Business Tax Certificate & Permits

8. Obtain a Business Tax Certificate & Necessary Permits


Whether you're operating from home or a storefront, office or industrial park, you'll need a Business Tax Certificate (sometimes referred to as a "Business License"). Business Tax Certificate applications are managed by, and available through the MuniServices online. Applicants must submit proof of zoning clearance along with the application for the Business Tax Certificate and can get this clearance at Planning and Economic Development, 100 Santa Rosa Avenue. Check for hours of operation. Zoning clearance will be issued over the counter; there is no charge for this clearance.

Remember to submit your application several weeks before you open for business and be sure you've secured all of your necessary planning approvals. Business Tax Certificates are renewed annually.

Building Permit: When You Need One/Where to Go


Building permits are required to modify the space your business will occupy, including improvements or changes to the building's structure, electrical, mechanical or plumbing systems. You can contact the Building Division at 707-543-3200 for information on applying for a permit.

Seller's Permit: When You Need One/Where to Go


If you plan to sell or lease retail or wholesale goods, you'll need a Seller's Permit or "resale number". Contact the State Board of Equalization by calling 707-576-2100, or stop by the Santa Rosa office at 50 D Street, Room 230, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Selling Alcoholic Beverages


You must first ask the City's Planning Division if your business is located within a zone that allows for alcohol sales. Once you have determined that your business location allows for the sale of alcoholic beverages, you may apply to the State of California's Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) office, which issues the actual license.

Serving/Selling Food


Any type of retail food sales requires a permit from the County's Department of Environmental Health. For new facilities, you will need to submit building plans to both the City's Planning and Economic Development Department and the County's Department of Environmental Health. For more information, call 707-565-6531.

Downtown Street Vendor Permit: When you Need One/Where to Go


Are you interested in operating a vendor cart downtown? Small carts are allowed with a permit in Courthouse Square, Fremont Park, JeJu Way, and Comstock Mall. Carts must be stationary during operating hours in the area specified on the permit, and removed each evening. Vendors are allowed to sell food, non-alcoholic beverages, cut flowers, and/or art or crafts made by the vendor.