Louisiana Small Business Association
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Small Business Startup Kit

LSBA has put together a guide, using information from the Louisiana Economic Development ‘Small Business Resource Guide’. This information is aimed at small businesses interested in starting a business. A number of decisions must be made to insure that a newly developed business starts properly and has the maximum opportunity for success, and we hope that this guide helps make those decisions a little easier.

Select a Corporate or Legal Structure for Your Business

You must decide on the corporate or legal structure of your business. In making this decision, it is wise to contact an attorney and accountant to advice on the most effective structure based on your business idea and current financial situation. Each type of business structure has advantages and disadvantages, and it is the expertise of good practitioners that will benefit you in the long run. Business Structures as defined by the Secretary of State’s website:

  • Individual or Sole Proprietorship
    A business where only you, or your spouse, own the business even though you may have employees.
  • Partnership
    A business where two or more people own the business jointly.
  • Corporation
    A business which is treated by law as an entity. It has a life separate from its owners or stockholders. Many corporations begin as a sole proprietor or partnership.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
    An entity that is an unincorporated association having one or more members organized and filing articles with the Secretary of State.

New Business Registration

Many businesses and professionals are required to register with the state before they can operate in Louisiana. Information on the requirements and the forms that need to be submitted can be found on the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.sos.louisiana.gov/. The Louisiana Secretary of State’s office has streamlined the registration, permitting and tax process, making it easier than ever to start a business.

Licensing and Permitting

The proper federal, state and local business license permits allowing a legal entity to operate in Louisiana must be obtained before the start of business. The Secretary of State maintains a database of local contacts that can be helpful in starting and operating a business in Louisiana. Depending on the type of business, the following licenses and permits may be required:

  • Certificate of occupancy
    This permit is issued by the local or parish government upon determination that your particular type of business is located in the proper zone.
  • State occupational license
    This license is often required for many professions and occupations in Louisiana.
  • Local occupational license
    City and/or parish government issues this license, which is determined by type of business.
  • Local food permit
    This permit is required by the local governing authority for businesses dealing with food, so it is normally obtained through the local health office.
  • State beverage or tobacco permit
    This permit is required of businesses selling beer, liquor, soft drinks or tobacco.


Local Taxes

Most parishes and many municipals have taxes in support of local government’s efforts to provide services to residents and businesses. Visit your local parish or municipal’s website to learn more.

State Taxes

Louisiana law defined several types of taxes that must be either paid or collected by businesses operating in the state.  Any business that engages in the sale of any kind must register with the Louisiana Department of Revenue.  Information on state taxes, forms and filing can be found on the Louisiana Department of Revenue website at http://www.revenue.louisiana.gov/ or for additional information, call the Department's Call Center at (225) 219-7462.

Corporate Income and Franchise Tax information can also be obtained at the above listed website and/or phone number.

Federal Tax Identification Numbers

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) can be obtained through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), either by visiting their website at www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=102767,00.html, or by calling the IRS's Business & Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933.

For a list of publications recommended by the IRS for small businesses and additional information, please visit www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=99083,00.html.


Depending on the type and nature of your business, there are many insurance options for both your company and your employees. You will need to be familiar with the following options if operating a business in Louisiana:

  • Workers' Compensation
  • Liability
  • Property
  • Owner Personal (Life, Key Employee, Retirement, etc.)

Louisiana’s Department of Insurance can answer your questions about insurance liability in the state. Many frequently asked questions, forms and publications are posted at http://www.ldi.state.la.us/.

Checklist of Requirements for Louisiana Businesses

For additional information on starting a new business, expanding an existing business or small businesses in general, visit the Louisiana Economic Development’s website at http://www.louisianaeconomicdevelopment.com/.



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