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Business Licenses


Any business or individual conducting business in the City Lemon Grove is required to obtain a business license.  This includes businesses licensed in another jurisdiction conducting business in the City of Lemon Grove.

The issuance of a Business License does not supersede the zoning or building regulations of the City. It is highly recommended that you verify compliance with the City Zoning and Building codes before applying for a Business License. It is the business owner’s responsibility to ensure it meets all applicable zoning and building codes before conducting business. If you are contemplating construction work (tenant improvement) at your business you may need a building permit. If your business is found to be in non-compliance with zoning or building codes you and the property owner may receive a code enforcement action and/or a citation .

1. Confirm City Zoning, Building, and Sign Regulations 

Zoning – Prior to signing a lease or contract you should contact the City’s Planning Department to confirm the type of business you plan to operate complies with all zoning regulations of the desired location. 

Prohibited, Restricted, and Regulated Businesses – Several business types, including but not limited to: bars or liquor stores, auto body shops, adult bookstores, and tobacco stores are prohibited in certain zones or subject to certain zoning requirements, conditional use permits, or other restrictions. Additional regulations are also required for schools and churches. 

Building Use – Prior to signing a lease or contract you should contact the City’s Building Department to confirm the desired business use of your proposed building meets all applicable building codes. As an example, schools and meeting places have specialized building requirements that must be met prior to operation of you business. 
Building modifications or construction may require a building permit. 

Sign Permit – All business signs must be approved by the City. New signage will require a Sign Permit. A sign permit application must include the size of the proposed sign(s) and show the construction detail and how it will be attached to a building. Temporary signs must also be approved and permitted by the City Planning Department. 

For more information on Zoning, Building, and Signage see the City of Lemon Grove Municipal Code or contact City staff at 619-825-3805.

2. Complete a City Business License Application 

All businesses or individuals conducting business within the city limits must have a current business license. This includes businesses licensed in another jurisdiction but conducting business in the City of Lemon Grove, rental properties that have three or more units, and businesses that are conducted out of a home or apartment. 
A Business License can be obtained by submitting an application to City Hall. Click here to print a copy of the business license form.

3. Renew your City Business License Annually

Business licenses are valid for one calendar year and must be renewed each year if your business continues to operate within the City of Lemon Grove. A courtesy renewal notice is mailed to the address on file for the business. The license must be renewed by January 31st to avoid late penalty fees. You may submit your business license renewal payment by mailing a check, visiting City Hall. 

The following is helpful information but is not required prior to obtaining a City of Lemon Grove business license 

A. File a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the County of San Diego 
If the name you choose for your business is your own legal surname and a one-word description (such as John Smith Roofing) then you are not required to register a fictitious business name. If you choose a business name that does not meet these parameters (such as JS Expert Roofing) and your business is not registered with the state, then state law requires you to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the County of San Diego within 40 days of first transacting business. 

For more information contact the County Assessor website  or contact the County Clerk’s office at: 

 County of San Diego, Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk’s Office 
 1600 Pacific Highway, Suite 260, San Diego, CA 92101 

B. Determine the Legal Composition of the Business 
Several legal structures exist in the State of California. Your choice of legal structure will affect your income taxes and personal liability. Most businesses start as a Sole Proprietorship or a General Partnership and are generally the least complicated. Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Partnerships, Corporations and Limited Liability Companies must register with the Secretary of State. You should contact your own accountant or attorney for advice and assistance in determining the best legal structure for your business. For more information contact: 

Secretary of State – California Business Portal 

C. Obtain any Special Insurance, Licenses or Permits for Special Business types from the Appropriate Agency 
Worker’s Compensation Insurance – In California, every employer is required to carry insurance to cover the cost of occupational injuries and illnesses if they have employees (other than the business owner). If you have employees (even if you have only one part-time employee) it is mandatory to have worker’s compensation insurance. For more information contact an insurance agent or: 

State Compensation Insurance Fund 
 9444 Waples St. 
 San Diego CA 92121 

Special License and Permits – The chosen business activity type determines the licenses and permits needed to operate a business legally. Some of the more typical special permit or licenses include those for being a re-seller of goods, selling alcohol selling food, selling goods by weight or volume, daycare services, construction, or working with hazardous materials. To view a list of more than 200 State regulated Occupations and Professional Services that require a special license or permit see the State Department of Consumer Affairs website at: 

Sellers Permit/Resale Number – Businesses selling tangible personal property in the State of California need to apply for a Seller’s Permit from the: 

State Board of Equalization 
 1350 Front Street, Room 5047 
 San Diego CA 92101 

Alcohol Beverage License – Apply for an Alcoholic Beverage License if your business has been approved by the Planning Department to sell alcohol by contacting: 

 State of California – Department of Alcohol Beverage Control 
 1350 Front Street, Room 5056 
 San Diego CA 92101 

Selling Goods by Weight or Volume – Businesses engaged in selling goods by weight or volume must register the devices with the County Agriculture, Weights and Measures Office. 

 County of San Diego – Agricultural, Weights and Measures Department 
 5555 Overland Ave., Bldg 3 
 San Diego CA 92122 

Public and Environmental Health – Businesses engaged in selling or handling food products, operating a pool or spa, handling hazardous materials, underground storage tanks, medical wastes, x-ray equipment, or waste handling must obtain a permit with the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health. 

County of San Diego – Department of Environmental Health 
 1255 Imperial Ave., Third Floor 
 San Diego CA 92101 

D. Federal Identification Number and the necessary information to file you State and Federal income, sales, and employment taxes. 

Federal Employer Identification Number – the EIN, also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is a nine-digit number that the IRS assigns to business entities. The IRS uses this number to identify taxpayers that are required to file various business tax returns (Income, Social Security, Medicare). Employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, non-profit organizations, trusts and estates, government agencies, certain individuals and other business entities use EINs. Federal Employer ID numbers can be obtained by completing form SS-4 on-line or calling: 

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 
 San Diego CA 92188 

State Employer Identification Number – Obtain a State Employer Tax Identification Number if your business will have employees (other than the owner(s) by contacting: 

State Board of Equalization 
 1350 Front Street, Room 5047 
 San Diego CA 92101 

State Taxes – For State taxes visit the California Tax Information Center website that is sponsored by California’s tax agencies (Board of Equalization, Employment Development Department, and Franchise Tax Board)

State Board of Equalization 

 Employment Development Department 

Franchise Tax Board 

Federal Taxes – For Federal tax information and a copy of the “Small Business Resource Guide” an invaluable tool to help business owners understand the basics contact: 

Internal Revenue Service 

The City of Lemon Grove is divided into zones specified in the Planning and Building Codes that allow for various uses. Please check with the Planning/Zoning Department at (619) 825-3805 to see if your use is permitted at a particular address.

Yes, all persons operating or doing business within the city limits of Lemon Grove are required to have a business license per Municipal Code.

Yes. The City of Lemon Grove requires that any business conducting or operating within the city limits must obtain a City business license prior to beginning the job.

Generally, an In-City Business License costs $45.00 + $38.00 Storm water fee + $2.00 per employee. Other fees may apply. Business licenses are prorated quarterly. Please contact the License Clerk at (619) 825-3800 for more specific pricing.

Current processing time is two weeks. Applications cannot be expedited. All applications must be approved by multiple departments within the City and may take longer, should there be any problems. To avoid possible delays, please be sure your application is complete and that you have researched the proper permits and licenses needed for your business.

Please contact the License Clerk at 3232 Main St, Lemon Grove, CA 91945, (619) 825-3800. Accounts can be closed in person, over the phone, or by letter notification.

Yes. Any change in ownership requires a new Business License Application to be submitted to the City.

Yes. Any change in location of a business requires a new Business License Application to be submitted to the City. Due to zoning regulations within the City, your address change may take up to two weeks for approval.

This number is required by the State of California in order to monitor the collection of sales tax. Contact the State Board of Equalization at 1350 Front St #5047, San Diego, CA 92101, (619) 525-4526 for more information.

If you use a business name other than your own legal name or initials, you must file a fictitious name statement with the County Clerk’s Office at 200 South Magnolia Avenue, El Cajon, CA 92020 (619) 401-5700.

Contact the License Clerk in the Finance Department at (619) 825-3800 or 

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