Business Registry

Per the Palo Alto Municipal Code (Chapter 4.60), all businesses within the City of Palo Alto located in fixed places of business (i.e. commercial buildings, retail storefronts, etc) are required to register with the City by March 31 of each year.

In order to make the process as simple as possible for businesses, the City has developed an easy-to-use online registration tool.  Businesses can register by filling out an online questionnaire and paying a flat fee of $51* via major credit card.

New for 2016

In January 2016, the City Council amended the ordinance to exempt very small businesses and non-profits (with less than 1 Full-Time-Equivalent, inclusive of owner or principal), as well as religious organizations with no ancillary business on-site.
Home-based and transitory businesses continue to be exempt. In order to claim your exemption and prevent future communications, please follow the instructions on the business registry online tool.



2016 Registration/ Renewal**


What you’ll need:

  • Computer with Internet and email access 
  • Internet browser: recent versions of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome
  • Renewals- user name and password from 2015 registration
    • Note: if you’ve misplaced your user info, please start a new registration

Questions to expect:

  • Basic business info, including Business Name
  • Address(es),
  • Owner/Principal name
  • Telephone
  • Email address
  • Number of employees per location
  • Number of any parking spaces your company has exclusive use of(onsite or offsite),
  • Square footage your business occupies in Palo Alto
    • Note: This is the gross area (in square feet) that your business occupies. You should find this information on your lease or building floor plans. For assistance, contact your property manager.


*Note: This fee includes a $1 state mandated fee on any application for 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.

**The link above is in regards to the 2016 Palo Alto Business Registry year, which is valid from March 31, 2016 to March 31, 2017. If you are seriously delinquent for the 2015 registration (due March 31, 2015), contact us immediately at 650-329-2360 or to come into compliance.

Ordinance #5379 – Ordinance regarding the Business Registration Program

Staff Report ID #6470 – Most recent Business Registry- related staff report with links to previous reports.

Last Updated: Mar 16, 2016