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California Business License - California Business Licenses and Permits

california state business license requirements • they employ workers. • applying online • applying by phone • applying by fax • applying by mail local business license requirements fictitious business name filing

Launching a small business in California requires vision, dedication, planning, preparation – and an assortment of licenses and permits.

Business license requirements exist chiefly to standardize tax collection, and to make sure your business adheres to health, safety and zoning regulations. In order to operate legally in the state of California, businesses are required to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)and other permits and/or licenses depending upon the nature of the business. Additionally, the California city or town where your business will also require a business license.

California State Business License Requirements

Employer Identification Number (EIN): An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is used to identify business entities. All California businesses must obtain an EIN from the internal Revenue Service (IRS) if:

• Their legal structure is either a partnership or a corporation

• They employ workers.

There are four ways to apply for and obtain an EIN:

• Applying Online

Applying online is the preferred method. You may do so between 6 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. EST weekdays, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST Saturdays, and 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. EST Sundays. Refer to the IRS’s website for more information.

Once you’ve filled out the form, and your answers have been validated, your EIN will be issued immediately, although it may take another two weeks before it is encoded into the IRS’s permanent database. You may also use this same webform to update your EIN information at a future date.

• Applying By Phone

You can obtain an EIN number by calling the Business & Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933, weekdays between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time. Overseas applicants should call (215) 516-6999. An EIN will be assigned immediately, and disclosed to an authorized representative of the business over the phone.

• Applying By Fax

You can obtain an EIN number by downloading Form SS-4 and faxing it to the number specified in Form SS-4’s filing instructions. If your cover letter contains your fax information, your EIN number will be faxed back to you within four days.

• Applying By Mail

You can obtain an EIN number by downloading Form SS-4 and mailing it to the address provided in Form SS-4’s filing instructions. You will receive your EIN within four weeks.

California Seller’s Permit

Any California business that sells, resells or leases merchandise is required by law to obtain a seller’s permit number from the State Board of Equalization (BOE.) This number allows you to buy wholesale merchandise for future resale without paying taxes on it. It is also used as a unique identifier for keeping track of the business taxes you will be paying to the State of California.

Applications can be obtained through any of the BOE’s regional offices, or from the BOE’s website.

Once you have filled out the application, mail it to the Board of Equalization in Sacramento, or bring it in to any of the BOE’s regional offices. You should receive your seller’s permit within two weeks. Sellers’ permits are free to California residents.

Local Business License Requirements

Most business licenses are issued at the local level by the city in which your business is planning to operate. The average cost of a business license in California is $75 per year.

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (OED) has a very useful search engine that allows you to identify the address of the municipal office to which you will need to apply for your business license.

First you will identify your business’s type; then you will be asked to identify the county and city your business will be operating from. The search engine will return a complete listing of all the license and permit requirements your business may legally be required to have by either the county, the city, the State of California, or the Federal Government.

Fictitious Business Name Filing

If you are doing business for profit under a name other than your own, you are required to file a Fictitious Name Statement in the Recorder-Clerk’s Office of the county in which you will be operating your business. You must also notify the public of your intentions to operate under a name other than your own, which is accomplished by publishing a notice in a local newspaper and submitting an affidavit to the county clerk’s office to show you have fulfilled this publication requirement.

California Business Search - 10 Useful California Business Search Tools to Help You Find Exactly What You Want [next] [back] California Business For Sale - Ways to look for a California Business for Sale

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