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What are the laws on obtaining a business license in California?

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Quick Answer

California laws require all businesses to have a business license in the state, explains Nolo. The laws that govern the application of a business license depend on the specific location, the business organization and the industry.

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Full Answer

Key business laws deal with general licenses, specific licenses and fictitious business name statements, reports Nolo. Businesses must have a license from the city in which they operate. Businesses in unincorporated areas in California must get a license on a county basis. Businesses and companies that have offices in multiple towns and cities must obtain a license in every city where they operate their business.

The cost of the general license depends on the location of the business and the business field and type, according to Nolo. In order to get a general business license, the business owner must provide his full name, the name of the business, his address and additional contact information. He must also provide his business structure and type, his federal tax identification number, the number of people he has employed, and his projected yearly sales.

In addition to general licenses, certain businesses in California may have to get specific licenses to meet environmental and regulatory requirements, states Nolo. Businesses that sell merchandise in California must have a seller's permit. Businesses that use fictitious names must apply for and renew a fictitious name business statement in every county where they operate with the fictitious name.

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