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Additional Business License Information

The following is information generally applicable to most business in Long Beach. Any error or omission does not excuse the business owner from any other regulations or penalties.

You may email us with questions regarding business licenses and you will receive a response via email in five (5) business days.

Filing A Fictitious Name Statement Tobacco Sales
City Zoning/Land Use Regulations Alcohol Sales
State Licenses Fire Inspection Requirements
State Sales and Use Tax Permits Police Investigations
Federal & State Employer Requirements Police Dept Entertainment Permit Guidelines
Definition of an Employee  

  Filing A Fictitious Name Statement

A fictitious name or DBA (Doing Business As) is the name a business uses other than the owner’s name, or in the case of a corporation one that is different from that registered in the articles of incorporation. If you are using a fictitious name the California Business & Professions Code requires that you file a fictitious name statement. It is also important to do this to enable the consumer to know who he/she is doing business with, to entitle you to initiate suits for the protection of the name and because most banks require you have proof of filing to open a business account using the fictitious name. You may file a fictitious name with the Los Angeles County Recorder or through one of the local newspapers. For more information contact the L.A. County Registrar at (562) 462-2177.


  City Zoning/Land Use Regulations

The City Zoning Ordinance includes regulations concerning where and under what conditions a business may operate in the City of Long Beach. In some cases a conditional use permit or zoning variance is required. To determine if the business activity you are planning can be carried on at the location you have selected, you should contact the Development Services Department – Zoning Division. It is absolutely necessary that you provide them with all the facts about the type of business activity you plan to operate now and in the future. For further information please contact the Zoning Division at (562) 570-6194.


  State Licenses

Many occupations, such as physician, attorney, real estate broker, construction contractor, etc., require a State license; and you may be required to show proof of this license before a City license is issued. Failure to obtain that license may carry a fine or penalty. If you are in doubt about State licensing requirements for your business you should contact the State Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 344-9940.


  State Sales and Use Tax Permits

If your business involves the sale of tangible personal property either retail or wholesale, you are required to obtain a seller’s permit from the State Board of Equalization. As a seller, you must remit sales tax (collected from the consumer the time of sale) to the Board. The Board will advise you of the time and manner in which taxes are to be reported and paid. Failure to register for a seller’s permit and pay taxes in the manner prescribed may result in a fine or other penalty. For more information call the State Board of Equalization at 800-400-7115.


  Federal and State Employer Requirements

All businesses that have employees are required to obtain a federal employer identification number from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. This is required for purposes of withholding and payment of employee taxes. For more information contact the IRS at (800) 829-1040.

As an employer, you may also be required to file with the State of California Employment Development Department. This is for the purpose of withholding employee tax, as well as for meeting unemployment insurance requirements. For more information contact the Employment Development Department at (888) 745-3886.


  Definition of an Employee

For the purpose of Business License taxation in the City of Long Beach an employee is defined as: Any person engaged in the operation or conduct of any business in Long Beach, whether as owner, member of the owner’s family, partner, associate, agent, manager or solicitor, and any person employed or working in such business, whether full-time, part-time, permanent or temporary, for a wage, salary, commission or room and board. The owner if a sole proprietorship is not considered an employee.


  Tobacco Sales

The selling for tobacco products requires an annual Long Beach Tobacco Retail Permit. Information and an application are available at: www.longbeach.gov/health/safety_promotion/tpermits.asp. Contact 562-570-7905 with any questions.


  Alcohol Sales

The selling of alcoholic beverages requires licensing from the State of California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), who can be contacted at (562) 982-1337 and 3950 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, CA. Link to State of California Department of Alchoholic Beverage Control.


  Fire Inspection Requirements

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  Police Investigations

Certain business licenses and permits require a background investigation and possibly an inspection by the Police Department. These include entertainment permits, and licenses for massage technicians, businesses that sell alcohol, and adult businesses.


   Police Department Entertainment Permit Guidelines

If you have applied for an entertainment permit, you will have an inspection by the Police Department. The Police Department will review your application and determine if there are any applicable restrictions that would prohibit entertainment at your establishment (Alcohol Beverage Control conditions or Conditional Use Permit conditions). You will be contacted by a Vice Detective to set up an inspection. During the inspection, we will discuss potential conditions of operation, which could include the hours and days entertainment would be allowed, age restrictions, noise restrictions and security requirements. Conditions of operation may vary depending on the type of business you have. If it is determined that you qualify, a 120-day temporary entertainment permit may be issued.

The Police Department investigation will include a crime analysis of your location, interviews with nearby residents and a recommendation from the Police Commander in your area. After the Police investigation is complete a recommendation will be made to City Council. The recommendation could be to Deny, Approve or Approve a One-Year Short-Term Permit. After the Police recommendation is submitted, there will be a City Council hearing, where your permit will be approved or denied. If your application is denied by City Council, you may not re-apply for one year.

If you have any questions regarding the process with the Police Department, please contact the Long Beach Police Vice Detail at (562) 570-7219.