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San Rafael Business License Information

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San Rafael Business License Information

If you are looking for information about doing business in San Rafael, California, the best place to start is with the city of San Rafael. In addition to information on its website, there are city employees who are available to answer questions during office hours on weekdays.

Office hours are 8:30 a.m. -5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Business documents such as a business license for all types of businesses including home-based, mobile, store front, entities based outside of San Rafael with staff working in the city, or tax-exempt businesses must have a license. If a business has multiple locations, it must apply for a separate business license for each location within San Rafael.

To start the process to get a business license you need to fill an application.

The application for a business license is available in person at City Hall. You can also request an application be mailed to you, or you can download a copy from the city of San Rafael’s’ website.

The next item to consider is the business license tax which covers a period that follows the calendar year beginning January 1st and ending December 31st. If your business started after the first of January, taxes may be prorated for the balance of the license period based on calendar quarters.

The last step is receiving the business license certificate. The Business License Division reviews all applications, business license taxes, supporting documents and verifies that related fees (B.I.D. assessment, Tobacco Retailer Permit, penalties) have been submitted and accepted into the system after the application passes all reviews. It may take a few weeks for this step to be completed.

Renewing licenses

Business owners who have a business license will receive an automatic renewal notice sent to the business mailing address. This is usually one month prior to the expiration date of the business license.

Please note that in case you do not receive a renewal notice by January 1st, the city considers it is your (the business owner’s) responsibility to follow up and contact the Business License Division.

Penalties will apply if the business owner does not renew his or her license.

Change of ownership and locations will require a new application, as business licenses are not transferable. If you relocate, sell, or close your business, please notify the Business License Division.

Other regulations by the city of San Rafael includes zoning. This affects businesses that are located in a home, businesses that are seasonal such as temporary pumpkin patches, and a large family daycare. Please contact the Business License Division to see what needs to be cleared with the city.

For a more detailed set of instructions on how to procure your business license, please see the city’s Business License Information Guide.

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