Business Licenses & Taxes
The City of Williamsburg requires all persons doing business and maintaining a definite place of business in the city, including but not limited to an office, retail space or other location, leased or otherwise, or who are a resident in the city, and such residence shall be deemed a definite place of business, to obtain a business license prior to beginning business. The Williamsburg mailing address encompasses three localities: the City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County. You may need to check the city street listing to see if your residence or business is/will be located within the city limits.
Once a business has a license in the City of Williamsburg, it must be renewed each year on or before March 1st, or the account closed in writing. Non-filers are subject to administrative assessments. Code of the City of Williamsburg Section 18-336 through 380.
The tax is based upon the gross receipts of the business and assessed at the following rates:
- Contractors - $0.16 per $100
- Professional Services - $0.58 per $100
- Other Services (Business Service, Personal Service, Repair) - $0.36 per $100
- Retail Sales - $0.20 per $100
- Wholesale Sales - $0.05 per $100
The minimum fee for the issuance of a business license is $30. For a new business, including a business newly located in the City of Williamsburg, the first two years of license tax is based on the business’s reasonable estimate of expected gross receipts. This estimate will be corrected to actual in the second and third years, with either a credit or a supplemental billing. In the third year and every later year, the tax is based on prior year actual gross receipts.
Note: not all business categories are listed above; reference the Code of the City of Williamsburg Section 18-336 through 380 for additional information. Non-profit organizations conducting a business activity must submit a Supplement for Non-Profit Organizations form, in addition to a BPOL application. Additional information is also available on specific requirements for short-term rentals (i.e. Airbnb) and food trucks.
For your convenience, applications and forms are available online or at the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office. Note: more than one application or form may apply to your business. Please review the Guidelines for Business License Applicants. For additional information, contact our office at 757-220-6150.
Alcohol License Taxes
In addition to the state alcoholic beverage license taxes provided for in the Code of Virginia, the city imposes license taxes on local wine and beer licensees and mixed beverages. Reference the Code of the City of Williamsburg Section 18-382 through 383 for additional information.
Out-of-area state licensed contractors performing work in the city may need a City of Williamsburg business license. They must obtain a business license prior to beginning work, unless calendar year gross receipts are expected to be below $25,000. However, once a contractor has a business license in the City of Williamsburg, it must be renewed by March 1st annually, or the account closed in writing. Non-filers are subject to administrative assessments.
Other Licensing Requirements
A local business license is a revenue, not a regulatory license. Depending on the trade or profession, a license may also be required from the Department of Occupational Regulation (DPOR), the Department of Health Professions (DHP), the Virginia Board of Medicine or other professional board.
Business Personal Property Tax
Tangible personal property (other than motor vehicles, trailers, boats or aircraft) used or available for use in a trade or business is subject to local taxation as business personal property. This includes everything used in the operation of the business not considered inventory, such as:
- Point of Sales System
Returns are due May 1st , for property in use as of January 1st of a tax year. Business personal property is valued at 30% of the original cost.
- $3.50 per $100
Machinery & Tools
Machinery and Tools is equipment used or available for use by a manufacturer in the production of goods. Returns are due May 1st, for equipment in use as of January 1st of a tax year. Machinery and Tools are valued at 30% of the original cost.
- $3.50 per $100