The State of California does not require or issue a statewide commercial operating license. Instead, it regulates some industries and professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and accountants. You may need to obtain a business operating license from your city or county, although requirements vary. A company caught operating without a license could be forced to stop operating.
In some cases, once licenses are obtained, the company is free to reopen. But in some cases, a company may have to wait for a mandatory probationary period, or worse, a city may refuse to grant a license to the company. Most businesses will need some form of California business license. Most counties and cities in California require businesses to have a local license, and many businesses will need a seller's permit.
Business titles are the perfect stepping stone to building a career, increasing earning potential, and ultimately growing your business. If your company carries out activities regulated by the federal government, you will need to apply for the appropriate license or business permit. In California, most businesses need to obtain a business license at the county or city level for tax purposes. The cost of a standard commercial operating license can vary by location in the state of California, and some cities even exempt small businesses from paying any fees.
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. The reason for this is that every city in California can charge fees for any business located in its jurisdiction as a tax collection mechanism and also as a way to track economic development statistics. No matter what type of business you create, you should consider opening a separate business account to make it easier to track your income and expenses. Small Business Administration (SBA), Veteran-Owned Businesses Veteran Assistance Programs Office of Business Development for Veterans.
Jacqueline Nguyen is a Florida lawyer who translates complex business and tax laws into easy-to-digest information for entrepreneurs looking to start or expand their businesses. Fortunately, California makes it a little easier through the CalGold website, a tool that allows you to search by city or county and type of business to see what permits you will need and which regulatory agencies administer them. See How to Form an LLC in California and How to Form a Corporation in California for more information. While these permits are not the same as business licenses, you should research if you should get one before starting your business.
Virtually every business will need at least one type of license or permit to legally operate in the state of California. 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). Banks often require an EIN to open an account in the company's name, and other companies with which you do business may require an EIN to process payments.