Title 6 of the San Luis Obispo County Code provides for regulation of businesses operating in the unincorporated areas of the County. The following items are Frequently Asked Questions regarding County Business Licensing.
Does a Vacation Rental or other lodging establishment need a County Business License?
Yes. A vacation rental operating in the unincorporated area of San Luis Obispo County requires a special kind of business license. Click here for more information on how to license your vacation rental.
Who needs a County Business License?
Individuals or corporations who sell merchandise or provide a service for a fee in the unincorporated areas of San Luis Obispo County (outside city limits) may need a County Business License. For Business License information within city limits, see the Directory section of this brochure.
In addition, individuals who initiate contact by any method (telephone, mail, or in person) for the purpose of presenting merchandise or performing a service at a later date may need a Solicitor's License. Any retailer selling tobacco products in the unincorporated areas of San Luis Obispo County must have a valid Tobacco Retailer's License for each location in addition to their County Business License.
Where do I apply for a County Business License?
Applicants must appear in person at the Tax Collector's Office, 1055 Monterey Street, Room D-290, San Luis Obispo, CA 93408 - (805) 781-5832.
How long is my license valid?
Most County Business Licenses are issued for a period of up to one year. Certain licenses, particularly those for special events, are issued for a shorter period of time.
What happens when I go to the Tax Collector's Office?
Tax Collector staff will prepare an application and collect the non-refundable application fee. After the application is complete, the applicant will be directed to other agencies, whose approval may be required.. When all required approvals are completed, Tax Collector staff will issue the County Business License.
Which other agency approvals will my Business License Application require?
All businesses must obtain approval of the County Department of Planning and Building. Certain businesses also require the approval of other County Departments, some of which may require processing fees. For a general guide to required approvals by business type, click here.
What information do I need to bring with me?
Is my County Business License transferable?
County Business Licenses are not transferable. Changes in ownership, business name, nature of business, or location must be reported IMMEDIATELY and are subject to the approvals of other agencies.
Will I need a fictitious business name?
If a name other than your own is used for the business, a Fictitious Business Name must be registered with the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder within 40 days of starting the business. Banks usually typically require evidence of a fictitious business name prior to opening an account in the name of the business.
Will I need a resale license?
Sales or use tax may apply to your business activities. You may seek written advice regarding the application of tax to your business by writing to the nearest Board of Equalization Office.
What if I hire employees?
Firms with employees must register with the Employment Development Department (EDD) for Unemployment Insurance (UI), State Disability Insurance (SDI), State Income Tax Withholding, and with the Internal Revenue Service for a Federal Income Tax Withholding Identification Number. State Law also requires that businesses with employees must carry Workers' Compensation Insurance.
What happens if I operate without a County Business License?
EACH DAY a business is operated without a County Business License, or is operated in violation of the provisions of the County Ordinance, shall constitute a separate offense. EACH OFFENSE is punishable by up to six (6) months in County Jail or a fine of up to $500.
Are there any exemptions from holding a County Business License?
California Law exempts certain individuals or businesses from obtaining a County Business License or exempts them from the fee associated with the County Business License. Contact the Business License Clerk at (805) 781-5832 for exemption requirements.
For more answers to frequently asked questions about taxes or other office services, click here .