Step by Step

Step 1: Have a Business Plan
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics approximately half of all new business establishments survive after five years, and only one-third survive after 10 years. A business plan creates a foundation for the many ideas you may have for your business. Many important things need to be taken into account before establishing a new business. Things to consider are location, permits, budgets, sales, marketing, advertising, and promotion. The businesses that thrive are those that have a solid plan. For assistance with creating a business plan, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website.
Step 2: Find a Location
The City of Laguna Hills has many excellent locations to start a business, whether it be retail, office, or restaurants. Visit our Commercial Nodes page in order to see what sort of availability the City has in these areas. 
Step 3: Choose a Business Structure
Depending on different circumstances, such as number of partners or liability concerns there are different business structures that one can choose from. Each business structure has its own pro's and con's and one necessarily isn't better than another. Those business structures are:
  • Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Limited Partnership (LP)
  • General Partnership (GP)
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • Sole Proprietorship
To learn more about these different business structures, which will meet your needs, and it's legal obligations, visit the Secretary of State Page.
Step 4: File Tax and Employer Identification Records
There are several agencies on a state and federal level that administer taxes to businesses in the State of California. It is vital that all necessary tax information is collected in order to help prevent any mishaps with government in the future.

State Agencies

Franchise Tax Board
The California Franchise Tax Board administers franchise, corporate, and personal taxes for the State of California

State Board of Equalization
The California State Board of Equalization issues seller's permits as well as being responsible for the administration and collection of the state's sales and use, fuel alcohol, tobacco, and other special taxes and fees. The California State Board of Equalization also plays a very significant role in in property tax assessment and administration. 

Employee Development Department (EDD)
The Employee Development Department is tasked with the regulation of franchises, securities, off-exchange commodities, investment and financial services, independent escrows, consumer and commercial finance lending, and residential mortgage lending.

California Tax Service Center
A website created by the State of California in order to provide business owners with tax assistance, including information about income, payroll, sales & use, and other taxes and fees for businesses.


Internal Revenue Services (IRS)
The IRS issues employer federal identification numbers as well as  being responsible for federal payroll and income taxes, such as social security, Medicare, federal unemployment insurance and federal income tax withholding.
  • The Employer ID Numbers (EINs) page provides important information on applying for an EIN, making a change in the application of an EIN or canceling an EIN
  • The Tax Information for Retirement Plans webpage provides information for the Retirement Plans Community, Benefits Practitioner, Plan Participant/Employee and Plans Sponsor/Employer.

Step 5: Acquire Necessary Licenses and Permits
The City of Laguna Hills does not require a business license; however, we do require that all businesses within the City of Laguna Hills obtain a Certificate of Use and Occupancy. In addition to this, different permits and licenses need to be obtained depending on the type of business. The resources below contain information on licenses/permits a business would need.

Any questions about starting a business in Laguna Hills can be directed towards the Community Development Planning Division at (949) 707-2672.