Apply for Business License

How to Apply for a Business License

Click on the appropriate tab below that pertains to your business to view the correct instructions:

Step 1 - Review Permit and License Information for your New Business

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) provides new businesses with information to help navigate their various registration and reporting requirements. Please visit the following websites to learn more:

  • The CDTFA website has specific information about the programs they administer, how to register for permits and licenses, and how to file and report correctly.
  • The CalGold website is a comprehensive website that assists business owners in finding the appropriate permit information for their business. It also provides contact information for the various agencies that administer and issue permits, including those for cities, counties, and various other departments, including the City of Sanbuenaventura (Ventura).

Step 2 - Obtain a Zoning Clearance Approval

If you are located in a Commercial, Industrial or Residential area in the City of Ventura, you must acquire an approved Zoning Clearance from the Planning Division prior to applying for your Business License (Business Tax Certificate). To obtain an approved Zoning Clearance, complete the Zoning Clearance Form and submit to the Planning Division via the Planning email ([email protected]) with the subject "Zoning Clearance Form." You must await the approval from the Planning Division before submitting the Business License Application. Note: Your Business License Application will not be processed without an approved Zoning Clearance Form.

Step 3 - Complete a Business License Application

For questions on the business license application, please see the section below titled "Business License Application Information."

Step 4 - Check for Additional Form(s)

If your business type includes an item listed below, then you will need to complete the form(s) below IN ADDITION to the Business License Application. Any required document(s) listed on the form(s) below will need to be submitted as a part of the application packet.

Step 5 - Submit Completed Application Packet to the Business Tax Office

Once all required forms have been completed, you may scan and send your application packet to the Business Tax email ([email protected]) for review and processing. The Business Tax Office will review your application and contact you if there are any questions or missing information on your application. After your application has been reviewed and processed, the Business Tax Office will send an email with a link to make the payment online to the email address provided on the application.

Questions? Please Contact us

You can reach the Business Tax Office at (805) 658-4715 or email us at [email protected].

Business Support Center

The City of Ventura has retained the HdL Companies, based in Fresno, to assist businesses and property owners in becoming compliant with the City’s Municipal Code.

If you received a letter from HdL Companies (the Business Support Center), then you must contact them by phone at (805)319-4096 or by email at [email protected] to resolve the matter.

Note: If you are submitting the application, you must submit the application that was attached to the letter. You may not use the application found on this website.

What is a Business License?

Any business operating in the City of Ventura is required to pay Business License Tax. Once payment has been made and all requirements have been met, then a Business Tax Certificate is issued out. The Business Tax Certificate is often referred to as a Business License. In the City of Ventura, a Business Tax Certificate is equivalent to a Business License.

Note: Every city in the County of Ventura has their own Ordinance; therefore, you need to check with each city where you will be operating to verify if a license is required in their jurisdiction. A Business License issued by the City of Ventura will NOT be viable in any other city where you operate.

Do I need a Business License?

You need a Business License if (but not limited to):

  • Your business is based in the City of Ventura. This includes a commercial, industrial, or residential location.
  • You are conducting business, marketing your business, or producing income in the City of Ventura.
  • You are a 1099 employee or an independent contractor operating within the City of Ventura. 
  • You are a property owner of a commercial or industrial location.
  • You are a property owner of 4 or more living units.
  • You are a daycare in a commercial location.

Refer to the Business License Tax ordinance if you are still unsure if you need a business license. For a full copy of the Business License Tax ordinance click here: Chapter 4.155 - Business License Tax

IMPORTANT: It is a business owner's responsibility to be familiar with and adhere to the Business License Tax ordinance.

Does issuance of a Business License mean that I have met all requirements to operate?

Not necessarily. There may be other laws or requirements that you need to abide by that the Business Tax Office may not be aware of.

Business License Tax Ordinance Sec. 4.155.220. – Purpose: “Payment of the business license tax and issuance of a business tax certificate does not release or in any way excuse a person from compliance with other applicable provisions of this Code or other laws, including any permit or other license requirement. Issuance of the business tax certificate does not entitle the holder thereof to conduct a business without all other necessary permits or in a manner or location otherwise prohibited or regulated by law.

For help with finding out if there are other requirements for your business, you may contact the organizations listed on the "Business Resources" section at the bottom of this page.

Business License Application Information

Master Fee Schedule 

The City of Ventura Master Fee Schedule is subject to change annually. To view the most current fees related to business license, click on the link below titled "Master Fee Schedule - Business License Related Fees." To view a complete listing of the Master Fee Schedule, click on the link below titled "Master Fee Schedule - Complete Listing."

Master Fee Schedule - Business License Related Fees - Effective July 10, 2023

Master Fee Schedule - Complete Listing - Effective July 10, 2023

Special Business Type Information

Massage Services

The City wishes to promote the ethical practice of massage therapy as an important healing art and to prevent and discourage the misuse of massage therapy for any other non-massage related purpose. Chapter 8.300 of the Municipal Code establishes a local regulatory system that allows only those massage professionals certified by the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) to operate within the city. Consistent with state law, the City retains the ability to regulate massage establishment Certificates of Registration, health and safety issues and land use and zoning.

You may read the full Code by clicking on the following link: Ventura Municipal Code - 8.300

For more information on operating a massage establishment and/or providing massage services, contact the Business Tax Office  by phone at (805)658-4715 or by email at [email protected]

Cannabis Business

Cannabis Physical Location Within Ventura City Limits

Any cannabis business operating out of a physical location within the City must obtain a Cannabis Business Permit pursuant to the San Buenaventura Municipal Code (SBMC) Chapter 6.420.  You must complete the Cannabis Business Permit application process which is a merit-based application process that is only open at certain times during the year.  

Note: The application window is currently closed and will not open until sometime in 2023.

To deliver cannabis from a location within the City, you must first obtain a Cannabis Business Permit and then a Cannabis Delivery Services Permit.  See the “Cannabis Delivery Services Permit” tab for instructions.  

As a cannabis business, you will be subject to pay Quarterly Cannabis Business Tax.  Click on the “Quarterly Cannabis Business Tax” tab for instructions.

Business Resources

Below is a list of some organizations that offer assistance to new businesses. Contact the organization for information on services offered. 

Economic Development Collaborative
(805) 384-1800
Women's Economic Ventures(805)
Ventura Chamber of Commerce
(805) 643-7222