Business Licenses

In accordance with Sonoma Municipal Code 5.04, "it is unlawful for any person to transact and carry on any business, trade, profession, calling or occupation in the city without first having procured a license from the city..."

NEW STATE-MANDATED FEE:  Because of a provision of a bill signed into law, the City of Sonoma will be adding a new state-mandated fee of $1.00 to all business license renewals and applications.  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 fee will go towards increasing 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.  For additional information about this fee, contact the City Finance Department at 707-938-3681.

  • The City of Sonoma business license period is January 1 through December 31 of each year.  All annual licenses are due and payable in advance on the first day of February. 
  • For new businesses within the city, the business license tax is due prior to the opening of the business.
  • City Municipal Code sets the business license tax as a flat rate and not on a gross receipts basis.  For most businesses, the license is an annual fee plus an additional charge based on number of employees.
  • Failure to apply for or pay  a license tax when due will result in a penalty equal to 10% of the license tax on the first day of each month after the due date until paid.

Every business or person shall file an application for a business license to the City. Upon receipt of a completed application,the Finance Department will process the application form for the applicant.  This process may include the City Planning Department [for zoning, signing, home occupation, use, etc]; the City Public Works Department [issues involving utilities]; Fire Department [clearance for fire codes] Police Department [security issues].  In many cases, the application form can be processed within a 7-day time frame.  Please allow sufficient time for approvals prior to start of business.  Depending upon the complexity of the business, some applications may require additional processing time.  There may be questions on the application so please indicate a telephone number where you may be reached during normal business hours.  Once the application is approved and the license printed, you will be notified.  

Business License questions can be directed to City staff as follows:

Phone - Barbara Cates, Accounting Technician, (707) 933-2237
In Person - City Hall, No. 1 the Plaza, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. [closed noon- 1:00 p.m.]
In Writing - City of Sonoma Finance Department-Business Licenses, No. 1 the Plaza, Sonoma, CA  95476
By Fax - (707) 938-3938
By E-mail - Send Email

For a full copy of all regulations and fees for the business license tax refer to SONOMA MUNICIPAL CODE, Chapter 5.04.


  • The City does not issue ficticious name statements for sales tax permits.
  • For ficticious name statements, contact the Sonoma County Clerk at (707) 527-3800.
  • For sales tax or resale numbers, contact the State Board of Equalization at (707)  576-2100.




Sonoma Municipal Code

For a full copy of all regulations and fees for the business license tax refer to SONOMA MUNICIPAL CODE, Chapter 5.04.