Business Tax Application

During this time, the Business Tax Division continues to work to process your new applications and those in the renewal process.

Business Tax Penalties Waived

Due to the business and economic slow down in the region and across the nation, until further notice, the City will waive Business Tax penalties for those certificates in current standing, due to expire on March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31, 2020.

If you require a copy of your renewal form, please contact us at businesstax@cityofsanmateo.org, and we will return your renewal form via email. When requesting your renewal form, please be sure to include your business name and/or business number.

Business Tax Application and Renewal is Online!

We are working hard to provide you with the best available online experience to efficiently allow you to apply for a new Business Tax Certificate and renew your existing certificate. Please use the following link to our Online Application and Renewal site. Please note that you will be leaving the City of San Mateo website and going to our hosted online site.

You may continue to contact us at 650-522-7113, via email at businesstax@cityofsanmateo.org, or at City Hall, Finance Dept., 330 W. 20th Avenue, San Mateo, CA, 94403.

Business Tax Records Online

Business Tax Records are online from anywhere, at any time using a computer, tablet, or smartphone!

General Information

The City of San Mateo Municipal Code requires all persons or businesses doing business in the City of San Mateo to pay an annual business tax (also sometimes called a business license). The payment of this tax is required prior to the commencement of business in San Mateo.

After payment of the annual business tax is made, the business will receive a business tax certificate by mail which evidences that the applicable tax has been paid for the period indicated on the certificate. This certificate must be displayed conspicuously in the place of business.

The business tax certificate does not indicate clearance or approval for zoning, fire code, occupancy, or any other City, County, State or Federal permit or license which may be required. It is the responsibility of the business to ensure that it is in compliance with all legal requirements.

ALSO SEE: Contact information for local resources and other agencies.

Please note, the City of San Mateo has contracted HdL Companies of Fresno, CA to administer the compliance of Business Tax Certificates. Sample HdL Letter

Renewal Notices

Renewal notices for the certificate are mailed to the business; however, the burden of timely payment is upon the taxpayer.

State Mandated Disability Access and Education Fund

On September 19, 2012 Governor Brown signed into law SB 1186 which adds a state fee on any applicant for a local business tax certificate, or renewal thereof. Beginning January 1, 2013 the fee is $1.00, followed by an increase on January 1, 2018 to $4.00 and a reduction to $1.00 on January 1, 2024. The purpose of the fee 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:

Contact Us

If you should have any questions regarding City of San Mateo business taxes, please contact the Business Tax Division at (650) 522-7113 or:

Finance Department
City Hall
330 W. 20th Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94403
Business Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm