Tips before Registering
Before registering with the city, make sure you address the following items:
- Partnerships, LLC's, and Corporations
- If you plan to start a general or limited partnership, LLC, or corporation, you will need to incorporate your business with the State before completing this step.
- Location & Zoning
- Check zoning and decide on a location for your business before registering. If you register your business before choosing a final location, you will have to update your registration with the new address. This can cost money and time.
- Business Name
- Make sure the business name you want hasn't already been taken by someone else before inking it with the City.
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- You'll need to have your EIN from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) before you can register your business with the City. It's free and simple to do online. If you are planning to be a sole proprietor and will not hire any employees, you may also use your Social Security Number, although it's recommended to obtain an EIN to avoid identity theft.
- Sales Tax Number
- If you're planning to sell goods or products that are taxable, you'll need to register with the State Board of Equalization to receive a Seller's Permit. You'll need this number to register with the City.
Step 1: Register Your Business
How to register
You may register your business online or in person at one of the Office of Finance locations. To register, you will need to provide:
- Your Federal Employment Identification Number (EIN). Alternately, you may use your Social Security Number if you are a sole proprietor with no employees.
- A description of your business activities
- Your legal business name
- Your business type (partnership, sole proprietor, etc.)
- Your business start date
- The primary mailing address for your business
- Your business contact information
- Your Sales Tax Number (if you registered for a seller's permit with the State of California)
Depending on your business, you may also need to register for Police, Fire and/or Tobacco permits. The Office of Finance application will help you identify whether these are necessary.
Step 2: Business Tax Registration Certificate
Once you've completed your application, you will be able to obtain your Business Tax Registration Certificate (BTRC). If you completed your application online, you will be issued a temporary BTRC that you may print and display at your business. Your permanent Certificate should arrive in the mail within four weeks.
You will need to use your BTRC number to pay your business taxes with the City of Los Angeles each year. You should receive a notice in December of each year with instructions on how to calculate and pay your taxes.
Business Tax Exemptions
Due to a special business tax exemption, most new businesses do not need to pay business taxes for their first two years of operation. In addition, small businesses with fewer than $100,000 in receipts per year, as well as creative artists and non-profit/charitable organizations, may not need to pay business taxes. It is essential to complete your annual tax renewals on time each year in order to qualify for business tax exemptions. Visit the Office of Finance website for more information about available exemptions.