Frequently Asked Questions

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Common Questions Regarding Business Licenses

Do I need a Business License?

City law states that no person shall engage in business or represent and carry on a business, trade, profession or occupation in the city without first having obtained a license from the city. A separate license must be obtained for each branch establishment or location and for each separate type of business at the same location.

References:

What Is a DBA?

"DBA" stands for "Doing Business As." It is officially known as a Fictitious Business Name. A Fictitious Business name is a name that does not include the surname of the individual or a name that suggests the existence of additional owners. If you propose to use a fictitious business name, contact the County Clerk’s Office and your local newspaper to schedule a publication of notice.

Orange County Clerk-Recorder
Fictitious Business Name Filing
12 Civic Center Plaza, Rm.106
Santa Ana, CA 92701
714-834-2889
www.ocrecorder.com

Do I need a Sellers Permit?

If you sell tangible personal property, you are required to obtain a Seller’s Permit from the State Board of Equalization (SBE) for the purpose of collecting and reporting sales tax to the State of California. To obtain a Seller’s Permit contact SBE at 800-400-7115 or you can apply in person at 23141 Moulton Parkway, Ste 100, Laguna Hills, CA 92654-0890.

What type of ownership do I have?

Sole Proprietorship
- A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business that is owned by one person or by a husband and wife. You include the income expenses of the business on your own tax return. We must have the owner’s name, home address, Social Security number, and drivers license number.

Partnership - A partnership is the relationship existing between two or more persons who join to carry on a trade or business. Each person contributes money, property, labor or skill and expects to share in the profits and losses of the business. A partnership is not taxable on the income of the entity. Each partner includes his or her share of the partnerships income or loss on his or her tax return. We require a Federal Tax ID number.

Limited Liability Company - A Limited Liability Company ("LLC") combines traditional corporate and partnership characteristics.

Corporation - In forming a corporation, prospective shareholders transfer money, property, or both for the corporation’s capital stock. The profit of a corporation is taxed to both the corporation and the shareholders when the profit is distributed as dividends. In California, the Secretary of State stamps the number only on the original articles of Incorporation.

For more information regarding ownership please visit the Franchise Tax Board website.

Do I need a Federal Tax No (FEIN)?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a federal tax identification number, is used to identify a business entity. Generally a partnership, corporation or LLC business needs an EIN. Most banks require an EIN when opening a corporate bank account. You will need to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to obtain your Federal Employer ID number or call 866-816-2065.

Do I need a State License?

Depending on the type of business being conducted. Please consult the Department of Consumer Affairs or call 800-952-5210.  Contact the California Contractors State License Board or call 800-321-2752.

Do I need zoning approval for my business activity?

New businesses (Land Uses), including those not requiring the construction of a structure, require Zoning Clearance from the Planning Division pursuant to Chapter 20.52.100 of the Municipal Code. Please contact the Planning Division at 949-644-3204 for more information.

Do I need to display my business license?

Yes. City law requires your certificate to be displayed in a conspicuous place at the location of the business. If you are an out of town business, please carry a copy of your certificate.

How do I transfer my business license?

A business license is not transferable to another owner. It is the responsibility of the owner or operator to advise the Business License Office of ownership changes, relocation or termination of business. You may email us at RevenueHelp@newportbeachca.gov  or you can reach the Business License office at 949-644-3141.

How do I cancel my business license?

If you are no longer conducting business in the City of Newport Beach it is your responsibility to cancel the business license to avoid penalties, which can reach up to 100% of the fee due. This cancellation must be submitted in writing and include the account number, request to cancel, your signature and the date. Our office fax number is 949-644-3073. If you are registered with other government agencies as a business, such as the Orange County Clerk or the State Board of Equalization, please remember to cancel your filings with them as well.

Can I get a temporary business license?

The City issues a business license for a 12 month period. Your license is valid for the stated business conduct for one year after the date you start doing business in the City.

Will my information be sold as a mailing list?

No. The City of Newport Beach does not produce business information for the purpose of mailing lists. According to the State of California Public Records Act the City of Newport Beach must provide the following non-confidential information of all businesses that may be obtained by anyone for purchase at the Revenue Division counter or via the City Web page: business name, business telephone, business mailing and street address, the exact nature of the business for which the license is required, owner’s name and the name of the principals, if the business is a partnership or corporation.Chapter 5.04.310

How many other businesses in Newport Beach have the same business activity? 

Click Here to find out by selecting the category of interest and view a list of all the businesses with the same activity.

What is the $1 State Fee added to my business license tax?

On September 19, 2012, Governor Brown signed into law SB-1186 which adds a state fee of $1 on any applicant for a local business license or similar instrument or permit, or renewal thereof. The purpose is to increase disability access and compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements and to develop educational resources for businesses in order to facilitate compliance with federal and state disability laws, as specified.

Under federal and state law, compliance with disability access laws is a serious and significant responsibility that applies to all California building owners and tenants with buildings open to the public. You may obtain information about your legal obligations and how to comply with disability access laws at the following agencies:
The Division of the State Architect at www.dgs.ca.gov/dsa/Home.aspx  
The Department of Rehabilitation at www.rehab.cahwnet.gov  
The California commission on Disability Access at www.cda.ca.gov  

 

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