Apply for Business License

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.

How to Apply for a Business License

Click on the appropriate tab below that pertains to your business to view the correct instructions:
  1. My business address IS a City of Ventura address (Based INSIDE the City of Ventura)

Step 1 - 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 it via email to [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 2 - Complete a Business License Application

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

Step 3 - 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.

  • Disabled Veteran / Limited Income / Non-Profit _ Additional Form
  • Massage Establishment _ Additional Packet - See the "Special Business Type Information" section below for more information.
  • Massage Professional _ Additional Packet - See the "Special Business Type Information" section below for more information.
  • Tobacco Retailer License Application _ Additional Form - See the "Special Business Type Information" section below for more information. 
  • Alcohol Sales - No additional form is required with your application. You must be in contact with the Ventura Police Department. See the "Special Business Type Information" section below for more information. 
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) Products - Affidavit will need to be signed in person at the Business Tax Office. See the "Special Business Type Information" section below for more information. 
  • Short-Term Vacation Rental (STVR) - STVR applications are not processed by the Business Tax Office. Visit our STVR Webpage for more information. 
  • Cannabis - Cannabis businesses entail of a separate application process. See the "Cannabis Business" section below for more information. 

Step 4 - Submit Completed Application Packet to the Business Tax Office

Once all required forms have been completed, you may scan and email your application packet to [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.

  1. My business address IS NOT a City of Ventura address (Based OUTSIDE the City of Ventura)

Business License Application Questions

  1. Master Fee Schedule

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 with the context "Business License Related Fees". To view a complete listing of the Master Fee Schedule, click on the link below with the context "Complete Listing".

Master Fee Schedule - Business License Related Fees - Effective July 8, 2022

Master Fee Schedule - Complete Listing - Effective July 8, 2022

  1. NAICS and SIC Codes
  1. Industrial General Permit (IGP)
  1. Contractor License / State License
  1. FEIN / SEIN / Sellers Permit
  1. Fictitious Business Name (DBA)
  1. Helpful Information

Special Business Type Information

  1. Massage

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]

  1. Tobacco Retailer License
  1. Alcohol Sales
  1. Cannabidiol (CBD) Products

Cannabis Business

  1. Cannabis Business Permit

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 Business Tax” tab for instructions.

  1. Cannabis Delivery Services Permit
  1. Quarterly Cannabis Business Tax

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