How to Obtain a California Business License

Starting a business in California can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, it is important to understand the process of obtaining the necessary licenses and permits for your business. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) is the primary source for obtaining a California business license. You can access 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. In addition to a general business license from the local county and city, some businesses may need to obtain special licenses and permits from the state. SCORE offers volunteer business professionals and expert mentors to advise and guide entrepreneurs looking to start or expand their businesses. 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). 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.

That means you don't need to have a license from the State of California just to run your business in the state. The answers below will help you submit the necessary documents, pay the appropriate fees, and understand the basics of starting a business in California. If you are a sole proprietor and do business under your own name, you can simply use your name as the name of the business entity. 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. That's true even if you're a one-member company, in which case you'll form a single-member LLC in California.

Typically, you pay a fee to get a local business license in California, but some cities exempt very small businesses from paying fees. It allows you to adjust how taxes are taxed on the money you make with your business and protects your personal assets, such as your home and investments, from business liabilities, such as lawsuits and debts. Small businesses represent 99.8% of all businesses within the state and employ 48.8% of the state's workforce, making them a vital part of the Golden State economy. The business licenses your company requires depend on where you are located and the type of services you provide. The inclusion of links to other websites does not constitute an approval of those sites by the Secretary of State of California, the State of California, or the federal government.

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