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By Milt Wright and Anita Lee Wright
Milt Wright & Associates

Business Taxes

Before you begin your business, you will need to obtain a business permit or license and show your intention to pay different kinds of taxes required by the government. This section summarizes the basic permit and tax certificates required for most business activities in the City of Los Angeles.

Federal Tax
If you employ workers, you will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to withhold federal income taxes from your employees’ paychecks. Application for an EIN can be made either by phone or by mail. To apply by phone, you will need to fill out the IRS Form SS-4 before you call the IRS. As an employer, you are liable for federal withholding taxes, FICA & FUTA (employer’s matching for Social Security and Unemployment Tax) taxes. For current information on tax rates, contact the Los Angeles branch office of the IRS:

Internal Revenue Service
300 N. Los Angeles St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 629-1040 or (800) TAX-1040,,id=100688,00.html

State Tax

1. State Board of Equalization
To pay the state-required business taxes, you will need to contact the State Board of Equalization office for tax assessment and pay a deposit before you start operating your business. You will first be interviewed by the Board of Equalization to determine an estimated amount of the taxes your business will generate. You will then be required to deposit the estimated amount determined during the interview.

For further information, contact the Los Angeles branch of the State Board of Equalization listed below.

The State Board of Equalization
5110 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(213) 913-7800

2. Employment Development Department
Employment Development Department (EDD)is responsible for assisting California employers in meeting their labor needs, and is responsible for collecting employment related taxes, including unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and personal income tax withholding. For further information, contact:

Employment Development Department
3321 Power Inn Road, Suite 2002
Sacramento, CA 95826

3. The Franchise Tax Board
The Franchise Tax Board administers the franchise tax and net income tax from banks and corporations, and the personal income tax from individuals, proprietorships, and partnerships. Contact the Franchise Tax Board’s office for more information and assistance:

The Franchise Tax Board
P.O.BOX 942840
Sacramento, CA 94240
Recorded Information: (800) 338-0505
General Information: (800) 852-5711

City Tax

The City Clerk’s Office handles all taxes and permits required of businesses operating in the City of Los Angeles. The addresses, phone numbers, and office hours of the main office of the City Clerk and its branches are listed below for your information.


City Clerk
Tax and Permit Division

201 N. Main Stree; Room 101
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 473-5901
Monday through Friday: 8 AM – 5 PM

County Tax

If your business is located in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County (such as East Los Angeles), you will need to pay business taxes to the County of Los Angeles instead of the City of Los Angeles. (If your business is located in the City of Los Angeles, the City controls and regulates most of the taxes and permits.) In addition, the County controls health and food permits, hazardous waste regulations, and other pollution regulations for all businesses inside the County of Los Angeles. Please call the County Clerk’s Office for further information.

Los Angeles County Clerk
P. O. Box 53592
Los Angeles, CA 90053
(800) 815-2666
Monday-Friday: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

*The Build WorkSource web site provides material on topics of interest to businesses. It is not intended as legal advice or to answer specific legal or employment problems. The information presented in the Build WorkSource web site is from many sources therefore there can be no warranty or responsibility as to the accuracy, originality or completeness. Build WorkSource is not engaged in rendering legal or other professional counsel.


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