Business Licenses - Department of Finance (2023)

  1. Licenses
  2. Business Licenses

The City of Pasadena welcomes you to the business community. We are pleased that you have selected our city for your business enterprise.

Whether you are starting up or building up we encourage you to view the business toolkit developed by Pasadena’s Economic Development Division. The business toolkit provides resources to help your business succeed and thrive. Visit the business toolkit today for access to business assistance and training, business intelligence and Pasadena Water and Power's rebate commercial offerings for small to medium sized businesses.

Business Toolkit - Economic Development

We are also here to assist you through the business license process. The information provided to begin the license procedure is intended as a public service and is not all inclusive. Any additional questions should be directed to the Business Services Section.

Monday through Friday 7:30 am – 5:15 pm

City of Pasadena Business Services Section
100 North Garfield Avenue, Room N106
P.O. Box 7115
Pasadena, CA 91109-7215
Map and Directions >>

Online Services

Year-End Deadline
The City of Pasadena fiscal year ends on June 30, 2022. Please upload all invoices for June 2022 or earlier services, materials and supplies by Monday, July 25, 2022.

Submitan invoiceif you’re doing work for the city.
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  • General Information
  • License Terms
  • License Payments
  • Applications
  • Licensed Businesses

General Information

General Information

With a few exceptions, most Pasadena business license tax is computed based on a flat rate plus the number of employees. For rates associated with your specific business license classification, please contact a representative in the Business License Section.

The Pasadena Municipal Code requires a license for all businesses operating within the City limits to pay an annual business license tax whether or not the business is carried on for profit or not. The business tax year varies by business license classification. Business tax permits are not transferable from owner to owner. The new owner must apply for a business license in his or her own name.

A business license may be transferred to a new location upon written notification or in person. A change in the location of the business will require a new application and approval from the appropriate city departments. There is a fee associated with this process.

If your business operations cease prior to the expiration date you are required to notify the Business Services Section in writing of the date that your business closed.

A separate license must be obtained for each branch establishment, separate office or place at which business is conducted within the city limits. A separate license is also required when more than one business activity is conducted at the same location, and the activity falls into a classification other than the original license or under a different owner.

Charitable non-profit businesses are required to obtain a business license. With proof of exempt status from theInternal Revenue Servicethe business is exempt from business license fee requirements. You must submit at time of application of your business license a copy of your 501-C3 form for exemption consideration.

A seller’s permit from theState Board of Equalizationindicating your Pasadena business address is required if your business operations involve the sale of retail or wholesale tangible property.

If your business involves the sale of alcoholic beverages you will be required to file and obtain a permit from theAlcoholic Beverage Control Board. Questions regarding permit requirement should be directed to the Alcohol Beverage Control Board at (310)412-6311.

If the name of the business is different from the owner’s full name a fictitious name or DBA must be registered with theLos Angeles County Recorderor through a local newspaper. A fictitious name filing is also required for a corporation that is different from the one that is registered in the articles of incorporation.

If you plan to incorporate your business you are required to file and receive approval from theCalifornia Secretary of State.

If your business has employees or to obtain a 540 form to estimate State Withholding Tax for yourself, please contact the Franchise Tax Board at (800) 853-5711 and Internal Revenue Service for your federal identification number at (800) 572-7981. You should also contact the State Worker’s Compensation Fund for information and questions regarding worker’s compensation insurance for your employees at (213) 853-5711.

All businesses located in a commercial area will require a code compliance inspection to confirm compliance with the City’s zoning requirements. If you would like more information regarding code compliance requirements, please contact theCode Compliance Sectionat (626) 744-4633.

All businesses and residences that have an alarm system that alerts the police department or others of an unlawful entry are required to obtain a permit for the alarm system. The City of Pasadena imposes fines for operating without an alarm permit as well as excessive false alarms.

Any person or entity that owns commercial property within the limits of the city or owns a residential rental property of (3) three or more units are required to obtain a business tax permit for the building. Commercial building owners that operate a business on the premises of their building are not exempt but may receive owner occupied credit.

Apply Online

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License Terms

License Terms

Terms of New Business License

All business license fees are paid in advance and are due prior to the operation of the business. The license is valid for the license year established by business license classification and must be renewed annually. The expiration date of the license year is noted on the front of the business tax permit. It is the sole responsibility of the business owner to make sure that the business license is renewed annually.

Definition of an Employee

For the purpose of business license taxation in the City of Pasadena, an employee is defined as a person engaged in the operation or conduct of any business, whether as owner or the owner’s family, partner, agent, manager, solicitor and, any and all others employed or working in connection with the business whether paid or not.

Food Services

Any business that prepares or sells food is required to obtain health approval from the Pasadena Health Department. For specifics or questions regarding health license regulations, please contact the Environmental Health Department at (626) 744-6004.

Display of License

The business license must be prominently displayed at the place of business.

Additional Requirements For Businesses Operating in the South Lake Business Improvement District

Businesses that are located in the South Lake Business Improvement District are assessed an additional fee. In January 1988, Pasadena’s Council Members approved the South Lake Business Improvement District and agreed to collect fees from participating businesses on behalf of the South Lake Business Association. The South Lake Business Improvement District was set up to fund activities and projects aimed for the long-term betterment of South Lake’s commercial area, including physical improvements and the overall promotion of businesses. Every business within the district is assessed an annual fee. The fee includes a basic assessment plus an amount based on a formula consisting of number of employees and type of business and location of business.

Home Based Businesses

In some instances and under certain conditions a business may be operated in a residence. The use must be secondary to the residence and cannot have signage or merchandise displayed. Garages and carports cannot be used in conjunction with the business and only residents of the household can be employed by the business. Certain business types are prohibited from the residence and include but are not limited to automotive repairs, hair salons and medical offices.

All businesses operating from a residence must be in compliance with all zoning requirements and must obtain an approved Home Occupation Permit from the Code Compliance Section and a signed permission from the property owner.

For further information and questions, contact Code Compliance Section at (626) 744-4633.

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License Payments

License Payments

Please note, for an initial business license you MUST apply in person. To download the appropriate license application, please click on the next tab “Applications.”

Pay License By Phone

To pay by credit card over the telephone, please call the Business License Section at (626) 744-4166. Please be sure to have your credit card and business license account number available when placing our call.

Pay License By Mail

If paying by mail, payment must be made by check, money order or credit card. Please make your check payable to The City of Pasadena. Checks and money orders payable by banks outside of the United States are not accepted as well as two-party checks. Please do not mail cash.

Pay License In Person

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For your convenience, a business license may be paid in person.

In person, you may pay with cash, check, money order, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and most ATM cards are accepted.

Applications

Applications

One-Day Photographer Photo Permit Application
Home Occupation Permit
Commercial Building Business Application
Business License Questionnaire
Business License Application
Application For Code Compliance Certificate
Alarm Permit Application

Licensed Businesses

Pasadena Licensed Businesses

The list below provides information on businesses licensed with the City of Pasadena. Please note, the financial information furnished or secured pursuant to Chapters 5.04 through 5.16 shall be confidential in character and shall not be subject to public inspection and shall be kept so that the contents thereof shall not be known except to persons charged with the administration of Chapters 5.04 through 5.16 (PMC5.04.060).

Pasadena New Business Listings Rev. 10/28/2022

FAQs

What is a business sector license? ›

Simply put, a business licence is an official permit that is issued by the government or a professional body that instructs how certain business activities should be run. The licenses your business will need will depend entirely on the type of industry that you operate in, and where you're based within the country.

How can I get a copy of my LA business license? ›

Copies of documents and certificates on file in the Secretary of State's office may be obtained by written request, mailed to P.O. Box 94125, Baton Rouge, LA 70804, faxed to 225.932. 5313 or online through our Commercial Database.

How much is a California business license? ›

In general, most CA small businesses will pay between $50 and $100 for a general business license. Larger corporations may be subject to charges based on their projected revenue.

How do I get a business license in Los Angeles? ›

You may register your business with the City of Los Angeles either by visiting one of our service locations or utilizing our Online New Business Registration service. Please note that additional information may be required.

What type of business license do I need? ›

A general license is required for you to run your business in almost every state. They're often issued by the Department of Revenues and Secretary of States—whichever office is in charge of business registrations.

Do I need business license? ›

Anyone thinking of opening a business in Dubai will need to get a Dubai trade license. This is one of the most important steps new businesses take when starting a company in the area.

How do I check the status of my business license in California? ›

Certificates of Status (Online) - certificates of status are available within minutes online at bizfileOnline.sos.ca.gov. Certificate of Status certifies to the current status of an entity (e.g., active/good standing, suspended, dissolved, cancelled, etc.)

Are business licenses public record in California? ›

Yes. The public uses the Secretary of State's records to identify the principals related to the particular type of filing to validate business and financial transactions, as well as for providing legal notices.

How much is a LA business license? ›

The form costs $26 to file.

Does CA require a business license? ›

FAQs about getting a business license in California

While the state doesn't issue or require a business operating license, it regulates and requires licenses or permits for some business activities. Most businesses are, however, required to obtain a business operating license with their county and/or city.

How do I get a small business license in California? ›

Once you have gathered the necessary information, you'll need to apply for a California business license and/or business tax certificate for your city or county. Visit the website of your city or, if you live in an unincorporated area, your county and fill out the appropriate forms to begin the process.

How much is a LLC license in California? ›

LLC fee
If the total California income rounded to the nearest whole dollar is:The fee amount is:
$250,000 - $499,999$900
$500,000 - $999,999$2,500
$1,000,000 - $4,999,999$6,000
$5,000,000 or more$11,790
20 Jul 2022

What licenses do you need in order to own a business in California? ›

Any business owner must obtain a general business license in the city in which your business is located. Some California cities refer to a business license as a business tax certificate. Businesses that are operated in unincorporated sections of the state must obtain their license or tax certificate on a county basis.

What happens if you dont register your business? ›

If you decide to start a business but do not actually register it, you are considered a sole proprietorship or sole trader. What this means is that you will need to use your personal social security number and your personal legal name to conduct business.

What happens if you don't have a business license in California? ›

Failure to obtain a Business License is a violation of Title 7 of the County of Los Angeles Code and a misdemeanor. Continued failure to comply with the requirements of Title 7 will result in fines and possible legal action.

What certifies you as a small business? ›

The Small Business Administration certification is part of a contracting program that helps small companies compete for federal contracts. The government sets aside some of its contracts (both competitive set-aside and sole-source set-aside contracts) for small businesses each year to limit competition.

How many types of trade licenses are there? ›

The nature of the economic activity defines the legal form of the company and the type of license required. There are six types of licenses, namely industrial license, commercial license, crafts license, tourism license, agricultural license, and professional license.

Do you need a license to start a business at home? ›

1. General Business License. Any business, including home-based businesses, must obtain a local city or county business license.

Why is a business license important? ›

In addition to protecting your business legally, licenses can boost credibility and allow you to apply for citywide funding. Moreover, if your company has staff or sells taxable products or services, you also need to register with the taxing authorities.

Why do we need business permit? ›

Local Government

Permits or licenses are required to ensure that the standards are met and that business complies with the specific requirements of the business locale. Registration procedure varies across cities and municipalities.

Why do we need license? ›

It serves as your official personal I.D. You may be required to prove that you are who you say you are for a variety of reasons: writing a check, opening an account, using a debt or credit card, enrolling in school, applying for government benefits, applying for loans, etc.

How do I verify a business? ›

Check the company's website
  1. Check spelling and grammar. ...
  2. Check for a business address and landline number. ...
  3. Check for a Privacy Policy. ...
  4. Check for a company number. ...
  5. Check the WHOIS database.

How do you check if the business is registered? ›

Steps to Check Company Registration Status
  1. Step 1: Go to the MCA website.
  2. Step 2: Go to the 'MCA Services' tab. In the drop-down click on 'View Company/LLP Master Data'.
  3. Step 3: Enter the company CIN. Enter the captcha code. Click on 'Submit'.
18 Apr 2022

How long do business licenses last in California? ›

License Expirations

Active licenses expire every two years. Inactive licenses expire every four years.

Where can I find public business information? ›

Bloomberg News Service and Lexis/Nexis provide news stories about a company. Dun & Bradstreet, Moody's, Hoover's Profiles, and Standard & Poor's Corporate Profiles provide financial data about companies. These and other sources are available in many libraries or law and business school libraries.

How do I find out if someone owns a business in California? ›

Corporation & Business Entity Search

You can find information on any corporation or business entity in California or another state by performing a search on the Secretary of State website of the state or territory where that corporation is registered.

How do I find public company records? ›

Go to the website for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to find the public annual financial regulatory filings for any public corporation. Access EDGAR, the SEC's document database. Copies of a company's filings are available for free to the public through this system.

What is a local City business license? ›

A business license is an annual regulatory permit for the privilege of conducting business within City. This license is issued after a business has complied with applicable local, state and federal requirements and has paid the annual gross receipts tax, applicable fees and assessments.

Where do I register my business? ›

Most states require you to register with the Secretary of State's office, a Business Bureau, or a Business Agency.

How do I get a small business license in Louisiana? ›

How to Get a Business License in Louisiana
  1. Research what business licenses are required in your industry and jurisdiction.
  2. Identify the agency or department you'll need to contact.
  3. Download application and gather any necessary documentation.

Do I need a local and state business license? ›

It is required for a business to operate lawfully in its state. This license registration is typically done with the Secretary of State's office. You'll have to register your business name along with the business address.

Can I start a business without registering it in California? ›

Business entity filing is not necessary for sole proprietors, but if you intend to form a corporation, limited liability company or partnership, you must file with the California Secretary of State(SOS). All businesses are required to file state income tax with the Franchise Tax Board(FTB).

Do I need a sellers permit if I have a business license in California? ›

California Seller's Permit: If you are doing business in California and intend to sell or lease tangible personal property subject to sales tax sold at retail, you are required to have a seller's permit and prominently display it at your place of business.

How long does it take to get business license in California? ›

How long does the approval process take? Review and investigation of a completed license application may take up to 45 days for a General Business License. An application is considered completed when all required information and fees have been submitted.

Do I need a business license in every county California? ›

26 out of 58 counties in California require a basic business license. Before opening your doors to do business you must first obtain this business license along with any professional licenses required by the county.

What counts as a Small Business California? ›

Small businesses are defined for this profile as firms employing fewer than 500 employees.

Can I file an LLC by myself in California? ›

In California, you can submit your Articles of Organization online, by mail, or in person. You can fill out and submit the Articles of Organization yourself or hire us to do it for you for $170 total ($150 plus the $20 statement of informaion fee) and you'll get one year of Registered Agent Service, too.

How much can an LLC write off? ›

If you have $50,000 or less in startup costs and are in your first year of business, the IRS allows you to deduct $5,000 in startup costs and $5,000 in organization costs as a tex deduction. If your startup expenses exceed $50,000, the total deduction will be reduced by however much your expenses exceed $50,000.

How can I avoid $800 franchise tax? ›

Thus, the only way to avoid the tax is to dissolve the company. Additionally, another important detail to note is that if you change your business structure during the year–for instance, from an LLC to a C corporation–you would then be subject to the minimum franchise tax on both entities for that year.

What documents do you need to start a business? ›

Starting a Business
  • Business plan. Though not a legal document, a business plan is, arguably, the most important document needed to start a new business. ...
  • DBA and LLC. ...
  • Federal Tax ID. ...
  • Licenses and permits. ...
  • Sales tax license. ...
  • Trademark. ...
  • Confidentiality Agreement. ...
  • Financial Docs.
21 Jul 2021

Can a business operate without registration? ›

It is essential because it complies with the Republic Act 3883, also known as the Business Name Law. The law states that using any business name that is not registered in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is illegal.

Is it important to register a small business? ›

In short, yes, but registering a business comes with certain legal benefits. One benefit is asset protection which ensures the safety of personal assets in the event of a lawsuit against the company. Registering a business ensures the legal protection of the company name so it cannot be claimed by anyone else.

Who are exempt from registering their business? ›

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has exempted small business owners who earn P250,000 and below annually from registering their business with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

How much is a business license in CA? ›

In general, most CA small businesses will pay between $50 and $100 for a general business license. Larger corporations may be subject to charges based on their projected revenue.

How much does it cost to register a business in California? ›

California LLC Fees and Taxes

The CA LLC fee is $85, payable to the secretary of state. In addition, a California LLC fee is also due for the statement of information, a document that must be submitted within 90 days of LLC formation and carries a filing cost of $20.

What does business sector type mean? ›

A business sector meaning pertains to the distinctions made between businesses. These distinctions are made according to industry or sector. There are multiple ways to classify businesses by sector. Some economists like to divide businesses according to corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations.

What is an example of licensing in business? ›

Examples of license agreements, include:

Example: Walt Disney granting McDonalds a license for McDonalds to co-brand McDonalds Happy Meals with a Disney trademarked character. The license of a technology where the licensee is granted the right to use the licensor's software, or other intellectual property asset.

What is a business licence UK? ›

A business licence provides permission for certain types of business activities. Most are issued by the local authority in your area, but for some types of business activities, you'll need to apply to a specific government body.

What is the difference between industrial license and commercial license? ›

Commercial License – issued to a company engaged in any kind of trading activity. Industrial License – issued to a company engaged in any kind of manufacturing or industrial activity.

What are the 4 types of business classifications? ›

The most common forms of business are the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and S corporation.

What are the 4 main business sectors? ›

The main sectors of industry in which a company can operate are:
  • primary.
  • secondary.
  • tertiary.
  • quaternary.

What are the 4 different business sectors? ›

There are four different sectors in the economy: primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary.

What are the 3 types of licensing agreements? ›

Standard Documents: Copyright License Agreement (Pro-Licensee) Copyright License Agreement (Pro-Licensor) Book Publishing Agreement (Trade Books)

What are the three types of licensing? ›

Types of licence
  • Operating Licence. An Operating Licence permits a licensee to operate specific gambling facilities, for example. ...
  • Personal Licence. For those responsible for managing and operating the gambling facilities permitted under an operational licence. ...
  • Premises Licence.

What are business permits and licenses? ›

The Business Permit is a key compliance document which entitles and enables a business to legally operate and do business in the area in which the business is registered. In short, the Business Permit can be considered as a “licence to operate” within that specific area.

Does the UK have business license? ›

Business licence – do I need one in the UK? In general, you can set up a small business without a business licence. All you need to do is set up as self-employed, choosing a legal structure for your business and registering with HMRC. But many specialised business activities need you to have a business licence.

Do all UK businesses have to be registered? ›

Companies must be registered in order to be legally recognised as a business in the UK. At the very least you will need to register with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to ensure you are paying your taxes to the correct amount and deadline.

Can professional license be Llc? ›

It is also worth noting that both, professional and commercial trade license would mean that the free zone company's structure would be LLC by default. However, this isn't possible on the UAE mainland. It also helps with obtaining a credit letter with the bank in which the investor has an account.

How many industrial licenses do I need? ›

Under the Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951, an industrial licence is required in respect of the following items of manufacture falling under the list of compulsory licensing (only 5 industries are in the list). Vide Notification No. 998(E), dt.

What is commercial free license? ›

A free license or open license is a license which allows others to reuse another creator's work as they wish. Without a special license, these uses are normally prohibited by copyright, patent or commercial license. Most free licenses are worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, and perpetual (see copyright durations).

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