How to Check Your California Business License

You can search for California business licenses on the Secretary of State's website if it appears as an LLC, corporation, or partnership. Just type “crane” to search for corporations or LLC's. You can also use the CA commercial license search tool on this website. However, California business licenses and permits are more complicated than that.

Your company may need several and you may need to file an application at the local, state, or federal government level. It is important to know what they are and where to get them. That means you don't need to have a license from the State of California just to run your business in the state. CalGold is the best place to find information about the business licenses required by your type of business, as well as links to issuing agencies. The California CalGold online resource, from the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, provides guidance on the types of permits your type of business may need.

This is true even if you're a one-member company, in which case you'll form a single-member LLC in California. While the state does not issue or require a commercial operating license, it regulates and requires licenses or permits for some business activities. Typically, you pay a fee to get a local business license in California, but some cities exempt very small businesses from paying fees. However, if the federal government regulates your business activities, you must apply for and obtain appropriate federal business licenses and permits. Every county in California has its own rules and regulations, so check with your local city or county government office to determine what state licenses your new business might need.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides a list of federally regulated businesses and contact details for government agencies to which you should submit an application. Any business purchasing merchandise with intent to resell must obtain a California resale certificate to avoid paying taxes to suppliers. Some businesses need to obtain special licenses and permits from the state, but most only need a general business license from their local county and perhaps their city. State business licenses are government documents that prove that a company has applied for and received permission to trade within its state. Your company in California may also need a state license that covers specific industries or professions.

Before you can apply for licenses on behalf of your company, you must create your company in the state of California. The business licenses your company requires depend on where you are located and the type of services you provide. Information relevant to professional licensing can be found on the CalGold website and on the California Business Portal.

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