The City of Santa Barbara requires that every person, firm, corporation, partnership or other business organization conducting business within the City to obtain a business license. For further information, view FAQs or see Start a Business.
This site is designed to provide an understanding of the City's business license program and provide you with a business license tax application. The following information will assist you in complying with this requirement.
The business license application must be filled out, printed, signed, and sent with the appropriate Business License Tax payment for processing. The amount of the fee to be paid is based on various classifications as set forth in Chapter 5.04 of the Santa Barbara Municipal Code and as listed on page two (2) of the application. Payment is due on or before the commencement of business and must be renewed yearly. Payment must accompany your application.
Allow 5 working days for receipt of your business certificate. Business License Certificates should be posted in a conspicuous place.
If you have questions about the amount to submit, please feel free to contact our office at (805) 564-5346.
You can send your application with payment via regular mail to the address shown on the application. Make your check payable to the "City of Santa Barbara". Please do not send cash. Payment by credit card or cash can be made during regular business hours at the Cashier's Office located in City Hall at 735 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara.
Receipt of a Business License Certificate does not constitute an endorsement of the business, nor does it grant permission to conduct business at any place prohibited by the City’s Zoning Ordinances or any other Federal, State, or Local regulation.
Certain businesses require additional review and inspection by other City departments, such as Community Development, Fire, and Police. Specific requirements are contained in the Santa Barbara Municipal Code. Please contact the appropriate department for guidelines and forms. View page 2 of the Title 5, Business Taxes and Permits.
**Important Information Regarding Business Licenses**
If you have received a business license notice from MuniServices LLC, please read the following:
The City of Santa Barbara has recently contracted with MuniServices LLC to conduct a business license compliance review to identify all businesses that may be operating in the city without a business license. If you received a notice with an application and need assistance completing the application, require information, or believe that this notice does not apply to you, please contact one of MuniServices’ Tax Specialists Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time at (800) 987-0999.
Applications from MuniServices, once completed, can be mailed directly to:
City of Santa Barbara
C/O Business License Processing Center
P.O. Box 27947
Fresno, CA 93729-7947
Additional Invoices and Billing Notices from the City of Santa Barbara could be mailed to your business based on its location. Review the information below to determine whether they apply to your business.
If your business is located within the PBIA 53 square block, lower State St., it is subject to a QUARTERLY assessment. Amount to be paid is based on the type of business and parking related criteria. You will receive a separate invoice quarterly for this assessment. PBIA was established so that businesses can maintain competitive parking program with other nearby business owners who provide free parking. Competitive parking is accomplished by the City providing 75-minute free parking and low hourly rates for customers. The assessment pays for a portion of the 75 minute free period and is used to partially pay the kiosk operators salaries and utility costs at City lots.
|1st Quarter||Jan, Feb, March||Due April 15th||*Delinquent on May 1st|
|2nd Quarter||April, May, June||Due July 15th||*Delinquent on Aug 1st|
|3rd Quarter||July, Aug, Sept||Due Oct 15th||*Delinquent on Nov 1st|
|4th Quarter||Oct, Nov, Dec||Due Jan 15th||*Delinquent on Feb 1st|
*If paid on or after delinquent date, a 10% penalty will be applied for each month past due, up to a maximum 50% of the amount.
Questions regarding this assessment should be directed to City of Santa Barbara Finance Dept. (805) 564-5341.
This assessment helps support the Downtown Organization. The Downtown Organization is dedicated to the promotion and enhancement of the business, cultural, community and environmental vitality of downtown Santa Barbara for the benefit of its members, City residents, and visitors. Pursuant to Santa Barbara Municipal Code, Chapters 4.39 and 5.04, all businesses and property owners in the areas listed below are part of the Downtown District and are subject to this annual assessment.
Downtown BID and Old Town BID assessments are in addition to the business license tax requirement. This fee is paid annually, in the beginning of each calendar year. If your business is located in one of these districts you will receive a separate invoice. Amount to be paid is base on the business tax paid.
Questions about the Downtown Organization may be directed to (805) 962-2098 ext. 22.
The area bounded by Anacapa, Chapala, Micheltorena and Ortega Streets, and include businesses fronting on each street within or bounding the area, except businesses located north of the center line of Ortega Street.
The area bounded by Anacapa, Chapala, Gutierrez and Ortega Streets and businesses fronting on each street within or bounding the area, except businesses located north of the centerline Ortega Street.
Renewal Invoices are mailed one month prior to their Expiration date. Be sure to notify our office of any mailing changes prior to this date.
Policy dictates that business licenses remain open until advised to close, delinquency charges will apply.
The material in this site is intended for general informational purposes only. While it is current at the time of publication, changes to the Santa Barbara Municipal Code (SBMC) or state law may invalidate some of the information. In the event of a conflict between this site and the SBMC, the SBMC prevails.