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Business Tax Certificate Information


What is a Business Tax Certificate?

The purpose of the City’s Business Tax ordinance is solely to raise revenue for general municipal services to residents and businesses, such as police and fire protection and street maintenance. It is not a “license" or "permit.” The Business Tax Certificate is issued by the City of San Luis Obispo to all persons conducting business in the City. “Business” means and includes enterprises, leases, establishments, professions, rentals, services, trades, vocations, and occupations of all types whether
or not the business has a fixed location in the City.

What is a Business License?

The purpose of the City's business license regulations is to provide for necessary regulation of lawful businesses being conducted within the City in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare of the people of the City. While due diligence will be exercised in reasonably ensuring compliance with all City policies, regulations and ordinances before issuing a business license, the primary focus of the City's business license regulations is to provide reasonable assurance that businesses operating in the City are doing so in compliance with the City's planning and building policies, regulations, and ordinances; and in compliance with the City's business tax provisions.

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What if I have a Business License & Tax Certificate from another city or county?

The Business License & Tax Certificate is levied on all  establishments doing business in San Luis Obispo. A license or certificate from another city does not exempt you from the City of San Luis Obispo’s requirements.

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What is the difference between a license and a tax?

A “business license” is issued as a regulatory permit. A “business tax certificate” is issued to raise revenue for general municipal services.

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How much is the tax?

The tax for a new applicant is $25.00; thereafter, the renewal rate is $.50 per $1,000 of gross receipts with a minimum of $25.00. The tax rate is measured by gross receipts from the preceding completed calendar or fiscal year. 

How much is the license?

The business license fee is set as follows:

Locations within the City of San Luis Obispo          $140.00

*Except rental property and independent contractors

Locations outside of the City of San Luis Obispo     $ 46.00

Rental Property and Independent Contractors         $ 46.00

Locations requiring Home Occupation Permits         $137.00

State CASp Fee                                                   $1.00

 

How much is the downtown assessment?

 

        The downtown assessment for a new applicant is $150.00; thereafter,

        the renewal rate is $.55 per $1,000 of gross receipts with a minimum

        of $150.00.  The rate is measured by gross receipts from the

        preceding completed calendar or fiscal year.

 

How much is my total application fee?

 

Total cost for locations within the City                 $166.00

*Except rental property and independent contractors

Total cost for location within the Downtown          $316.00

Rental Property and Independent Contractors        $222.00

(downtown)

Total cost for locations outside the City               $  72.00

Rental Property and Independent Contractors        $  72.00

(not downtown)

Total cost for locations with Home Occupation       $163.00

Change of location within the City - Renewal          $92.00

Change of location only (within the City)               $ 94.00

Certificate replacement/duplication                       $ 42.00



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How long is the certificate valid?

Applications are received daily for new businesses. These new businesses receive a certificate, which is valid from the month the application is received through June 30th of each year.

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When do I renew my business license?

All annual business license & tax certificate renewals are due and payable on July 1st of each year and become delinquent on July 31st of each year. All renewing businesses submit a written statement, upon a form provided by the Finance and Information Technology Department, stating the gross receipts earned the preceding calendar year as reported to federal or state taxing authorities. 

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Refunds

Refunds are issued to new businesses if the business never opened for operation. The applicant must submit a written request to the City Finance and Information Technology Department within 30 days of making the application.

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What is the  Downtown Business Improvement District (D-BID)?

The D-BID was formed in 1975 to promote economic vitality in the heart of the downtown area. An assessment is imposed on every business in the area in the amount of $.55 per $1000 of gross receipts tax and is assessed concurrently with the business tax renewal period. The revenue collected from this assessment is allocated only to programs that benefit downtown businesses.  The City contracts with the Downtown Association to provide services funded by this assessment. This is based on the recommendation of an 11-member board elected by the business owners in the downtown. The Downtown Association has an office located at 1108 Garden Street and can be reached at (805) 541-0286. The D-BID boundaries are listed below:

Street Name Address
Beach 1316
Broad 900-1308
Chorro 900-1301
Court All of it
Garden 1100 - 1308
Higuera 552 - 1105
Marsh 497 - 1114
Monterey 600 - 1108
Morro 900 - 1301
Nipomo 1024 - 1306
Osos 890 - 1302
Pacific 600 - 1106
Palm 682 - 1104
Santa Rosa 900 - 1304

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How do I participate at the Farmers Market? 

The Farmers Market is an activity sponsored by the D-BID.  Please contact the D-BID  at (805) 541-0286 for further information.

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