form Effective January 1, 2017; the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission is requiring that all contractors file their Workers' Compensation Forms 61A online at webfile.workcomp.virginia.gov/portal/vwc-portal/Form61A. The contractor will receive an immediate certificate that needs to be shown to the City for the business license to be issued or renewed. If you do not own a computer, the Commission is allowing a paper form to be mailed to them at Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission, 1000 DMV Drive, Richmond, VA 23220. A certificate will be mailed to you about two weeks after received by the Commission. Note: Fillable forms may not show up properly in all browsers. If you experience problems viewing a PDF with form fields, simply save the PDF file to your computer (right click the link then select "Save target as"/"Save link as") and open it using Adobe Reader.
If you will be using a fictitious name or trade name, effective January 1, 2020, you need to register with the Office of the Clerk of the Commission (State Corporation Commission). Information on the fictitious name can be found at https://scc.virginia.gov/clk/befaq/fict.aspx
If you own a business, you are also required to file a business tangible personal property return by March 31st (except if the date falls on the weekend or holiday, then it is the next business day). You can download that form here:
You must be able to provide us with the following:
- Tax identification number (Social Security Number - SSN or Federal Employer Identification Number - FEIN)
- Home Occupation Permit or Homestay & Short-Term Rental Annual Registration (Contact Zoning Administrator at 540-432-7700)
- Corporate Charter (if applicable)
- Fictitious Name Registration (Fee involved - Contact State Corporation Commission at 804-371-9733 or toll free in Virginia at 1-866-722-2551)
- Permits, if applicable, i.e. Health Department, Fire Department, etc.
- Estimate of gross receipts through December 31
For additional information about business licenses, please contact the Commissioner of the Revenue Office at 540-432-7704 or stop by their office located on the first floor of City Hall at:
409 South Main Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22801-3610
Out of Business
If the business has ceased operations in the City, please complete the form: [150KB] Out of Business Form.
Pursuant to the provisions of Virginia Code §58.1-3703.1(A)(5), any taxpayer assessed with a local business license tax as the result of an appealable event may apply within one (1) year from the last day of the tax year for which such assessment is made, or within one (1) year from the date of such appealable event to the Commissioner of the Revenue.
Read more about the application process: [120KB] Administrative Appeals Process for Business License Assessment.