COVID-19 UPDATE | The City is coordinating closely with our public health officials at the Santa Cruz County Health Department to prevent the further spread COVID-19. In an effort to protect you and our community, changes and measures have been adopted in daily operations and activities. For further details please click here for the City’s Response to COVID-19

Business License Tax Fee Schedule

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Most businesses are subject to a basic business license tax of $145.15, plus employees fees of $2.55, $4.95, or $7.40 for each employee depending on the type of business. Please refer to the schedule below for applicable taxes for your type of business. If you are unsure what your taxes will be, please ask for assistance. Payment of business license taxes are due on or before starting date of your business in Santa Cruz. Penalties are applied to late payments.

In addition to the basic business license tax, applicants for a new license are charged a $27 registration fee and a $4 fee mandated by the State of California for accessibility compliance. Annual business license renewals are charged the business license tax, a renewal fee of $10, and the $4 state-mandated fee. These fees are authorized by Council Resolution NS-29,343 and will be adjusted every January 1 for increases in the Consumer Price Index.  Registration, renewal, and state-mandated fees are not prorated and not refundable.

Class A Business:
(Retail, wholesale, contract, construction, manufacturing) $145.15 base tax plus
$2.55 per employee
Class B Business:
(Services, hotels and motels, apartment houses, commercial property renting or leasing, recreation and entertainment services and facilities) $145.15 base tax plus
$4.95 per employee
Class C Business: (each professional needs a separate license)
(Professions including, but not limited to, accountants, architects, attorneys, auctioneers, chiropractors, dentists, engineers, insurance brokers, medical/health professions, physicians, real estate brokers, security brokers, and veterinarians) $145.15 base tax plus
$7.40 per employee


Businesses engaged in the following activities shall pay the business license fees indicated below in addition to any applicable fees from the Basic Business License Classification and Tax Rate section above.
An arcade is a public place in which there are
kept or maintained five or more coin or token machine
Number of
Amusement Machines
or Devices
Rate per Number
of Machines
5 through 24 machines $290.30
25 through 49 machines $1,451.40
50 through 99 machines $2,902.70
100 or more machines $5,805.35
Boxing or Wrestling

Sum of $58.10 per show or 
an annual license of $580.55,
at the option of the operator.

Card Games $76.90 per card table
Circus, Carnival or Menagerie $290.30 daily
Coin-Operated Amusement Devices
(less than 5 devices)

Charge for Use
of the Machine

Annual Fee
for each Machine

less than $0.05  $15.60
$0.05 or more $76.90
Dances or the Leasing of Dance Halls for Dancing
Square Feet Annual fee
0 - 2500  $72.60
2501 - 3500 $145.15
Over 3500 $290.30
Itinerant Vendor, Peddler or Jobber $72.60 daily
Vehicles for Hire $72.60 annually per taxicab, automobile or truck
Telephone Solicitation $290.30 in addition to $145.15 business license fee
plus $2.55 fee for each employee
Theaters $0.65/number of seats in theater
Traveling Show
(when not conducted in a licensed theater)
$58.10 per day

Occasional Transactions:

Persons having no fixed place of business within the city who come into the city for the purpose of transacting a specific item of business at the request of a specific patient, client, customer, or contractor will have their business license tax prorated as follows:

# of days conducting business:

% of Total Business License Tax:









120 or more


If you have questions regarding license fees, please phone our office:

City of Santa Cruz
Finance Department