Business Tax Application

***To our valued customers***

During this time, the Business Tax Division continues to work to process your new applications and those in the renewal process. 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, 2020 and June 30, 2020. If you require a copy of your renewal form, please contact us at, 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.

Thank you for your diligence and patience during this time.

Obtaining the Appropriate Business Tax Application for Your Business

Finding the appropriate application for your business is as easy as answering a few quick questions.
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Business Tax Records Go Online with the Launch of Our Citizen Self-Service (CSS) Portal!

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

The Citizen Self-Service (CSS) Portal lets you search current business tax records, track permits, planning applications, code enforcement cases, and request inspections for current permits.  Business Tax information is available on a limited basis to comply with privacy restrictions.  Creating your unique account provides you the opportunity to review your business information and other associated information.

Visit the Citizen Self-Service (CSS) Portal today!

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.

For contact information for local resources and other agencies, please click here.

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