The City of Novato welcomes you to its business community and would like to share the following information on the City's Business License requirements.

All businesses operating within the City limits are to obtain a business license and pay business license tax prior to commencing business operations. A new business license is also required if a business changes location or ownership. For most businesses the business license fee is a fixed rate depending on the number of employees. If the business is located in Novato, you will also need zoning approval or a Home Occupation Permit from the Planning Division. In addition, some businesses may need a permit from the Police Department.

The easiest and fastest way to apply for a new business license or renew your current license is using the online filing method. To begin, simply click on the “start now” button located on the right of this page. From the main menu please select the “apply” option to submit a new application for your business.

If you need further assistance registering your business, you are welcome to contact us at or by phone at (415) 899-8917. Phone support is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (PST).


You can now renew your business license online. This system will also allow you to update information about your business (e.g. Phone number, email address, etc.).

The Business License Fee Schedule determines the fee amount due based on the type and location of your business.


If your business is sold or discontinued, please complete the Declaration attached and return by mail.


Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) returns for Hotels and Motels may be submitted online, by phone, and mail, although online filing is preferred, to simplify your quarterly reporting. To submit your TOT online, please click the “Start Now” button found on the right, and under TOT Remittance, select the “File and Pay Quarterly TOT” option to begin your quarterly filing process.

For the privilege of occupancy in any “hotel,” each transient shall be subject to and shall pay a tax in the amount of twelve percent (12%) of the rent charged by the operator. Lodging establishments located in the TBID District have an additional assessment of 2%.

If you have any TOT/TBID questions, please contact us at or by phone at (628) 214-1373. Phone support is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (PST).

TOT forms and payments may also be mailed to the address below. Please make checks payable to City of Novato.


City of Novato
C/O HdL TOT Processing Center
8839 N. Cedar Ave. #212 • Fresno, CA 93720

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Business License?

A business license is an annual business tax for doing business within the City limits. The City of Novato Municipal Code (Section 14-18) requires that you obtain a license when you conduct any business activity within the City, even if your business is located outside of the City limits or if you have a business license from another City. Businesses that are based in the City must also have a business license. This includes home based businesses, building contractors, independent contractors, and non-profit businesses.

Business license taxes and fees help pay for City services like roads, fire, police and other community services. These services benefit businesses, business owners, and the general public.

When should an application be submitted?

You are required to obtain a business license within 15 days of the commencement of business in the City of Novato. Penalties will apply if applications are received after this 15-day period. Thereafter, business licenses renew every year on December 31st and taxes and fees are due by January 31st.

City of Novato
C/O HdL Support Center
8839 N. Cedar Ave. #212 • Fresno, CA 93720
(415) 899-8917