This is a newly launched website for the City of Petaluma.  Please excuse us as we make it perfect. And, let us know what you think.

Business Certificates

GETTING STARTED

Are you planning to open or expand a business in Petaluma? We have tools to help!

Check out our Business Toolkit for general business tips as well as an overview of license and permit requirements. Then go to our Online Permit Tool – Open Counter – to scope your project and estimate costs.

WHO NEEDS A BUSINESS CERTIFICATE?

The City of Petaluma requires that any business that is either, located in, or doing business in Petaluma file a written application prior to commencing business and pay the minimum tax applicable to the business classification. A business tax certificate will be issued as evidence of payment of the business tax. If you are located in Sonoma County and generating receipts (doing business) within the City of Petaluma, you are required to get a Business Certificate and pay the Business Tax in Petaluma.

APPLYING FOR A CERTIFICATE

  • Read the Instructions
  • Complete the Application
  • Submit application in person or by mail: 11 English Street, Petaluma, CA 94952

APPROVING YOUR CERTIFICATE

Getting a Business Certificate is a 3-step process because the City has to check to see that your business location is suitable and that your business meets basic safety thresholds before registering your business in our system and collecting the required tax.

ZONING CLEARANCE

Before applying for the Business Certificate, contact the Planning Department to confirm your location is suitable for your business: by phone (707-778-4301); email (petalumaplanning@ci.petaluma.ca.us); or in person at the Planning Counter, 11 English Street. If you apply for a Business Certificate without checking, you could pay a nonrefundable application fee unnecessarily if your business location does not comply with the zoning rules.

SAFETY CLEARANCE

To be sure that your business is safe, a City Building inspector and/or the Fire Marshal may need to visit your business before a business license is issued. City inspectors will look for minimum requirements that protect you and your employees and allow easy access to your business for emergency responders. For a complete list of the safety requirements, please review the Business License Inspection Check List.

RENEWING YOUR CERTIFICATE

Renewals can be completed online here. The renewal is due by March 31st of each year.

WORKING FROM HOME

If you would like to work from home, and you live within the city limits of Petaluma, you will also need a Home Occupation Permit, which requires an extra fee and involves additional review to be sure your business is appropriate for a residential area. Questions about the Home Occupation permit? Contact Planning by phone (707-778-4301); email (petalumaplanning@ci.petaluma.ca.us); or in person at the Planning Counter, 11 English Street.

SHORT TERM VACATION RENTALS

If you are renting all or a portion of your dwelling unit for stays less than 30 days you will need a Short Term Vacation Rental Permit (which is renewed annually) from the Planning Division before your Business Certificate can be issued. Download the Short Term Vacation Rental Permit checklist and application form.

MASSAGE BUSINESS

If you plan to open or continue a Massage Business, you need to register and provide evidence that you have met the City’s Massage Ordinance requirements. This involves submitting a form to the Police Department, paying a fee, and, in some cases, undergoing a background check. View the Massage Requirements here.

MOVING

If you are moving your business location, the Planning Department will have to check your new business location to be sure it is suitable for your business before the City will renew your Business Certificate.

COUNTY LOCATION

While you have a Petaluma address, your business property may be located in Sonoma County. If it is in the County of Sonoma, and it does not generate gross receipts within the city limits of Petaluma, it does not require a Business License / Certificate or a Business Tax payment. However, you may need a zoning / location clearance from the County. To find out more, contact the County of Sonoma Planning Department at 707-565-1900. If you are not sure, call or email the Petaluma Planning Department at 707-778-4301 or petalumaplanning@ci.petaluma.ca.us to find out.

employee at desk
Close window