Skip to content


California Business License

Now that you have formed a corporation or LLC in the state of California, it’s important to know that you will require a business license to make your business operational. It’s often referred to as a general business license and you will be unable to conduct business in the state without an appropriate business license for the city or county you are planning to operate from.

The requirements for a general business license in California are governed by the business regulations for each city or county. They have different names as well; for instance, it’s known as California business tax certificate in some cities. Let’s take a look at an example to understand this better.

If you have started a restaurant in Santa Ana, Orange County then you will require a general business license. However, if you start another restaurant in Chula Vista, San Diego County then you will require a business tax certificate. Essentially, they are both the same.

How to Obtain California State Business License

How and where can you get your California company license from? You can obtain your California state business license by completing an online registration here. This is a service that will not only allow you to apply for a license but also renew it.

It’s the department of consumer affairs that is responsible for issuing a California company license. The California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) offers the “BreEZe” online services, which is a fairly new licensing system. You can submit applications for a new business license, for the renewal of an existing license, request for a duplicate license and apply for other services including change of address. You will need to register here in order to download license form and submit.

The time taken and the fee to process business license in California varies from one county to the other as the forms and methods of submission are different.

Types of Business License in California

There are different requirements for business license in California and it varies according to the type of business and business activity being conducted by you. The licenses are broadly categorized under two headings, which are:

General business licenses

This is the basic form of business license and is often referred to as a business tax certificate in different counties. Depending on the county, you are going to operate from; you can submit your license application online or through the post office or even in person. The fees for the license vary according to the county; for example the fee for general business license in Sacramento County is $146 and it’s valid for 3 years. Normally, a flat fee rate is charged or a gross sales percentage is taken into account. In some counties a combination of flat fee and gross sales percentage is mandatory.

The general business license in California form is different for different counties. You will be required to provide your business name, name of owner, address and other contact as well as business information, predicted yearly sales information, and Federal tax ID number.

License for regulated profession and industries

This is a type of California company license that is in addition to the general business license. it’s mostly required for fulfilling compliance with other regulatory, environmental, licensing, and administrative laws. You can search for a database pertaining to regulated professions and industries at CalGOLD. If you are planning to lease or sell merchandise then you will require a seller’s permit as well.

Order LLC now  Order INC now

Note: The review and processing of the license application form varies from one county to another but as a norm it can take anywhere from 2-3 weeks for general business license. The maximum processing time though is 45 days.