La Verne

City of

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a business license?

A business license is an annual tax for doing business within the City of La Verne. La Verne Municipal Code requires that you obtain a license when you conduct any business activity within the City limits, even if your business is located outside the city limits or you have a business license from another city.
The business license certificate is evidence only that your tax has been paid. Other permits may be required to open your business.

Who is required to have a license?

Any person who conducts business in the City or is based in the City must obtain a business license on or before the date the business commences. Conducting business in the City without a license can result in penalties, violation notices, citations, and finally, court action.

Why must I pay a tax to do business in the City?

By City Ordinance, the tax imposed through the taxing power of the City is solely for the purpose of obtaining general revenue. Business taxes help pay for City services like roads, fire, police and other community services. These services benefit businesses, business owners and the general public.

How long is the license valid?

The business license is valid for the calendar year, January – December. It must be renewed every year in January.

What if I close or sell the business?

Business licenses are NOT automatically canceled. We need to hear from you. You may send written notification, call or come in. Please be prepared to provide the date the business closed or sold and the name of the new owner, if applicable.

I conduct business in several cities... Can I get just one license to do business in ALL of them?

Unfortunately, no. Each city has its own business license requirements. It is important to know that most California cities have a business license tax ordinance. However, each city has its own tax rate, structure, and requirements. Check with the appropriate City or County for their rules and regulations 

Will the City notify me when it is time to renew my license?

Yes, a renewal notice will be mailed each December. However, it is your responsibility to renew the business license on time even if the renewal notice is not received. Penalties are assessed for delinquent accounts, regardless of whether you receive a renewal notice or not. If you do NOT receive a notice two weeks prior to the expiration date, contact the Business License Department immediately.

What happens if I pay late?

For failure to pay a license tax when due the license collector shall add a penalty of ten percent of the license tax and on the last day of each month thereafter shall add an additional five percent to a maximum of fifty percent of the license tax due.

What if I want to move the business?

Always check with the City’s Planning Department to verify that the new location is zoned properly for the intended use and whether a use permit or other type of approval is required.
Notify our office whenever you change your business name, address, phone number, business activity or ownership information. We will be happy to update the information on your account and issue a printed copy of the business license with the new information for a $10 fee.

Do I need a D.B.A. or Fictitious Business Name?

If your business name is anything other than your surname or has more than one owner – a partnership, association or company – you may need to file a fictitious business name statement with the Los Angeles County Clerk’s Office. Should you accidentally “infringe” upon another business name you may face legal action from that business. You must attach a copy of your approved Fictitious Name Statement to your business license application.

Must I apply in person or can I do it by mail?

You may apply in person or by mail. However, if you use the mail, take care in determining your business category and calculating your tax. Calculation errors delay the process. Be sure to include any required documents when applying by mail. Missing documentation will also delay the process. Please call if you need help with either process.

Are there any restrictions on where I do business?

Every business must meet zoning requirements to ensure that the business activity and site are compatible. BEFORE SIGNING any lease or rental agreement, check with the City’s Planning Department to make sure your business activity is appropriate for the zoning and that it will not heavily impact the neighborhood or require special parking considerations.

What about commercial business locations?

Check with the City’s Building Department to determine what building modifications, if any, may be necessary for your business type.
A fire inspector or building inspector may visit your business in order to verify that your building or tenant area meets Fire and Building Code requirements. A Certificate of Occupancy will be issued if necessary.

Do I need a license if I work out of my home?

Yes. Businesses operated from the home require a business license and must comply with the City’s Zoning Ordinance. The Zoning Ordinance regulates the methods in which a home-based business operates and the approved business types. Prior to starting a home-based business, owners must submit a Home Occupation Permit Application to the Planning Department for approval. This serves as an agreement to abide by the conditions to operate a business from your home in La Verne. Home Occupation applications are available from the Business License Department.  If you have questions regarding zoning, please contact the Planning Department at: (909) 596-8706.

Do State Licensed Contractors need a Business License too?

Any person licensed as a contractor by the State Contractor’s Board must obtain a business license if:
1. Conducting business in the City
2. Based in the City, whether conducting business in or outside the City

When do I need a Seller’s Permit?

Every business intending to sell tangible goods – wholesale or retail, commercial or home based, sales or repair oriented – requires a California Seller’s Permit. To apply, contact the State Board of Equalization. You are required to provide your seller’s permit number on your business license application.

Do Non-Profit Organizations need a business license?

Yes. Non-Profit organizations located within the City limits are required to obtain a business license. However, upon presentation of 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) documents, the business license fee is waived.

I am paid on a “1099” basis with my employer (not as an employee)...Do I need a business license?

Yes. If you are not an employee, you are considered an independent contractor. Determining the relationship between you and your employer (or employee) can sometimes be confusing. However, put simply, if you are not paid as a W-2 employee, you are considered an independent contractor and are required to have a business license.
Fortunately, the State Department of Employment Development (EDD) has a very helpful booklet highlighting specific guidelines to follow in determining the correct relationship between you and your employer/employee. Contact EDD if you are unsure of the relationship. Once a determination has been made that your relationship is not that of an employee/employer, by default then, it is that of an independent contractor subject to a business license.

What about selling food?

Before applying for a Business License, apply for a health permit from the Los Angeles County Environmental Management Health Services if you are selling or preparing food 

I have this neat idea for a great sign!

Check with the Planning Department before using or installing ANY type of sign, flag or banner, even balloons. Permanent and temporary signs require review and approval prior to issuance of permits and installation. Posting signs, handbills, or flyers on any utility pole, traffic pole, fence, tree, bridge, mailbox or other public structure is prohibited.

Should I post the Business License?

Yes. The business license certificate must be displayed in a conspicuous location on the premises of any business open to the public. Businesses without a fixed place of business must carry a copy of the business license at all times while carrying on business activities within the City.

I want to distribute handbills at homes to advertise my business.

Handbill permits may be obtained through the Finance Department.  Permits are valid for the calendar year.  Distribution is allowed between the hours of 8a.m. and 6p.m.  The City maintains a list of addresses which have requested to be placed on the “do not distribute” list.  This list is given to every distributor upon approval.  Handbills need to be placed in a manner that will not create litter and there is no placement allowed on vehicles.  The information below is an excerpt from the La Verne Municipal Code.  Complete information may be obtained by calling the Finance Department at (909) 596-8716 or by looking at the La Verne Municipal Code Chapter 5.36.

I want to solicit a product and/or a service door-to-door. Do I need a permit?

Yes, a business license is required to solicit. Registration with and a permit from the Police Department are also required.

Once I get the business license it means everything is OK - I don’t need anything else – right?

No. The issuance of a business license does not entitle the licensee to engage in any business that for any reason is in violation of any federal, state or local law, the La Verne Municipal Code or other ordinance.  Issuance of a business license does not constitute zoning approval. Prior to opening any business, it is the responsibility of the business owner to ensure that the business is in compliance with the City’s Zoning Ordinance and applicable building code requirements. A visit to the City’s Community Development Department is strongly recommended.
You may also need the approval of other City departments, and County, State and Federal government agencies.

What else do I need to do?

Because of the vast variety of business types, we cannot cover every possibility. However, any other question may be directed to the Business License Department at (909) 596-8722

How much does a business license cost?

There are twenty-one categories of businesses. The amount you pay is based on the type of business. Your business license tax is determined by the ONE category that best describes your business type. Please do not hesitate to call if you need assistance determining the correct fee category for your business.



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