Year two of the Palo Alto Business Registry begins today, March 1. Businesses currently registered for 2015 should visit the website and renew by March 31. New businesses are also required to register with the City through the online tool. In order to make the process as simple as possible, the City has developed an easy-to-use website for online registration at http://registermybusiness.cityofpaloalto.org/. Businesses can register by filling out an online questionnaire and paying a flat fee of $51* via major credit card that is due by March 31.
In November 2014, the Palo Alto City Council passed an ordinance creating a requirement for all businesses operating in "fixed places of business" to register with the City on an annual basis. The City of Palo Alto business registry requirement only applies to businesses physically located in a fixed place of business in Palo Alto. Businesses located in other cities but operating here (such as contractors, consultants, real estate agents, etc.) do not need to register.
In January 2016, the City Council adopted an ordinance change that also exempts very small businesses and nonprofits (with less than 1 full-time-equivalent employee inclusive of owner, principal, workers, and volunteers), as well as religious organizations with no ancillary business on site. Businesses may visit the website and claim their exemption.
Thousands of businesses were sent an email or letter informing them of the requirement that included information about how to register online.
The business registry flat fee will cover only the administrative expenses of the program, and will not be a revenue generating tool for the City. Most businesses will have the necessary data readily available and be able to fill out the questionnaire and pay the fee online in a few minutes.
*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.