D.C. offering Companies Business License and Corporate Registration Amnesty Program

By: Teri Mayor, COGENCY GLOBAL INC. on Fri, Dec 07, 2012


Businesses in Washington, D.C. that have not obtained the proper business licenses, or registered with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) can now correct the matter without facing penalties, thanks to an amnesty program instituted by Mayor Gray.  The program began on November 1st and runs through the end of this calendar year.  The program also applies to companies that have allowed their licenses or registrations to expire.

In order to operate legally in D.C., all businesses must obtain a business license.   Normally, businesses that do not obtain the required license or have allowed their licenses to lapse face a $2,000 fine for operating without a license.  Business entities such as corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships, are also required to register with DCRA prior to obtaining a business license.  Businesses must obtain a “General Business License” unless other professional licensing requirements apply to their business.  An entity registered with DCRA must file an annual report on April 1 of each year to keep the registration current.  Business licenses should be renewed every two years on the anniversary of the license.

The amnesty program applies to the following types of entities: 

  • Businesses who have not obtained a license or whose license expired prior to August 1st, 2012
  • Registered entities, such as incorporated companies, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships, whose registration with DCRA’s corporation division is not current
  • Businesses who lack a current registration on their UPC scanners, commercial weights or scales, produce scales or gas pumps

During the amnesty period, businesses can come into compliance with registration and licensing requirements without facing a $2,000 fine.  Businesses who want to take advantage of this program can obtain one-on-one assistance through DCRA’s Small Business Resource Center.  Service companies that handle corporate and business license filing in Washington, D.C. can also assist.


This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered, or relied upon, as legal advice.

Topics: Annual Report Compliance