Frequently Asked Questions



Do I need a Business License? 

 City law states that no person shall engage in business or represent and carry on a business, trade, profession, or occupation in the city without first having obtained a license from the city. A separate license must be obtained for each branch establishment or location and for each separate type of business at the same location.

What Is a DBA? 

"DBA" stands for "Doing Business As." It is officially known as a Fictitious Business Name. A Fictitious Business Name is a name that does not include the surname of the individual or a name that suggests the existence of additional owners. If you propose to use a fictitious business name, contact the County Clerk Recorder’s Office and your local newspaper to schedule a publication of notice.

Orange County Clerk-Recorder 
Fictitious Business Name Filing
601 N. Ross Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Do I need a Sellers Permit? 

If you are selling a tangible product or merchandise, you are required to obtain a Seller’s Permit from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA), formerly the State Board of Equalization (SBOE), for the purpose of collecting and reporting sales tax to the State of California. To obtain a Seller’s Permit, contact CDTFA.

California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA)

16715 Von Karman Avenue, Ste 200

Irvine, CA, 92606


What type of ownership do I have? 

 Sole Proprietorship
- A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business that is owned by one person or by a husband and wife. You include the income expenses of the business on your own tax return. We must have the owner’s name, home address, Social Security number, and drivers license number.

Partnership - A partnership is the relationship existing between two or more persons who join to carry on a trade or business. Each person contributes money, property, labor or skill and expects to share in the profits and losses of the business. A partnership is not taxable on the income of the entity. Each partner includes his or her share of the partnerships income or loss on his or her tax return. We require a Federal Tax ID number.

Limited Liability Company - A Limited Liability Company ("LLC") combines traditional corporate and partnership characteristics.

Corporation - In forming a corporation, prospective shareholders transfer money, property, or both for the corporation’s capital stock. The profit of a corporation is taxed to both the corporation and the shareholders when the profit is distributed as dividends. In California, the Secretary of State stamps the number only on the original articles of Incorporation.

For more information regarding ownership please visit the Franchise Tax Board website.

Do I need a Federal Tax No (FEIN)? 

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a federal tax identification number, is used to identify a business entity. Generally a partnership, corporation or LLC business needs an EIN. Most banks require an EIN when opening a corporate bank account. You will need to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to obtain your Federal Employer ID number or call 866-816-2065.

Do I need a State License? 

Depending on the type of business being conducted, you may. Please consult the Department of Consumer Affairs or call 800-952-5210. Contact the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) or call 800-321-2752.

Do I need zoning approval for my business activity? 

 New businesses (Land Uses), including those not requiring the construction of a structure, require Zoning Clearance from the Planning Division pursuant to Chapter 20.52.100 of the Municipal Code. Please contact the Planning Division at 714-573-3140 for more information.

Do I need to display my business license? 

Yes. City law requires your certificate to be displayed in a conspicuous place at the location of the business. If you are an out of town business, please carry a copy of your certificate.

How do I transfer my business license? 

 A business license is not transferable to another owner. It is the responsibility of the owner or operator to advise the Business License Office of ownership changes, relocation, or termination of business.

How do I cancel my business license? 

If you are no longer conducting business in the City of Tustin, it is your responsibility to cancel the business license to avoid penalties, which can reach up to 100% of the fee due. This cancellation must be submitted in writing and include the account number, request to cancel, your signature, and the date. If you are registered with other government agencies as a business, such as the Orange County Clerk Recorder or the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, please remember to cancel your filings with them as well. Please cancel or update the address not located in Tustin before submitting your cancellation notice to us.

Can I get a temporary business license? 

 The City of Tustin does not issue temporary business licenses.

What is the $4 CA State Fee added to my business license tax?

On October 11, 2017, Governor Brown signed into law AB 1379, which adds a state fee of $4 on any applicant 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. This law became effective on January 1, 2018.

What is a special permit?

A special permit allows a landowner to obtain a tract of land for a use that does not fall directly under the permitted usage for that specifically zoned area. In most areas, the community is separated into different zones determined by the community’s zoning commission.



Are you allowing new massage establishments in the City of Tustin?

Yes, we are still currently accepting applications for new massage establishments in the City of Tustin.

I don’t own a business, but I am a massage therapist. How do I get a permit?

If you are going to be providing massage services in the city, or are already working for a permitted establishment, then you must obtain a city business license. This allows you to work at any permitted establishment or permitted outcall massage service.

Who is required to obtain a Massage Establishment Permit?

Any establishment, in a fixed place of business, engaging in or carrying on, or permitting any combination of massage and health treatment of massage and bathhouse, showers, hot tubs, or saunas is required to obtain a massage establishment permit. Remit the Massage Establishment Application form with all its approvals to the Finance Department.

What if I move my Massage Establishment location, within the City of Tustin?

Send the notification to the Business License Department.