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Licenses & Permits

Every taxpayer operating a business in the City of Harrisonburg must obtain a Business License and renew it on an annual basis. Licenses expire December 31st of each year.

Business & Professional License

All business and professional operations must purchase a business license before commencing operation in the City of Harrisonburg, including home-based businesses.

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 with the public occurs. In the City of Harrisonburg, zoning laws may prohibit your business from operating at certain locations, such as a residence. The address of your business must be approved by the Zoning Administrator for the City.

Any person, partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability company, or corporation using a name that does not identify the owner of the business must register a trade name with the Rockingham County Circuit Court. Registering this name does not prevent your business name from being used by any other business. It is recorded to assist the public by providing information as to the person with whom the public will be dealing. There is a $10 fee to register the name. This fee is paid to the Rockingham County Circuit Court.

Business License Costs

The cost of the business license is based upon your estimate of total gross receipts from the day the business opens to December 31 of the same year. Until a business is in operation for a full year the gross receipts are estimated and adjustments are made in the following year.

$10,000 or under in gross receipts - $0 (A license is still required even if there is no fee)
$10,001-$25,000 - $25.00
$25,001 - $50,000 - $50.00
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 - $0.16 per $100 gross receipts 
Retail - $0.20 per $100 gross receipts
Personal and Business Services - $0.20 per $100 gross receipts
Financial, Real Estate, Professional Services - $0.58 per $100 gross receipts
Wholesale Business - $30 for first $1,000 plus $0.17 per $100 gross receipts above

Registering for a Business License

Click the link below to print out a Business License Application:

Business License Application (PDF) 

It is helpful for business license applicants to apply in person at the Municipal Building in the Commisioner of Revenue's Office. To facilitate the application process, the City of Harrisonburg asks that you bring with you the following information and documents: 

  • Tax identification number (SSN or FEIN)
  • Home Occupation Permit- (Contact Zoning Administrator at 540-432-7700)
  • Corporate Charter (if applicable)
  • Trade Name Registration - Contact Circuit Court 540-564-3126
  • Permits, if applicable, i.e. health department, fire department, etc.
  • Estimate of gross receipts through December 31st

Renewing Your Business License

The due date for renewing your Harrisonburg business license is March 1st.  Business license renewal forms can be found on the City of Harrisonburg's website

Additional Inspections/Permits

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.

If the business is run out of the taxpayer's home then a home occupation permit is required before the license can be issued. There is no fee for the permit and can be obtained at the Community Development Office. 

All businesses not located in a home must contact the fire marshal to conduct a fire inspection of the building. All grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries, or anyone selling food must contact the health department for an inspection of the building. A copy of the report must be provided to the Commissioner's office prior to obtaining the license. 

All contractors must fill out and submit a workers comp insurance form. Any contractor whose business is located outside of the city will only need to renew the business license if and when they come back into the city to work. 


Melicca Dunn