Want to start a business in California? Then this post is for you. Because you will be needing a general California business license while operating any kind of business. Even if you own a small or home-based business this rule still applies to you. California is a home to many entrepreneurs and if you’re a new starter obtaining a business license is definitely a know-how. Now more about that.
City, County, State: Where to Go?
As much as it doesn’t matter how small your business is, it also doesn’t matter how small the city you are operating your business it is. Because you will need to apply for a license in your city. Besides, that licenses work differently in each city they even have different names. Some states in California will call it a business license, while other call it business tax certificate.
It’s no secret that laws across states can vary greatly.However, you might be surprised that they also differ from city to city in the same state. But business is hard work, that’s why. Well, a more convincing reason is that each city in California can charge fees for any business within its jurisdiction as a mechanism of tax collection. And also, this way it is easier to get a hand in economic development statistics. So, if you’re planning to open businesses in different locations be prepared to go through the process of obtaining a California business license in different cities.
So far so good, but there is still one important distinction you need to know. Remember that besides a general license of each city there will be other licenses applicable to your business, required by country and state of California. For instance, tattoo artists would need to obtain a California state license concerned with the protection of public health and safety. Some cities require such licenses in addition to the general business license. Other additional licenses might include Seller’s Permit from the California State Board of Equalization and more.
How to Obtain a California Business License?
Now more about the actual process. Go to your city offices or city hall to obtain an application. Most of the cities have a California business license form that you can download, print or mail. The fee depends on the size of your business, which in turn is determined by the number of employees. The fee ranges between $50 and $100.
That is not usually the case because most of California businesses are small. And if you are one such owner, then you should request specifically for small or home-based business license. Note, that you can fill a California business license online in a number of big cities.
What Information Do You Need to Provide?
While you already know that requirements differ from city to city, below are some general information that will be handy in any case. The basics are your business name, address, phone number and mailing address, the latter is different from the main address. You will also need to indicate what type of business you are about to operate. Is it an LLC, corporation, partnership or are you a sole proprietor?
Then do not forget to mention the federal tax ID number along with sellers permit number. If you’re not the sole owner of the business it’s not only your names and address that you need to mention. The same information of each individual owner will also be necessary. And finally, three more points that are all about numbers – driver’s license numbers, the number of employees and expected annual sales.
You will need to pay an annual fee in most of the cities. Again, the amount might depend on city regulations but it mostly depends on your sales revenues. Therefore, owning a business in one city might end up being more costly than in another. However, usually, fees do not exceed a small percentage of sales.
Now, when you know the application process for the California business license you are one step closer to operating your dream business smoothly. However, if for some reason the process doesn’t go as smoothly as expected, feel free to contact us by calling at (877) 735-4181. Don’t forget that our first consultation is free!