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Department of Licensing
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Steps to Obtaining a Basic Business License


Step 1 – Corporate & Trade Name Registration

If your business is operating as a corporate entity (e.g., corporation, limited liability company, or partnership), register via CorpOnline.

Trade Name Registration
If you are planning to use a fictitious or shortened version of the corporate name when conducting business, register the trade name via CorpOnline.

Step 2 – Registration with Internal Revenue Service and DC Office of Tax and Revenue

Apply for Employer Identification Number (EIN) online, in-person at 77 K Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002, or via telephone at (202) 803-9000.

DC Office of Tax (OTR):
Register EIN with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue online. For more information visit 1101 4th Street, SW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20024, or call (202) 727-4TAX.

Clean Hands Certification:
A Clean Hands check will be conducted during the Basic Business License online application process. Learn more about Clean Hands.

Step 3 – Registration with Office of the Zoning Administrator

  • Expedited Home Occupation Permit (eHOP): If conducting business out of a home in the District, you may be eligible to obtain an Expedited Home Occupation Permit when you apply for a Basic Business License via My DC Business Center.
  • Home Occupation Permit (HOP): If conducting business out of a home in the District, apply for a Home Occupation Permit.
  • Certificate of Occupancy (COO): If operating out of an office location in the District, apply for a Certificate of Occupancy.

Step 4 - Basic Business License (BBL) Application

Submit a BBL application including the required supporting documentation and payment.
Your business' activities determine the type of Basic Business License required.

Apply for a Business License