Licenses & Permits

When starting a business, you need to know how to comply with all government regulations. Why? Because noncompliance can result in costly penalties. We can assist you in avoiding these risks with information and help in the following areas:

Business Licenses and Permits

Mariposa County

County of Mariposa
5100 Bullion St.
Mariposa, CA 95338
(209) 966 2007

Merced County

County of Merced
2507 Heritage Dr.
Atwater, CA 95301
(209) 385-7686

City of Atwater
750 Bellevue Road
Atwater, CA 95301-2598
(209) 357-6300

City of Gustine
682 3rd Street
Gustine, CA. 95322-1102
(209) 854-6471

City of Livingston
1416 “C” Street
Livingston, CA. 95334-1417
(209) 394-8041

City of Los Banos
520 “J” Street
Los Banos, CA 93635

City of Merced
678 W. 18th Street
Merced, CA 95340
(209) 385-6800

Stanislaus County

County of Stanislaus
1010 10th Street
Modesto, CA. 95354-0847
(209) 525-6330

City of Ceres
2720 2nd Street
Ceres, CA 95307-3216

City of Hughson
7018 Pine
Hughson, CA 95326
(209) 883-4054

City of Modesto
1010 10th Street
Modesto, CA 95354-0847
(209) 577-5389

City of Newman
1162 Main Street
Newman, CA 95360
(209) 892-204

City of Oakdale
280 3rd Street
Oakdale, CA 95361
(209) 847-3031

City of Patterson
33 S. Del Puerto Ave.
Patterson, CA. 95369-2546
(209) 892-2041

City of Riverbank
6707 Third Street
Riverbank, CA. 95367-2305
(209) 863-7114

City of Waterford
320 E. Street
Waterford, CA 95386-9005
(209) 874-2328

Tuolumne County

County of Tuolumne
222 South Shepard Street
Sonora, CA. 95370-4734
(209) 532-4212

City of Sonora
94 N. Washington Street
Sonora, CA 95370
(209) 532-4541

Miscellaneous Licenses, Etc.

County Building Permits and Inspections (including construction and remodeling)

Merced County
2222 “M” Street
Merced, CA 95340
(209) 385-7477

Stanislaus County
1010 10th Street (10th Street Plaza)
Modesto, CA 95354
(209) 525-6557

Other Permits and Requirements

Staff will help identify any additional permits that may be required for your business and the departments or agencies where these may be obtained (e.g., Air Pollution Control District, Regional Water Quality Control Board, Environmental Health, Sheriff’s Office, and Fire District). It is your responsibility to make sure your business has all necessary permits.

Environmental Resources Department

Merced County
777 W. 22nd Street
Merced, CA 95340
(209) 381-1100

Stanislaus County
3800 Cornucopia Way
Modesto, CA 95358-9494
(209) 525-6700

To find more information on areas that affect your business, such as pollution control or to use or natural resources, contact:

Department of General Services
344 N. 7th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-5386

Food Permits

If you are producing, handling, or distributing food products to the public, you may need this permit. Fees vary depending on the type of business. If you are caught operating without a permit, the fee is doubled. When starting a restaurant or food facility or making changes (such as remodeling), it is necessary to get a Plan Check. Check with your local County Health Department.

Liquor License

You will need a license to sell liquor in your business. A limited number of new licenses are granted. You must fill out a pre-application and, if accepted, pay the following:

  • Beer/Wine for full restaurant – $300.00; $205.00 annual renewal fee
  • Beer/Wine for grocery store – $100.00; $34.00 renewal
  • Off Sale Liquor – $1274.00 transfer, $446.00 renewal
  • Bar – $1,250.00 transfer, $695.00 renewal

(Any pricing shown on this website is for informational purposes only. Actual prices may change at the discretion of each regulatory or government entity.)

Alcoholic Beverage Control Department
31 E. Channel Street
Stockton, CA 95202
(209) 948-7739

Seller’s/Resale Permit

If you sell a product you must collect sales tax and remit to the State. You do not have to collect a tax on services. There are regulations that govern certain types of businesses that are not “clear cut.” For example, tailors offer both a service and a product. At a certain point they must collect tax on the labor. If you are in doubt as to whether or not your business falls under these types of regulations, contact the Board of Equalization.

Board of Equalization
31 E. Channel Street, Room 264
Stockton, CA 95202
(209) 948-7720 or (800) 400-7115 – recording

Online Sellers Permit Application
FAQs For Sales & Use Tax

Excise Tax and Environmental Fees

If you sell cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, energy, motor vehicle fuel, or deal with hazardous substances you must pay a special tax or fee. The local Board of Equalization can help direct you to the appropriate department:

Board of Equalization
31 E. Channel Street, Room 264
Stockton, CA 95202
(209) 948-7720 or (800) 400-7115 – recording

State Income Tax / Corporation Registration

Contact the Franchise Tax Board for forms to file individual state income tax. Also, you must register here if you are a corporation:

Franchise Tax Board
31 E. Channel Street, Room 219
Stockton, CA 95202
(800) 852-5711

Employer Taxes

If you have employees, contact the tax office for a State Tax Identification number. Contact them also for disability insurance tax, state withholding tax, and unemployment insurance tax. Ask for the California Employers Tax Guide (Form #DE44).

California State Employment Development Department
Online FAQs For Employer Taxes