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The City of Petaluma requires that any business that is either, located in, or doing business in Petaluma file a written application prior to commencing business and pay the minimum tax applicable to the business classification. A business tax certificate will be issued as evidence of payment of the business tax.


To discuss your application, please see the contact information in the bar to the right.




Petaluma’s Finance Department reviews the written application, collects the minimum tax applicable to the business classification, and issues the Certificate. Click to see the Business Tax Fee Chart. To speak to a representative, you can call 707-778-4354, send an email to, or come to the office located at 11 English Street, Petaluma, CA 94952.

To apply for a Business Certificate, download the form and the instructions for filling them out and either mail it in or stop by the Finance Department to submit the application in person.


Read the fee schedule.


If you already have a City of Petaluma Business Certificate, you can now renew it online here. The renewal is due by March 31st of each year. You will receive a reminder in the mail or email at the beginning of each calendar year.


You may also renew online.


Getting a Business Certificate is a 2-step process because the City has to check to see that your business location is suitable before registering your business in our system and collecting the required Tax. The Planning Department is in charge of approving your business location based on current zoning rules (Zoning Clearance).


Check with the Planning Department at 707-778-4301 or email first before applying for the Business Certificate to be sure your location is suitable for your business. If you apply for a Business Certificate without checking, you could pay a nonrefundable application fee unnecessarily if your business location does not comply with the zoning rules.


The City of Petaluma issues Business Licenses to businesses that meet zoning requirements, safety requirements and pay the required tax to operate a business in Petaluma. To be sure that your business is safe, an inspector from the Building Department and/or the Fire Marshall may need to visit your business before a business license is issued. City inspectors will look for minimum requirements that protect you and your employees and allow easy access to your business for emergency responders. For a complete list of the safety requirements, please review the Business License Inspection Check List.


If you would like to work from home, and you live within the city limits of Petaluma, you will also need a Home Occupation Permit, which requires an extra fee and involves additional review to be sure your business is appropriate for a residential area. Go here to get a Home Occupation Permit application.



If you are renting all or a portion of your dwelling unit for stays less than 30 days you will need a Short Term Vacation Rental Permit (which is renewed annually) from the Planning Division before your Business Certificate can be issued.


If you plan to establish a mobile business such as a food truck or coffee cart, you will also have to check in with the police department to be sure you can meet special requirements. In Petaluma, mobile vendors need to locate on private property and get a conditional use permit. Check in with the Planning Department at 707-778-4301 or send them an email at


If you plan to open or continue a Massage Business, you will have to provide evidence that you have met the City’s Massage Ordinance requirements. Click here for more information.


If you are moving your business location, the Planning Department will have to check your new business location to be sure it is suitable for your business before the City will renew your Business Certificate.


While you have a Petaluma address, your business property may be located in Sonoma County. If it is in the County of Sonoma, and it does not generate gross receipts within the city limits of Petaluma, it does not require a Business License / Certificate or a Business Tax payment. However, you may need a zoning / location clearance from the County. To find out more, contact the County of Sonoma Planning Department at 707-565-1900.

If you are not sure, call or email the Petaluma Planning Department at 707-778-4301 or to find out.

If you are located in Sonoma County and generating receipts (doing business) within the City of Petaluma, you are required to get a Business Certificate and pay the Business Tax in Petaluma.


Are you planning to open or expand a business in Petaluma? We have tools to help!

Check out our Business Toolkit for general business tips as well as an overview of license and permit requirements. Then go to our Online Permit Tool – Open Counter – to scope your project and estimate costs.



Business Certificate / Tax Fees


Zoning Clearance



Per request
Home Occupation Permit $124.26 Per Request
Short Term Vacation Rental Permit $334.63  
First Year Tax

Retailers, Wholesaler, Administrative Headquarters, Miscellaneous businesses, Contractors, Service Businesses, Rental of Property, Amusement, Professionals


$49 Through end of calendar year

Transient Sales / Solicitors / Peddlers / Mobile businesses


$69 Per 120 days

Production / Film Making


$254 Per day

Seasonal Sales


$129 Per event

Special Events


$229 Per day

Transportation of persons and goods

$54 Per vehicle
Renewal Tax

Retailers, Wholesale / Suppliers, Public Utilities Miscellaneous businesses


0.016% of total Gross Receipts ($0.16 per $1,000) OR $45.00 whichever is highest  
Administrative Headquarters and Manufacturers

0.016% of total Gross Receipts OR Cost of Operations, whichever is Greater ($0.16 per $1,000) OR $45.00 whichever is highest

Contractors, Recreation and Entertainment, Service Businesses, Rental of Residential or Non-Residential Property 0.032% of total Gross Receipts ($0.32 per $1,000) OR $45.00 whichever is highest  
0.048% of total Gross Receipts ($0.48 per $1,000) OR $45.00 whichever is highest  

Business Tax charges include, in addition to the business tax, a $4.00 State of California fee to increase disability access and compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements and to develop educational resources for businesses in order to facilitate compliance 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:


California General Services, The Division of the State Architect,


The Department of Rehabilitation at,


The California Commission on Disability Access at


Contact Information

Finance Director,
Corey Garberolio
11 English St.
Petaluma, CA 94952
phone: 707.778.4352
fax: 707.931.0667
Hours: 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Monday - Thursday
Closed Fridays

Finance - Business License Office

11 English St. Petaluma, CA

Phone 707 778 4354



11 English St. Petaluma, CA

Phone 707 778 4470


Police Department (Records Division)

969 Petaluma Blvd. No Petaluma, CA

Phone 707 778 4462