Business Licenses

The City business licensing program was established by authority of City Ordinance #773, which defines the various tax rates and compliance requirements.

Per City Code Section 5.04.090, "It shall be unlawful for any person to transact and carry on any business, trade, professions, calling or occupation in the City without first having procured a business license from the City". 

Applying for a Business License

Business license applications are to be submitted and approved prior to conducting any business within the City.  The City of Healdsburg's business license period runs from July 1st through June 30th.  For most businesses the license fees are based on the type of business and gross annual receipts earned within the City limits.   Annual renewal notices for taxes are mailed on or before June 1st and renewal payments are due on or before July 1st.  

Business licenses are non-transferrable.  Active businesses that change locations and/or ownership are required to file a new business license application.  A separate license shall be required for each branch establishment or location and for each separate type of business at a location (i.e., retail, service, professional, etc.).

Instructions for Completing an Application

In the process of completing the business license application, the applicant is required to:

  • Select the appropriate business license application:
    • Home-Based - businesses operated out of a residentially zoned property within the Healdsburg City limits.
    • Businesses within City Limits - businesses located on a non-residential zoned site within the Healdsburg City limits.
    • Businesses Outside City Limits - businesses located outside Healdsburg City limits that are generating revenue inside the City limits (i.e., contractors, Farmer's Market vendors, on-site services, etc.).
  • To complete the application:
    • Estimate the gross receipts for the upcoming year.  Taxes are paid in advance of anticipated gross receipts and subject to correction or confirmation by the City the following year.  No portion of a license fee, once paid, is refundable, unless erroneously levied or erroneously calculated. 
    • Define in detail the type of business and activities within the City.  Break down revenue by each separate type of business for that location (i.e., retail, service, professional, etc.).
    • Indicate the date the business opened.  This is the actual or projected opening date of the business or the start date work will begin in Healdsburg.  Based on the opening day of your business, fees may be prorated on a quarterly basis (excluding the mandatory $4.00 CA SB1186 fee).  Contractors are excluded from proration.
    • List any and all hazardous materials.  See the Hazardous Materials Listing for examples.
    • List any "Non-Domestic" sewer discharge.  A Sewer Discharge Permit Application may be required if there will be non-domestic sewer discharge.

The Review and Approval Process


Upon receipt of a completed application and collection of the related license tax, the Finance Department will process the application and issue the certificate.  "Home-Based" and "Within City Limit" applications will then be forwarded on to the following departments for code review and clearance.

  • Planning & Building - review business for zoning, signing, home occupation, etc.
  • Public Works - review business for sewer discharge
  • Fire Department - review business for fire compliance/hazardous materials
  • Police Department - review business for state certification requirements and emergency contact information. 

In most cases, the application can be cleared within 5 to 10 business days.  Depending upon the complexity of the business, staff may have questions or need additional information resulting in a delay.  

Additional Information

To obtain information on filing fictitious name statements for a business, please call the Sonoma County Clerk at (707) 527-3800.  For information on sales tax or resale numbers for a business, please call the State Board of Equalization at (707) 576-2100.

If a business requires utility services for a non-residential site, the applicant is required to apply via a Utility Service Application.  If you have any questions, please call Utility Billing Customer Service at 707-431-3307.  Please submit the business license application before or in conjunction with the utilities application.