Apply For A Business License Walnut Creek, California

How do I obtain a business license in the city of Walnut Creek, California?

Those that wish to do business in the city of Walnut Creek will need to have a business license from the Business License Division. You have the choice of requesting a business license application at the Business License Division in person at 1666 North Main Street on the third floor of City Hall or printing the application from the Walnut Creek city website.

Do I need zoning approval?

To be certain that your business is acceptable in the zone that you wish to locate, you will want to check with the Planning Division at the Community Development Office and discuss your business activities and proposed business property. They can be reached at (925) 256-3558. It is generally recommended that you not enter into any real estate contracts prior to contacting the Planning Division. If you are planning to operate your business in a downtown area, you will need to discuss this with the Planning Division to determine if your business is within the boundaries of the  Downtown Business Improvement District Assessment. They can determine if your business meets the requirements and will have information available on the DBA (downtown business assessment) for you.

Will I need other Walnut Creek permits or licenses?

Depending on the type of business activities you plan to conduct, you may need to apply for licenses and/or permits from other federal, local, and/or state agencies. For example, if you plan to handle food as part of your business activities, you will likely need to contact your county health department to obtain a health permit. If you are selling or serving any alcohol, it is possible that you will need to contact the Alcoholic Beverage Control department as well as the County Health and Police departments. You may need to contact the State Board of Equalization to obtain a seller’s permit for retail sales. The IRS may need to issue a federal employer’s ID number if you are going to have employees working at your business. Contact the Business License Office at (925) 943-5821 to determine if you will need any other permits or licenses. It is wise to determine this early in your business licensure process as some licenses or permits require several weeks to months to obtain. 

What information is expected on my Walnut Creek business license application?

When you apply for your Walnut Creek business license, you will need to determine which application is appropriate for your business activities and type. Consider if you are going to be working from home, and/or if your business includes gaming, food preparation, building contractor, catering, transportation, non-profit, hotel/motel, etc. If your business does not fall under any of these categories (aside from a home based business), you will file a general business license. Home-based businesses will file both the Walnut Creek home occupation permit application and whichever business application is applicable to your business. 

The Walnut Creek commercial business license application collects information on your business and you as the owner. Some of the information includes your business mailing and physical address, all contact phone numbers for your business, your business ownership type (corporation, LLC/LLP partnership, trust, or sole ownership), all owner contact information, including driver’s license number etc. You will be asked for information on  your business activities, whether they include selling alcohol, food sales, the square footage of your business property, if you are operating a non-profit business, etc. The application requests that you make an estimate of your gross receipts from the date you plan to start your business through June 30. When you have calculated your gross receipts, you will use the dollar amount to determine your business tax, or alternatively, you may calculate your taxes using your ownership for your business and the number of employees you plan to hire. When you have completed your application and calculated your business taxes, you will need to return all applications to the third floor of City Hall, located at 1666 North Main Street in Walnut Creek. 

How do I apply for a Walnut Creek home-based business?

Much like applying for a basic commercial business license, you will choose the type of business that you plan to conduct from your home. When you have chosen the correct application, you will need to apply for the specific type of business, then move onto the home occupation permit section of your application. This short application requests information about your including the type of business activities you plan to conduct, whether creating goods, on-site educational services, or clerical work. 

You will need to fill out a series of ‘yes or no’ questions regarding your business and a few in-depth questions. Then you will need to read and be certain that you are in compliance with Walnut Creek Municipal Code section 10-2.3.107 which outlines the definition and restrictions and conditions of operating a home business in Walnut Creek. Some of these regulations include that you cannot store goods on the premises, there cannot be any business operation outside the main dwelling space of your home, and that no more than 20% of your total floorspace can be used for business. When you are familiar with all of the conditions and have completed your application, you will need to sign it and then return it to City Hall with all applicable fees.

What are the costs?

Walnut Creek business license fees will be either calculated from your estimated gross receipts or based on a flat rate with additional fees per employee. You will choose the type of fee for your business. The fee schedule is found on your Walnut Creek business license application. If you are applying for a home occupation permit, expect to incur a fee in addition to all other fees.  Other business types will have different calculations and costs. If you need assistance in determining your business license fees, contact the Business License Office at (925) 943-5821. 

I still have questions. Who should I contact?

The city of Walnut Creek website is well maintained and has information that you may find very useful while starting up your own business. The Business License Office is located on the third floor of City Hall at 1666 North Main Street in Walnut Creek. They can be reached by phone at (925) 943-5821.

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