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Business License
City Hall Closure - COVID-19
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, City offices located at 2415 University Avenue and 1960 Tate Street are closed to the public until further notice. The City will not be accepting “in-person” Business License renewal or application during this time.

If you are paying by check, you may continue to renew or apply for a business license by mail. The City does not accept cash or money order payment by mail.

To apply, complete the Application form (New Business License Application) or renew, complete the Renewal form (Business License Renewal) and mail the completed form with payment to:

City of East Palo Alto
2415 University Avenue, 2nd Floor
East Palo Alto, CA. 94566

If your 2020 Business License renewal is overdue and you need to renew “in-person” due to paying by cash or money order; to avoid additional penalties and interest during the City closure, please email your full name, business address, phone number, and license number (if available) to: . Business License staff will contact you to compete your renewal upon return of normal business operations.

East Palo Alto Business Licenses - New Business
New Business Licenses are issued by the Planning Department, located at 1960 Tate Street. Free parking is available in front of the building.
New Business License Application

If you are completing a new business application, please review the additional information below before starting your application.

East Palo Alto Business Licenses - Renewals
License renewals are issued by the Finance Department, located in City Hall at 2415 University Avenue, second floor. Free parking is available in front of the building.
Business License Renewal
5+ Rental Property (Measure O) Business License Renewal

East Palo Alto Business Licenses - Additional Information

Who Needs a Business License?
All entities and persons doing business in the City (including subcontractors, landlords, and home based businesses) must have a current business license. Business licenses are not prorated, and are effective for a calendar year, beginning January 1 to December 31. Please note that business license taxes are non-refundable.

California Exempt Businesses
Organizations operating wholly for the benefit of charitable purposes, and those exempt from filing information returns under 26 U.S.C. § 6033 (a) (2) are exempt from payment of business license taxes on gross receipts, but is required to pay the SB 1186 fee of $4.

A charitable organization must still receive and maintain a current business license, and is subject to an annual renewal and statement affirming its status as a charitable organization, based on the criteria in this chapter.

The following is a list of organizations or individuals that may be exempt:
Not for Profits Alcohlic beverage related Bail Bonds agents
Banks and Finanical Institutions Blind Person Cafe musicians
Insurance company Intercity transporation business Laundry equipment
Public utilty franchises Real estate auctioneer Residential or Day Care (for 6 or fewer people)
Veterans Minister, rabbi or priest Wholesaler / commerial travler

For more information please see the following link: Information on California Exempt Businesses

Common Schedule
Please refer to the business license application form for full business license fee schedule.
For most business activity, the following rate table applies:
Annual Gross
Receipts Between
Annual License Fee
$0-$999 or Initial Fee $50
$1,000-$100,000 $125
$100,001-$250,000 $250
$250,001-$500,000 $500
$500,001-$10,000,000 $1 for each $1,000 of gross receipts
$10,000,000 $10,000 plus $0.50 for each $1,000 of gross receipts over $10,000,001

Home Occupied Businesses
If you are requesting a Business License for a home-based business, please include the Home Business Questionnaire with your application. While this information can be mailed or emailed to the Planning Division, you are encouraged to speak with the Planning Division during normal business hours, weekdays from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations related to your business.

SB 1186 State Mandated Fee
On September 19, 2012 Governor Brown signed into law SB-1186 which adds a state fee of $4 on any applicant for a local business license or similar instrument or permit, or renewal thereof. 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. This includes all Non-Profit organizations and exempt businesses. If you have any questions regarding the State Mandated fee, please see the following web sites.

American Disabilities Act (ADA)
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:

Rental Properties Located in East Palo Alto
On November 8, 2016 the voters of the City of East Palo Alto voted in favor of Measure O. Under Measure O, owners of residential properties with five or more residential rental units are subject to a 1.5% tax on gross rental receipts. Measure O will generate funding for the City to help fund programs for affordable housing and alleviate displacement and homelessness.
Measure O Business License Renewal

  Related Information

Finance Department

2415 University Ave.
East Palo Alto, CA 94303

Ph: 650-853-3182
Fx: 650-853-3115

8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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