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Business License FAQ

  1. What is a Business & Professions Tax Certificate and when do I need to apply?
  2. Where do I apply for a Business License?
  3. Why do I have to have a Business License?
  4. When is a Business License not required?
  5. If my business is a Non-Profit business, do I still need a BL?
  6. Do I need a Business License for street vending?
  7. How much does a Business License cost?
  8. What are considered Gross Receipts and what are Allowable Exemptions?
  9. Are there any other fees associated with a Business License?
  10. Is there a penalty for a delinquent Business License?
  11. What type of documents do I need to bring with me when applying for a Business License?
  12. If you are the new owner of a Motel/Hotel or lodging facility……………
  13. What is the difference between a Business License and a Seller’s permit?
  14. If I have a second location, do I need a second business license?
  15. I am not doing business anymore. Why am I still getting renewals notices?
  16. Can I transfer my license to someone else?
  17. Can I use this license anywhere?
  18. What is the penalty for failing to obtain a proper license?
  19. How long is a license valid?
  20. Am I a Sole Proprietor, a Partnership, and a Corporation?
  21. How long will it take to obtain my Business License certificate?
  22. Are there other agencies or City departments that I may need to contact before starting my business?

Vacation Home Rental FAQ

  1. When do I need a Vacation Rental Permit?
  2. When is the Vacation Rental Permit not required?
  3. Where do I apply for the Vacation Rental Permit?
  4. Am I required to pay Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)?
  5. Am I required to pay SLTTID?
  6. What if I have a management company handling my property?
  7. What is the penalty for failing to obtain a Vacation Rental Permit?
  8. How long is the Vacation Rental Permit valid?
  9. How long will it take to obtain my Vacation Home Rental Permit?
  10. How do I place a complaint on a vacation home?

Business License FAQ

  1. What is a Business & Professions Tax Certificate and when do I need to apply?
    A Business & Professions Tax Certificate, also known as a “Business License”, is a City business tax certificate for the City of South Lake Tahoe.  All businesses operating in the City limits of South Lake Tahoe must obtain a Business License prior to conducting business.  Licenses expire annually on June 30 and although renewal notices are mailed in mid-June for the following year, it is the responsibility of the business owner to renew their license by July 31.


  2. Where do I apply for a Business License?
    The City of South Lake Tahoe Revenue Division is located at the Lake Tahoe Airport, 1901 Airport Road, Suite 210, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150.  Our hours are Monday – Friday 8:00AM – 4:00PM, except holidays.  You may also obtain an application on our website at www.cityofslt.us/finance/license.html.

  3. Why do I have to have a Business License?
    Section 15-4 of the City Code states in part, “…it shall be unlawful for any person to transact and carry on any business, trade, profession, calling or occupation in the City without having first procured a Business & Profession Tax Certificate from the City so to do and paying the tax hereinafter prescribed...”  The continued operation of a business without first obtaining a Business & Professions Tax Certificate constitutes a direct violation of the penal provisions of the City Code.

    Your business taxes are applied to the City’s General Fund and provide necessary public services such as fire and police services, road maintenance, etc.

  4. When is a Business License not required?
    A Business License is not required when all business conducted is outside the city limits, i.e., in El Dorado County (Meyers, Christmas Valley), Zephyr Cove, Nevada, etc.  If the primary office is outside the city limits, but work is still being done in the city, a BL is still required.  Example:  A plumbing contractor’s office is in Christmas Valley, but he does a job on Tahoe Keys Blvd.  A BL is required.

    A BL is also not required for Nurses, Employees, Single-Family Dwellings, Teachers (under certain conditions), Minors, Newspaper Vending Machines, and any other business exempt by virtue of the constitution or applicable statutes of the United States or of the state, i.e. Banks.

  5. If my business is a Non-Profit business, do I still need a BL?
    Yes.  Non-profit businesses must submit a BL application with proof of non-profit status.  All fees with proper proof of status are waived.

  6. Do I need a Business License for street vending?
    Yes.  If you are participating in a local Art Fair or other temporary event, you can obtain a temporary BL from the event coordinator.  If you operate on a permanent basis, you must obtain a permanent BL.


  7. How much does a Business License cost?
    For new applications, there is an administrative fee of $44.50.  In addition to the administrative fee, there is a tax fee.  The tax fee is based on the type of business and the estimated gross receipts for the remainder of the fiscal year.  For renewals, the administrative fee is $31.75, and the gross receipts are 12 month actual receipts from the prior year. 
  8. Rate Schedule:  The tax rate is determined by the type of business.  The tax rates are per every thousand of your gross receipts. 
    Example:  Your tax rate is $1.56 and your gross receipts are $12,000.  $12,000 divided by 1,000 is 12.  $1.56 multiplied by 12 is $18.72.  $18.72 is the tax due. 

    Locate your business type and rate from among the following list:

    “A” ($1.07); retail and wholesale sales, restaurants and catering, auto repair shops, print shops, photography, service stations, etc.
    “B” ($1.56); janitorial or cleaning services, motels, apartments/multi-family dwellings,  real estate, commercial or residential rentals (not including single-family dwellings), massage therapy, general contractors, handyman services including snow removal, landscaping, chimney sweep, maintenance, computer services including internet-related services, ski and bicycle rentals, wedding chapels and planning services, delivery services, consulting (without a degree), baby-sitting, entertainers/amusement, educational services, security services, video rentals, appliance repair, etc.
    “C” ($2.08); hairdressers, cosmetologists/estheticians, salons, barbers, taxi service, child care (State licensed for more than six children), specialty contractors (such as carpentry, roofing, asphalt, plumbing, electrical, etc.), amusement games and parks, veterinary hospitals/services, etc.
    “D” ($2.60); dentists, physicians, attorneys, civil engineers, optometrists, chiropractors, consultants (with degrees), accountants, funeral services, surveying services, schools of instruction, etc.
    “N” ($0); All non-profit and charitable organizations with proof of such are exempt from all fees, but must still submit an application to obtain a certificate.

    If your business type is not on the list, call the Revenue Division at (530) 542-6012 and a rate schedule will be assigned.

  9. What are considered Gross Receipts and what are Allowable Exemptions?
    Gross Receipts are what your business earned, or will earn, within the City of South Lake Tahoe city limits.  For the first year, you will estimate your gross receipts for the remainder of the city’s fiscal year, from your business start date to June 30.  For renewals, you will list the previous year’s actual gross receipts.  Most businesses use the calendar year to calculate prior year gross receipts, i.e., for the 2006/2007 renewal period, you would report gross receipts claimed on taxes for the 2005 calendar year.  As long as year after year, each renewal gross receipt period is consistent, you may use either the city’s fiscal year or your business fiscal year.  If your business does not have a full 12-month of prior year gross receipts, you must estimate a 12-month period of gross receipts based on what has been made since the business opened.

    Allowable exemptions do not apply to new applications.  For renewals, allowable exemptions from gross receipts include:

    • Cash discounts given – These are cash discounts taken on sales and included in your gross receipts.
    • Sales and other taxes paid – This is any tax required by law to be included in the gross receipts, and paid to various agencies, i.e., sales tax, gasoline or liquor tax.
    • Amounts collected for others as an agent – This is any amount included in the gross receipts collected for others where the business is acting as an agent, or trustee, i.e., a property management company collecting revenue on behalf of a property owner.  You must provide a list of names, addresses, and amounts paid.
    • Amounts paid to subcontractors – This exemption is allowed to State Licensed Contractors providing the general contractor furnishes a list of the subcontractors which includes the names, addresses, business license and contractor numbers, and amounts paid.  This is any amount included in the gross receipts collected for and paid to subcontractors.

    If you are unsure if an exemption applies to your business, please contact the Revenue Division at (530) 542-6012.

  10. Are there any other fees associated with a Business License?
              There are 2 types of Business License special fees.

    • Ski Run Business Improvement District fee:  This applies to businesses operating on Ski Run Blvd. between US Hwy 50/Lake Tahoe Blvd and Pioneer Trail.  It was passed by Ord. No. 927 in January 2003 and is 25% of the total due, Line 7, and/or a flat fee for frontage property.
    • Multi-Family Dwelling Ordinance:  Multi-family dwellings of 15 or more units are required to pay $50.00 per unit annually.

     

    If you are unsure if a special fee applies to your business, call the Revenue Division at (530) 542-6012 and a rate schedule will be assigned.

  11. Is there a penalty for a delinquent Business License?
    Business License renewals are mailed mid-June and are due no later than July 31.  The penalty for late filing is 10% per month late of the total due up to 100%.  The interest for late filing is 1.5% per month late of the total due plus the penalty. 

    Example:  The total due is $76.80.  You are two months late.  The penalty is 20% of $76.80, or $15.36.  Interest is 3% of $76.80 plus $15.36, or $2.76.  The total due including penalties and interest is $94.92.

    New Business License applications are due prior to the start of any business.  If it is determined that a business was operated prior to obtaining a Business License, the above penalty and interest calculation will apply based on the actual start date of the business.

    There are also penalties on applicable special fees.

  12. What type of documents do I need to bring with me when applying for a Business License?
    Applying for a BL is simple.  You need to know basic business and personal information, and have an idea how much your business will make for the remainder of the City’s BL fiscal year.  You must bring personal identification, Fictitious Name statement if applicable, other applicable business documents, such as Corporation filings, Seller’s Permit documents, any professional licenses or permits/numbers, Federal and State employer ID numbers, etc.

  13. If you are the new owner of a Motel/Hotel or lodging facility……………
    ………there are additional requirements and forms that must be completed prior to operating.  Please contact the Revenue Division at (530) 542-6012, or stop by our office, to obtain a New Motel Owner Packet.

  14. What is the difference between a Business License and a Seller’s permit?

    A Business License is issued by the City of South Lake Tahoe and is valid only for the City of South Lake Tahoe.  A Seller’s permit is issued by the State of California and is valid for the entire State of California.  If your business is required to collect sales or use tax, you must obtain a Seller’s permit from the State of California.  An application for a Seller’s permit may be obtained from the State Board of Equalization.  (800) 400-7115 or www.boe.ca.gov.

  15. If I have a second location, do I need a second business license?
    Yes.  A separate BL must be obtained for each branch or location.  However, if the gross receipts for all locations are less than $25,000 annually, then only one BL is required.  The business transacted at all locations must be the same type or classification of business to operate under one BL.

  16. I am not doing business anymore. Why am I still getting renewals notices?
    All BLs remain in our database until we are informed of a business closure.  If you are no longer doing business, or have sold the business, you must notify our office of the business end date.  Please call (530) 542-6012, or send written notice to the Revenue Division, 1901 Airport Road Suite 210, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150.

  17. Can I transfer my license to someone else?
    No.  All BLs are non-transferable.  If a business is sold, the new owner must obtain a new BL, and the selling owner must close the existing BL.

  18. Can I use this license anywhere?
    The City of South Lake Tahoe’s BL is only valid for the City of South Lake Tahoe.  You must contact other city and county agencies for their requirements.

  19. What is the penalty for failing to obtain a proper license?
    New Business License applications are due prior to the start of any business.  If it is determined that a business was operated prior to obtaining a Business License, penalties and interest will apply based on the actual start date of the business.  If our office is notified of a business operating without a BL, we will pursue the business, up to and including possible legal action.

  20. How long is a license valid?
    The City of South Lake Tahoe’s BL fiscal year is July 1 – June 30.  All BLs expire June 30, regardless of open date, and renewals are due by July 31.  Renewal forms are mailed to the address on file mid-June annually.

  21. Am I a Sole Proprietor, a Partnership, or a Corporation?
    Sole Proprietorships are operated by individuals, and are not legally organized as another form of business.  If your business has not been formally and legally organized as a Partnership or a Corporation, complete the section for sole proprietorship.  For more information on Legal Organizations and business types, go to www.ss.ca.gov/business.

  22. How long will it take to obtain my Business License certificate?
    Once a Business License application is received and appropriate fees are paid, processing can take 4 – 6 weeks.  The Business License application must be routed to various city and county departments for approval prior to issuing the certificate.

  23. Are there other agencies or City departments that I may need to contact before starting my business?
    A Federal Employer ID Number is required for a corporation.  If your business has been assigned a State Employer ID Number, please report it on the application.

    A California state license number must be reported for building contractors and certain professions such as doctors.

    If your business is operated from your home or residence, you must obtain a Home Occupation Permit from the Planning Division prior to conducting business.  See brochure titled “ Home Occupation Permits, Signs and Zoning”.

    If you are a Massage Therapist/Operator or a Taxi Driver/Company, you must obtain a permit from the Police Department prior to conducting business.

    If your business is required to collect sales or use tax, i.e. a retailer, an Seller’s Permit must be obtained from the California State Board of Equalization prior to conducting business.  An Express Registration packet can be requested from the State Board by calling (800) 400-7115.  You must inform the City of your Seller’s Permit number once issued.

    An application to register a Fictitious Business Name can be filed with the El Dorado County Clerk, (530) 573-3330, located at the El Dorado Center, 3368 Lake Tahoe Blvd., next to Bank of America and the DMV.

    Approvals: Certain businesses, including but not limited to taxi drivers/companies, restaurants/catering services, massage therapist/operators, and home-based businesses/occupations are required to obtain prior approval from the Planning Division, Police Department, and/ or the El Dorado County Health Department.  Please inquire if you are uncertain about these requirements.  Your Business License may be delayed or denied if all processes are not complete.

Vacation Home Rental FAQ

  1. When do I need a Vacation Rental Permit?
    When you rent your home for 30 consecutive calendar days or less you     will be required to have a vacation rental permit.

  2. When is the Vacation Rental Permit not required?
    If your home is used by family only, or as a long-term rental then a     vacation rental permit is not required.

  3. Where do I apply for the Vacation Rental Permit?
    The City of South Lake Tahoe Revenue Division is located at the Lake Tahoe Airport, 1901 Airport Road, Suite 210, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150.  Our hours are Monday – Friday 8:00AM – 4:00PM, except holidays.  You may also obtain an application on our website at www.cityofslt.us/finance/PDF/VacationHomepermit.pdf.

  4. Am I required to pay Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)?
    All vacation rentals in the City of South Lake Tahoe (including condominiums and townhouses) are subject to the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT).

  5. Am I required to pay SLTTID?
    If the homeowner handles property exclusively then SLLTID does not   need to be collected. If a property management company handles     property then SLLTID is required.

  6. What if I have a management company handling my property?
    If a property management company handles the property, they are       required to pay all TOT and SLLTID on monthly bases. They can also take responsibility to pay all permit renewals if agreed by homeowner.

  7. What is the penalty for failing to obtain a Vacation Rental Permit?
    Operating a vacation home rental without a valid permit shall be guilty of     a misdemeanor resulting in imposition of a fine of $500 for a first violation and a fine of $1,000 for a second violation. Additional penalties will be assessed for failure to pay transient occupancy tax pursuant to city ordinance Section 28A-20.

  8. How long is the Vacation Rental Permit valid?
    1 year, renewals are $140

  9. How long will it take to obtain my Vacation Home Rental Permit?
    Permits are normally mailed to either the homeowner or the property   manager based on permit application within 2 weeks after receiving the       application. The permit must be placed at the property.

  10. How do I place a complaint on a vacation home?
    A complaint form can be pick up at The City of South Lake Tahoe Revenue Division is located at the Lake Tahoe Airport, 1901 Airport Road, Suite 210, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150. 
    Our hours are Monday – Friday 8:00AM – 4:00PM, except holidays.
    You may also obtain an application on our website at
    www.cityofslt.us/finance/PDF/complaintform.pdf.

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