Business License & Tax
Who must obtain a business license?What are your office hours and location?Where can I pay city business taxes?What is your mailing address?What is your street address to overnight a business tax payment?Is the Business Tax Certificate the same thing as a Business License?Why are business taxes assessed?How are business taxes determined?I want to know more about the change from quarterly taxation to six-month taxation.Will I have to pay more tax in a six-month tax cycle than I do now?How do I know whether I should pay taxes on a quarterly, six-month, or annual basis?I pay once a year. Will my tax return change?How do I apply?What businesses can I conduct from my home?I rent commercial buildings or residential properties. Do I have to pay business tax?How do I register my business name? When do business taxes come due?How can I get more general information about starting or running a business? How do I tell if a business is licensed? What if I need information about the owner of a business?How can I register a complaint about a business?How do I update my tax records or get information?I'm selling my business. Do I give the tax certificate to the new owner?I didn't receive a Tax Return, but I did receive a Tax Certificate - why?Where is the Reporting Period printed?Is the Tax Certificate Expiration Date the payment due date? What do I do if I didn't receive my tax return, and it's nearing the due date?What if the business tax due date falls on a weekend or holiday?Can I pay my business tax using a bank-issued check?Can I call in my business tax credit card payment? What is the SB1186 fee?Why is it being collected? What happens to the money? Who has to pay the fee? Who doesn’t have to pay the fee? Whom can the tax payer contact at the state level?Whom can the tax payer contact at the state level about the law itself?I don’t see my question. Additional Information
Who must obtain a business license?  
Please see the Business License Checklist for further information.
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What are your office hours and location?  
The City of Fresno Business Tax Division is located in City Hall, at Tulare Street and P Street, First Floor, Room 1096.  Our Customer Service phone line is (559) 621-6880.  Our office hours are Monday - Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
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Where can I pay city business taxes?  
The tax return can be mailed and postmarked by the due date. You can also bring it in to the public counter in the Payments Room in Fresno City Hall, Room 1096.  You can pay the current tax period renewal online by credit card at www.businesstax.fresno.gov/webrenewals/ .  You must have your tax account number, web security code, and your credit card number ready.  You can obtain your web security code from your current tax return, or by contacting Customer Service at (559) 621-6880 during normal working hours.
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What is your mailing address?  
Attn:  Business Tax, PO Box 45017, Fresno, CA 93718-5017.  This PO Box is specifically for our Business Tax and Dog License Section.  If you are mailing something to a certain employee, be sure to write their name or initials on the outside of the envelope.
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What is your street address to overnight a business tax payment?  
Attn:  Business Tax Mail Processing Clerk, 2600 Fresno Street, Room 1096, Fresno, CA  93721.
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Is the Business Tax Certificate the same thing as a Business License?  
Yes.
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Why are business taxes assessed?  
To help fund government services such as police, fire, streets, parks, economic developments and general administration.
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How are business taxes determined?  
Taxes are either flat rate or based on gross receipts depending on the tax code classification assigned at the time of application.  The tax return itself will provide specific instructions on how to determine the proper tax due.
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I want to know more about the change from quarterly taxation to six-month taxation.  
The City of Fresno Business Tax Division has changed its `method of tax collection for businesses that pay taxes on a quarterly basis.  Effective October 2013, Fresno business tax will be due on a semi-annual (six-month) basis for most businesses.  Instead of four (4) quarterly tax returns, most businesses will now receive two (2) six-month tax returns each year.

The returns will be mailed in October and April of each year, starting with October 2013.  For returns mailed in October:  the payment due date will be October 31.  Businesses who report gross receipts will declare the revenue received between the previous April – June and July -September.  Businesses that pay a flat tax will renew their tax certificates through March of the next year.

For returns mailed in April:  the payment due date will be April 30. Businesses who report gross receipts will declare the revenue received between October – December and January - March.  Businesses that pay a flat tax will renew their tax certificates through September of that year.


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Will I have to pay more tax in a six-month tax cycle than I do now?  
No.  The change affects only how often you will pay business tax; you will pay two times a year instead of four times.  If you now pay a quarterly tax based on your business’ gross receipts, the six month tax return will ask you to report the gross receipts for two quarters at one time and to pay the appropriate tax for each quarter.  The tax amount due for each quarter will be the same as you would have paid on a quarterly tax return.  If you now pay a quarterly flat tax for your business, the six month tax return will ask you to pay two quarters’ flat tax amount at one time.
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How do I know whether I should pay taxes on a quarterly, six-month, or annual basis?  
It depends upon the type of business you will operate.  Most businesses in the City of Fresno are taxed on a six-month basis.  When you apply for the required business tax certificate, you will be advised of the appropriate tax cycle for your business.

If you are an existing business that changed from a quarterly tax cycle to a six-month cycle, a flyer was mailed to you in June, July, and August 2013 to advise you of the change. 

If you are not sure which tax cycle your business should be in, please contact Customer Service at (559) 621-6880 during normal working hours.


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I pay once a year. Will my tax return change?  
No.  Contractors, annual professional tax payers, and other types of annual tax payers will continue to receive annual tax returns in July of each year.
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How do I apply?  
Our application is available on our website, www.fresno.gov. Click on "I want to...apply," and click on Business License.  Under the thick horizontal line, click on "printable forms," then the "Business License & Tax Certificate Application.”  Most businesses pay just $11.00 (application processing fee and state mandated fee).  Make your check out to “City of Fresno”, and mail the check and application to the mailing address listed on the application.  If there are any additional requirements, we will contact you.
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What businesses can I conduct from my home?  
Property use is regulated by the Fresno Municipal code zoning laws and the Development and Resource Management Department.  Specific definitions for home occupation.  For more information, you may visit the Development and Resource Management Department, City Hall, Third Floor.  Their office is open Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (closed noon - 1:00 p.m.).
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I rent commercial buildings or residential properties. Do I have to pay business tax?  
The rental of residential property and the leasing of commercial property are considered business activities.   Any revenue generated from these activities is taxable by the City of Fresno Business Tax Division.  A separate tax certificate is required for each property, unless the properties are contiguous (the properties share boundary lines).

Residential Property:  By City Controller's ruling, a person or entity renting, leasing, or subletting four or more separate living units shall be considered subject to City of Fresno Business Tax.  For example, if you own two single family homes and a duplex (four living units), you are obligated to pay tax on the revenue you collect from the four units.  If you own a duplex and one single family home (three living units), you are exempt from paying tax.  The living unit you live in is exempt from this rule and should not be counted as one of the four living units.


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How do I register my business name?   
Registering a business name that is different from your own legal name (filing a Fictitious Name) is a process managed by the Fresno County Clerk's office.  Filing a Fictitious Name and obtaining your Business Tax Certificate are two separate steps.  To register your business name, call the Fresno County Clerk's office at (559) 600-2575.
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When do business taxes come due?  
With a few exceptions, taxes are due within 30 days following the end of a business license renewal period.  Most licenses are renewed every six months and some are renewed on an annual basis.  Tax return forms are mailed to the business' mailing address.  However,  the tax is due whether the form is received or not.  Late fees of at least 20 percent are assessed for tax balances not paid by the due date bases on postmark.  This percentage is cumulative and is applied to every 30 day period (not to exceed three [3] periods for 90 days).
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How can I get more general information about starting or running a business?   
Check out the excellent info at www.fresnostartup.com.
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How do I tell if a business is licensed? What if I need information about the owner of a business?  
Call us at (559) 621-6880 during office hours, or email us at businesstax@fresno.gov .  This information is not available online at this time.
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How can I register a complaint about a business?  
Our section collects taxes from businesses, but in most cases we do not monitor how a business is run.  You can call the Better Business Bureau to register complaints about a business at (559) 222-8111.  Certain types of businesses, however, are required to obtain a business permit in addition to the business tax certificate, and our section issues those permits.  Examples of these types of businesses are taxi drivers, taxi companies, mobile vendors, funeral escorts, and businesses with billiard games or amusement devices.  If you have a complaint about a business in these categories, call Customer Service at (559) 621-6880.
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How do I update my tax records or get information?  
You can change your mailing address or business location, report that your business is closing, or report other changes to your business by calling (559) 621-6880.  You can report the changes in writing on your business tax return, or by letter.  (Be sure that any written changes are signed by the owner or their agent, dated, and that a daytime phone number is provided.)  You can also update your account online at www.businesstax.fresno.gov/webrenewals/ .  You must have your tax account number and web security code ready.  You can obtain your web security code from your current tax return, or by contacting Customer Service at (559) 621-6880 during normal working hours.  It is the business owner's responsibility to report changes and closes to our office.
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I'm selling my business. Do I give the tax certificate to the new owner?  
No.  The Business Tax Certificate is not transferable.  The previous owner must contact us to close their account, and the new owner must fill out a new application and pay the processing fee.
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I didn't receive a Tax Return, but I did receive a Tax Certificate - why?  
Businesses who pay taxes on a quarterly or a six-month basis receive the Business Tax Certificate as the top portion of the tax return form.  The Business Tax Return is the bottom third of the form.  Keep the Certificate, and send in the Tax Return by the payment due date.  A current tax certificate should be posted at your place of business or carried with you when you conduct business in the City of Fresno.  The certificate must be provided at the request of any authorized City of Fresno employee.  Businesses who pay their tax on an annual basis will not receive their Tax Certificate until they have paid their annual tax.
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Where is the Reporting Period printed?  
For businesses which report gross receipts, you will find the Reporting Period listed as part of the instructions in the middle of the form.  It is also on the bottom portion of the form.
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Is the Tax Certificate Expiration Date the payment due date?   
No.  The Business Tax Return payment due date can be found on the bottom portion of the tax return.  The tax payment is generally due on the last day of the first month of each tax period.  The timely payment renews the Tax Certificate through the last day of the tax period (the expiration date).
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What do I do if I didn't receive my tax return, and it's nearing the due date?  
If you pay a flat rate, and you are not required to report gross receipts, then simply write your account number on the face of your check, and mail it to the Attn:  Mail Processing Clerk, PO Box 45017, Fresno, CA  93718-5017.

If you are required to report gross receipts each period,  and you have a copy of a previous period’s tax return, make a copy of it, line through the older reporting period dates (found on the bottom third of the form), write in the correct reporting period dates, and initial the change.  Write "altered" at the top of the form.  Then fill out the form with the correct information.  Be sure to sign and date the form, and write your daytime phone number under the "prepared by" line.  Then mail the form and check to Attn: Mail Processing Clerk, PO Box 45017, Fresno, CA  93718-5017.

If you do not have a copy of a previous period's tax return, take a piece of paper and write down your account number, your business name, the reporting period, your gross receipts for that period, and the tax you believe is due.  Sign, date and provide a daytime phone number.  Then mail the form and check to Attn: Mail Processing Clerk, PO Box 45017, Fresno, CA  93718-5017.

You can also pay the current tax period renewal online by credit card at www.businesstax.fresno.gov/webrenewals/ .  You must have your tax account number, web security code, and your credit card number ready.  You can obtain your web security code from your current tax return, or by contacting Customer Service at (559) 621-6880 during normal working hours.

If possible, call us at (559) 621-6880, or email us at businesstax@fresno.gov , so that we can find out why you did not receive the tax return.


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What if the business tax due date falls on a weekend or holiday?  
Payments postmarked or received at the counter on the first business day following a weekend or holiday due date will be considered as timely.  You can also pay the current tax period renewal online by credit card at www.businesstax.fresno.gov/webrenewals/ .  You must have your tax account number, web security code, and your credit card number ready.  You can obtain your web security code from your current tax return, or by contacting Customer Service at (559) 621-6880 during normal working hours.
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Can I pay my business tax using a bank-issued check?  
Yes, but if you are required to report gross receipts to us, you also need to send us your Business Tax Return in order for your payment to be properly posted to your account.  So, if the check will come from a different source than the completed Business Tax Return, follow these directions:

- On the check, make sure your business account number appears on the memo line;

-On the Tax Return, write "check sent separately” across the form, sign, date and provide a daytime phone number; and

- Either fax the Tax Return to (559) 498-2544, Attn:  Mail Processing Clerk, or mail it to Attn: Mail Processing Clerk, PO Box 45017, Fresno, CA  93718-5017.

The mail processing clerk will make every effort to match your tax return with your bank-issued check.


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Can I call in my business tax credit card payment?   
At this time, we are unable to take credit card payments over the phone.  However, you can pay the current tax period renewal online by credit card at www.businesstax.fresno.gov/webrenewals /.  You must have your tax account number, web security code, and your credit card number ready.  You can obtain your web security code from your current tax return, or by contacting Customer Service at (559) 621-6880 during normal working hours.
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What is the SB1186 fee?  
It is a California state mandated fee, written into law in September 2012.   All cities in California, including the City of Fresno, are required to collect the fee from all businesses on behalf of the State of California.  The fee in the amount of one dollar ($1.00) is collected when a business applies for or renews a tax certificate issued by the City of Fresno after January 1, 2013.
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Why is it being collected?   
The fee is collected in support of a state mandated disability access and education fund.  It will be used to increase awareness and compliance with federal and state ADA laws.
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What happens to the money?   
The City retains 70% of the money to carry out the mission of education and compliance through the work of Certified Americans with Disabilities Act Specialists (CASps) employed by the City of Fresno Development and Resource Management Department (DARM).  The CASps will consult with business owners before or during the building permit process, to be sure all ADA requirements are met.  30% of the money will go to the State Architect’s Office to oversee the SB1186 program. 
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Who has to pay the fee?   
All businesses applying for a tax certificate or renewing an existing tax certificate after 01/01/2013 are required to pay one dollar ($1.00) at the time of issuance.
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Who doesn’t have to pay the fee?   
Any organization, agency, or entity that operates in the City of Fresno but is exempt from paying business tax is not required to pay the SB1186 fee.  This includes but is not restricted to non-profit organizations and charitable agencies.  If you are not sure if you should pay the fee, please contact the Business Tax Division at (559) 621-6880 for further assistance.
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Whom can the tax payer contact at the state level?  
Please access the web sites below for information about the business owner’s legal obligation regarding disability access and compliance.

            The Division of the State Architect at www.dgs.ca.gov/dsa/Home.aspx
            The Department of Rehabilitation at www.rehab.cahwnet.gov  
            The California Commission on Disability Access at www.ccda.ca.gov


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Whom can the tax payer contact at the state level about the law itself?  
To read the law, the tax payer may go to this link: 
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_1186&sess=PREV&house=B&author=steinberg  .
 
Or you can open the pdf document here.

To discuss the bill and its passage, the tax payer may contact their local California state representative for assistance:
               
Assemblyman Henry T. Perea     (559) 445-5532
Senator Michael J. Rubio              (559) 264-3070


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I don’t see my question.   
Please contact Customer Service at (559) 621-6880, Monday – Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Or email us at businesstax@fresno.gov.
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Additional Information  
- City of Fresno Department and Revitalization Resources Management (DARM/formally Planning & Development Department) Zoning, 2600 Fresno Street, Room 3043, (559) 621-8003 or at  /Government/DepartmentDirectory/DARM/default.htm

- State of California Board of Equalization, 8050 N. Palm Avenue, Suite 205, Fresno, (559) 440-5330 or at
www.boe.ca.gov.

-County Clerk Fictitious Names, 2221 Kern Street, Fresno, (559) 600-2575 or at http://www.co.fresno.ca.us/DepartmentPage.aspx?id=14631.


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