All businesses – even small ones – that operate in San Francisco must register with the City. You may also need to register or incorporate through the State first, depending on your chosen business structure. Additionally, businesses with employees need to register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Federal Government.
This is not a substitute for legal or professional advice.
Partnerships, LLC's, and Corporations
If you plan to start a general or limited partnership, LLC, or corporation, you must register with the state first.
Location & Zoning
Check zoning and decide on a location for your business before registering. If you register your business before choosing a final location, you will have to update your registration with the new address. This can cost money and time.
Consider and research your name before registering. You will need a Business Registration Certificate to file for an FBN but you should know whether or not your name is available.
Step 1: Business Registration Certificate
Who must register
Every person who engages in business in San Francisco must register at the SF Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector (TTX) within 15 days of commencing business in the City.
What does engaging in business in San Francisco look like? Do you:
- Maintain a fixed place of business like a shop or an office?
- Exercise corporate or franchise powers?
- Own or lease land or buildings for business purposes?
- Regularly maintain a stock of goods for sale?
- Employ or loan capital on property?
- Solicit business for all or part of any seven days during one fiscal year?
- Perform work for all or part of any seven days during one fiscal year?
- Drive on SF streets for business purposes for all or part of any seven days during one fiscal year?
- Liquidate a business when the liquidators thereof hold themselves out to the public as conducting such business?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may have to register your business.
How to register
Complete the online application form. After submitting the application, you will receive two separate emails to the address you enter in the business registration application:
1. An E-Signature application that you must complete and return via email to the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector by following the instructions provided.
2. Instructions about how to pay the registration fee for the current year, and any prior years (if applicable).
Pay the registration fee(s) as instructed. Your confirmation of payment will include your Business Account Number (BAN), which you need in order to apply for other permits within the City.
To register you need
- Business Name
- Business Tax ID
- Business Start Date
- Legal Structure
- Ownership Name(s) and Address(es)
- Location Information
- Estimated Payroll Expenses and Gross Receipts from SF
- Email Address
- Payment Information
Credit/Debit (convenience fee applies)
Business Registration Fees for new businesses are based on anticipated payroll expense and gross receipts. Refer to the Treasurer & Tax Collector Rate Schedule to determine your registration fee.
You can update your Business Registration online, including changing your mailing address and opening a new location.
Business Registration is valid from July 1 – June 30, and must be renewed each year by May 31st. The online system will automatically calculate your business registration fee and state fee as well as penalties, interest, and administrative fees (if applicable).
Step 2: Business Property Statement
After you have registered with the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector, business registration information will be shared with the Office of the Assessor-Recorder. The Assessor-Recorder will automatically create an account for your business for annual Business Property Statement filing.
In Spring, you will receive a notice from the Assessor-Recorder to fill out a Business Property Statement (Form 571-L) by reporting the book cost/full cost of all your supplies, equipment and fixtures at each business location as of December 31st of each year. You then pay a tax on the total derived value. All businesses in California pay taxes on these items, which the state calls Business Personal Property.
When you close a business, you must notify most of the entities above in order to close out your accounts. Otherwise, you may continue to be charged for registration fees. Learn more about Closing your Business.
Last modified date: Wed, 06/07/2017 - 13:18