A crucial step in starting a limited liability company (LLC) in Louisiana is acquiring all the necessary licenses and permits. Depending on your business, you may need them at the federal, state, and local levels.
Without them, you could face major penalties and even business closure. This guide lays out all you need to know to ensure full compliance in Louisiana.
Which Department Issues Business Licenses and Permits?
In most states, several agencies and departments issue licenses and permits depending on industry and location. For example, in Louisiana, most licenses and permits are issued by specific departments based on industry, such as the Department of Health and various professional licensing boards.
Federally, different departments oversee different industries. As a result, licenses and permits are generally industry-specific, except for health permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Your business may need a U.S. Department of Agriculture license if you run a farm. In addition, you must register with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives if your business sells fireworks. Most industries, however, do not require licensing at the federal level.
The Small Business Association (SBA) has put together a handy guide that details which licenses and permits are needed for various types of businesses.
Common Business Licenses and Permits
Here are some standard licenses and permits you may need.
If a federal agency regulates your industry, you’ll likely need a license from that agency. Federal agencies that may require a license include:
- Department of Agriculture
- Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
- Department of Transportation
Standard licenses at the state level include:
- Industry-specific licenses for certain professions and industries, such as construction, plumbing, electrical, childcare, food handling, liquor, architecture, and finance
- Health licenses and permits
- Doing business as (DBA) permits using a name other than your LLC.
- Sales tax permit
At the municipal or county level, you may need the following:
- Building and zoning permits
- Health licenses and permits
- Fire permits
- Sign permits
How to Obtain a Business License in Louisiana
In Louisiana, a general business license is not required, but some others are:
- Unless you’re operating as a sole proprietorship or partnership, you’ll need to register your business entity with the state, usually as an LLC or a corporation. You can do so online at the website Secretary of State.
- You’ll need to register for sales tax on the Louisiana Taxpayer Access Point if you sell goods or services.
- Other licenses require applications with specific departments. For example, if you run a restaurant business, you’ll need a food establishment license from the Department of Health.
- Check with local governments for required licenses and permits at the local level.
How Much Does a Business License Cost in Louisiana?
License and permit fees vary. A sales tax permit, for instance, costs nothing in Louisiana, while forming an LLC costs $100.
Do Licenses and Permits Have to Be Renewed?
Some licenses and permits must be renewed annually. For example, a sales tax permit in Louisiana must be renewed every two years. Likewise, food establishment licenses must be renewed annually.
Check with the issuing departments for renewal requirements.
Obtaining licenses and permits is a critical step when starting an LLC in Louisiana, so check with state and local government offices and fully comply with their requirements. If you operate without the proper licenses and permits, you could face steep fines or even the closure of your business.
If you’re unsure of state or local regulations and need help, consult a business attorney, as proper licensing is necessary.