Applying For a License
Most businesses operating in San Rafael must register for a business license (business tax certificate) and pay a tax and/or some service-related fees. There are 4 broad categories of business license applications for initial registrations or changes of ownership or location:
- In Town Business Licenses for retailers, professionals, home-based businesses, and most other physical locations within city limits (verify your location is in city limits on our zoning map)
- Out of Town Business Licenses for businesses like contractors, gardeners, or Christmas tree lot operators without a physical office in San Rafael
- Property Business Licenses for apartments or boarding houses
- Film Shoot Business Licenses for filming on public or private property
Managing Your Account
Once your business is in our system, you can use the website to renew your license, update basic account information, pay a balance due, or close your account online. You can also perform these actions via email, fax, U.S. mail, or in person.
If your contact preference is email, your business license tax certificate as well as any renewal notices will arrive as a PDF attachment to an email from BLRenewal@cityofsanrafael.org. Otherwise, your certificate and renewal notices will arrive via U.S. mail.
Certificates and Directory
Our business license tax certificates are evergreen. That means they do not display an expiration date so they can be reused as long as the basic information on the certificate is current. You will not receive a new certificate every time you renew.
If necessary, the expiration date can be found using the Business Directory. If a third party such as a mortgage company asks about your business license, the directory is a great place to refer them.
Note: Inclusion in the business directory only indicates that a business is registered with the City and has paid or is in the process of paying any required business tax or related fees. It does not mean that a business is in compliance with any other legal requirements, including zoning and fire codes.