Legal Action for Non-Compliance

The City of Los Angeles Business Tax is a privilege tax imposed for revenue purposes only. No attempt is made through the business tax to regulate the conduct of businesses.

Failure to obtain the required Business Tax Registration Certificate (BTRC) and pay all business taxes due is a misdemeanor unless the violation or failure is declared to be an infraction. Any violation that is designated as a misdemeanor may be charged by the City Attorney as either a misdemeanor or an infraction. Violations designated as a misdemeanor shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or by imprisonment in the County Jail for a period of not more than six (6) months, or by both fine and imprisonment. Violations designated as an infraction shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $250.00 for each violation.

Each person shall be guilty of a separate offense for each and every day during any portion of which any violation of any provision of this code is committed, continued or permitted by such person, and shall be punishable accordingly. Please refer to Section 11.00 (m) of the Los Angeles Municipal Code and Sections 21.03, 21.12, 21.16, 21.19, and 21.20 of the Business Tax Ordinance for complete information.

Businesses currently holding a valid Tax Registration Certificate will receive renewal statement(s) prior to the next tax period. If a renewal statement is not received in the mail, a timely return must still be filed to avoid payment of interest and penalty.

BTRC FAQs


Is a separate registration certificate required for each business location?
Yes. Section 21.06, Article 1, of the Los Angeles Municipal Code requires a separate registration certificate for each type of business activity and for each business location in the City of Los Angeles. However, a warehouse or distributing plant used in conjunction with a business in the City is not regarded as a separate business location. The law provides for an exception when the business locations are outside the City of Los Angeles. In this instance, only one registration certificate is required for each type of business for all locations, which are outside the City.

Can a registration certificate be transferred from one ownership to another?
Section 21.11, Article 1, of the Los Angeles Municipal Code states that a registration certificate may be transferred in those cases where the real or ultimate ownership of the business after the transfer is substantially similar to the ownership existing before the transfer. However, when the change in business ownership, such as by sale, is substantially different, an application would have to be made for a new Tax Registration Certificate.

Can a registration certificate be transferred to a new location?
Yes. Upon your notification to the Office of Finance that you have moved and are conducting your business at a new location, an amended Tax Registration Certificate will be issued to you.