About Business Licenses

​To our valued Customers:

Business Licensing is currently short-staffed, resulting in 3-4 week delays processing online applications and 2-3 week delays in processing mail-in Fictitious Business Name statements.  We recommend if possible to come into the office and submit your applications and statements.   Our office is open at 8am Monday - Friday and we take our last customer at 4:30.  

700 H St., Room 1710

Sacramento, CA 95814

Thank you for your patience during this time.


Frequently Asked Questions:

No.  The ban covers the unincorporated area of the County only.  If your tobacco retailer's license was issued by an incorporated City, please check with your local jurisdiction regarding their ordinances.​​

No.  Those products usually contain nicotine, which falls under the definition of "tobacco."​​​

Yes, as long as the liquid is sold separately from the vaping or smoking device.​​

No.  Tobacco sales must be conducted at a licensed commercial storefront.  Sales by delivery, mail, or internet are prohibited.​​

The County ban still applies.​​

Yes.  Hookah lounges are not exempt from the ban.​​

If you have  other questions regarding the Flavored Tobacco Ban that takes effect on July 25, 2022, please email the Business Licensing Manager at BusLicense@saccounty.gov

For general licensing/fictitious names inquiries please call (916) 874-6644 or email FinanceOBLA@saccounty.gov.


Are you interested in operating a Short-Term Rental?  Please visit RentalScape to apply for a Permit, Business License, and register to pay Transient Occupancy Tax.  We no longer accept Business License applications in our office, through the mail or the Sacramento County Online Business License application.  You can use the following link to access the RentalScape website:



 Business License Search:  Would you like to verify a Business License?  Search ​for a Business License

Instructions to search for a Business License can be found here: How to search for a Business License

Contact Information:

Apply online: Online Business License Application

Business Licensing/FBN questions:  (916) 874-6644, email - FinanceOBLA@saccounty.net

Mailing address: 700 H Street, Room 1710, Sacramento, CA 95814

Blank License and FBN Statements:  https://finance.saccounty.gov/Tax/Pages/BusLicForms.aspx

Phone Hours:  9:00am to 4:00pm.

​​Short-term Rentals (i.e. VRBO, bookings.com, AirBnB​) require both a General Business License and a Short-term rental permit from the Office of Planning and Environmental Review. See FAQs for details 

New Massage Requirements as of May 26, 2016

All businesses offering massage from a commercial location in the unincorporated area must complete the checklist and submit it with the business license application.  The checklist will allow Planning to determine if your massage business requires a Minor Use Permit. 

Sacramento County regulates businesses operating in the areas of the County not located within city limits (the unincorporated area of the County) to promote improved enforcement of ordinances that protect the public and prevent nuisances and neighborhood disturbances. The license is not a business tax and is not based on business revenue.​

There are several types of business license:

General Business Licenses - The County regulates businesses with a physical location in all areas of the County that are in the "unincorporated area," (not within the incorporated cities of Sacramento, Folsom, Isleton, Galt, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, and Rancho Cordova).  All businesses based in commercial locations or homes require a General Business License.  In addition, certain business activities may require a Special Business License or a Tobacco Retailer License. A General License is issued to a business after a review of the business activities to be conducted at the specific location (street address) and the land use zoning of the property location. All businesses based in the unincorporated area require a General Business License except for the following, which are EXEMPT:

  • Financial Institutions - banks, savings and loans, and credit unions as defined by the Business and Professions Code, except that check-cashing businesses do require a General Business License.
  • Residential Facilities - apartments, rooming houses, duplexes and other facilities for long-term stays (over 30 days), residential care homes for adults or children and family day care.
  • Churches - to the extent the facilities are used for religious purposes or restricted to members of the congregation. A General Business License is required for a church-run or church-located school, child care facility, thrift store, etc.
  • Libraries - public and private.
  • Agriculture - includes growing of crops or raising livestock, except that a General Business License is required for any enterprise that combines product from multiple farms.

If you believe your business should be exempt from a County business license please contact our office. You may be required to complete an application to document your activities.

Special Business Licenses are required for individuals performing certain business activities within the unincorporated area of Sacramento even if the business is based outside the unincorporated area (within a City or outside Sacramento County).  For these business activities, the Special License is required in addition to a General Business License. The Sheriff's Department approves Special Business Licenses after a background review of the owners. All owners, partners, and spouses listed on the license must be fingerprinted and photographed at the Sacramento County Sheriff's Identification Bureau after the application is processed by our office. If you apply online you will receive a response email with fingerprinting instructions. The most common activities that require a Special Business License include, but are not limited to, handyman, landscaping/gardening, housekeeping, towing, rubbish hauling, massage, and mobile food vending. In addition to Special Business Licenses, employees who engage in certain activities will require an Employee Permit.

Tobacco Retailer Licenses are required for businesses in the unincorporated area that sell any tobacco products and/or tobacco paraphernalia (such as pipes, papers, rolling machines, and e-cigarettes).  This license is required in addition to other County business licenses, and is in addition to the State of California tobacco retailer registration.  The purpose of the program is to encourage responsible tobacco retailing and to discourage violations of tobacco-related laws, especially those that prohibit or discourage the sale or distribution of tobacco products to minors.  

Some businesses require either a General Business License or Special Business License; others require both. Please read the Frequently Asked Questions section of this website and, if you have additional questions, contact the Business License Unit by email or at (916) 874-6644 to determine individual license requirements. 

Operating a business without the required Sacramento County Business License(s) is a misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500.00 and six (6) months in jail.  In addition, operation without a valid business license may result in criminal and/or civil action against you or the property owner to compel you to cease operation.