A license is required in order to conduct business in the City (Municipal Code 5.08.020). Every business, unless specifically exempted by the State, pays an annual local business tax.
The City offers three kinds of business licenses:
- Standard business license (most businesses)
- Home occupation business license (you run a business out of your home)
- Contractor business license (you perform construction-related work in the city, but are not based here)
Business license requirements apply to landlords too! If you own a commercial property and lease it to a tenant, you must have a business license. If you lease three or more residential units - even if they aren't at the same location - you must have a business license.
A business license will only be issued if the proposed use is permitted at the business address. Permitted uses are determined by our zoning code. You are urged to contact the City BEFORE signing a lease or purchasing a building to ensure your proposed use is allowed at that site.
Please fill out and submit a Zoning Clearance Form to determine if your use is permissible at the proposed site. You can do some investigatory work on your own, using our zoning code and our online zoning map, but ultimately will need to submit the form with a business license application. Please note that even if a business type is not permissible "by right", it may still be possible to open your business there with certain approvals. The Planning Division can assist you with this process, please contact them at (714) 548-3247, or visit our counter during business hours.
Business license applications and information on the tax amounts may be obtained at the City Hall. License tax structures can also be found in our Municipal Code, under Title 5. Most business licenses can be issued the same day, however, as described, additional approvals and documents may be required.
Business License Enforcement
The City enforces its business licenses in two ways. The first is through inspections and internal record keeping. The second is through a vendor, HdL, who works with businesses to make sure they are compliant with the municipal code. If you receive a letter from HdL regarding your business license, please follow the instructions on the letter to obtain or renew your business license.
If you sell tangible personal property, you are required to obtain a Seller's Permit (Retail Sales Tax Number) from the State Board of Equalization (BOE) for the purpose of collecting and reporting sales tax to the State of California. To obtain a Seller's Permit, contact the BOE at 1-800-400-7115. The closest Board of Equalization district office is located at 16715 Von Karman Ave., Ste. 200, Irvine, Ca. 92606. The telephone number is (949) 440-3473. Click here to obtain a listing of local district offices http://www.boe.ca.gov/info/contact.htm.