Community Development FAQs
Contact Info

Listed below are answers to "commonly asked" questions regarding building permits, business licenses, and planning and zoning.

The Community Development Department staff can also assist you. Call (505) 662-8120.

Business Registrations

Who must obtain a business registration with Los Alamos County?
Any person, corporation, partnership, or similar business enterprise that is required to pay gross receipts taxes in Los Alamos. 

What are gross receipt taxes?
Gross receipt tax is a tax on the sale of goods and services. It is similar to a sales tax, but the tax is levied on the seller and not on the buyer. For more information, call the State of New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department at (505) 827-0832.

How do I know if I need to pay gross receipts tax in Los Alamos County? 
All gross receipts tax related questions are answered by the State of New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department at (505) 827-0832.

Can I obtain small business assistance in Los Alamos?
Yes. The Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation provides small business consulting through its Small Business Center located behind the Post Office. For more information or to set up an appointment with a business consultant, call (505) 662-0001.

What is a CRS number?
A Combined Reporting System (CRS) identification number is required by the State of New Mexico to file gross receipts taxes. The County will not accept any application for a business registration/license without the CRS number. For more information call the State of New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department at (505) 827-0832.

How do I obtain a CRS number?
A CRS number is obtained from the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department in Santa Fe located at the corner of St. Francis and Cordova across from the Wild Oats Food Market. Forms can be ordered by calling the State Taxation and Revenue Department at (505) 827-0951.

What is the difference between a business registration and license?
The County Code outlines what a business registration and license are. 

Briefly, the Code lists the types of businesses that are required to obtain a business license within Los Alamos and includes businesses such as lodging, food establishments, solicitors, and massage therapists. The fees for most licenses range from $35.00 to $50.00 per calendar year. 

Home occupations require a business license or a business registration. Examples of licensed home occupations include bed and breakfasts and massage therapists.

If you require a business license, visit the business license page for more information as well as an application.

Building Permits

When do I need a building permit?
The 2015 IBC states that "no building or structure regulated by this code shall be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished unless a separate permit for each building or structure has first been obtained from the building official."

A residential building permit shall not be required for the following:

  • Moveable cases, counters, and partitions not over 5'9" high;
  • Water tanks on grade of 5,000 gallons or less;
  • Concrete pads, walks, and driveways on private residential property;
  • Painting, wallpaper, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops, and similar finish work;
  • Temporary motion picture and theater stage sets and scenery;
  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54";
  • Above ground swimming pools of 5,000 gallons or less;
  • Tree houses or other play structures for children.

Unless otherwise exempted, separate plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits will be required for the above items. Such permits are issued by the State of New Mexico.

All building permit plans must meet the 2015 International Codes and the Incorporated County of Los Alamos Code. 

What if I have a complaint about a contractor?
Call the State of New Mexico Construction Industries Division at (505) 476-4700. The State of New Mexico licenses contractors.

How do I find out if a contractor is licensed for the work that I am having him do?
The State of New Mexico issues separate licenses for different types of specialities. For example, a contractor may be licensed to do new residential construction, but not new commercial construction. Call the State of New Mexico Construction Industries Division at (505) 476-4700 for more information.

Planning and Zoning

Do I need approval to put up a temporary banner or sign? 
Yes. For a banner on the overpasses by the High School, please call the Customer Care Center 311 or (505) 662-8075. For other temporary banners and signs, call the Community Development Department at (505) 662-8120

Do I need approval to sell goods on a sidewalk, parking lot, or other temporary location?
Yes. Call the Community Development Department at (505) 662-8120 for more information.

For festivals, art shows, and other special events on private property, a temporary use permit is required. Call the Community Development Department at (505) 662-8120.

An event permit is required for festivals, art shows, and other special events on public property. Los Alamos County provides a variety of indoor facilities for private and public use. Call the Community Services Department - Recreation Division at (505) 662-8173 to reserve space or to ask about permits.