The City of South Pasadena’s top priority is the health and safety of our community as the situation around the coronavirus continues to evolve. For facility closures, event cancellations, and more information, click here

Business License

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Due to COVID-19, the City is delaying any penalties as a result of non-payment and renewals. Any business licenses that were previously past due will not incur any new fees during this period. Additionally, anyone who needed to renew and has not submitted their renewal will not incur late fees. New applicants will be required to pay their fees as usual. Further relief for small businesses is not available at this time, however, the Chamber of Commerce will be notified of any changes.


Sales Tax Increase:

The sales tax increased to 10.25% on April 1, 2020. On April 2, 2020, the governor announced availability of 12 month payment plans for small businesses. In addition, the deadlines for first quarter returns were extended to July 31, 2020. If businesses need to reach out for more information they can click here for ways to contact the Tax and Fee administration. 

The City has transitioned to an electronic application system. Click here to submit your application online

Who needs to apply for a Business License? All persons or companies conducting business within the City limits of South Pasadena are required to obtain a city business license. This includes but is not limited to retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, service providers, professionals, non-profit organizations, independent contractors, home businesses and residential landlords renting three or more units.  Please note: businesses based outside of the City of South Pasadena who are conducting business in the City (e.g. contractors, consultants, architects, designers, landscape maintenance companies, mobile food vendors) must also file an application. Please see the City's Business License Frequently Asked Questions for more information. 

When should an application be submitted?
An application must be submitted and fees must be paid prior to commencement of business operations. 

Where can I obtain a Business License application?

You may apply online using our website (links provided above) or by phone at (626) 403-7258. Once an application is submitted, it is reviewed and approved by various departments prior to issuance. Your license will be emailed to you once approved.

How are fees calculated?

A variety of classifications and rates are set forth in the Business License Ordinance. A brief rate schedule of the most common classifications is available on the City's Master Schedule of Fees.

Please Note: The Fire Inspection Fee was updated during the Fee Study adopted in May 2019. It was updated from a flat fee to a fee based on square footage. While it may seem significant, it is in line with other cities. Our business license costs are very modest compared to other cities. 

When do I renew my license?

Most business licenses are valid for one year, and must be renewed annually.  For annual business licenses, a renewal notice will be mailed to you the month prior to your license expiring.  

Is non-compliance penalized?
It is unlawful for any person to transact and carry on any business without first having procured a license. Failure to comply with the ordinance may subject the violator to penalties and possible civil or criminal action. 

Where is my license valid?

Your Business License is valid only within the city limits of South Pasadena - while doing business from your commercial/professional location, your residence, or when you are providing services to a resident or business within the city limits. 

What if I close my business or move it to another city?

You may close your business license online at or by phone at (626) 403-7258.

Can I transfer my license to someone else?
Business Licenses are not transferable from one owner to another.  The new owner must submit a new application.

Your business license is not a permit to operate and does not authorize you to operate a business that is otherwise prohibited by law or ordinance.

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