Business License Tax

Newport News Business License Tax
City of Newport News Code of Ordinances §23.

§58.1-3700 of the Code of Virginia determines which business activities are required to obtain a business license, also known as a Business, Professional, and Occupational License (BPOL) tax.

Most BPOL taxes are based on the gross receipts earned by a business in the previous year. The tax rate varies according to the type of the business.

New Businesses

New businesses must apply for a license prior to beginning business and pay the tax or fee within 30 days of the start of business. See Required Forms below.

For most new businesses, the business owner estimates the gross receipts for the first year of operation. At the end of the calendar year, tax paid using an estimated gross receipts amount as the basis for the tax, will require adjusting the estimated gross receipts to reflect the actual gross receipts for the year. This adjustment may generate an additional tax liability or a refund.

All persons or entities conducting business in the City must contact the Codes Compliance Department to determine if a Certificate of Use and Occupancy is required.

Contractors should contact the Codes Compliance Department for bonding and permit information.

The Department of Development publishes a booklet, Starting a Business in the City of Newport News, that may be helpful to new business owners.

Renewals & Quarterly Payments
Licenses expire at the end of each calendar year, and must be renewed by March 1.

Auto Dealers are currently the only business activity permitted to elect a quarterly payment method for the business license tax.
Quarter due dates are as follows:
  • 1st Quarter (January 1 – March 31) - Due Date April 20
  • 2nd Quarter (April 1 – June 30) - Due Date July 20
  • 3rd Quarter (July 1 – September 30) - Due Date October 20
  • 4th Quarter (October 1 – December 31) - Due Date January 20
Required Forms
All persons or entities conducting business in the City must complete a Business Classification Information (BCI) Form (PDF), which will aide in classifying the business, and determining the tax liabilities. Make checks payable to the City of Newport News, for all business license tax payments.

Certificates, permits, or licenses from other State and City agencies may be required for some business activities before a business license will be issued. (e.g. Health permit, State contractor license, cosmetology license, etc.)

Businesses operating with a trade name must register the trade name with the Clerk Of Courts office or with the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office while applying for a business license. The charge to register a trade name is $10. Make checks payable to Gary S. Anderson, Clerk of Courts.

Non-Profit organizations conducting a business activity must submit a Business Classification Information Supplement for Non-Profit Organizations (PDF) in addition to a BCI (PDF).

Corporations, Limited Liability Corporations, and General Partnerships are required to complete a List of Partners Form (PDF).

All Contractors must complete a Workers’ Compensation Form (PDF) and provide a list of all subcontractors (PDF) each tax year.

Renewal applications and all associated forms are automatically mailed to all businesses on file the last week of December.

For businesses with more than one location, all applicable documents must be submitted for each location.

Processing Time
The time required to determine the various tax liabilities depends upon the amount of information needed or research required to make a final determination. The more common business activities require approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour once a business classification determination has been made by the Business License Tax and the Business Related Tax representatives.
Classification Appeals
Pursuant to the Code of Virginia §58.1-3703.1(A)(5) taxpayers are provided with an option to, at any time, file an administrative appeal of the classification applicable to the taxpayer's business.

Any appeal of the classification of the business will not affect or change any limitations period prescribed by law for appealing an assessment.

Review classification appeal procedures for instructions on how to submit an appeal.

For assistance with business license tax, please call the Business License Department at 757-926-8651.