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Louisiana Business License Basics

Louisiana Business License Basics

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Louisiana Business License Basics

Starting a small business in Louisiana often means registering with several federal, state, and local agencies. Let’s review common Louisiana business license registrations so your business starts off right.

Related: Guide to starting a business in Louisiana 

Setting Up the Business

Sole proprietorship: In Louisiana, a sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business owned by a single individual. The owner has complete control over the business but is personally liable for all debts and obligations. No formal registration is required, making it the simplest and most common form of business structure.

General partnership: A general partnership in Louisiana is an unincorporated business owned by two or more individuals who share management responsibilities, profits, and losses. Partners have unlimited personal liability for the partnership’s debts and obligations. No formal registration is required, but a partnership agreement is recommended to outline the partners’ roles and responsibilities

Corporation: A corporation in Louisiana is a legal entity separate from its owners, providing the owner’s (shareholders) limited liability protection. Corporations are the most complex business structure to set up and have specific administrative requirements. 

Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC in Louisiana combines aspects of sole proprietorships and corporations, offering flexibility in management and taxation. Owners, called members, have limited personal liability for the LLC’s debts and obligations, but they aren’t as complex as corporations. 

Related: Comparison of Business Structures

What Licenses Do Louisiana Businesses Need?

With the business structure out of the way, we can begin looking at the different types of registrations businesses in Louisiana may need. There isn’t a standard business license, as requirements vary depending on where the business is located and what it does. Here is a general overview of the different registrations your business may need.

Business Licenses

There is no general state of Louisiana business license; however, many parishes/cities require businesses to be licensed in order to operate. Rules for business registration vary depending on location and the business’s activities. Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements.

  • New Orleans: Businesses operating in the Orleans Parish will need to get an Occupational Business License or a General Business License. New businesses can register with the One Stop Shop at City Hall to get assistance with the potential licenses they may need.
  • Baton Rouge: The City of Baton Rouge requires businesses to submit a Business Registration Application
  • Shreveport: All businesses operating in Shreveport will need to obtain an Occupational/Business License from the City of Shreveport’s Revenue Division.
Take the guesswork out of figuring out what licenses and permits are required to start your business with license research packages from Bizee and LegalZoom.

For as little as $99, you can save a lot of time and know your business is in compliance with local, state, and federal requirements. 

Trade Name Registration

While not a business license, it’s common for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a business name that is different from the full name of the owner(s) to register for a Trade Name (also known as a Doing Business As, DBA, or Trade Name) with the Parish Clerk of Court in the parish where the business is located.

Building & Zoning Permits

  • Zoning: In Louisiana, zoning laws are regulated by local governments, such as parishes and municipalities. Check with your local planning and zoning department to ensure your intended use complies with the zoning district. 
  • Building Permit: In Louisiana, building permits are required for new construction or significant alterations to existing structures. Check on building permit requirements through your local building department, providing plans for review to ensure they meet state and local regulations.
  • Signage Permit: Signage permits in Louisiana are regulated by local ordinances to control the size, lighting, and placement of business signs. To get a signage permit, submit an application to your local zoning or planning department.

Louisiana Tax Account Number

All new businesses will need to register with the State of Louisiana. The State has simplified the registration process by centralizing the sign-up process, which allows a business to register a Louisiana Tax Account Number to get for their sales tax license, employer registration, and more. To register a new business in Louisiana, visit GeauxBiz.

Resale Certificate

Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain a Louisiana Resale Certificate in order to not pay sales tax for merchandise that is being resold to customers.

Professional License

A variety of professions in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services. A few common professions that require licensing in Louisiana include; physical therapists, interior designers, detectives, cosmetologists, barbers, massage therapists, and many more. Additional information, filing fees, and licensing requirements for professions are available from the State of Louisiana.

Certain businesses, such as food establishments, daycares, salvage yards, and others, require licensing in addition to professional licenses.

Liquor License / Tobacco License

Businesses selling liquor or tobacco products will need to be licensed. Visit the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control for more information on licensing requirements.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

The Louisiana Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to businesses operating in Louisiana. It is used for tax filing and reporting purposes, similar to how an individual uses a Social Security number. Companies can apply for an EIN through the IRS website or by submitting a paper form.

Next Steps

While it’s a good start, there are so many different licenses that may be needed. Double-check with the City Clerk’s Office, Chamber of Commerce, and/or Economic Development office in your area before opening your doors.

Louisiana Business License Basics

Louisiana Business License Basics

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