The Business Registration Process

Register Your Business

All individuals or entities conducting business activities within the City of Los Angeles are required to apply for and obtain a Business Tax Registration Certificate with the City of Los Angeles, Office of Finance.  You may also have to register with other Federal, State, and Local government agencies depending on the structure and location of your business.

1.  City Registration

How to register

You may register your business with the City of Los Angeles either by visiting one of our service locations or utilizing our Online New Business Registration service.

To register, you will need to provide:

1. Your Social Security Number if your business is a Sole Proprietorship or your Federal Employment Identification Number (EIN) if your business is a Partnership, a Corporation, a Limited Liability Company (LLC), or a trust

2. A description of your business activities

3. Your legal business name and fictitious name (DBA) if any

4. Your business start date in Los Angeles

5. The exact business address and primary mailing address for your business location if different from the business location

6. Your business contact information

Please note that additional information may be required.  Once you completed the registration process, you will receive a temporary Business Tax Registration Certificate or Registration Number.  A permanent Business Tax Registration Certificate will be mailed within 4 to 6 weeks.

Depending on your business, you may also need to register for Police, Fire and/or Tobacco permits. The Office of Finance online application will help you identify whether these are necessary.

2.  State Registration

If your business structure is a partnership, corporation, or limited liability (LLC), you must register or incorporate with the California Secretary of State.

3.  Federal Registration

Most businesses must register with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN).  If you are not a US citizen, you may need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead.

4.  Major Exempt Business Activities

  • Airlines-passenger/interstate air freight for businesses that deal in air commerce, which includes the transportation of passengers or property only
  • Constitutionally exempt businesses, such as state government institutions
  • State colleges and state universities
  • Court reporting/transcribing services performed under the control of a court of competent jurisdiction are treated like employees of the court
  • Non-profit businesses that qualify for 501 C3 exemptions with the Federal and State governments
  • Exemptions under LAMC Section 21.194, Transporting Persons For Hire:
    • Charter Party Limousines where the business address must be out of the City of Los Angeles(vehicle must be a limousine or luxury sedan only, seating capacity of no more than nine(9) including the driver)
    • Taxicabs must have a franchise granted by the City Department of Transportation
    • Persons operating vehicles that meet all of the following:
      1. Operated exclusively between fixed termini or over regular routes in passenger stage operations
      2. Operated as indicated above under certificate issued by the Public Utilities Commission, AND
      3. Operation has been issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity by the Interstate Commerce Commission
  • Exemption under LAMC Section 21.195, Trucking and Hauling for the following:
    • Persons in the business as for hire motor carrier of property required to pay a fee to the State under the Household Goods Carriers Uniform Business License Tax Act or the Motor Carriers of Property Uniform Fee Act
  • Financial Institutions (Banks, Savings/Loans, etc.) for which "in lieu" taxes are paid to the State of California
  • Credit Unions
  • Government Agencies while carrying out governmental affairs
  • Insurance agents receiving a notice of appointment from insurance companies that pay "in lieu" taxes to the State of California (does not include insurance brokers)
  • Insurers - activities for which "in lieu" taxes are paid to the State of California
  • No nexus businesses -  businesses with a physical presence within the City of los Angeles limited to six (6) or less days per calendar year
  • Notaries public
  • Persons who rent three (3) or fewer residential rental units
  • Real estate agent (does not include real estate broker) - exemption under LAMC Section 21.49
  • Religious leaders in their religious capacity
  • Residential care facility for the elderly, which serves six or fewer residents
  • Small family day care home, which serves eight or fewer children
  • Licensed bail bond agents/companies