Apply For A Business License Santa Barbara, California

Where should I start if I plan to open a business in Santa Barbara, California?

If you are going to open a business in Santa Barbara, CA, you will need to apply for a business license (also called a business tax license). You can fill in the application online at the City of Santa Barbara website and then print it. You may also request one in person at City Hall, located at 735 Anacapa Street, or call (805) 564-5346 to have an application mailed to you. Opening a business in Santa Barbara also requires that you contact the Zoning and Building Code Enforcement at (805) 897-2676 to discuss your proposed business and to determine the zone in which your business should be located. Business activities may not be acceptable in all zones. Before you enter into any lease or purchase agreements on any property, it is wise to be sure it falls into the correct zone. 

What information will I need to complete my Santa Barbara business license application?

Your Santa Barbara business license application consists of three pages. The first two pages ask for information on your business and the owners of your business, whether you intend to operate a home business, and a description of your business. The third page is a section of the types of businesses and the fees that each type of business will be expected to pay. Some of the information that needs to be provided on the application includes:

  1. Ownership type (sole owner, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc.)
  2. Name and contact information of all owners, as well as social security number and home address (if different from mailing address)
  3. Whether you are conducting a home-based or commercial business
  4. Name of business, as you will have it appear on signs and advertisements
  5. Date your business opened
  6. Physical and mailing address of business
  7. Description of your business activities
  8. Gross sales receipts
  9. If applicable, corporation, LLC or partnership information
  10. Federal tax ID and state tax ID numbers, if applicable
  11. A check list and section of yes or no questions about your business
  12. Signature denoting that all information is true and complete

When you have completed your application, you can send it to City Hall at PO Box 1990 Santa Barbara, 93102 or you can deliver it by hand to 735 Anacapa Street. Do not fax your application as it will not be accepted.

Will I need other Santa Barbara permits or applications?

Often, if you are going to be conducting certain types of businesses, you will need to file for additional permits or licenses. Some examples of this include running a restaurant or selling alcohol.  If you plan to handle food, you may need to contact the health department at (805) 681-4900 to obtain a health permit or health inspection. Selling or serving alcohol may require that you have a alcohol sales license. The Alcoholic Beverage Control department may need to be contacted for this purpose. Massage related businesses, special events and transportation services, etc. have special permit applications that can be found on the City of Santa Barbara website. You can contact the Finance Department to determine which, if any local, state, and/or federal permits or licenses you may need to procure before you begin business activities in Santa Barbara. Please note that all permits and licenses are obtained in addition to your business license.

May I operate a home-based business in Santa Barbara?

It is acceptable to operate a home occupation providing that you complete the home occupation section of your business license and you are in compliance with all the conditions that are set forth for those operating a home based business. Some of these conditions include that you are not to employ others for your business, that your business is not to be operated outside of your home, that there be no exterior signs that there is a home occupation taking place inside the residence, etc. 

What is the cost associated with obtaining a Santa Barbara business license?

The costs of a Santa Barbara business license are based on where your business is located as well as the business activities that you will be conducting. When you apply for your business license, you will find information and a tax schedule for most business taxes that will be due when you apply for your business license. There may be additional fees based on if your business is located in a business improvement district. Contact the Finance Department at (805) 564-5346 if you need assistance on determining what section your business falls under.

Who can I contact if I still need more information?

For more information, you can visit City Hall at 735 Anacapa Street or call (805) 564-5346. You may also want to visit the Santa Barbara city website.

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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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