Register Your Business
Congratulations on taking the first step of starting a business in Los Angeles! In order to legally operate here, 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.
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.
If your business structure is a partnership, corporation, or limited liability (LLC), you must register or incorporate with the California Secretary of State.
Step 1: Naming Your Business
Check if the name you want is available. You can check name availability and reserve an available name by mail with the CA Secretary of State. Learn more about this process in our Choose a Name section.
Step 2: Registering Your Business Structure
Once you know the name you want is available, you can file the appropriate forms for your business structure with the CA Secretary of State.
Review the Secretary of State's Corporate Filing Tips before getting started. This business type requires you to file Articles of Incorporation.
Limited Liability Company
Review the Secretary of State's LLC Filing Tips before getting started. This business type requires you to file Articles of Organization (Form LLC–1).
Review the Secretary of State's LP Filing Tips before getting started. This business type requires you to file a Certificate of Limited Partnership (Form LP–1).
The Secretary of State's Office does not have filing tips for forming a General Partnership, but not to worry - the GP process is the most simple of the five. This business type requires you to file a Statement of Partnership Authority (Form GP–1).
Limited Liability Partnership
Remember, you can only register as an LLP after registering as a General Partnership. This business type requires you to file an Application to Register a Limited Liability Partnership (Form LLP–1).
A trust is formed under state law where it is organized. Review California’s law and the Secretary of State’s Filing Tips before getting started.
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.
Employer Identification Number
An EIN is also known as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Federal Tax Identification Number and is issued by the IRS. A business needs an EIN to pay employees and to file business tax returns. The EIN is a unique identifier for your business. It does not expire and, once an EIN has been given to an entity, it is never issued again.
Apply for an EIN from the IRS either online, by fax, or by mail. To register online, use the IRS EIN Assistant. For fax or mail, review the IRS instructions for details.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
If you are not a resident of the US and do not have, or are not eligible for, a Social Security Number, you might need to an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Similar to the EIN, this ID number allows business owners to comply with US tax laws. Learn more about the ITIN or apply through the IRS.