Business License Information (2023)


Business License Information (1)

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(877) 779-7222 (SBCA)

Telephone Business Hours
M-F: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Mailing Address
City of Santa Barbara, CA
c/o Avenu Insights & Analytics
373 East Shaw Avenue, Box 367
Fresno, CA 93710

Billing / Cashier
City Hall, Business Office
735 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Public Counter Hours
M-Th: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Alt. Fri: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm



Welcome to the City of Santa Barbara! The Business Tax Certificate program benefits the well-being of the overall community by funding essential services, such as: fire, police, economic development, sidewalks, streets, and parks and beach maintenance.The purpose of a Business Tax Certificate (often referred to as a "business license") is solely to raise revenue for general municipal services to residents and businesses; it is not a "license or permit".

Santa Barbara Municipal Code provides for the City to levy and collect business license taxes, business improvement district assessments, and fees for other regulatory permits. We are pleased you are considering participation in the Santa Barbara business community and wish you much success. The Business License office is responsible for the administration of this program, which includes ensuring that businesses operating in the City are compliant with local, state, and federal regulations.

Business License Information (2)

As required by Santa Barbara Municipal Code Title 5 Business Taxes and Permits, Chapter 5.04, the City of Santa Barbara has transitioned to a CALENDAR-YEAR based business tax certificate program as ofJanuary 1, 2023.

Business Tax Certificates will expire December 31 of each year.All businesses have until January 31 to renew their business license tax certificate without late fees.

For business tax certificate application and Tax Fee Schedule visit:

For business tax certificate renewal notice information, contact:
(877) 779-7222


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Business License Notice from AVENU MuniServices LLC

If you have received a letter from Avenu MuniServices LLC inquiring about your business activity and you do not have a current year business license tax certificate, please read the following:

The City of Santa Barbara has recently contracted with AVENU MuniServices LLC to conduct a business license compliance review to identify all businesses that may be operating in the city without a business license. If you received a notice with an application and need assistance completing the application, require information, or believe that this notice does not apply to you, please contact one of AVENU MuniServices’ Tax Specialists Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time at (800) 987-0999.

Applications from AVENU MuniServices, once completed, can be mailed directly to:

City of Santa Barbara
C/O Business License Processing Center
PO Box 27947
Fresno, CA 93729-7947

Expiration Dates & Renewals

Business Tax Certificates will expire December 31 of each year. All businesses have until January 31 to renew their business license tax certificate without late fees.

Changes to Your Business

If you have moved, changed the name of your business, changed partners, added on or decreased your working space, incorporated…anything…you will need to advise us.

Some changes, like name or owner interest, may not significantly affect your business license, however, location or complete ownership does.

When contacting our office, be sure to include your contact information, should there be any questions for our staff to clarify your information. When possible, include official documentation as back up.

  • Only the owner(s) or offices can request changes to the business or request a reprint of a business license certificate.
  • Any changes will need to be sent in writing or requested in person, government identification will be requested.
  • When requesting changes, please include old information, and how you which to apply the new information. (i.e. Mailing address only change)
  • If you have received new Federal or State Tax identification numbers, be sure to include the new ownership name, officers and its DBA’s.
  • If you have purchased or inherited a business you will need to fill out a new business license tax application.
  • No longer in business? To close a business, or whether you have sold it, be sure to notify Avenu Insights & Analytics in writing. Include the date business ceased under your control.Please include escrow date of sale and buyer information.
  • If you wish to remove a partner, please have them sign a release document. Include a photo-copy of their driver's licenses.
  • Business License Tax Certificates are not transferable.
  • If you did not receive a Renewal Notice,contact Avenu Insights & Analytics so one may be generated for you.

ThePBIAis the assessment mechanism that allows the City of Santa Barbara (City) to provide affordable parking rates to customers, visitors and clients of the Downtown area. The Downtown Parking budget is funded primarily by hourly parking revenues, and to a lesser extent, by PBIA assessments and permit sales. The PBIA revenues are directed solely towards hourly employee salaries and utility costs. These funds partially finance the operation and maintenance of the parking lots.

If your business is located within the PBIA 53-square block area of lower State St., it is subject to a quarterly assessment. The amount to be paid is based on the type of business and parking related criteria. You will receive a separate invoice quarterly for this assessment.

PBIA Quarters
  • 1st Quarter:Jan, Feb, March, Due April 15th *Delinquent onMay 1st
  • 2nd Quarter:April, May, June, Due July 15th *Delinquent onAug 1st
  • 3rd Quarter:July, Aug, Sept,Due Oct 15th*Delinquent onNov 1st
  • 4th Quarter:Oct, Nov, Dec, Due Jan 15th *Delinquent onFeb 1st

*If paid on or after delinquent date, a10% penaltywill be applied for each month past due, up to a maximum 50% of the amount.

Business Improvement Districts (BID) Assessment

The Downtown and Old Town BID assessments are collected by the City and remitted to the Downtown Organization to provide marketing and promotional services to businesses. The Downtown Organization is dedicated to the promotion and enhancement of the economic and cultural vitality of downtown Santa Barbara for the benefit of its members, City residents, and visitors. Pursuant to Santa Barbara Municipal Code, Chapters 4.39 and 5.04, all businesses in the Districts are subject to this annual assessment.

Detailed informationon assessment revenue, expenditures, and services provided to businesses is available in theFiscal Year 2021 Annual Assessment Report.
Questions about the assessments may be directed to

Robin Elander, Executive Director
Downtown Santa Barbara
(805) 962-2098 x801 (office)

Downtown Business Improvement District (BID)
  • Boundaries:The area bounded by Anacapa, Chapala, Micheltorena and Ortega Streets, and include businesses fronting on each street within or bounding the area, except businesses located north of the center line of Ortega Street.
  • Assessment:Collected on an annual basis by the City of Santa Barbara and forwarded to the Downtown Organization.
Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) Categories and Charges
ProfessionalsEqual to 15% of business tax paid. Minimum of $50.00
All OthersEqual to 100% of business license.
Old Town Business Improvement District (BID)
  • Boundaries:The area bounded by Anacapa, Chapala, Gutierrez and Ortega Streets and businesses fronting on each street within or bounding the area, except businesses located north of the centerline Ortega Street.
  • Assessment:Collected on an annual basis by the City of Santa Barbara and forwarded to the Downtown Organization.
Old Town Business Improvement District (BID) Categories and Charges
Businesses located on State StreetEqual to 100% of business license. Minimum of $100.00
Businesses not located on State StreetEqual to 75% of business license. Minimum of $100.00
Automobile Sales and Service BusinessesBusinesses in Classification “B” of Section 5.04.390 shall pay a maximum charge of $600.00 per year
Other Businesses: Wholesale, Professional, and Real Estate business as shown in Category 5.04.400$100.00


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Note: The material in this site is intended for general informational purposes only. While it is current at the time of publication, changes to the Santa Barbara Municipal Code (SBMC) or state law may invalidate some of the information. In the event of a conflict between this site and the SBMC, the SBMC prevails.

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