Apply For A Business License Los Angeles, California

Are you interested in opening a business in Los Angeles, California?

If you plan to do any business inside the city of Los Angeles, California, you will need to apply for a business tax registration certificate from the Office of Finance. You can request an application in person by visiting the Office of Finance at 200 North Spring Street, room 101. 

You can also fill in and print an application from the City of Los Angeles website. Your business tax registration certificate application will need to be filled out completely with information such as your type of business ownership, whether it be owned individually, as part of a corporation, a partnership, trust, or LLC. Your own legal name is needed. You will need to provide the name of your business, the physical address (a PO box is unacceptable), a mailing address, and the date that your business started in Los Angeles. Depending on the type of ownership, you will need to provide either your social security number or a Federal Employer’s ID number. You may need to have a Sales Tax number as well. 

A detailed description of your business needs to be given as well as your business contact numbers. There are years dating back to 2003 for you to provide your gross receipts in case your business is already established. You will need to have a contact person and their phone number and lastly, you will need to sign your application. In signing your application you are verifying that all information that you have provided is true and complete to the best of your knowledge. 

Will you need zoning approval?

Your business location should be approved for zoning before you enter into any real estate contracts. Los Angeles also offers certain incentives for opening a business in one of their BIZ (business incentive zones). These incentives may include business expense deductions, lower parking ration, sales or use tax credits, site plan review waivers and many others. Contact the Community Development Department at (213) 744-7300 to determine whether your business is zone-approved, and whether it may be eligible for any of the incentives offered for the BIZ.

Will you need to obtain additional Los Angeles permits or Los Angeles licenses?

This will depend on the type of business activities that you plan to conduct. Certain business activities will require additional permits and licenses. For instance, if you plan to handle food, you may need a health inspection from the Public Health Department and possibly inspections for fire and safety codes. If you are serving or selling alcohol, you should visit the Alcoholic Beverage Control website to determine if you need to procure a license or permit to sell liquor. Many types of businesses require an approval by either the Police Department, the Fire Department, or both. Some of these business include, but are not limited to:

  1. Video game arcades
  2. Public bath businesses
  3. Carnivals
  4. Dances (one night, teen/public)
  5. Escort/escort bureau
  6. Pool rooms for families and non-family pool room
  7. Junk collector
  8. Massage Business or therapist
  9. Rummage sales

You will need to contact the Office of Finance at (213) 473-5901 for a complete list and to determine if your business will require any additional licenses, approvals, or permits.

What are the costs for a Los Angeles business tax registration certificate?

There are numerous different tax rates depending on the type of business you are conducting. You should contact the Office of Finance at (213) 473-5901 to get a rate that your business will be paying. There may be additional costs associated with opening your business in the city of Los Angeles depending on whether you need additional permits, inspections, or licenses. 

Do you need more information?

The City of Los Angeles has an excellent website with a lot of helpful information for anyone wishing to open a new business. You can also contact the Office of Finance at (213) 472-5901 or you can visit the office in person at 200 North Spring Street, room 101, in Los Angeles. 

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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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