Running a bed and breakfast in Virginia requires more than a picturesque setting and some extra room. Bed and breakfast operators must meet many state and municipal regulations in order to open a licensed bed and breakfast. Bed and breakfast owners in Virginia can ensure that their business meets Virginia licensing requirements by contacting the state and municipal departments and offices that must give approval.

Municipal Regulations

The Municipal Planning and Building Departments of the municipality where the bed and breakfast will be located must approve the bed and breakfast as a local business. Bed and breakfast operators should work with their local zoning commission to explain the operating plan for the bed and breakfast and obtain zoning commission approval before obtaining an operating license for the bed and breakfast. Virginia licensure to run a bed and breakfast requires that the bed and breakfast operator adhere to all local regulations for the locality in which the bed and breakfast will operate. These regulations include fire safety regulations, parking guidelines and building licenses.

Once the bed and breakfast operator has zoning commission approval and can demonstrate that the bed and breakfast conforms to all municipal laws and regulations, she can apply for a business license for the bed and breakfast through the municipality.

Health Department Regulations

The local Health Department must certify that any bed and breakfast that serves food adheres to Health Department regulations. This will include the local county or municipality Health Department as well as the Virginia State Health Department. The Health Department will want to check the bed and breakfast’s water quality, food storage, sewage disposal and food handling plan to ensure that these issues match all Health Department regulations. If the bed and breakfast owners intend to sell alcohol on the premises, they must obtain a license to sell alcohol by filling out a Retail License Application for the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (see resources for application form).

Tax Regulations

A bed and breakfast in Virginia must demonstrate that it has registered with all relevant tax authorities. The bed and breakfast operator must apply for a Federal Tax Identification Number (FIN) to register for federal taxes and then fill out a Virginia R-1 registration form to register for Virginia state taxes. The R-1 form will allow the bed and breakfast operator to register, simultaneously, for Virginia Sales and Use Tax, Employer Withholding Tax (if the bed and breakfast will employ workers) and Virginia income tax. The bed and breakfast owner should send the completed registration form to:

Department of Taxation Registration Unit Post Office Box 1114 Richmond, Virginia 23218-1114 804-367-2603