How to Apply for a Business License in Louisiana

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Swyft Filings is committed to providing accurate, reliable information to help you make informed decisions for your business. That's why our content is written and edited by professional editors, writers, and subject matter experts. Learn more about how Swyft Filings works, our editorial team and standards, what our customers think of us, and more on our trust page.

Carlos Serrano
Written by Carlos Serrano
Written byCarlos Serrano
Updated October 17, 2023
Edited by Alexis Konovodoff
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A lot goes into starting a new business in the state of Louisiana. Besides choosing a catchy business name for your limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or sole proprietorship, you also need to obtain a business license. It should be one of your main priorities as a business owner, and we’ll walk you through the application process.

Let’s take a closer look at the business licensing requirements in Louisiana.

Louisiana Business License: Key Takeaways

  • A business license is a formal authorization to operate legally within a specific area, and failure to obtain one can result in fines and loss of good standing.

  • Business licenses in Louisiana can come from various government levels, and the type of license required depends on your business's location, nature, and industry.

  • Certain professions in Louisiana require specific professional licenses, which may be issued by state or local authorities. 

Navigate Louisiana Business Licensing with Ease

Ensuring you have the right business licenses and permits is crucial. Let us manage the complexities for you, so you can stay focused on what you do best — running your business.

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What Is a Business License?

A business license is a formal authorization to do business in a specific area. For example, you may need a state license in Louisiana to produce and sell certain products, such as alcoholic beverages. Without a permit, you risk losing your good standing with the Secretary of State and significant fines.[1]

However, you may also need licenses at other government levels:

  • Federal

  • County 

  • Municipal

  • City

Each level of government may have specific requirements for your license. They usually depend on your area and the nature of your small business, but one thing’s for sure — running a legal enterprise without a license is impossible.

And there’s no taking shortcuts here. For instance, many believe registering their enterprise automatically permits them to do business in Louisiana. That’s not the case. Although critical, registration is only the first step in acquiring your license. Applying for a permit is a separate process.

Get Your Louisiana Business License in 7 Steps

There are many conditions for doing business in the state of Louisiana.[2] You’ll need to apply for a specific state license and any additional licenses envisioned for your industry. Our seven-step guide will help you breeze through the filing process.

Step 1: Apply for Louisiana General Business Licenses

In the state of Louisiana, you don’t need a general state license for your small business. But just because you don’t need a general permit doesn’t mean other licenses don’t apply to you. 

You may need various authorizations to ensure your enterprise complies with state and federal laws, such as a professional license.

Step 2: Apply for Federal Licenses for Louisiana Businesses

When setting up a business entity, regulations from the federal government are practically inevitable. One of the organizations you need to communicate with during the formation is the Internal Revenue Service to receive your Employer Identification Number (EIN).[3]

Other than tax-related matters, the federal government also oversees certain business licenses. As a business owner, you must familiarize yourself with their mandates before setting up your new business.

If you belong to any one of the below categories, you should refer to the relevant government bodies for your business license:

  • Agricultural company that imports or exports animal goods, animals, plants, and biotechnology in multiple states (Department of Agriculture)

  • Nuclear energy organization that makes nuclear energy for commercial purposes or disposes and distributes nuclear products (U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

  • Fishery enterprise that catches fish for commercial purposes (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service)

  • Firearms business that makes, imports, or sells weapons, explosives, and other firearm-related goods (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)

  • Transportation entity that operates oversized vehicles (U.S. Department of Transportation)

Many other industries and business activities require a federal license. To check out those entities in greater detail, consult the U.S. Small Business Administration website.[4]

A welcome sign for the state of Louisiana | Swyft Filings

Step 3: Search for Louisiana Permits and Licenses

Federal and general business licenses are the broadest category when discussing licensing requirements in Louisiana. After applying for your federal permit and realizing a general license isn’t necessary, your work isn’t over yet.

For example, if you’re in the construction industry, you’ll need a building permit to carry out any project. As a commercial contractor, you must also be authorized by the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors.[5] Only then can you begin the construction.

Another great example of a company that needs a special license is an enterprise that makes alcoholic beverages. The Louisiana Alcohol Tobacco Control System oversees the license application and renewal process.[6]

Step 4: Search for Local County or City Louisiana Business Licenses

It’s in the interest of the state of Louisiana and its economic development that companies can obtain a state license and additional licenses quickly. The faster they do so, the sooner they start contributing to the area’s GDP and making people’s lives more comfortable.

To that end, the licensing process has been distributed to local governments. As such, most of it is now run by county, municipal, and city governments. They’re in charge of many crucial aspects, such as issuing your business tax certificate, sales tax permit, and other authorizations.

They also oversee much of your licensing process. For example, if you need a building permit, you should be able to obtain it from your local office. 

Here are some licenses offered by specific Louisiana cities:

  • New Orleans: Alcoholic beverage licenses, special event permits, and special event promoter’s permits

  • Baton Rouge: Resale certificates, liquor licenses, and tobacco licenses

  • Lafayette: Liquor licenses, special event permits, marijuana business permits, massage parlor licenses, pawn broker licenses, and amusement device licenses[7]

Step 5: Search for Louisiana Professional Licenses

Next comes your professional license. As the name suggests, you need this license if you practice a certain profession. 

As a professional, you might need to obtain a variety of local and state permits to launch your operations. Consult your county clerk or city office to determine the specific requirements.

In the meantime, here’s a short list of occupations that need a professional license in the state of Louisiana and the organizations that issue the permits:

  • Accountants: Board of Certified Accountants

  • Architects: Board of Architectural Examiners

  • Attorneys: Bar Association

  • Dentists: Board of Dentistry

  • Engineers: Professional Engineering and Land Surveying Board

  • Massage Therapists: Board of Massage Therapy

  • Occupational Therapists: Board of Medical Examiners

  • Plumbers: State Plumbing Board

You can refer to the website for a full list.

Step 6: Apply for a Louisiana Home-Based Business License

Home-based businesses are a popular alternative to the traditional type of business. You can take this route when starting your small business to save utility costs and eliminate the need to rent separate premises for your business location.

However, a home occupation may require a number of county and local licenses.

Take massage therapy as an example. The Board of Massage Therapy will need to inspect your house and equipment to determine if it’s safe. 

Additionally, you might want to familiarize yourself with local zoning regulations and building codes if you plan to expand your property or modify it.[8]

Step 7: Maintain Your Louisiana Business License

The road to acquiring your business license and business tax certificate can be long and hard. As an ambitious business owner, the last thing you want is to let your efforts go to waste.

So, don’t stop at just obtaining your license. To remain in good standing with the Secretary of State and keep your operations legal, don’t forget to renew your permits according to state or local requirements. Some organizations require you to get a new authorization yearly, whereas others check your license every two or three years.

Apply for a Louisiana Business License Online

Swyft Filings is here for all your business license concerns. We’ll perform the business license application process on your behalf so you can focus on other, more essential parts of running a company. 

We’re well-versed in Louisiana permits, giving you peace of mind when setting up your enterprise. Plus, we keep up with local and state updates to keep you posted about any changes. Check out our Business License questionnaire to get started.

Stay Compliant in Louisiana Without the Hassle
  • Focus on Your Business: Dive into your passion while we handle the intricacies of acquiring the necessary local, state, and federal business licenses and permits.

  • Simplify Your Paperwork: Complete our straightforward questionnaire, and we’ll handle all the required filings for you, accurately and promptly.

  • Stay Compliant: Avoid the risks and severe repercussions of non-compliance. We’re here to ensure your business remains in good standing.

Begin My License Application Today


How do I get a business license in Louisiana?

You need to apply for a business license with the body that oversees the area where you want to set up your company. In some cases, the federal government is your point of contact. In others, you submit your request to the state or local authorities. Consult the geauxBIZ portal for additional information about your licensing requirements.

Does Louisiana require a general business license?

No. Louisiana doesn’t require a general business license.

Can you sell things in Louisiana without a license?

The state of Louisiana doesn’t allow you to sell products or services if you’re unlicensed.

Do I need a special license for an online business in Louisiana?

Typically, you don’t need a special license for your online business in Louisiana.

Can I collect sales tax in Louisiana without a license?

No. You need a business license and tax registration number to collect sales tax in Louisiana. The same goes for federal tax and other types of tax, whether you’re considering an LLC creation or incorporation.

How much does a Louisiana business license cost?

Louisiana doesn’t have a general business license. As a result, you don’t have to pay any filing fees for your permit. However, city and municipal licenses may have fees.

What’s the penalty for not having a business license in Louisiana?

The penalties can range from fines to not being able to do business in the state.


  1. Louisiana Secretary of State. “Order Documents & Certificates.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

  2. U.S. Small Business Administration. “Doing Business in the Louisiana District.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

  3. IRS. “Estimated Taxes.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

  4. U.S. Small Business Administration. “Apply for Licenses and Permits.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

  5. West Baton Rouge Planning and Development. “Commercial Building Permit.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

  6. Louisiana Alcohol Tobacco Control. “Welcome to the Online Louisiana Alcohol Tobacco Control System.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

  7. City of Lafayette. “Business Licenses.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

  8. Louisiana State Legislature. “RS 33:4724.” Accessed July 25, 2023.

Originally published on September 15, 2023, and last edited on October 17, 2023.
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