How to Register a Business in Los Angeles, CA

Learn how to register a business in Los Angeles in a few quick and easy steps. While owning a business is an exciting time in your life, it also brings a great deal of questions on how to properly register a business. The who, what, where, and when of business compliance can be found in this guide. In addition, Los Angeles offers a vast amount of free information to help business owners. 

Let’s explore the needs of a new business and what must be done before you make your first sale. The County of Los Angeles requires new businesses to register with them. The advantages are that it allows the county to do business with you. Take advantage of using the LA Business Portal to save you time and simplify the updating of business information.  

When it’s time to register, you’ll be reviewing this information below:

  1.       Company contact information: name, phone, business structure, and address
  2.       Your taxpayer identification number
  3.       Business licenses and permits

Ready to get started registering? Follow these easy steps to register your business in Los Angeles:

 Step 1 

 Choose Your Business Structure

To register your business in Los Angeles, you will need to know which structure fits your needs. A lawyer can work with you to select the right business formation. These are the main types of business formations:

  •  Sole Proprietorship is the most basic form of business organization. Single owner operated by one person. If the sole proprietor hires employees, they work as agents of the employer.
  •  General Partnership or Limited Liability Partnerships this involves two or more partners. These partners act as agents for the partnership and each other.
  •    Limited Partnerships and Liability Limited Partnerships when one general partner acts as an investor instead of a partner. 
  •    Limited Liability Companies offer limited personal liability of the owners (members) of that entity.  
  •   Corporations have shareholders, elects its board of directors to oversee the operations of the corporation’s business. It’s an entity that exists as a separate being or an artificial person.
  •   S Corporations the difference of this formation is that the taxes pass through to the corporation’s shareholders. 
  •   Nonprofit Corporation or C Corporation (all for non-profit) not for profit which is formed only for certain nonprofit purposes.

      Step 2  

 Get a Federal Tax Identification Number

Get your business federal tax identification number, also known as Employer Identification number (EIN). The EIN is used to identify your business. To obtain an EIN number in LA apply here. It’s a free service and you get your number immediately. You can also fax (267-941-1099) or mail. Depending on your business formation, an ITIN or SSN may also be used.

Your business will require an EIN number under any of the following circumstances: 

  1. Starting a new business
  2. Starting a payroll for employees.
  3. Filing business tax return
  4. Setting up a business SEP IRA, 401k, Solo 401k, or Keogh Plan.
  5. Handling as Estate.
  6. Setting up a Trust Setting up a Non-Profit.
  7. Starting a Partnership or a Corporation.
  8. Farmers’ cooperative 
  9. Plan administrations

Step 3 

File Business Licenses and Permits

Make sure you check in with your local county and state and federal requirements. They will let you know what permits or licenses are needed for your type of business. It can be confusing and complicated to dissever business requirements to operate a business in Los Angeles. Here are some commonly asked questions on licensing that owners run into when registering their business: 

  1. Why do I need a permit?  Permits regulate safety and environmental standards. 
  2. Who needs a license?  A professional who was schooled and passed a test to earn a license would include a dentist, attorney, cosmetologist, veterinarian or realtor. There is a government list to let you know what professions are licensed.
  3. What you can expect when getting your license? Typically, you will have to submit fingerprints, pay applications fees, verify work or educational requirements needed by a board.
  4. What website can help me determine if I need a permit or license? You can go to the County of Los Angeles, and CalGold, the Governor’s Office Of Business Development “Golden Standard for Permit Assistance.”

State tax licenses or permits are required for all businesses. Any that sells business  a product or service that is subjected to state sales tax needs a state tax permit or license. Over two hundred occupations need permission to work in California. The Department of Consumer Affairs regulates and licenses many occupations.  

Additional Resources for Registered Businesses in LA

The California Employment Development Department focuses on jobs, unemployment insurance or disability insurance and employers.  They have many programs to help people with employment issues: 

  • Easy Tax Filing for Employers.
  • Register new employees or close employee pay tax accounts,
  •  Close or reopen  employee pay tax accounts.
  • Make payments, if necessary.
  • Correct any information, print a report or returns.
  • Update business information (name and address).
  • Protested unemployment claims.
  • Applying for Unemployment Benefits.
  • Website:

Remember to be accurate when entering your information on the sites. Moreover, keep in mind committing fraud comes with penalties and convictions.  Most services are available 24/7 except, when entering new employees and independent contractors available to register between 5am to 12 midnight (pacific time). For all other questions, talk to the business lawyers at Stone and Sallus. We’re ready to help you with legal matters that apply to your new business.