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..."

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.

Applying for a Business License

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) and/or the 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. 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.

In accordance with State law,  the City of Sonoma adds a state-mandated fee of $4.00 to all business license renewals and applications.  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 a full copy of all regulations and fees for the business license tax refer to SONOMA MUNICIPAL CODE, Chapter 5.04.

Questions about Business Licenses

Additional Information

Close window