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Department of Finance

  • Business License

    The City of Pasadena welcomes you to the business community.  We are pleased that you have selected our city for your business enterprise.  We are also here to assist you through the business license process.  The information provided to begin the license procedure is intended as a public service and is not all inclusive.  Any additional questions should be directed to the Business Services Section at (626) 744-4166 or faxed to (626) 744-6744.  If you wish to visit the office in person, the Business License Section is located at 100 N. Garfield Ave. N106  Pasadena, CA 91109

  • Business License Office Hours

    Monday through Friday 7:30 am - 5:15 pm

    City of Pasadena Business Services Section
    100 North Garfield Avenue, Room N106
    P.O. Box 7115
    Pasadena, CA 91109-7215
    Map and Directions >>

    Phone: (626) 744-4166


  • Business License Information

    With a few exceptions, most Pasadena business license tax is computed based on a flat rate plus the number of employees.  For rates associated with your specific business license classification, please contact a representative in the Business License Section.

    The Pasadena Municipal Code requires a license for all businesses operating within the City limits to pay an annual business license tax whether or not the business is carried on for profit or not.  The business tax year varies by business license classification.  Business tax permits are not transferable from owner to owner.  The new owner must apply for a business license in his or her own name.

    A business license may be transferred to a new location upon written notification or in person.  A change in the location of the business will require a new application and approval from the appropriate city departments.  There is a fee associated with this process.

    If your business operations cease prior to the expiration date you are required to notify the Business Services Section in writing of the date that your business closed.

    A separate license must be obtained for each branch establishment, separate office or place at which business is conducted within the city limits.  A separate license is also required when more than one business activity is conducted at the same location, and the activity falls into a classification other than the original license or under a different owner.

    Charitable non-profit businesses are required to obtain a business license.  With proof of exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service the business is exempt from business license fee requirements.  You must submit at time of application of your business license a copy of your 501-C3 form for exemption consideration.

    A seller's permit from the State Board of Equalization indicating your Pasadena business address is required if your business operations involve the sale of retail or wholesale tangible property.

    If your business involves the sale of alcoholic beverages you will be required to file and obtain a permit from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.  Questions regarding permit requirement should be directed to the Alcohol Beverage Control Board at (310)412-6311.

    If the name of the business is different from the owner's full name a fictitious name or DBA must be registered with the Los Angeles County Recorder or through a local newspaper.  A fictitious name filing is also required for a corporation that is different from the one that is registered in the articles of incorporation.

    If you plan to incorporate your business you are required to file and receive approval from the California Secretary of State.

    If your business has employees or to obtain a 540 form to estimate State Withholding Tax for yourself, please contact the Franchise Tax Board at  (800) 853-5711 and Internal Revenue Service for your federal identification number at  (800) 572-7981.  You should also contact the State Worker's Compensation Fund for information and questions regarding worker's compensation insurance for your employees at (213) 853-5711.

    All businesses located in a commercial area will require a code compliance inspection to confirm compliance with the City's zoning requirements.  If you would like more information regarding code compliance requirements, please contact the Code Compliance Section at (626) 744-4633.

    All businesses and residences that have an alarm system that alerts the police department or others of an unlawful entry are required to obtain a permit for the alarm system.  The City of Pasadena imposes fines for operating without an alarm permit as well as excessive false alarms.

    Any person or entity that owns commercial property within the limits of the city or owns a residential rental property of (3) three or more units are required to obtain a business tax permit for the building.  Commercial building owners that operate a business on the premises of their building are not exempt but may receive owner occupied credit.



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