Finance Services

    Below you will find a list of quick access services and resources that residents and businesses in Richmond utilize most often from the Department of Finance.

    Business Licenses 

    Owners of businesses within the Richmond city limits are required to obtain a Richmond business license annually. The business license identifies the business and serves as base for imposing business taxes.

    New businesses in the city must obtain a license within 30 days of the date of opening.

    Before you make the business license renewal, you must obtain your "Certificate of Zoning Compliance". Contact Planning and Development Review for more information.

    Business Licenses Key Resources

    Steps to Obtaining and Renewing Business Licenses 

    If the Business Is New In the Current Calendar Year:
    Basis: Indicate estimate of expected gross receipts (fees, contracts, earnings, etc.,) from date business opened to December 31st.

    If the Business Began on or before January 15th of the Prior Calendar Year:
    Basis: Indicate actual gross receipts (fees, contracts, earnings, etc.) from the date the business opened to December 31st.

    If the Business Began After January 15th of the Prior Calendar Year:
    Basis: Indicate estimate of expected gross receipts (fees, contracts, earnings, etc.) for the current calendar year.

    Calculating Total Tax:
    Enter the Total Gross Receipts in the Gross Receipts Column on the application form.

    Tax Calculation

    • If basis is less than $5,000, no tax or fee is due.
    • If basis is between $5,000 and $99,999.99, only $30.00 fee is due.
    • If basis is $100,000 or more, multiply basis by tax rate to determine amount due.

    The total tax or fee due will be calculated based on amount(s) recorded in the basis column.

    Payment:
    Return bottom portion of the application with your payment payable to the City of Richmond by March 1. The application must be signed in order for the license to be valid.

    Special Cases - Determining Gross Receipts:
    Wholesale Merchants may use purchases to determine gross receipts.

    Business Tax Rates and Flat Fees

    2019 Business License Tax Rates on Gross Receipts of $100,000 or More

    ServiceRate
    Professional Service$0.58 per $100
    Personal Service$0.36 per $100
    Retail Merchant$0.20 per $100
    Wholesale Merchant (Based on Purchases)$0.22 per $100
    Contractor (Certification Required)$0.19 per $100
    Repair Service$0.36 per $100
    Restaurant (Health Permit Required)$0.36 per $100

    Flat Rate Fees

    ServiceFlat Fee
    Beer & Wine$75
    Itinerant Merchant$500
    Peddlers*$300
    Sidewalk Vendors*$300

    * All Vendors must provide a current copy of Commercial Liability Insurance. The city of Richmond must be named as co-insured. All Food Vendors must provide a current copy of "Health Certificate." For all vendors located within the "Central Business District," please contact the Tax Enforcement Office prior to renewal at (804) 646-7000.

    Mixed Beverages - Flat Fee Based on Seating Capacity

    Seating CapacityFlat Fee
    1-100 Seats$200
    101-150 Seats$350
    Over 150 Seats$500

    Business License and Tax Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Do I need a license to operate my business in the City of Richmond?
    YES, in most cases any person, firm, corporation, LLC or other form of business entity is required to obtain a business license before they begin conducting business in the City of Richmond. For more detailed information regarding the activity in which you will be engaged and a determination concerning its taxable status, please contact our Assessment Office at 804-646-7000.

    When must I get a business license?
    A new business is required to obtain a business license prior to beginning business in the City. A business that is renewing its business license must do so before March 1.

    What is the cost of a business license?
    The cost of a business license depends on several factors: (1) the “gross receipts” of the business and (2) the nature of the business activity, or activities, in which the business is engaged.

    Gross ReceiptsBusiness License Cost
    $5,000 or less$0.00
    $5,001-$99,999$30 License Fee
    $100,000+Gross receipts x tax rate applicable to business type

    What are the types of business subject to the BPOL tax and what are the tax rates applicable to each one?
    The major business types are noted in the table below. However, there are other business types that have fixed rate licenses, including but not limited to, Beer & Wine and Mixed Beverage licenses, Itinerant Merchants, Peddlers & Sidewalk Vendors and Public Dance Halls. Fixed rate licenses may be in addition to the license applicable to one of the business types noted below.

    ServiceRate
    Professional Service$0.58 per $100
    Personal Service$0.36 per $100
    Retail Merchant$0.20 per $100
    Wholesale Merchant (Based on Purchases)$0.22 per $100
    Contractor (Certification Required)$0.19 per $100
    Repair Service$0.36 per $100
    Restaurant (Health Permit Required)$0.36 per $100

    What if my business is involved in more than one type of business activity?
    Each business location and each business activity is subject to the business license tax. A business engaged in more than one activity, e.g. retail and wholesale, may elect to report all of their receipts at the higher rate category instead of separating the receipts and reporting them by each individual category.

    What information do I need to have to apply for a business license?

    • Name in which business is to be licensed (licensee name): For example, ABC Corp., Jones Brothers LLC, Bob Jones (sole proprietor) or Smith and Jones (partnership).
    • Trade name of business, if different than name of licensee: Businesses operating under a name other than that of the licensee must register the business name with the Richmond
      • If the trade name is not registered with the court, we can only process the business license application in the name of the licensee.
    • Address where business is to be located: If there is a mailing address different than the business address, we will need the mailing address as well. Note: A business with multiple locations requires a business license for each location.
    • Type of business: Describe the nature of the business you will be conducting in the City of Richmond. The more accurately you describe the nature of your business, the more accurate we can be in establishing your business in the proper type and class for tax purposes.
    • ID number: Depending on the type of business, the ID number may be your Social Security number or a Federal EIN issued by the Internal Revenue Service.
    • Begin Business Date: The date on which the business started operating or will begin operating in the City of Richmond.
    • Business Entity Type: Individual, Partnership, Corporation, Other (LLC, LLP)
    • Zoning Certificate: We communicate with the Department of Planning and Development Review to ensure that anyone seeking to obtain a business license complies with the zoning laws in the City before we issue a business license. Virginia law also requires that we do this.
    • Contractors: You are required to complete the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance regulations before we issue you a business license. Any contractor who accepts a project of $1,000 or more must register with the State Board of Contractors. A city business license is not a substitute for the Virginia Contractor’s License. Note: A non-City contractor who performs work in excess of $25,000 during the calendar year is required to report those receipts and obtain a business license with the City of Richmond. Permit(s) Required – Depending on the nature of the business to be conducted, one or more of the following permits may also be required prior to the issuance of a business license:
      • Building Permits for Contractors:
        • Health Permit – Restaurants and other Vendors selling food to the public, etc
        • ABC License – Businesses selling alcoholic beverages that are required to obtain an ABC License from the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
        • Public Dance Hall Permit – Requires an application to the CAO and the payment of a separate, nonrefundable processing fee of $100.00, plus other information regarding the applicants, managers and others responsible for the operations of the public dance hall, prior to issuance of a business license.
    • Financial Data: Initially, most businesses must estimate their gross receipts for tax purposes. This is the amount of revenue you expect to earn from the begin business date to the end of the tax year, December 31. Until the business has been in business for a full calendar year, it will estimate the receipts for the second year as well.
    • Beginner’s Adjustments: Businesses that have estimated their gross receipts for business license tax purposes will report the actual receipts earned during the period of the estimate and either pay any additional tax that may be due, if the actual receipts are greater than the estimate, or receive a refund should the actual receipts be less than the estimate on which they based their tax payment.
    • Signature: Your signature on the application is necessary as you are attesting to the accuracy and truthfulness of the statements and information on the application.

    Other Useful Sources of Information Regarding Business Licensing and Taxes:

    Business Licenses (Peddler/Sidewalk Vendor)

    Steps to Acquiring a Peddler/Sidewalk Vendor License:

    1. Obtain approval for location if seeking to operate within the Central Business District.
    2. Obtain commercial “liability insurance” for vendor operations, with a minimum coverage of $300,000 (three hundred thousand) with the City of Richmond as co-insured (mandatory). Must provide copy of Certificate of Insurance (COI).
    3. A Health permit is required for food sales contact the Virginia Department of Health at 400 E Cary St., Richmond VA (804) 205-3500 for more information on obtaining a health certificate.
    4. Selling products such as ice cream, snow cones, smoothies contact the Virginia Department of Agriculture (804) 786-1452.
    5. Obtain a Virginia Tax Account-Virginia Department of Taxation. Hard copy available at 1957 Westmoreland St., Richmond VA. (January – May Only) www.state.va.us/tax (804) 367-8037 or year round at www.state.va.us/tax 804-786-1985 or 804-367-8037.
    6. A Federal tax identification number is required if you are not using your social security number. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) www.irs.gov (866) 816-2065.
    7. Filing of Certificate of Assumed Name & Partnerships John Marshall Court Building (Clerk of the Circuit Court). 400 North 9th St., Room 4 - Lower Level (804) 646-6530.
    8. A vendor license is $300.00; each additional stand/cart operating under the same license is $50.00. The license covers one calendar year January 1 to December 31. Renewals are due by March 01.
    9. After purchasing a license you will receive a plate (to be displayed on your cart/stand) while vending in the City of Richmond.
    10. To renew/apply for a vendor/peddlers license, the required documentation must be provided:
      • Valid insurance policy
      • Current health certificate
      • All meal taxes paid current
    11. Please read the following information and relevant sections of the city code (linked at the bottom of this section) to learn more about peddling and sidewalk vending in the City of Richmond.

    Peddler/Sidewalk License Key Resources

    Business License (Peddler/Sidewalk Vendor) and Tax Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Do I need a license to peddle or be a sidewalk vendor in the City of Richmond?
    YES, in most cases any person, firm, corporation, LLC or other form of business entity is required to obtain a business license before they begin conducting business in the City of Richmond. For more detailed information regarding the activity in which you will be engaged and a determination concerning its taxable status, please contact our Assessment Office at 804-646-7000.

    When must I get a business license?
    A new business is required to obtain a business license prior to beginning business in the City. A business that is renewing its business license must do so before March 1.

    Are peddlers and sidewalk vendors subject to the BPOL tax?

    No. Some businesses are not subject to the BPOL tax but instead have fixed rate licenses, including but not limited to, Beer & Wine and Mixed Beverage licenses, Itinerant Merchants, Peddlers, Sidewalk Vendors, and Public Dance Halls. The flat rate fees for a peddler and sidewalk vendor licenses are as follows:

    Flat Rate Fees

    Peddlers*$300
    Sidewalk Vendors*$300

    What if my business is involved in more than one type of business activity?
    Each business location and each business activity is subject to the business license tax. A business engaged in more than one activity, e.g. retail and wholesale, may elect to report all of their receipts at the higher rate category instead of separating the receipts and reporting them by each individual category.

    What information do I need to have to apply for a business license?

    • Name in which business is to be licensed (licensee name): For example, ABC Corp., Jones Brothers LLC, Bob Jones (sole proprietor) or Smith and Jones (partnership).
    • Trade name of business, if different than name of licensee: Businesses operating under a name other than that of the licensee must register the business name with the Richmond
      • If the trade name is not registered with the court, we can only process the business license application in the name of the licensee.
    • Address where business is to be located: If there is a mailing address different than the business address, we will need the mailing address as well. Note: A business with multiple locations requires a business license for each location.
    • Type of business: Describe the nature of the business you will be conducting in the City of Richmond. The more accurately you describe the nature of your business, the more accurate we can be in establishing your business in the proper type and class for tax purposes.
    • ID number: Depending on the type of business, the ID number may be your Social Security number or a Federal EIN issued by the Internal Revenue Service.
    • Begin Business Date: The date on which the business started operating or will begin operating in the City of Richmond.
    • Business Entity Type: Individual, Partnership, Corporation, Other (LLC, LLP)
    • Zoning Certificate: We communicate with the Department of Planning and Development Review to ensure that anyone seeking to obtain a business license complies with the zoning laws in the City before we issue a business license. Virginia law also requires that we do this.
    • Contractors: You are required to complete the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance regulations before we issue you a business license. Any contractor who accepts a project of $1,000 or more must register with the State Board of Contractors. A city business license is not a substitute for the Virginia Contractor’s License. Note: A non-City contractor who performs work in excess of $25,000 during the calendar year is required to report those receipts and obtain a business license with the City of Richmond. Permit(s) Required – Depending on the nature of the business to be conducted, one or more of the following permits may also be required prior to the issuance of a business license:
      • Building Permits for Contractors:
        • Health Permit – Restaurants and other Vendors selling food to the public, etc
        • ABC License – Businesses selling alcoholic beverages that are required to obtain an ABC License from the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
    • Signature: Your signature on the application is necessary as you are attesting to the accuracy and truthfulness of the statements and information on the application.

    Other Useful Sources of Information Regarding Business Licenses (Peddler/Sidewalk Vendor):

    Host a Special Event

    Special events (weddings, family reunions, sports tournaments, concerts, etc.) at city picnic shelters, garden areas, community centers, athletic fields, and all other facilities owned by the City of Richmond are handled by the Department of Parks and Recreation. For more information about hosting public events, head over to the Department of Parks and Recreation Scheduling Events and Fees Page.

    The City of Richmond's Department of Finance offers real estate tax exemptions as well as personal property tax relief. Below are brief explanations of both programs. For additional information regarding these assistance programs please visit our Assistance Page.

    Real Estate Tax Relief for the Elderly & Disabled 

    The City of Richmond's Department of Finance currently has two exemption options available for citizens who are:

    • Age 65 or older
    • Permanently and totally disabled

    Both of these exemptions apply only to real estate taxes. Qualification for any of these exemption programs is based on the income and net worth of the property owner, plus the income of others living in the household.

    Only one of these exemption options may be selected, not both.

    Real estate tax assistance takes two forms in the City of Richmond:

    • Tax Relief: The tax relief program offers those who qualify for the program partial or full tax exemption from real estate taxes in the city of Richmond.
    • Tax Freeze: The tax freeze program offers those who qualify an exemption from the increase in real estate taxes from the date you first apply and qualify for this exemption.

    Additionally, the City of Richmond's Assessor's Office offers tax exemption for disabled veterans or surviving spouses. For more information on this program please click here.

    Real Estate Tax Relief for the Elderly & Disabled Key Resources 

    For additional information (including frequently asked questions) regarding real estate tax exemptions please visit our Assistance Page.

    Personal Property Tax Relief

    The City of Richmond currently has one exemption option for personal property tax relief which can be granted in two forms for motor vehicles:

    • Condition Adjustments
    • Mileage Adjustments

    Real Estate Tax Exemption Key Resources

    For additional information (including frequently asked questions) regarding personal property tax relief please visit our Assistance Page.

    Make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request

    Rights & Responsibilities: The Rights of Requesters and the Responsibilities of the City of Richmond under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act:

    The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), § 2.2-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees.

    A public record is any writing or recording -- regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format -- that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption applies.

    The policy of FOIA states that the purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. In furthering this policy, FOIA requires that the law be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.

    Make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request to the Department of Finance:

    Please make a FOIA request to the Department of Finance by e-mailing FinanceFOIA@richmondgov.com and a departmental FOIA Officer will follow up with you as soon as possible. By clicking on the previous e-mail address it will outline the information required to make a request in the body of the e-mail. If you prefer/need to copy and paste the address into your e-mail app please be sure to include your:

    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • E-Mail Address
    • Company (If Applicable)
    • Address
    • City
    • State
    • Zip Code
    • Phone Number
    • Description of Public Records Being Requested (Please Be as Specific as Possible)
    • Request is Related to Pending Litigation (Yes/No)

    Click Here to Learn More About FOIA or File a FOIA Request with Another Department

    Pay Your Parking Citation

    Parking tickets can now be paid online.

    Click Here to Pay Parking Citation Online

    The Department of Finance is not responsible for issuing tickets. To learn more about parking tickets - to pay in person, appeal, or contest - please see the Department of Public Works Parking Page.

     

    Admissions Tax

    Admissions Tax is collected from each person who pays an admission charge of fifty cents ($.50) or more to any place of amusement or entertainment. 

    Bank Franchise Tax

    The Bank Franchise Tax is paid by banks based on the net capital of the bank as defined in Virginia Code § 58.1-1205.

    Business Personal Property Tax 

    The Business Tangible Personal Property Tax is a tax based on the value of the property, commonly referred to as an ad valorem tax. Tangible personal property is the property of businesses in the City of Richmond.

    Daily Rental Property Tax

    The Daily Rental Property Tax (Daily Rental Tax) is a tax levied and collected by "daily rental businesses" from the lessee of the daily rental property at the time of the rental. The Daily Rental Tax is in lieu of the Tangible Personal Property Tax on daily rental property.

    Lodging Tax

    The Lodging Tax is assessed, collected, and remitted to the city of Richmond by hotels, motels, boarding houses, travel campgrounds, and other such facilities offering guest rooms for rent for continuous occupancy for fewer than 90 consecutive days.

    Machinery and Tools Tax

    The Machinery and Tools Tax is levied on the machinery and tools that are used for manufacturing, mining, processing or reprocessing, radio or television broadcasting, dairy, dry cleaning or laundry businesses.

    Meals Tax

    The Meals Tax is a tax on consumers obtaining prepared food and beverages in restaurants, from street vendors, or other food establishments in the City of Richmond.

    Delinquent Taxes

    The Delinquent Collections Unit is responsible for collecting any outstanding taxes for Admissions, Lodging and Meals (ALM) taxes; Business Professional and Occupational License (BPOL); Personal Property Taxes and Real Estate Taxes.  The collection functions also include managing the Debt Set Off (DSO), the Virginia Registration Withholding (VRW).  

    Pay Delinquent Taxes Online:

    For Additional Information (Including Delinquent BPOL Taxes) Please Contact Us at:

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Delinquent Taxes

    Why am I in Delinquent Collections?
    If the taxes are not filed and paid by the due date, the taxes are sent to the Delinquent Collections Unit.

    What collection actions are taken if I don’t comply?
    If you receive a collections notice and do not pay the balance in full, the following actions can occur: Issuing Tax Liens, Outsourcing to a Collection Attorney or Agency, Civil Law Suits, and Seizure of Property.

    What are the collection programs managed by Delinquent Collections Unit?
    Debt Set-Off (DSO) – Taxpayer’s state tax refund or lottery winnings are seized. The charge to the taxpayers $25.00 for City and 4% of the total refund paid to the state.
    Virginia Registration Withholding (VRW) – Taxpayer is unable to register and/or renew any vehicles they own with state license tags at DMV.  The charge to the taxpayer is $25.00

    Can I be set up on a payment arrangement?

    Total Amount DueMaximum Length of Arrangement Offered
    From $3,00020% down with payments up to 6 months
    $3,001 through $15,00020% down with payments up to 9 months
    $15,001 through $25,00020% down with payments up to 12 months
    $25,001 and up15% to 20% down with payments up to 12 months

    Real Estate Tax

    The City of Richmond is authorized by state law to levy taxes on real property in the city of Richmond. Property values are determined by the City Assessor and the Department of Finance issues the tax bills based on the valuation information provided by the Assessor's Office.

    Tangible Personal Property Tax (Vehicle)

    The Tangible Personal Property Tax is a tax based on the value of the property, commonly referred to as an ad valorem tax. Tangible personal property is the property of individuals in the City of Richmond.

    Restricted Parking District Permits

    Section 27-279 of the Code of Richmond provides the criteria necessary to establish restricted parking districts. This ordinance permits the creation of additional districts throughout the city while not adversely affecting existing districts.

    General Permit Requirements & Definitions

    Please visit the Fan and Carver District pages for specific instructions and forms:

    Please review the instructions and complete the application. Tenants must complete an application and have the property owner complete and sign the Property Owner-Tenant Information Form. Payment methods and locations are noted on the Instructions Form. Please contact the number at the bottom of the Instructions should you have any questions.

    How to File a Claim

    If you have been involved in an accident and/or wish to file a claim against the City of Richmond, it is necessary to submit a written claim. The claim letter should be sent to the following address.

    Mr. Allen L. Jackson, Esq.
    900 E. Broad Street, 4th Floor
    Richmond, VA 23219

    Claim letters must be submitted within six (6) months of the incident and include:

    • Date and time of incident
    • Specific location of incident
    • Description of incident
    • Contact phone number and/or e-mail address

    Upon receipt of the claim, a claims representative will contact you. However, an investigation must be conducted into the claim before a final decision on liability and/or payment(s) will be made. This process can take four to six weeks depending upon the nature of your claim.

    In the event that you have any questions regarding damage to your property or filing a claim against the city, please contact:

    Keith Barron 
    Chief of Risk Management
    (804) 646-5604
    Keith.Barron@richmondov.com

    Donnell Stewart 
    Risk Coordinator
    (804) 646-0107
    Donnell.Stewart@richmondgov.com

    Special Note

    Sole authority to settle and/or pay claims rest with the governing authorities and select personnel of the Risk Management Division. Employees are not authorized to determine liability or obligate the City of Richmond for payment of a claim. Therefore, the Risk Management Division will not be obligated to provide any payment(s) toward a claim based on statements of employees prior to completion of an investigation into the claim.