Individuals who intend to start a business for profit or a nonprofit organization can create a Virginia corporation. Business owners would choose a stock corporation, while charity founders generally form a nonstock corporation. The Virginia State Corporation Commission handles the processing of both types of corporate entities. Filers can obtain the necessary filing forms and instructions online, fill them out and submit them with a corporate filing fee to start a business or charitable corporation in Virginia.
Think of a name for your new Virginia business or nonprofit. You should check for name availability of your chosen business name before filing the applicable incorporation documents. You may call the Clerk’s Office Call Center at 804-371-9733 to check for name availability. Virginia applies the common “distinguishability” rule to business names, which essentially means that your name must not be the same or confusingly similar to any other registered name.
Open the “Forms and Fees” page at Scc.virginia.gov/clk/formfee.aspx. On that page, click on “Stock Corporations” to get the “Articles of Incorporation” link for business or professional corporations. Click on “Nonstock Corporations” to fine the incorporation link for charities (technically, a business could operate as a nonstock corporation and vice versa).
Fill out the “Articles of Incorporation” form for the corporate entity you seek to establish. Read the instructions for specific details if you need to include additional provisions in your articles. You will have to create your own filing documents. This can be a rather complicated and complex process. Consult with a Virginia business attorney if you have any questions or need personal assistance.
For example, if you want to create a tax-exempt charity, you need to abide by the IRS requirements for obtaining a tax exemption. Refer to Publication 557 if you have additional questions.
Prepare the Virginia corporation filing fees. As of 2010, the fee to start a Virginia nonstock corporation is $75. Access the “Charter Fee/Entrance Fee Schedule” for stock corporations to determine the relevant filing fees. Visit Scc.virginia.gov/publicforms/165/cht_fee.pdf. The fees range from $75 for 25,000 authorized shares or less to $2525 for more than one million shares. Make a check payable to the “State Corporation Commission.”
Sign the ‘Articles of Incorporation” and mail in that original filing form and the fee to the following address:
Clerk of the State Corporation Commission
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23218-1197
Call 804-371-9733 if you have any questions.
Virginia Corporation Forms and Fees
Charter Fee/Entrance Fee Schedule for Virginia Stock Corporations