Business Activities

A Guide to Starting a Business in the City of Oceanside


  Are you ...

  • Planning to start a new business in the City of Oceanside? 
  • Expanding your business?

The City welcomes you and wants to help get you started as soon as possible. Save yourself time and frustration by reviewing the following guidelines. All businesses operating in the City of Oceanside (including home-based businesses) are required to have a business license.

The Development Services Department should be your first stop. A staff member will explain the process, necessary permits, answer questions or direct you to someone who can. Contact: City of Oceanside, Development Services Department, Planning Division (760) 435-3520.

For Business License Renewal information or for the status of an application in process, please call our Business License staff at (760) 435-3878 or email

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Locating a Business Site

Before signing a lease agreement or purchasing a business site, check with the Planning Division to see if the property is zoned correctly for the type of business that you will be operating. (760) 435-3520

If you plan to build a new structure, or renovate or expand an existing business, check the zoning and ask about building regulations. Building permits are required for all construction, including the installation of high piled storage.  A permit is not required for painting, carpeting and the installation of counters, cases or partitions less than five feet nine inches high. Separate permits are required for the installation or alteration of signs. For information, call the Building Department. (760) 435-3520

Application Process

With the submittal of the business license application and administrative fee the application will be routed for all approvals, then a business license will be issued to the applicant.

The approval process takes approximately 15 days. However, the process could take longer if a "change of occupancy permit" or a "co-permit" is required. Contact the Planning Department at (760) 435-3520 for further information. Businesses locating in the redevelopment area must be approved by the Community Development Commission, a process that could also extend normal processing time.

To download a business license application for the following types of businesses, please click on the following links:

PLEASE NOTE: Submitting a business license application and paying the required fee does not authorize the commencement of business. Applicants should wait for final approval to be certain that all regulatory requirements have been met.

Business License Questions

For general questions regarding the application process, please call (760) 435-4500

Renewal Process

A renewal form, with applicable administrative fees due, will mailed to the mailing address on file around the 15th of the month in which the license expires. A business license tax will be assessed based on the gross receipts for the past 12 months, which is 50 cents per $1,000.00 gross receipts with a minimum of $50. Proof of gross receipts, as outlined on the renewal forms, is due at the time of filing. 

Please allow 7-10 days for delivery of the renewal form before contacting our offices. The renewal form with payment are due in our office by the 20th of the month following the license expiration date. Contact the Business License Office at (760)435-3878 concerning the appropriate license processing fees. 

Information for County, State and Federal Agencies:


Fictitious Name Filing: To ensure that no other business lays claims to your firm’s fictitious name (a name that does not include your surname), the owner must register the name through the County Clerk. Fictitious name or DBA (doing business as) are one and the same.
(619) 237-0502 /

Sales Tax: Any retailer, wholesaler or manufacturer selling tangible personal property which is subject to State Sales and Use Tax is required to have a Seller’s Permit from the California Department of Tax & Fee Administration.
(858) 385-4700/


Industrial Businesses: Businesses classified as Industrial Facilities by the State Water Resources Control Board are required to enroll in California's General Permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities (Order 2014-0057-DWQ). Examples of businesses required to enroll in the Industrial Permit can include but are not limited to: food processors, manufacturers, hazardous waste treatment/storage/disposal, recycling facilities, transportation facilities with maintenance shops, and warehousing/storage facilities. This requirement is determined by a business's Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code.  Review the list of regulated SIC codes at the State Water Board website:

Additional information can be found at the State Water Resources Control Board link

San Diego Regional Water Board (Region 9) general storm water question phone number (619) 516-1990

Food Restaurant or Hazardous Materials: If your business falls under the Food, Restaurant, or Hazardous Materials category, check health regulations with County Health Department.
San Diego County Department of Health Services
(619) 338-2222 /

Liquor, Beer, Wine: Businesses selling or serving alcoholic beverages require a special state license.
State of California Alcoholic Beverage Control Department
(760) 471-0730 /

Contractors License: Depending on your business, you may be required to obtain a Contractors License. Contact the State of California on how to obtain a contractors license, or find out more information.
(800) 321-2752 /

Massage: The California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) is charged with implementing the newly established education and background requirements to obtain certification as a massage therapist or massage practitioner in the State of California.
(916) 669-5336 /

Veteran Exemption: Veterans may qualify for exemption from paying local business license fees. Please refer to California Business and Professions Code §16001.8 for eligibility requirements. 


Federal: All businesses are subject to taxation by the Federal Government. Employers must apply for an Employer’s Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (Form SS-4). A business owner must also withhold Federal Income Tax and Social Security taxes from his/her employees as well as contribute the employer’s share of Social Security and Federal Unemployment Taxes.
Internal Revenue Service
(800) 829-1040 /

State: All businesses are subject to income taxation by the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB). Employers must apply for an Employer’s Identification Number from the Employment Development Department (EDD) (Form DE-1). A business owner must also withhold State Income Tax and State Disability Insurance from his employees as well as contribute the employer’s share of State Unemployment taxes. All Employers are required to have Workers Compensation Insurance for employees. Certification of this insurance is required for acquisition of a business license.

State Compensation Insurance Fund
(619) 552-7000 /

Tax Administrator, Employment Development Department
(619) 284-8615 /

Franchise Tax Board
(800) 852-5711 /