What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in California?
Starting a in will mean potentially registering with a number of federal, state, and local agencies. Let’s take a look at common licenses and permits a will register for in .
Before applying for any licenses, the entity will need to be established. Learn more about the differences between the sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Related: Comparison of Entities
Learn more about forming an LLC in California with the California Secretary of State.
There is no general state of , however, many cities require businesses to be licensed in order to operate. Rules for registration vary depending on location and what the does. Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements.
Los Angeles – Businesses located in or have employees conducting in the of Los Angeles will need to complete a New Registration and obtain a Registration Certificate with the Office of Finance.
San Jose – Within 90 days of starting, all businesses operating in from the City of San Jose. must obtain a
San Francisco – The Office of the Treasurer & Collector requires any to obtain their Registration Certificate within 15 days of starting the . registration is required for any company operating within the corporate limits of the city. Additionally, certain businesses such as billiard halls, food service establishments, tattoo artists, ice cream trucks, and more have to register with the Office of the City Clerk.
Sacramento – The City of Sacramento requires businesses to have a Operation .
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Building & Permits
– Depending on the location of the , it’s important to verify whether the needs an occupancy or has to operate. Depending on city requirements, home-based businesses may need to apply for a .
– A may be needed from the city or building and planning department if there is any construction or renovations to a facility.
Signage – Some municipalities require a before adding signage.
Businesses in must register for a from the Department of & Administration (CDTFA) if they are involved with any in and/or intend to sell or lease merchandise subject to .
Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain a Resale Certificate to not pay for merchandise being resold to customers.
A variety of occupations in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services. A few common professions that require licensing in include; auto repair shops, cosmetologists, pest control, and many more. Additional information, fees, and licensing requirements for professions are available from the Department of Consumer Affairs.
In addition to professional licensing, there are a few other types of businesses that need licensing that are not covered by the Department of Consumer Affairs, a few of which include:
Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN (also called a FEIN, Federal , or Federal ID Number). The EIN is the equivalent for a Social Security Number for an individual. Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, and Sole Proprietorships with employees will all need to register for one. Sole Proprietorships without employees can use the owner’s Social Security Number.
There is no cost for an EIN, and it only takes a few minutes to get.
While not a , Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a name that is different from the full name of the owner(s) must register for a Fictitious Name Statement (also known as a Doing As or DBA) with the Clerk’s Office in the where the is located.
These are some of the most common licenses, but there are far too many licenses and permits for us to keep track of. Before starting your , be sure to check with the Governor’s Office of and Economic Development CalGold website to he’ll identify permits, in addition to city Hall, Clerk, Chamber of Commerce, and/or the local Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding licensing.