Cost of Business License

New Businesses

The cost of the business license is based upon your estimate of total gross receipts from the day the business opens to December 31st of the same year. There are usually Three (3) general terms that apply to new businesses:
  • New License: A new business license that is based on the businesses estimated gross receipts from the beginning date of business through December 31st.
  • First Renewal License: The first renewal business license is based on an estimate of gross receipts from January 1 through December 31st of current year, if you did not complete a full calendar year from the start of business.
  • Annual Renewal License: After a business has been licensed to operate for an entire business license term (January 1 through December 31st), the next business license is based on the gross receipts of the prior calendar year.

Tax Rate

If the estimate is less than $100,000, the license will cost $50 which is the minimum tax. If, however, the estimate is greater than $100,000, a tax rate will be applied to your estimate. There are different rates for different types of businesses as follows:


License Category*
Finance, Real Estate and Professional Services
$0.58 per $100
Business Services
$0.36 per $100
Personal Services
$0.36 per $100
Repair Services
$0.36 per $100
Contractor $0.16 per $100
Retail Sales
$0.20 per $100
Wholesale Merchant
$0.15 per $100 of Gross Purchases
Rental License
$12 per Unit per Year ($1/Month)
Direct Seller License
$0.20 per $100 Gross Receipts with No Threshold

Additional Requirements

Some types of businesses (such as contractors, restaurants, beauty shops, nail and tanning salons, etc.) may have additional requirements from other city departments, such as the Department of Public Health, or from the state agencies, such as the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, before a City of Portsmouth license can be issued.