Business License Information

The Finance Department is responsible for the City’s Business License program. Operating a business in the City requires the payment of a Business License Tax and compliance with the City’s Municipal Code, including the Zoning Code and the City’s Sign Ordinance. Properties in the Downtown area are also subject to the Downtown Specific Plan. In addition, to conduct a business from your home requires you meet certain eligibility requirements and obtain a Home Occupation Permit.
The Business License tax covers the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30).  New businesses opening after the start of the fiscal year prorate the Business License Tax amount due by quarters:

July, August, September                      $100 plus $10.00 per full-time employee

October, November, December             $75 plus $7.50 per full-time employee

January, February, March                     $50 plus $5.00 per full-time employee

April, May, June                                  $25 plus $2.50 per full-time employee

To download a Business License Tax application click here.

The annual tax is $100 plus $10 per full time equivalent (FTE) employee.  There are circumstances under which the business can be granted exemption from the business license requirements.  Such exemptions must be requested on the attached application and acceptable proof presented that shows the business meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • The business is a nonprofit organization as defined in Section 501 (c)(1), (2) or (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as it currently exists or is hereafter amended;
  • The business is exempt from local taxation by of the Constitution or applicable statutes of the United States or the State of California;
  • The businesses has and can expect to have annual gross receipts less than $20,000;
  •  The business is that of a residential landlord renting or leasing to others no more than four residential dwelling units;
  • The business is a public utility which pays a franchise tax the City based on gross receipts. (The exemption applies only to the business conducted under the franchise agreement);
  •  A peddler, solicitor or other person entitled to exemption from the payment of any license provided for in this chapter upon the ground that such license casts an unreasonable burden upon his/her right to engage in commerce with foreign nations, or among the several States, or conflicts with the regulations of the United States Congress respecting interstate commerce; or
  •  A business engaged in growing livestock, or agricultural products for sale or disposal by the growers themselves.
  • Large Family Child Care Facilities licensed by the State of California.

Mandatory State Fee (SB 1186): Government Code Section 4467(a) requires that effective January 1, 2018 and until December 31, 2023, jurisdictions must to collect a $4 fee on all business license applications and renewals to fund increased certified access specialist (CASp) services in that jurisdiction and to facilitate compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements.  The fees shall also be used to establish and maintain oversight of the CASp program and to moderate the expense of CASp certification and testing.

Required Disclosure:  Section 4469: “Under federal and state law, compliance with disability access laws is a serious and significant responsibility that applies to all California building owners and tenants with buildings open to the public. You may obtain information about your legal obligations and compliance with disability access laws at the following agencies:

The Division of State Architect at

The California commission on Disability Access at

The Home Occupation Permit Fee is $109, once approved a home occupation permit is valid for the approved business as long as it remains at the permitted address. The Home Occupation Permit Application form includes the applicable regulations.

To download a copy of the Home Based Permit Application, please  Click here.

Completed application(s) may be submitted, along with the appropriate tax and/or fee, to the City of Oakley either by mail or in person. Please make checks payable to the City of Oakley, 3231 Main Street, Oakley, California 94561.  Please note: Certificates are not issued at the time of application. The process for approval includes 1) Confirming the business and location are consistent with City zoning and, if applicable, an attached home occupation permit application, 2) Review of the application and fees paid, and 3) issuance of the Business Tax Certificate.  Normally, an approved Certificate is mailed to the business owner within two to three weeks from receipt.  For more information contact the Finance Department at 925-625-7016 or email

Required Disclosure: While obtaining a Business Tax Certificate is required to operate a business in the City, it does not permit a business otherwise prohibited; and the use of the term “License” when describing the business license program is not an authorization to operate the business or an indication that the business is regulated by the City. Possession of the Business Tax Certificate is proof that the appropriate Business License Tax has been paid and that the business has agreed to operate lawfully.

To learn more about starting a business in Oakley click here to download a new business guide.