California Business License

View Guide Contents
Four people, boxes, office being setup

General Business License Requirements for California.

Business licenses are often required of business entities, regardless of their products and services. This page provides an overview of business license requirements in California.

California General Business Licenses

California Business License

Not required



General Business License licensure is not required on the State level in California.

Business licensing is conducted at the city level in California.

Local General Business Licenses

Alameda County Business License

Agency:Alameda County Treasurer-Tax Collector Office (CA)
Fact Checked:11/12/19

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$20 registration fee + $4.00 CASP fee

Fact Checked:9/4/19

Registration Renewal

Due:

Annually by January 1.

Fact Checked:9/4/19

Chula Vista Business License

Agency:City of Chula Vista Finance Department (CA)
Fact Checked:9/12/19

Registration Renewal

Fact Checked:9/12/19

City of Alameda Business License

Agency:City of Alameda Finance Department (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:3/31/21

Initial Registration

Form:

Business License Application

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

Varies by business activity. See the Business License Fee Schedule for details.

Fact Checked:3/31/21

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

Varies by business activity. See the Business License Fee Schedule for details.

Due:

Annually by June 30.

Fact Checked:3/31/21

City of Arcadia Business License

Fact Checked:2/25/19

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on industry, specialty, number of vehicles, and/or number of employees.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/26/19

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on industry, specialty, number of vehicles, and/or number of employees.

Due:

Annually.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/26/19

City of Berkeley Business License

More Information:

City of Berkeley, California

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:11/19/20

Initial Registration

Form:

New Business License Application

Filing Method:

Paper

Agency Fee:

Varies from $51 – $77, plus a 1-time registration fee of $25

Turnaround:

3 days - 6 months

How to Apply:

Address must be verified by staff as being in the City's database.

Fact Checked:11/19/20

Registration Renewal

Form:

General Renewal Application

Filing Method:

Paper

Agency Fee:

Varies based on gross receipts

Due:

Annually by January 1st

Fact Checked:11/19/20

City of Cupertino Business License

Agency:City of Cupertino Finance Department (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:3/31/21

Initial Registration

Form:

Business License Application

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

Fees vary by business activity. See the Business License Rates document for details.

Fact Checked:3/31/21

Registration Renewal

Form:

Business License Application (Renewal)

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

Fees vary by business activity. See the Business License Rates document for details.

Due:

Annually by the date of issuance.

Fact Checked:3/31/21

City of Emeryville Business License

Agency:City of Emeryville Department of Finance - Business License Office (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:12/11/20

Initial Registration

Form:

New Business License Application

Agency Fee:

$61 administrative fee + $25 minimum business license tax

Fact Checked:12/11/20

Registration Renewal

Form:

Business License Renewal Applications

Agency Fee:

$10 renewal fee + business tax amount

Due:

Annually by January 1.

Fact Checked:12/11/20

City of Fremont Business Tax Certificate

Agency:City of Fremont Finance Department - Revenue Division (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:12/16/20

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

Upon submitting your business tax application, you will receive a response within 10 business days, specifying the amount due and payment instructions.

Fact Checked:12/16/20

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

Most business pay a $30 business tax.

Due:

Annually by the end of the month following the expiration month of the business. Expiration dates are December 31, March 31, June 30, and September 30.

Fact Checked:12/16/20

City of Hawthorne Out-of-City Business License

Agency:City of Hawthorne Licensing Department (CA)
Fact Checked:2/25/19

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for a Business Tax Certificate/Permit

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on gross receipts.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/26/19

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on gross receipts.

Due:

Annually.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/26/19

City of Healdsburg Business License

More Information:

City of Healdsburg, CA

Agency:City of Healdsburg Finance Department (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:11/3/20

Registration Renewal

Form:

Application

Agency Fee:

Varies based on gross receipts

Due:

Annually by June 30

Fact Checked:11/3/20

City of Irvine Business License

Agency:City of Irvine Economic Development (CA)
Fact Checked:2/25/19

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$4

Law:

Code of Ordinances Section 4-6-201

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/26/19

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$4

Due:

Annually.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/26/19

City of Oakland Business Tax Certificate

More Information:

City of Oakland

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:11/19/20

Initial Registration

Form:

Application

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$95 : $88 non-refundable registration fee, $4 SB1186 fee, $3 Recordation and Technology Fee

Fact Checked:11/19/20

Registration Renewal

Form:

Business License Online Renewal

Filing Method:

Online.

File renewal by mail if the business falls under any of the following:
* Claiming a Small Business Exemption
* Filing a Low Income Housing Exemption Operators of Low Income Housing may renew RAP online.

Agency Fee:

Varies

Due:

Annually

Fact Checked:11/19/20

City of Ontario Business License

More Information:

City of Ontario

Agency:City of Ontario Investments & Revenue Resources (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:11/3/20

Registration Renewal

Form:

Application

Agency Fee:

Varies baased on gross receipts; $50 base fee plus $4 Sb-1186 fee

Due:

Annually by January 31st

Fact Checked:11/3/20

City of Oxnard Business License

Agency:City of Oxnard Department of Billing and Licensing (CA)
Fact Checked:2/25/19

Initial Registration

Form:

Business Tax Certificate Application for Businesses Based Outside Oxnard City Limits

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on gross receipts.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/26/19

Registration Renewal

Form:

Renewal Form

Instructions:

A renewal form is mailed to licensees.

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on gross receipts.

Due:

Annually.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/26/19

City of Palm Springs Business License

Agency:City of Palm Springs Finance Department ‐ Business License Tax Division (CA)
Fact Checked:2/25/19

Initial Registration

Form:

New Business License Tax Application

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on industry, specialty, number of vehicles, number of employees, and other factors.

Law:

Palm Springs Municipal Code, Chapter 3

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on industry, specialty, number of vehicles, number of employees, and other factors.

Due:

Annually.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

City of Redding Business License

More Information:

City of Redding, CA

Agency:City of Redding City Clerk's Department (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:11/3/20

Registration Renewal

Form:

Application

Agency Fee:

Varies based on business activities

Due:

Annually by month license is obtained

Fact Checked:11/3/20

City of Rialto Business License

Agency:City of Rialto Community Development Department (CA)
Fact Checked:2/25/19

Initial Registration

Form:

New Business License Form

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on business classification.

Turnaround:

Three to four weeks.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

Registration Renewal

Form:

Business License Renewal Form

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on business classification.

Due:

Annually by December 31st for all business except contractors.

Contractor renewals are due one year from the date of issue.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

City of Richmond Business License

Agency:City of Richmond Finance Department – Business License Unit (CA)
Fact Checked:2/25/19

Initial Registration

Form:

Business License Application

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on number of employees.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

City of Riverside Business License

Agency:City of Riverside Finance Department (CA)
Fact Checked:2/25/19

Initial Registration

Form:

Business Tax Application

Agency Fee:

Variable based on number of employees working in Riverside.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

Variable based on number of employees working in Riverside.

Due:

Annually on the last day of the month in which the license was issued.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

City of San Ramon Business License

Agency:City of San Ramon Administrative Services Department (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:3/31/21

Initial Registration

Form:

Business License Application

Agency Fee:

Varies by business activity; minimum of $54.

Fact Checked:3/31/21

Registration Renewal

Form:

Business License Application (Renewal)

Agency Fee:

Varies by business activity; minimum of $54.

Due:

Annually by the date of issuance.

Fact Checked:3/31/21

City of Santa Monica Business License

More Information:

City of Santa Monica

Agency:City of Santa Monica Finance Department (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:11/3/20

Registration Renewal

Form:

Application

Agency Fee:

Varies based on gross receipts

Due:

Annually by June 30

Fact Checked:11/3/20

City of Ukiah Business License

More Information:

City of Ukiah, CA

Agency:City of Ukiah Business Section (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:11/3/20

Registration Renewal

Form:

Application

Agency Fee:

Varies based on fross receipts

Due:

Annually by December 31

Fact Checked:11/3/20

City of Ventura Business License

Agency:City of Ventura Business Tax Office (CA)
Fact Checked:2/25/19

Initial Registration

Form:

New Business License Application

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on gross receipts and business type (retail, services, or warehousing).

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on gross receipts and business type (retail, services, or warehousing).

Due:

Annually by June 30th.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

City of Visalia Business Tax Certificate

Agency:City of Visalia Business Tax Division (CA)
Fact Checked:2/25/19

Initial Registration

Form:

Business Tax Application

Agency Fee:

$30.50 application fee; taxes are assessed based on industry and gross receipts.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

Registration Renewal

Form:

Declaration of Gross Receipts

Instructions:

The Declaration of Gross Receipts form is mailed to license holders each March.

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on gross receipts.

Due:

Annually by April 30th.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

City of West Sacramento Non-Local Business License

Agency:City of West Sacramento Community Development Department (CA)
Fact Checked:2/25/19

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$77

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$77

Due:

Annually.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

El Dorado County Business License

More Information:

El Dorado County

Agency:El Dorado County Treasurer-Tax Collector (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:10/8/20

Registration Renewal

Form:

Application

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$46

Due:

Annually

Fact Checked:10/8/20

Long Beach Business License

Agency:City of Long Beach Business License Division (CA)
Fact Checked:11/12/19

Initial Registration

Form:

Long Beach Business License Application

Fact Checked:9/4/19

Registration Renewal

Form:

Renewal information and pin is sent via mail.

Due:

Annually

Fact Checked:9/4/19

Los Angeles Business Registration

Agency:City of Los Angeles Office of Finance (CA)
Fact Checked:2/25/19

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on gross receipts.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/26/19

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on gross receipts.

Due:

Annually.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/26/19

Pasadena Business License - General

Agency:Pasadena Department of Finance (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Notes:

The general business license category applies to every person engaged in the business of retailing, merchandising, wholesaling, manufacturing, processing, distributing, warehousing or utility services, not otherwise specifically provided for in Chapters 5.04 through 5.16.

Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:3/31/21

Initial Registration

Form:

Business License Application

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$75 plus $15 for each employee in excess of 1.

Fact Checked:3/31/21

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$75 plus $15 for each employee in excess of 1.

Due:

Annually by August 31.

Fact Checked:3/31/21

Pasadena Business License - Professional

Agency:Pasadena Department of Finance (CA)
Law:

Pasadena Code of Ordinances 5.08.130 and 5.16.030

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Notes:

The professional business license category applies to every person engaged in or carrying on any profession where profession means:

  • Architect

  • Attorney

  • Certified public accountant

  • Chiropodist or podiatrist

  • Chiropractor

  • Dentist

  • Engineer (all types)

  • Land surveyor

  • Landscape architect

  • Optometrist

  • Osteopathic physician

  • Physician and surgeon

  • Psychologist

  • Public accountant

  • Shorthand reporter (general reporting only)

  • Veterinarian

Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:3/31/21

Initial Registration

Form:

Business License Application

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

For the first professional—$200;
For each additional professional—$100;
For each nonprofessional employee—$15

Fact Checked:3/31/21

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

For the first professional—$200;
For each additional professional—$100;
For each nonprofessional employee—$15

Due:

Annually by March 31.

Fact Checked:3/31/21

Pasadena Business License - Service

Agency:Pasadena Department of Finance (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:3/31/21

Initial Registration

Form:

Business License Application

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$75.00 plus $15.00 for each employee in excess of 1.

Fact Checked:3/31/21

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$75.00 plus $15.00 for each employee in excess of 1.

Due:

Annually by May 31.

Fact Checked:3/31/21

San Francisco Business Registration

Agency:City and County of San Francisco Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:6/23/20

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

Fees vary and depend on your business activities and gross receipts or payroll expense. See the table on this page under the "How much does it cost to register?" section for details.

Fact Checked:6/23/20

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

Fees vary and depend on your business activities and gross receipts or payroll expense for the previous fiscal year.

Due:

Registrations expire annually on June 30 but must be renewed by May 31.

Fact Checked:6/23/20

Santa Ana Business License

Agency:City of Santa Ana Finance and Management Services (CA)
Fact Checked:2/25/19

Initial Registration

Form:

Business License Tax Application

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on type of business.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

Registration Renewal

Form:

Business Tax Bill

Instructions:

A bill will be mailed, or you can contact the Tax and License section at (714) 647-5447 to obtain a tax bill.

Agency Fee:

Variable, based on type of business.

Due:

Annually.

Original Ink:Not required
Fact Checked:2/27/19

Town of Windsor Business License

More Information:

Town of Windsor

Agency:Town of Windsor Administrative Services Department (CA)
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:10/8/20

Registration Renewal

Form:

Application

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$26

Due:

Annually

Fact Checked:10/8/20

Learn about general business licensing requirements in other states:



© 2012 - 2021 Harbor Compliance. All rights reserved. Harbor Compliance does not provide tax, financial, or legal advice. Use of our services does not create an attorney-client relationship. Harbor Compliance is not acting as your attorney and does not review information you provide to us for legal accuracy or sufficiency. Access to our website is subject to our Terms of Use and Service Agreement.