How to Find a California Business License

Learn how to obtain a California business license from the Secretary of State's website. Find out what documents are needed for LLCs and corporations, what fees may be charged by cities, and how business insurance can protect your assets.

How to Find a California Business License

Are you looking to start a business in California? The first step is to obtain a business license from the California Secretary of State. The Secretary of State's website offers a business license search that allows you to check if a company is licensed. You can also perform a search by entering a license number, individual name, or company name and selecting the state. In addition to a business license, you may need to obtain a federal employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS.

Even if you are not required to get an EIN, there are often business reasons to do so. 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. You can get an EIN by completing an online application on the IRS website. Businesses operating outside of a residence must complete the Home Occupancy Authorization form (which is part of the online business license application).

This is because 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. The Citrus Heights City Code requires that all businesses operating within city limits obtain a business license. Business titles are the perfect stepping stone to building a career, increasing earning potential, and ultimately growing your business. 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.

You'll need to consider which business entity structure offers the type of liability protection you want and the best tax, financial and financial benefits for you and your company. Each city has different California business license forms and requirements, however, most of them are very similar. A number of California county and state licenses are required for different types of trades and businesses to protect public health and safety, such as gun dealers and tattoo artists. Usually, the city will mail you some type of license or certificate with a California business license number within a few weeks.

For LLCs and corporations, you'll need to verify that your name stands out from the names of other business entities that are already on file with the California Secretary of State (SOS). Business insurance can protect your business and personal assets from the consequences of unexpected disasters, such as personal injury claims and natural disasters. Every year, thousands of companies receive subpoenas or are sued in wage lawsuits for engaging in business practices they didn't know were against the law, such as misclassifying workers as independent contractors or failing to pay daily overtime. Whether you can be held personally liable for your company's debts depends on the structure of your company and how it was formed.