Apply For A Business License San Rafael, California

Do you plan to open a business in San Rafael, California?

Anyone who plans to operate a business in San Rafael will need to apply for a business license, even those who are purchasing an already established business, operating a home business, or those whose business is based outside of the city but enter the city to do business. You can request a business license application in person at City Hall, located at 1400 Fifth Avenue in San Rafael, or you can simply download and print an application form the City of San Rafael website. In addition to a business license, you will need to have zoning approval from the Planning Division. Zoning approval is determined by the areas of town where businesses are permitted. If your proposed business property is not in the correct zone, you will need to find other property, which is why it is important that you get zoning approval prior to singing any real estate contracts on any business property. The Planning Division can be reached at (415) 485-3085. 

Which business license application should you submit?

San Rafael breaks their business into four categories: In-Town, Out of Town, Property (rentals) and Film Shooting.

In-town business license application: If you are operating your business in the city limits, even a home business, you will choose this application.

Out of town business license application:This application is for those who have businesses that are based outside of the city but plan to travel into the city to conduct their business, such as a delivery service, a contractor, etc. It is also used for seasonal businesses, such as Christmas tree lots, which do not have a business office inside the city limits.

Property business license: If you are planning to rent property, such as apartments or homes, business locations, etc., you will file this application.

Film shoot application: Those filming on private property or public property will need to use this application.

When you have determined which application best suits your business venture, you will need to fill it in with specific information about yourself and your business. For instance, the general, in-city application requests information about the name, the physical location, mailing address, and phone contact information of your business. It asks for a detailed description of your business, any information on the owner of your business property, and the ownership type of your business (LLC, LP, LLC, corporation, partnership, trust, or sole ownership). Owner information will include your name, all contact information, a valid driver’s license and social security number. 

There is information that may be applicable to some businesses and not others, such as a federal tax ID number, state tax ID number, state license, resale number etc. This application also requests information specific to only in-town business, such as planning information, fire inspection information, whether you are operating a home business, etc. The property rental business application lacks all the planning, and fire inspection information as well, but you should be aware that all property rentals with three or more units will be periodically inspected by the Housing Inspection Program. For questions regarding these inspections, call (415) 485-3097. 

A film shoot application has the basic information found on all the other applications, but in addition, it has a section for providing the time, date, and address of the filming location, and has the fees posted on the application for both public property filming and private property filming. All applications has a space for you to provide your signature that verifies that all the information that you have provided is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge.

Are there other agencies that you may need to contact?

Depending on the type of business you plan to conduct, you may be required to apply for additional permits or licenses or have inspections or approvals. You will want to contact City Hall to discuss your planned business activities to determine if you will be required to obtain any other applications from other federal, state, and/or local entities. 

Do you need more information?

You can contact the Business License Office in City Hall by calling (415) 485-3051 or you can visit them in person at 1400 Fifth Avenue in San Rafael, CA. The City of San Rafael website has useful information for those planning to open their own businesses in their city as well.

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