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Business License Frequently Asked Questions


What do you mean by jurisdiction?

Jurisdiction means the limits or territory within which the local government's authority may be exercised.

Why is it important to be aware of my jurisdiction?

It is important to be aware of your jurisdiction so that you do not end up unintentionally paying for unnecessary licenses or taxes. The fee for a County Business License is neither a tax on your business nor based on your gross receipts. The fee covers the County's cost to process your application and for periodic inspections to ensure that the public's health and welfare is not adversely impacted, whereas a license or tax issued by a city is often imposed to generate revenue.

What do you mean by unincorporated area?

There are 88 incorporated cities within Los Angeles County, each with its own city council. More than 65 percent of Los Angeles County is unincorporated. For the 1 million people living in these areas, the Board of Supervisors and County Departments provide the municipal services. The list of incorporated cities can be found on the LA County homepage at: The areas that are not part of these cities are considered to be unincorporated County territory. Since there are more than 60 zip codes in LA County that cross county/city boundaries, zip codes cannot always accurately indicate if you are located in an unincorporated area.

If I already have a County Business License, do I also need a City License?

Depending on several factors (e.g., your business activities and the place where you conduct your business), you may need to obtain a County Business License, a City License, or both. Generally, if a business is subject to County health or safety requirements, a County Business License is required.

How long does it take to obtain a County Business License?

This depends upon the type of business license required. Some licenses are granted immediately while others may require the approval of County agencies such as: the Fire Department, the Sheriff's Department, the Department of Health Services and the Department of Regional Planning. In addition, some licenses require final approval by the Business License Commission.

After I obtain a license, when does it expire?

Licenses expire after one year. Prior to the expiration date, you will receive a bill for renewal. If you pay the renewal fee within 60 days, you will receive a new license. However, some business licenses require an annual renewal hearing before the Business License Commission.

Will the renewal fee be the same amount as the initial application fee?

In the majority of cases, the renewal fee is less than the original application fee. The renewal fee must be paid within 60 days. If it is not paid within 60 days, you must apply for a new license and pay the fee for a new application.

What if I have additional questions about Business License application requirements?

For more information concerning the application requirements, please contact any Business License Office by phone or in person during its regular business hours.

Can I file an application for a Business License online?

You must come into our office to complete your Business License Application. However, you may submit Online Request for a Business License Application prior to come into our office.

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