Frequently Asked Questions

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Common Questions Regarding Business Licenses

Do I need a Business License?

City of Newport Beach (City) law states that no person shall engage in business or represent and carry on a business, trade, profession, or occupation in the city without first having obtained a license from the city. A separate license must be obtained for each branch establishment or location and for each separate type of business at the same location.


What Is a DBA?

"DBA" stands for "Doing Business As." It is officially known as a Fictitious Business Name. A Fictitious Business name is a name that does not include the surname of the individual or a name that suggests the existence of additional owners. If you propose to use a fictitious business name, contact the Orange County Clerk Recorder's Office and your local newspaper to schedule a publication of notice.

Orange County Clerk-Recorder
Fictitious Business Name Filing
Attn: Clerk Operations
601 N. Ross Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Do I need a Sellers Permit?

If you sell tangible personal property, you are required to obtain a Seller’s Permit from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA), formerly handled by the State Board of Equalization (SBOE), for the purpose of collecting and reporting sales tax to the State of California. To obtain a Seller’s Permit, contact the CDTFA at 800-400-7115, or you may apply in person at 16715 Von Karman Avenue, Ste 200, Irvine, CA, 92606. You may also contact the Irvine office at 949-440-3473 or via email at

The CalGold website, is a comprehensive website that assists business owners in finding the appropriate permit information for their business. It also provides contact information for the various agencies that administer and issue permits, including those for cities, counties, and various other departments. 

What type of ownership do I have?

Sole Proprietorship
- A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business that is owned by one person or by a husband and wife. You include the income expenses of the business on your own tax return. We must have the owner’s name, home address, Social Security number, and drivers license number.

Partnership - A partnership is the relationship existing between two or more persons who join to carry on a trade or business. Each person contributes money, property, labor or skill and expects to share in the profits and losses of the business. A partnership is not taxable on the income of the entity. Each partner includes his or her share of the partnerships income or loss on his or her tax return. We require a Federal Tax ID number.

Limited Liability Company - A Limited Liability Company ("LLC") combines traditional corporate and partnership characteristics.

Corporation - In forming a corporation, prospective shareholders transfer money, property, or both for the corporation’s capital stock. The profit of a corporation is taxed to both the corporation and the shareholders when the profit is distributed as dividends. In California, the Secretary of State stamps the number only on the original articles of Incorporation.

For more information regarding ownership please visit the Franchise Tax Board website.

Do I need a Federal Tax Number (FEIN)?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a federal tax identification number, is used to identify a business entity. Generally a partnership, corporation or LLC business needs an EIN. Most banks require an EIN when opening a corporate bank account. You will need to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to obtain your Federal Employer ID number or call 866-816-2065.

Do I need a State License?

Depending on the type of business being conducted, you may. Please consult the Department of Consumer Affairs or call 800-952-5210.  Contact the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) or call 800-321-2752.

Do I need zoning approval for my business activity?

New businesses (Land Uses), including those not requiring the construction of a structure, require Zoning Clearance from the Planning Division pursuant to Chapter 20.52.100 of the Municipal Code. Please contact the Planning Division at 949-644-3204 for more information.

Do I need to display my business license?

Yes. City law requires your certificate to be displayed in a conspicuous place at the location of the business. If you are an out of town business, please carry a copy of your certificate with you.

How do I transfer my business license?

A business license is not transferable to another owner. It is the responsibility of the owner or operator to advise the Business License Office of ownership changes, relocation, or termination of business. You may email us at or you can reach the Business License office at 949-644-3141.

How do I cancel my business license?

If you are no longer conducting business in the City of Newport Beach, it is your responsibility to cancel the business license to avoid penalties, which can reach up to 50% of the fee due. This cancellation must be submitted in writing and include the account number, request to cancel, your signature, and the date. Our office fax number is 949-644-3073. If you are registered with other government agencies as a business, such as the Orange County Clerk Recorder or the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA), please remember to cancel your filings with them as well.

Can I get a temporary business license?

The City issues a business license for a 12-month period. Your license is valid for the stated business conduct for one year after the date you start doing business in the City.

Will my information be sold as a mailing list?

No. The City of Newport Beach does not produce business information for the purpose of mailing lists. According to the State of California Public Records Act, the City of Newport Beach must provide the following non-confidential information of all businesses that may be obtained by anyone for purchase at the Revenue Division counter or via the City Web page: business name, business telephone, business mailing and street address, the exact nature of the business for which the license is required, owner’s name, and the name of the principals, if the business is a partnership or corporation.

How many other businesses in Newport Beach have the same business activity? 

Click here to find out by selecting the category of interest and view a list of all the businesses with the same activity.

What is the $4 CA State Fee added to my business license tax?

* AB 1379 adds a mandated state fee of $4 on any applicant for a business license or renewal to comply with federal and state disability laws. 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 how to comply with disability access laws at the following agencies:
The Division of the State Architect at  
The Department of Rehabilitation at  
The California commission on Disability Access at

Disability Access Requirements and Resources Notice

AB 3002 Business License, Building Permit Model Notice webpage


California Civil Code §51.6 prohibits businesses from engaging in gender-based discrimination. A full notice of the business’s legal obligations is available in English and other languages at  or by request from our office.


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