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San Jose Business License Guide

3-minute read

Kristin Vegh

Kristin Vegh

13 December 2022

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Situated in one the biggest technology hubs in the United States, San José has a lot to offer. Based on 2021 data, the Silicon Valley mainstay was the most populated city in the Bay Area and the third most populated in California. The same year, it was recorded that San José was home to approximately 58,000 businesses and over 400,000 workers.

Its booming workforce and its countless natural and manmade amenities make San José a great place to both live and start a business. But how do you get started? Read on to learn more about business license guidelines in San José.

Getting a Business License in San Jose, California

Do you know the way to (get a business license in) San José? If not, we can help! First, let’s dive into what a business license is.

Every company — including sole proprietors — conducting business in San José must obtain a business license. Also known as a business tax certificate, the business license will show proof that you’ve paid your business tax. You have 90 days after beginning working in San José to make this payment.

Your business tax certificate must be displayed in your place of business. If you don’t have a brick-and-mortar location, you should have your certificate readily available in the event it’s requested.

Apply for a Business License in San Jose

So how do you apply for a San José business license? You’ll need to gather some information about your business and submit all documentation to City Hall. Here’s everything you need to know.

San Jose business license application.

Your San José business tax certificate application will include the following:

  1. The date you started business in the city.
  2. A Tax Identification Number.
  3. The principal owner’s driver’s license number.
  4. Contact information such as a phone number and email address.
  5. The address of every San José location where you conduct business.
  6. The following, if they apply to your trade:
  • Contractor's permit number or type.
  • State seller's permit number.

  • County health permit number.

For businesses registering for the first time, you’ll receive your tax invoice by mail in 5-10 business days. Once you receive the invoice, you can make your payment online, in person, by mail, or by phone. In-person transactions are by appointment only — you can find an available time slot here.

Pricing guidelines can be found here, but be sure to wait for your exact dollar amount to be determined by the city before making a payment.

If you pay using a credit card, expect a 2.4% service fee. If your payment is rejected, you will be charged a $19.25 NSF returned payment fee. Also good to keep in mind — there is no grace period for late payments, and a penalty fee may be applied.

Here for Your Business

Your small business is more than a job. It’s your passion. Your time, effort, and care go into making it the best it can be. It’s important to make sure your hard work is protected.

Simply Business can help. We work with small business owners every day to find coverage that fits their needs. Business insurance is there for when the unpredictable happens. It can provide coverage for your small business’ losses and liabilities. Start your insurance quote online today. Not only can you find coverage that fits state minimum requirements, but also what insurance coverage might work best for your business needs.

Your small business isn’t small to us. We know insurance is complicated. We’re here to help every step of the way.

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San Jose Business License Renewal

Already have a San José business license but wondering how to renew it? You’ve come to the right place. This is what you should expect:

  • You should receive a renewal notice by mail leading up to your renewal date.
  • If you don’t receive a renewal notice, you’re still responsible for making your tax payment on time.
  • Make your payment online. Once you’ve made your full payment, your account should reactivate within 3 business days.

If you need to update your square footage, employee count, or unit count, you can do so online here. Account changes can be made here.

Adding or removing a business location from your business tax can be done here.

If needed, you can submit a refund request here. This must be done within one year of the initial payment.

Your Small Business Resource

Small business owners always have a lot on their plate. Between keeping up with customer demand and handling back-end administrative details, you’ve got a lot to juggle. Simply Business is here to help lighten the load with Simply U.

We provide business tips, administrative resources, and research on local guidelines to help small business owners stay organized. Whether it’s ways that community involvement can help your business thrive or if small business health insurance is right for you, we’ve got you covered.

That’s why we’re named Simply Business: We’re here to support your business, simply.

Kristin Vegh

Written by

Kristin Vegh

After several years of working in insurance while also freelance writing, I've finally found where the two interests intersect. I'm a writer with Simply Business with an insurance processing background and a love of research.

Kristin writes on a number of topics such as small business trends, license reciprocity, and BOP insurance.

This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer

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