General Information

     
     
 

Welcome to the Business License homepage.  

The Business License web page is filled with a tremendous amount of information and links that pertain to all taxes and permits for the City of Carson.  On the left hand side of this page, there are many notable links providing the you with the resources to conduct, apply and pay for a variety of applications and permits.  

We've developed a list of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ).  If your question or concern is not addressed in the FAQ, please contact the Revenue Division staff at (310 952-1748.  Staff is available to assist you Monday through Thursday, between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.  City Hall is closed on all Fridays, weekends, and holidays. 
 

 
  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)  
 
1 What is a Business Tax?
2 Who is required to pay the tax?
3 How do I apply for a Business License?
4 How is the amount for a business license determined?
5 What is involved in the issuance of a tax certificate?
6 May a business tax certificate be transferred to a new location?
7 May a business license or permit be transferred from one owner to another?
8 Is a separate business tax certificate required for more than one type of business at the same location?
9 Does one certificate cover different branch locations or multiple locations?
10 May a business be operated from home?
11 What is a business permit?
12 What steps are involved in the granting of a business permit?
13 What is an alarm permit?
14 FTB Tax Registration Program FAQ
15 Where to start?
 
 

 

 
  WHAT IS A BUSINESS TAX? 

 

The Business Tax is a tax voted on and approved by the Carson residents.  This tax is a revenue generating measure and is imposed for the privilege of doing business in the City of Carson.  When the business tax is paid, the City issues a Business Tax certificate, which is commonly referred to as a "Business License."  The revenue that is produced by the business tax, benefits the community and City facilities by financially supporting programs and City services, beautification, maintenance, and community events.

 

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WHO IS REQUIRED TO PAY THE TAX? 

Carson Municipal Code (CMC) §6310 requires any person commences or conducts, or who conducts or intends to conduct, either directly or indirectly, any business, profession, trade or occupation, whether or not said person has a fixed place of business within the City, shall obtain a business license and pay all required taxes and fees.

 

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HOW DO I APPLY FOR A BUSINESS LICENSE? 

The business license application link is located at the top of this page, on the left hand side.  You can also request an application by phone or pick one up at the Revenue Division counter located in City Hall.   

1.  NEW BUSINESSES – All business taxes and fees shall be paid in advance and PRIOR to the beginning of any business activity. 

2. ESTABLISHED BUSINESSES – When a business has obtained a Carson business license, all renewal information will be mailed to you prior to the next year/tax period.  However, it is business owner's responsibility to maintain a current/valid business license regardless if a renewal notice was mailed or received.  

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HOW  IS THE AMOUNT FOR A BUSINESS LICENSE DETERMINED? 

Retail, wholesale, manufacturing, warehousing, professional and semi-professional type businesses pay the flat tax rate.  If the business operates with six or more employees, the City imposes a nominal charge on each additional employee.   

In 1996, the Carson voters passed Measure K which allows the City to annually adjust the Tax Rate Schedule for business license tax and permit, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  Therefore, the tax rate will vary year to year.  To view the current year tax rate schedule, it is located on the Business License/Permit Application link.

 

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WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE ISSUANCE OF A TAX CERTIFICATE? 

All commercial businesses that have a physical location in the City, CMC §6320 requires that all inspections are completed and passed before the City issues the business license.  The purpose of the inspections is to ensure compliance with federal, state, local laws, and the mandates of the Carson Municipal Code. 

There are a variety of departments involved in the inspection and approval process of the business license.  The City and county departments are the Carson Planning & Environmental Services of the Development Services Group, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, and the Los Angeles County Health Department (if applicable).  Based on a variety of businesses that are required to obtain a Regulatory Permit, in addition to the business license, the applicant must receive approval from the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department.  City staff will provide you with the necessary information regarding the departments for the inspections.  

An initial application fee of $100.00 is applied at the time of paying for your business license application.  This fee helps offset the cost of these inspections.

Your business may be regulated and licensed by one of the many State of California departments.  Please consult with the appropriate State Department(s) for further regulations pertaining to your business activity.  The link listing agencies and departments is located on this page.  

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MAY A BUSINESS TAX CERTIFICATE BE TRANSFERRED TO A NEW LOCATION? 

YES.  The transfer is based on the approval of all inspecting departments and payment of a transfer fee.

 

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MAY A BUSINESS LICENSE OR PERMIT BE TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OWNER TO ANOTHER? 

When the structure of a business entity is substantially changed, such as through acquisition by another entity, the new entity is required to obtain a new business tax certificate.  However, in the case of adding or dropping a partner, no new certificate is required. 

 

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IS A SEPARATE BUSINESS TAX CERTIFICATE REQUIRED FOR MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF BUSINESS AT THE SAME LOCATION? 

YES.  A separate business license may be required for an additional business activity conducted at the same location.  The business activity that would pay the highest business tax is imposed.  The second business is taxed at a rate of one-half (1/2) of the required tax and fee.  The half tax would not apply to incidental operations such as juke boxes, vending machines, or amusement machines stationed at the location.

 

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DOES ONE CERTIFICATE COVER DIFFERENT BRANCH LOCATIONS OR MULTIPLE LOCATIONS? 

NO.  CMC §6324 requires that a separate business tax certificate must be obtained for each business location within the City. 

 

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 MAY A BUSINESS BE OPERATED FROM HOME?

 YES.  Some occupations are permitted providing that business owner adhere's to the twelve Planning/Zoning regulations, CMC 9128.4.  If you are uncertain that your business activity would be permitted, please contact Carson's Planning and Environmental Services before commencing with any activity.  

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WHAT IS A BUSINESS PERMIT? 

A business permit is a regulatory authorization that is required for a business operation that may impact the public peace, safety or welfare of the City and the community. A business license is required in addition to the business permit. 

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WHAT STEPS ARE INVOLVED IN THE GRANTING OF A BUSINESS PERMIT? 

The Los Angeles County Sheriff Department reviews and investigates all permit applications.  The permit will not be granted if the business is contrary to the preservation of the public peace, health, safety, or welfare of the City or to the citizens.  If permit application is approved, the business license will be granted. 

Additional information regarding business permits can be found in the Carson Municipal Code chapter 3, part 4. The municipal code is located on the City's home page under the Electorate tab.

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WHAT IS AN ALARM PERMIT? 

An Alarm Permit is issued to any business or residence that maintains an alarm system which is used for the detection of unauthorized entry into a building, structure, and home, etc.  Effective December 2, 1993, a $35.00 permit fee is required for all initial alarm permit applications.  Annual alarm permit renewals is $20.00.  An alarm permit only pertains to robbery and burglary alarms, not fire alarms.

False alarms are very costly and utilize law enforcement resources that could otherwise be used for other incidents or emergencies.  The Carson Municipal Code authorizes the City    To help offset the cost for law enforcement,  

Aditionally, in order to minimize the significant waste of law enforcement resources caused by the excessive number of false alarms, the service charges are assessed as follows:  

  •     More than three (3) false alarm activations in ANY 12 month period shall be assessed a $100.00 service charge per occurrence.   

ALARM PERMIT RENEWAL EXEMPTIONS  

Senior citizens renewing an alarm system permit for a residence is exempt from the annual renewal fee. 

To obtain an exemption, the senior citizen must provide documentation that they are the responsible party for the alarm system, along with satisfactory proof of age (60+).  Granting of the exemption shall not excuse the requirement of annually renewing an alarm system permit. 

Disabled persons renewing an alarm system permit for a residence is exempt from the annual renewal fee.  To obtain the exemption, a disabled person must be the person responsible for the alarm system, and must present satisfactory proof of disability as defined in California Vehicle Code Section 295.5.  Granting of the exemption shall not excuse the requirement of annually renewing an alarm system permit. 

PLEASE NOTE:  Exemptions do not apply to the initial $35.00 permit fee.

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WHERE TO START? 

Prior to entering into any purchase, lease or rental agreement, we suggest that you consult with the Planning Department at (310) 952-1761 to ensure that your business activity will be permitted at the location you have selected.  

If you will be engaging in the sale of tangible properties, a Seller’s Permit is required.  Contact the State Board of Equalization. 

For employment tax information, please contact the  State Employment Development Department, Internal Revenue Service, and Franchise Tax Board .

For fictitious business name (D.B.A.), contact the L.A. County Bureau of Fictitious Names or a local newspaper:  L.A. Times, Daily Breeze or Press Telegram. 

For general assistance in operating your business, contact the Small Business Administration. 

The Carson Chamber of Commerce (310) 217-4590 is also a good source of information for business operators.

 
 
     
     
   
   
   
   

 

City Hall Contact

701 E Carson Street
Carson, CA 90745
(310) 830-7600, 7 AM - 6 PM
Monday - Thursday
24-hour automated: (310) 952-1700

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