Thank you for your interest in doing business in the City of Alameda. All individuals, partnerships, corporations, and sole proprietors conducting business in the City of Alameda are required to have a business license. This includes persons dealing with residential and commercial real estate rentals or who operate home-based businesses in the city. In most cases, licenses are based on the gross receipts of your business. Business license fees are nonrefundable and issuance of a business license should not be construed as authorization to conduct a business, unless the business has complied with all federal, state and local regulations.
For new businesses, please be sure to complete the zoning clearance form(PDF, 82KB) and get it signed by the Permit Center (open 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and located in City Hall at 2263 Santa Clara Avenue, Room 190) before filling out a business license form, purchasing property or signing lease agreements. If you are working from home or in an area zoned residential, you will need a Home Occupation Permit(PDF, 76KB). For additional information, please contact the Permit Center at (510) 747-6800.
For businesses located in and around Park Street or Webster Street, there is an additional business improvement area(PDF, 28KB) fee. Please contact the appropriate office, Downtown Alameda Business Association at (510) 523-1392 or West Alameda Business Association at (510) 523-5955, to learn more about business improvement area fees and requirements.
Licenses are valid for one year, July 1 through June 30, and must be renewed annually. Renewal notices are sent out to existing license holders prior to year end to inform them that the annual renewal period has begun and to request updated information and payment of applicable fees by July 31 of the renewal year. However, it is the responsibility of the business owner to renew the business license on time even if the renewal notice is not received. Penalties are assessed for delinquent accounts, regardless of whether a renewal notice was received. Licenses can be renewed online and payments can be made using Visa, Mastercard or Discover. This online offering is part of the City's ongoing efforts to reduce paper consumption and minimize the number of car trips people must make to City Hall. Additionally, the online processing fee is only $10.00 as opposed to the traditional $25.00. This not only saves businesses money, it saves City staff time on processing and data entry.
It is important to have the City business license staff close your account when you are no longer conducting business in the City. Failure to notify the City business license staff may result in additional taxes, interest, and penalties being assessed against your account. If you have any questions about a business license or renewal, please contact the Finance Department at (510) 747-4851.
On September 19, 2012, Governor Brown signed into law SB 1186, which adds a state fee of $1 to each application for a local business license or similar instrument or permit, or renewal thereof. Effective January 1, 2018, the state fee increased to $4. The purpose is to increase disability access and compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements and to develop educational resources for businesses in order to facilitate compliance with federal and state disability laws, as specified.
Under federal and state law, compliance with disability access laws is a serious and significant responsibility that applies to all California building owners and tenants with buildings open to the public. You may obtain information about your legal obligations and how to comply with disability access laws at the following agencies:
The Division of the State Architect
The Department of Rehabilitation
The California Commission on Disability Access