How to Get a California Business License

Starting a business in California can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it's important to understand the process of obtaining a business license. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) is the agency responsible for issuing business licenses, permits, and accounts. Before applying for a license, it's helpful to create a business plan. A business plan is a model of all aspects of your business, including sales, marketing, advertising, promotion, and placement.

The Small Business Administration website offers a tutorial on how to create a business plan. To obtain a California business license, you can use CalGold to find the right licensing office for your location and type of business. Once you have identified your licensing office, fill out and submit an application for a business license. The California Government Online to Desktops offers CalGold Business Permit Assistance, which is a database of regulated industries.

Most companies don't need a federal business license, but some industries such as broadcasting, investment advice, and drug manufacturing do have federal regulations and licenses. Usually, the city will mail you some type of license or certificate with a California business license number within a few weeks. The Small Business Administration (SBA), Veteran-Owned Businesses Veteran Assistance Programs Office of Business Development for Veterans are great resources for small business owners in California. Obtaining a business title is the perfect stepping stone to building a career, increasing earning potential, and ultimately growing your business.

You can obtain a business license online by applying to the right regulatory or licensing agency for your company. Once the forms have been processed, the permit office will send you the California business license or a denial letter. A business license can include a seller's permit or an operating license, depending on your business activity. Each city has different California business license forms and requirements; however, most of them are very similar. The LLC's annual fee is considered an ordinary and necessary deductible business expense and can be deducted from your tax bill according to the California Tax Service Center.

Cities in California can charge fees for any businesses located in their jurisdiction as both a tax collection mechanism and as a way to track economic development statistics. For help deciding the location of your business, contact the California Business Investment Services unit of the Governor's Office of Economic Development (Go-Biz).

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