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California Business Licenses and Permits: Which Ones Do You Need?

Nearly every business needs some kind of business license or permit to operate. Which licenses you need may vary depending on your location, type of business, products sold, customer base, and more. In California, the state government runs some of the licensure, while county and city governments do the rest. Federal license or permit requirements may apply as well, again depending on your business. Below are descriptions of a few of the most common California licenses and permits.

Registration with the California Secretary of State

Most types of business entities need to register with the California Secretary of State, but the paperwork required and the filing fee vary depending on whether your business is a corporation, partnership, or other business form. You may need to prepare a substantial amount of paperwork, pay a fee, and update your information annually.

Seller’s Permit

Businesses that sell or lease personal property in California must register and obtain a seller’s permit from the Board of Equalization. Sellers who make three or more sales in a twelve-month period, including sales on online auction sites, must register. If all your sales are made in interstate commerce and not in California, you do not need to get the permit. Issuing seller’s permits helps California regulate sales tax. Further, California businesses with at least $100,000 in annual gross receipts both inside and outside the state must register with the Board of Equalization and pay an annual use tax.

City Business License and Tax

Many California municipalities impose business taxes on all businesses located and doing business in that municipality. The tax requirement often includes independent contractors, sole proprietorships, and similar. Research whether your city has a tax and licensure requirement.

Zoning and Other Location Approval

Your city may require approval of a zoning variance or particular usage of a business location before you can begin conducting business there. Depending on the type of business, you may need permits for utility usage, hazardous waste, signage, or many more location-specific issues.

Business Personal Property Assessment

In some municipalities, businesses that have personal property worth more than a certain amount may be subject to a tax assessment requiring registration with the city. Consult your local city or county business information to learn more.

Burglar Alarm Permit, and More

Many counties or cities require businesses to obtain a permit if their business has a burglar alarm or security system set up. This may seem like a small requirement, but there are many more seemingly arbitrary permits and licenses that certain businesses must obtain. Checking carefully to ensure that your business has the proper permits could keep you out of a tough spot.

If you could use some legal advice about business licenses and permits, seek a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. Michael Leonard, Esq., of San Diego Corporate Law, named a “Rising Star” for 2017 by SuperLawyers, has the experience and the insight to help you and your business. To schedule a consultation, e-mail San Diego Corporate Law or call Mr. Leonard at (858) 483-9200.

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Schedule a Consultation: 858.483.9200