Business License FAQ's
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What are the hours of the Business License office?
Business License public counter hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closed 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.).

What are the hours when I can reach one of the technicians or an inspector?
The Planning and Building and Safety public counter hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. One of the technicians is available during those hours to assist you with consultation or other information. Our Building Inspectors are available by appointment only Monday through Friday from 8 to 8:30 AM or from approximately 3:30 to 4:30 PM. Please call (562) 567-9320 to schedule an appointment.

What are business license taxes used for?
Business license taxes become part of the City general fund which helps to pay for police services, libraries, community service programs, community center activities, street maintenance, and grafitti removal as well as several other programs offered throughout the City.  If you would like to see the City budget documents, a copy can be viewed at the Controller's counter in City Hall.

Can I apply for a Business License online?
Since most applications require approval from our Planning office, we do not offer online applications, but an application can be downloaded and printed.

Please click below for more information.


Business License Information

How would I request a refund for an online payment?
Refund Policy - Customer may request a refund, due to overpayment and/or a duplicate payment. Requests must be received within seven business days of the original transaction. To request a refund, CLICK HERE or call the Business License office at (562) 567-9860. Approved refund transactions will be processed within 3 – 5 business days; however the City of Whittier is not responsible for a customer's financial institution credit policies. Overpayments as the result of a credit card payment are charged back to the originating credit card. The City of Whittier reserves the right to refuse a refund request at any time; however every attempt will be made to honor your request.

Can I have a home based business?
Maybe.  Businesses conducted from a home in the City are required to have a business license as well as approval from our Planning Department. 

Before starting a home-based business, please contact our Planning Department at (562) 567-9320.

How much will my business license tax be?
 The amount of business license tax depends upon the type of business.  Please click the link below for the most common types of businesses and corresponding license tax.


Common Business License Rates

What is SB1186 State Disability Access Fee?

On September 19, 2012 Governor Brown signed into law SB-1186 which adds a state fee of $1 on any applicant for a local business license or similar instrument or permit, or renewal thereof. The purpose is 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, as specified.

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:



Can I have the penalties waived?
There is no provision in the Whittier Municipal Code for anyone to waive penalties.

What happens if I renew my business license late?
Business license taxes are due 30 days after expiration.  If the taxes are not paid at this time, penalties will accrue according to the penalty schedule below. 

Penalties start accruing on the first day of each month following the due date.  Businesses operating without a valid business license are also subject to our citation process until the entire balance is paid.

If your business is located in the Uptown area, the penalty schedule also applies to those fees.


Penalty/Citation Schedule

Why do I have to pay Uptown Association Fees?

All businesses located in the designated Uptown area have to pay Uptown Association dues.  Please use the link below to determine which area and fee schedule applies to your business.

  • Uptown is separated into two areas, Diamond and Silver
  • All businesses pay a flat rate of $130 per year
  • Retail stores and restaurants pay the $130 flat fee as well as a cost per square foot each year based upon which area they are located in

For more information on the Uptown Association, please call or visit their website.




Phone: (562) 696-2662

Uptown Areas and Fees
Whittier Uptown Association website

Does the city offer any business assistance?
The City actively promotes a business friendly environment to ensure Whittier remains economically viable. Please visit the city’s Economic Development page for more information.

What information is required on a business license application?
The requirements depend upon the type of business, but the basic requirements are as follows:

  • Business name and address (P.O. Box is not accepted)
  • Mailing address (if different from business address)
  • Description of business
  • State license number (contractors only - license will be verified)
  • Federal ID Number (if applicable)
  • Owner information - name, address, social security number, date of birth, driver's license number, etc.
  • Owner signature
  • Planning department approvel (only if located within City limits)


When will my business license expire?

In many cases, the business license will expire one year from when it was applied for.  The following are the exceptions:

  • Retail businesses and restaurants expire at the end of January
  • Rentals with 1-3 units expire at the end of April
  • Rentals with 4 or more units expire at the end of December
  • Out of City contractors have a 3 month option


Why did I receive a citation?
Citations are issued when all business license taxes, Uptown fees, or balance due statements are not paid.  If a citation is received, this is a separate charge from the business licnese tax, Uptown fees, or balance due statements.

Please see the citation schedule below for more details.


Citation Schedule

Will I receive a notice when my business license expires?
A renewal notice will be sent to the mailing address we have on file.  However, since timely tax payments are the owner’s responsibility, you are encouraged to calendar the expiration date of the license.

Where can I find help finding qualified employees for my business?
The WorkSource Center at SASSFA offers free employee recruitment assistance as well as several other business services such as layoff prevention, on-the-job training and subsidized employment. Call 562-946-2237 or visit www.sassfa.org for information.