Business License

We Welcome your Business to the City of Ontario!

A business license is required prior to commencing business in the City. A new application is also required when changing locations or a change of ownership occurs. You can submit your application using an online application. Please see the Getting Started section for more information.

The City's Business Licensing staff is also available to provide you with assistance or answer any questions you may have about obtaining or renewing a business license. We thank you for choosing the City of Ontario and hope that you will be successful in your business endeavors.



Your Safety is Our Primary Concern. Experiencing a fire in your place of business can be devastating. The City of Ontario’s Fire Inspection Program is the backbone to fire prevention. This is why on January 21, 2020 the Ontario City Council approved the FY 2019-20 Citywide Fee Schedule and adopted a new $80 Fire Inspection fee to support critical fire prevention and inspection services once a year at businesses like yours.

Only businesses that are required to receive an annual fire inspection will be subject to the new fee (apartments are currently exempt). Businesses that are required to obtain an Annual Fire Operating Permit are subject to separate fees as set per the Adopted Citywide Fee Schedule.

If you have question related to your annual fire inspection, please contact the City of Ontario Fire Prevention Department at (909) 395-2029 or [email protected]



Business License Listing

Business License Renewal

Business License Search



Contact Us

Contact Us
Phone (909) 395-2022
Email: [email protected]

Getting Started

Before applying, please have ready the following items:

  • Federal Tax ID Number (if applicable)
  • Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer ID No. (ITIN) or Driver's License No. or other ID No. if you do not have a FEIN.
  • Seller's Permit Number (required for all sales both retail and wholesale)
  • Professional State License Number (if applicable) for example: Contractors, Doctors, Lawyers, Cosmetologist's and Massage Technicians
  • ABC License, Health Permit, WDID Permit, Storm Water Permit, and/or Hazardous Material Facility ID (if applicable)
  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance Policy number and expiration date (if applicable)
  • A detailed and complete description of your business activity. Insufficient detail will delay the process and approval.
  • Determine which business tax category best fits your business activity
  • Estimated gross receipts for the next 12 months.
  • 501(c)(3) or similar IRS exemption certification letter for Non-Profit Charitable Organizations
  • If applying for a business that is located within the City of Ontario, the signature of the property owner or legal representative is required. If you are not the property owner a Property Owner Declaration will be made available to you within the application to be signed and submitted with your application. Please note we cannot use a P.O. Box as your business. location within the City of Ontario, but you may use it as a mailing address.
  • Visa, MasterCard, or Discover credit card for final payment. Fees are listed on the tax chart.


Choose you application:

  • See dropdown below "Apply for your License"


Approval Process and Payment

  • After submitting your application online, you'll receive a confirmation email acknowledging that we have received your application.
  • You may receive an additional email asking for further detailed information or documentation such as articles of incorporation or a statement of information. - For more information on additional requirements and necessary business identifications at the county/state/federal agencies please see our Business License FAQ’s.
  • All In City and Home Based Business Licenses require approval by the Planning and Engineering Departments. Certain types of businesses may need additional approvals.
  • After the application has been approved you will receive an email notifying you of the approval along with instructions on how to submit payment.


Note: Some businesses CANNOT complete the entire licensing process online. These include any business requiring additional permits such as: Solicitor, Catering Truck, Sidewalk Vendor, Massage Establishment, and Sales of Goods or Merchandise from Vehicles. You will be contacted on the additional steps required for these licenses once your application is received.

If you need assistance or need more information, contact the Business License Division at (909) 395-2022 or email us at [email protected]

Apply for your License

If your business is located within the City of Ontario at a commercial or industrial location use the “In City Business License Application”

In City Business License Application

If your business is located within the City of Ontario at a residential location use the “Home Based Business Application”

Home Based Business Application

If you are the owner of commercial or residential property in the City of Ontario that collects rent use the “Out of City/Rental Property” Application OR If your business is located in another city and you are working or selling in the City of Ontario use the “Out of City/ Rental Property” Application. If you are a mobile vendor use the address where you are based out of and then choose your application accordingly.

Out of City/Rental Property Applications

Business License FAQs

Do I need a Business License?

Per the Ontario Municipal Code, no person shall engage in business in the city without first having obtained a license. This applies to both commercial and home-based businesses. Licenses are both address and activity specific. Therefore, a license is required for each location in the city as well as each activity type at the same location. If a business is not located in Ontario but conducting business in the city, an out-of-city business license is also required. 


How do I obtain a license?

In order to file for a business license, an application is required to be filled out and submitted within thirty (30) days of the business start date. (note: if submitted after the first thirty days of business, penalties will apply) Applications are readily available for download on the city’s website or may be obtained at City Hall.

Business License Department
303 East B. Street
Ontario, CA 91764
Phone – 909-395-2022
Fax – 909-395-2089


What is a DBA?

“DBA” stands for “Doing Business As” or better known as a Fictitious Business Name. This is a name that does not include the surname of the owner(s). If you will use a DBA for your business, contact the County of San Bernardino Recorder’s Office to register the name.

San Bernardino County Clerk-Recorder Office
222 W Hospitality Lane
San Bernardino, CA 92415
(855) 732-2575


Do I need a Sellers Permit?

If you sell any tangible goods (retail or wholesale), excluding food grown for consumption, a Seller’s Permit is required from the State Board of Equalization (BOE). This is how you will report sales tax collected to the State of California.  

California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
3737 Main Street, Suite 1000
Riverside, CA 92501
(951) 680-6400


Do I need a Federal Tax ID Number (FEIN)?

A federal tax identification number is traditionally used for partnerships, corporations, and limited-liability corporations. Typically, banks will require a FEIN to open a corporate bank account. You may obtain your FEIN from the I.R.S.

Internal Revenue Service – District Office
290 North D Street
San Bernardino, CA 92401


Do Business Licenses need to be displayed?

Yes, every business shall keep the license posted in a readily visible part of said place of business.  Every person having a license and not having a fixed place of business shall carry the license with him or her at all times while conducting business in the city of Ontario.


How do I close my business license account?

In order to close out the business license, you must submit a letter with the reason and date of closure. This letter must be signed by the owner or officer of the company. It may either be mailed, faxed, or emailed to the department.


Location and Business Hours

The Business License Department is located in City Hall at 303 East “B” Street, Ontario. This is one block north of Holt and one block east of Euclid. Hours of operation are Monday – Thursday from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm and Fridays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.


Renewal FAQ's

What is the Due Date for Renewals before any Late Penalties?

Renewals are due on January 31st either in City Hall or postmarked by the U.S. Post Office. 


What are the Late Penalties?

Payments received February 1st - February 28th are subject to a 20% penalty. Payments received March 1st – March 31st are subject to a 40% penalty. Payments received April 1st – April 30th are subject to a 60% penalty. Payments received May 1st – May 31st are subject to an 80% penalty. Payments received after May 31st are subject to a 100% penalty.


How can I pay my Business License Renewal?

Mail your license information and check using the self-addressed envelope enclosed. For your convenience, the City has a payment drop box located directly outside of City Hall. Please do not send cash in the mail or drop box. You are also welcome to pay your business license in person inside City Hall using cash, check, or a Visa, MasterCard, or Discover credit card.


What should be included in Gross Receipts on Line A of the Renewal Form?

Gross receipts include all sales and receipts for the year BEFORE any expenses are deducted.


What documentation is required to support the gross receipts?

The City requires businesses whose tax amount is based on gross receipts to submit documents supporting the reported gross receipts. Suggested documents containing gross receipts information includes a Federal Tax Return page 1 of any of the five forms: Form 1040, Schedule C, Schedule E, Form 1065 or Form 1120. California Sales Tax Returns for the past four quarters or other company documentation supporting the reported gross receipts. Such documentation may include financial statements (income statement), work papers, and supporting schedules.


What is an alternative to sending in copies of the required supporting gross receipt documentation?

You may bring in the required supporting documentation along with the renewal form to City Hall for inspection by the License Department staff. Copies will not be made while your information is verified.


What if the supporting gross receipts documentation is not included?

A renewal certificate will not be issued until all required information is received and payment is made in full.


What if the prior year’s taxes are not completed yet? What other documentation is acceptable?

Suggested gross receipt documentation includes California Sales Tax Returns for the past four quarters, internal accounting reports, such as income statements, working papers and supporting schedules.


I am an out of city contractor and do not have a current job in your city. Do I still need to pay the license renewal fee?

No. This fee would only be paid if you have a job(s) in the city. If you are continuing a job from the previous year, you would then just pay the $50 base fee and the $4 Sb-1186 fee.


Why do I have to pay Fire and Storm fees?

These fees are regulated and/or mandated by Federal or State agencies, or by the City Municipal Code. 


How long will it take to receive my certificate?

You should receive your certificate within 3 weeks.


If the business changed ownership or location can I just cross off the old information and put my new information on the renewal form?

No, a new application will be required for changes in ownership and/or location. 


Why do I have to pay the $4 SB-1186 State Disability Access Fee?

On September 19, 2012 Governor Brown signed into law SB-1186 which adds a state fee on any application 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:

The Division of the State Architect

The Department of Rehabilitation

The California Commission on Disability Access

Downloadable Files