How to Start a Business in Louisiana:
There are several ways to form a business in Louisiana. Louisiana is one of the few states in which you can form a low-profit limited liability company (L3C). Reserving a business name, registering a business with the state, checking and applying for permits and licenses, and registering for taxes can all conveniently be done online. Read our guide for detailed step-by-step instructions.
Form your business.
Review Louisiana formation options.
Louisiana offers 6 ways of forming your business. Review these closely and pick the one that fits your business best.
Name your business.
Look up what the naming rules for your chosen business structure are. For example, if you are creating an LLC, Lousiana LLC naming rules require your business name to include the phrase "limited liability company" or the abbreviations "LLC" or "LC."
Once you've brainstormed some name ideas and tested your top choices, you'll need to verify that your preferred name is distinct from the names of other businesses already registered and available for you to use. Start by doing a state business name search, then check domain availability on a site like Namecheap, and perform a federal trademark search.
Once you've made a final choice, you can reserve the name before registering your business under that name. A business name can be reserved for 120 days. This costs $25 for an LLC. You can reserve your business name by mailing a name reservation form or by going online to reserve at the geauxBIZ website.
If you need help finding a business name, be sure to check out NameSnack's free business name generator.
Register your trade name.
If you want to operate under a name that differs from your business's legal name (the name on the formation documents), you will also have to file a DBA. In Louisiana, you have to be using a trade name already before you can register it. You can, however, reserve the name if you haven't started using it yet.
How to register a trade name:
Perform a business entity search on the Louisiana Secretary of State's website to check that your chosen name is available.
Submit the application, along with the $75.00 filing fee, to the Louisiana SOS Commercial Division.
You can also apply online through the geauxBIZ.com portal.
Get an employer identification number.
Nearly all businesses will need to register for federal taxes by applying for an employer identification number.
Appoint a registered agent.
Most business registrations in Louisiana require a registered agent, by law. The registered agent must be of legal age and have a physical address in Louisiana. You can either make use of a registered agent service or designate an individual, such as the organizer of the business, an employee of the business, an attorney, or an accountant, as your registered agent.
Register your business in Louisiana.
To register a business in Louisiana, you will have to obtain the application forms for the type of business you want to form. These are available to download from the Louisiana SOS website. The completed application forms, along with supporting documentation, must be submitted to the state department’s commercial division, including the applicable filing fee. Submissions can be made by mail, fax, or in-person. You will have to schedule an appointment if you wish to submit your business filings in-person.
You can also register your business online using the geauxBIZ.com portal:
Visit geauxBIZ.com and create an account.
Once you are signed in, select "Get Started" on the "Dashboard" tab.
If you reserved your business name, go to the "My Businesses" tab instead and select "Convert to New Business Registration."
Next, you will be asked to select what you want to do. Select "Register a Louisiana business just starting up."
Then, select the type of business structure you want to register.
Follow the prompts and complete the required information.
Submit your application and pay the applicable filing fee.
Obtain necessary permits and licenses.
While the state of Lousiana does not have general business license requirements, many cities in Louisiana do. Whether you require business licenses and permits also depends on the type of business you plan to run.
For example, to open a restaurant a Class A-R (Restaurant) permit issued by the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control is required. You may also require a signage permit, an alarm permit, a zoning permit, and others. To find out whether you require federal, state, and licenses and permits for your business in Louisiana, go to geauxBiz.com and create a business license checklist.
Visit geauxBIZ.com and create an account.
Once you are signed in, select "Create a Business License Checklist" on the "Dashboard" tab under the heading "Quick Links."
Complete the required information and click "Submit Request."
Next, you will get a list of possible federal, state, and local licenses and permits required for businesses in your industry.
Register your business for taxes.
Register for sales tax.
Before you sell goods or provide taxable services in Louisiana, you will need to register with the Department of Revenue (LDR) for a sales tax license and file a monthly or quarterly tax return.
To register for sales tax, you will need to provide the date your business plans to begin sales operations.
You can register for sales taxes when you register your business with the Louisiana Department of Revenue. You will need to complete form R-16019 (Application for Louisiana Tax Number CR-1) available to download on the Louisiana Department of Revenue website and mail the signed and dated application to the Louisiana Department of Revenue Taxpayer Services Division.
Alternatively, you can register for sales tax when you register your business with the State of Louisiana online through the geauxBiz.com portal or register online for the Lousiana Department of Revenue Taxpayer Access Point (LaTAP) where you can register your business with the Louisiana Department of Revenue and apply for the tax accounts you require.
Register for sales taxes when you register your business with the Louisiana Department of Revenue using form R-16019 (Application for Louisiana Tax Number (CR-1), available to download on the Louisiana Department of Revenue website.
Read the instructions supplied and complete, date, and sign the application form.
Mail the application to the Louisiana Department of Revenue, Taxpayer Services Division, P.O. Box 4998, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4998.
You will receive your sales tax license in three to four weeks.
To register with the Louisiana Department of Revenue online, use the Lousiana Department of Revenue Taxpayer Access Point (LaTAP). You will have to supply the same information as indicated above and apply for the tax accounts you require. Once you are registered for LaTAP, you can file your tax returns and make payments using the online portal.
You can also register for sales tax when you register your business with the State of Louisiana online through the geauxBiz.com portal.
Register for withholding tax.
Every business in Louisiana that has one or more employees at a salary of $375 per month or more must register for a withholding tax account.
You can register for withholding tax when you register your business with the Louisiana Department of Revenue as outlined in the step above. You will have to indicate the date when your business will be liable for withholding tax and select the filing frequency which is determined by the total monthly amount of income withholdings from all your employees.
- If your total monthly income withholdings are less than $500, select quarterly.
- If your total monthly income withholdings are at least $500 but less than $2,000, select quarterly.
- If your total monthly income withholdings are at least $2,000 or more, select semi-monthly.
Register for corporate income and franchise tax.
Corporations and business entities that are taxed as corporations must register for corporate income and franchise tax.
You can register for corporate income and franchise tax when you register your business with the Louisiana Department of Revenue as indicated above. You will have to provide the date you filed the charter with the Louisiana Secretary of State and indicate whether your corporation is domestic or foreign.
Apply for an unemployment tax account.
Every business operating in Louisiana that has employees must complete and submit an unemployment tax account application and will be notified whether they are liable for unemployment tax under the Lousiana Employment Security Law.
Employers liable for unemployment tax will receive an unemployment tax Employer Account Number (EAN) to use when filing unemployment taxes and making payments. If applicants are informed that they are officially determined as not liable for unemployment taxes, they will not receive an EAN.
You can apply for a Louisiana Unemployment Employer Account online the Louisiana Workforce Commission's LASTARS portal. You should apply within the first quarter of having your first employee wages.
You will need the following information to complete the application:
- Employer's name, address, and contact details.
- Name and telephone number of the person responsible for payroll.
- Business type and details.
- Number of employees working in Louisiana.
- Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).
- Name, EIN, and date of the contract of PEOs, if applicable.
- Date company started having employees in Louisiana (must be present or past date).
- Company officers/owner details, including SSN.
Once you have submitted the application and it has been processed, you will receive a notification informing you whether you are liable for unemployment tax. This will take approximately two to four weeks.
Report new employees to the state and get insurance.
Report new hires.
By law, employers are required to report new hires and returning employees to the Louisiana Directory of New Hires within 20 days of the employee's first day. This process is mandatory every time you hire a new employee.
To file an online report, you can visit the Louisiana State Directory of New Hires website.
You also have the option to fax or mail the W-4 or equivalent form. Mailing information is available on the new-hire form.
Get mandatory insurance.
Any business owner who hires one or more employees, whether full or part-time, must carry workers' compensation insurance. Domestic workers are exempt. Other exemptions may also apply. For more information, contact the Louisiana Office of Workers' Compensation Administration.
In addition, Louisiana law requires that all drivers carry minimum automobile insurance.
Louisiana Business Filing Fees:
Limited Liability Partnership Registration
Filing Articles of Organization (LLC/L3C))
Filing Articles of Incorporation
Trade Name, Trademark, Service Mark Registration
Louisiana Business Types:
1. Sole proprietorship.
In Louisiana, a sole proprietorship may be the easiest way to form a business as it can be operated without filing with the state. To operate under a name other than the owner’s name, a DBA must be filed. There is no legal difference between the owner and the business, which means that the owner’s personal assets are not protected.
A legal agreement between two or more individuals who share management and earnings. A Louisiana partnership is different from a Louisiana sole proprietorship in that is comprises two or more people and a contract of partnership must be registered with the state. Otherwise, it is legally identical.
3. Limited Liability Partnership.
In some states, limited liability partnerships (LLP) can only be formed by professional service firms, such as a law firm. In Louisiana, any business can become an LLP. While partners are not protected from all business liabilities, they may not be personally liable for debts brought about by other partners' infractions or negligence.
4. Low-Profit Limited Liability Company.
Louisiana is among the states in which businesses can form a low-profit limited liability company (L3C), which is suitable for for-profit business ventures that are primarily concerned with being socially beneficial. This business structure bridges the gap between nonprofit and for-profit ventures.
5. Limited Liability Company.
A Louisiana limited liability company (LLC) is operated as a sole proprietorship but affords the owner protection from liability. Louisiana LLCs can choose to be taxed as a corporation or opt for the pass-through tax structure of sole proprietorships and partnerships.
A Louisiana corporation is a formal structure that is recognized as an entity separate from the owners or shareholders, affording them liability protection. It is run by a group of officers known as the board of directors who are elected by the shareholders. This is the most complex business structure and is subject to double taxation.
How much does it cost to register a business in Louisiana?
Depending on the business structure, it costs between $75.00 and $125.00 to register a business in Louisiana.
What permits do I need to start a business in Louisiana?
The state of Louisiana has no generic license requirements, but many of the cities do. However, many types of businesses need several licenses or permits, from sales and occupational licenses to zoning and signage permits. You can look up what licenses are required for a business in your industry by visiting geauxBiz.com and creating a business license checklist.
Is Louisiana a good place to start a business?
Witha high success rate of 80.54% of start-up surviving past the first year of business and one of the lowest business costs in the United States, Louisiana has proven to be a great place to launch a business.
How do I start an LLC in Louisiana?
- Name your LLC.
- Choose a registered agent.
- File the Articles of Organization.
- Create an operating agreement.
- Obtain an EIN.
How long does it take to file an LLC in Louisiana?
It takes two days if you file your Articles of Incorporation online while it will take three to five days if you mail your filing.
How do I reserve a business name in Louisiana?
You first need to check with the Louisiana Secretary of State if the business name is available. If the name is available, the name can be reserved by filing a special "Company Name Reservation" application that takes up to five days to process.
How much does it cost to register a business name in Louisiana?
It costs between $75.00 and $100.00 to register a business with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
Where can I apply for a Louisiana sales tax license?
To apply for licenses and permits in Louisiana, you can go to the geauxBiz website.