Louisiana Business License, Permit and Registration Resource
Step 1: Tax Registration
Businesses that operate within Louisiana or receive income from Louisiana residents are likely to owe an annual tax obligation. Business owners are required to register for one or more tax-specific identification numbers, licenses, or permits, including income tax withholding, sales and use tax or seller’s permit, and unemployment insurance tax. Contact the Louisiana Department of Revenue to apply for a Louisiana tax account number, which is needed to start the application process. Instructions for the Louisiana tax number application are provided online and on the physical form.
U.S. Internal Revenue Service Phone: 1-800-829-4933
The following information is needed:
- Legal name, location, and mailing address of your business
- Federal Identification Number (if applicable)
- Charter Number (if applicable)
- Louisiana tax account number (if it is an existing business)
- Name and address of owners, partners, or officers
- Social Security Number(s) of owners, partners, or officers
- Email address (if available)
Step 2: Business Licenses
Depending on the nature of your business and the products and services that your business provides, you may be required to obtain one or more business and occupational licenses and permits.
Contact the Louisiana Secretary of State to perform a search of the business licenses and permits required for your specific business. This process may require special applications and/or additional registrations.
Step 3: Local Permits
The local government in your area, such as that of your city or county, may require specific permits and licenses. Each municipality may have its own unique regulations. Here are some of the most common licenses and permits you may need.
- Alarm Permit
- Building Permit
- Business License and/or Tax Permit
- Health Permit
- Occupational Permit
- Signage Permit
- Zoning Permit
Step 4: Incorporation Filing
Most businesses are required to register with the Louisiana Secretary of State Office. For example, if your business is a corporation, a non-profit, a limited liability company or a partnership (limited, or limited liability), you must register your business with the state. However, if your business is a sole proprietorship, you do not need to register your business with the state, or formally file any assumed names with the county or state. Business entity registration forms and applications are available through the Louisiana Secretary of State Office.
Step 5: Doing Business As
In Louisiana, business owners and business partners can operate under a fictitious name filing, also known as Doing Business As or DBA. Using the fictitious name filing, the employer can name the business and operate it under a name that is different than the owner’s full legal name, the names of business partners, or the name under which the business is officially registered. It is not necessary for a sole proprietor to register a DBA with the state.
Step 6: Withholding Taxes
Withholding Income Taxes
The IRS requires every employer to maintain records of employment taxes for at least four years. Also, maintain complete and accurate records for your business to help you prepare your financial statements, catalogue receipts and invoices, organize deductible expenses, and prepare your tax returns.
Federal Income Tax Withholding (Form W-4)
Under Louisiana law, every employee must sign and date a withholding exemption certificate (Form W-4) and keep a copy on file with the IRS. Employers must distribute the form on or before the date of employment. For more information on employer responsibilities regarding withholding of federal taxes, see the IRS’ Employer’s Tax Guide.
Federal Wage and Tax Statement (Form W-2)
Every employer must report to the federal government wages paid and taxes deducted for each employee. This report is filed annually using Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement.
Employers must send Copy A of Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) to the Social Security Administration (SSA) by the last day of February. Employers filing electronically have a late-March deadline. Employers must report the wages and taxes of each employee for the previous calendar year and provide employees with a copy of Form W-2 by January 31 of the following year.
Additional information is available in the Social Security Administration’s Employer W-2 Filing Instructions and Information.
Depending on where in Louisiana your employees are located, you may be required to withhold state income taxes. Visit Louisiana’s state tax agency for further information.
Step 7: I-9 Form
Federal law requires all employees hired after November 6, 1986 to provide written proof of eligibility to work in the United States. Within three days of hiring a new employee, employers must complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form, commonly referred to as an I-9 form.
According to Federal law, all U.S. employers are responsible for completion and retention of Form I-9 for each newly hired worker, including citizens and non-citizens.
Small Business Guide to Immigration Regulations provides more information about the immigration laws that pertain to small business owners, including instructions for completing and filing Form I-9.
Step 8: New Hire Reporting
All employers are required to report newly and re-hired employees to Louisiana Directory of New Hires within 20 days of their hire or re-hire data.
Step 9: Insurance Requirements
All Louisiana employers are required to obtain both Unemployment Insurance and Worker’s Compensation Insurance. Unemployment insurance is used to pay a monetary sum to employees who become laid off through no fault of their own, and Worker’s Compensation insurance is used to pay employees who become injured or ill while performing a work-related activity. Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage is available through a commercial carrier, on a self-insured basis, or through the state Workers’ Compensation Insurance program.