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Office of the City Treasurer

Apply for a Business Tax Certificate

All businesses operating in the City of San Diego are required to register for a Business Tax Certificate. The City of San Diego Issues a "Business Tax Certificate" instead of a business license. Issuance of the Business Tax Certificate acknowledges payment of business taxes.  

Issuance of the certificate does not authorize the conduct of any illegal or unlawful business or any business activity for which a license or permit is required by state law, county ordinance or the San Diego Municipal Code, including but not limited to police, health, zoning, planning building or engineering permits, or state contractors licenses and the like. The issuance of a Business Tax Certificate shall not relieve an owner or operator from obtaining any licenses or permits that may be necessary under other provisions of law for employees or for operation of the business.

Businesses will be required to self-certify that the business is allowed in the zone that applies to the property where the business activity will be conducted. Businesses may use the following on-line resource to perform self-certification:

  • Development Services Department's Zoning Webpage
  • To view recently approved State laws impacting businesses, click here

Business Tax applications may be submitted electronically, by mail or in person. Applications submitted by mail will be assessed $38.00 which covers the $34.00 Business Tax and $4.00 SB-1186 State mandated fee. Late fees are assessed for applications received 15 days after the business start date.

Please allow up to two (2) weeks for receipt of your Business Tax Certificate. You will be notified by mail if additional taxes or fees are due, such as: Business Improvement District Assessments; large Business Tax (13 or more employees); late fees; or if additional information is required.

  1. Business Tax online applications may be submitted 24/7. You must register for a username and password prior to using this service. Payment types accepted include Credit Card (MasterCard, Visa), ACH checking, and ACH savings.
  2. Click on the links below to download a Business Tax application.

    To submit by mail please include a check for $38.00 made payable to City Treasurer and send to:

    Office of the City Treasurer
    Business Tax Program
    PO Box 122289
    San Diego, CA 92112-2289

    Schedule an appointment for in-person registration of a Business Tax account, new Police Business Permits and ;renewals.

  3. For questions, call 619-615-1500 or email

Maintenance Notice

Due to scheduled maintenance, new business tax certificate applications will not be accepted until 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 31.