Business Registry

Thank you for visiting our Business Registry Certificate website. We appreciate your role in making Palo Alto a vibrant community through your business. 

Per the Palo Alto Municipal Code (Chapter 4.60), all businesses located in fixed places of business (i.e., commercial buildings, retail storefronts, etc.) within the City of Palo Alto are required to register with the City by March 31 of each year.  Every year, a business is required to obtain/renew a Business Registry Certificate (BRC) by completing an official form and paying a flat fee.  The City of Palo Alto partners with Avenu Insights & Analytics (formerly MuniServices, LLC) for the administration of the Business Registry program and for assistance with billing and payment collection.

2019 Registration/Renewal

The City of Palo Alto partners with Avenu Insights & Analytics (formerly MuniServices, LLC) for the administration of the Business Registry Certificate program and Downtown Palo Alto Business Improvement District (BID) assessments. Beginning with the 2019 filing period, businesses that owe the BID should now pay the BID assessment fee along with their Business Registry annual fee.

Annual Business Registry

Amount due is $54.00. Business Registry payments received after the filing deadline will accrue penalties.

Is Your Business Located in the Downtown Business District (BID)?

Amount due is based on business location, business category and number of full-time employees (FTE). If your business is located within the BID, you must also pay the BID assessment fee. BID payments after the filing deadline will accrue penalties.

Existing Businesses in Palo Alto (Renewals)

  • For online filing, existing businesses were mailed usernames and instructions from Avenu.
  • To file/pay online, visit Biz License Online
  • Payment options:  ACH Debit (checking/savings) or Credit Card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover)

New Businesses in Palo Alto

  • New businesses in Palo Alto can also file online.  Visit the online filing link below and click “Sign Up” as a first-time user.
  • To file/pay online, visit Biz License Online
  • Payment options:  ACH Debit (checking/savings) or Credit Card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover)

To file/pay via postal mail:

  • A downloadable form is available at Avenue Insights (Taxpayer Login → For Taxpayers → Select Your State: California → Taxpayer Forms → Palo Alto).
  • Be sure to reference your Avenu account # on the application and complete each section. Initial sworn statements, sign and return the completed form(s) with your payment.
  • For check payments: Make check payable to “Tax Trust Account” and remit along with your form to Avenu at 555 Bryant Street #821, Palo Alto, CA 94301.

 IMPORTANT:  Do not send application forms/payments to the City of Palo Alto; send to Avenu at 555 Bryant Street #821, Palo Alto, CA 94301.

If your business has closed, was sold, is no longer operating, or moved to another location in the Palo Alto city limits, contact Avenu toll free at (866) 240-3665 or email at MuniBLSupport@avenuinsights.com.

 Cost: $54* which includes a $4 State of California pass through fee for ADA compliance. Avenu will receive application forms and payments through the internet or postal mail.  2019 Business Registry renewal forms and payments will be charged penalties on or after June 1st. 2019. Business Improvement District (BID) payments will be charged penalties on or after June 14th.
Both the Business Registry and BID fees can be filed/paid online at https://PaloAlto.bizlicenseonine.com.

Business Registry exemptions: If you are 1) A business or non-profit organization with less than 1 Full-Time-Equivalent employee, including owner/principal, 2) A religious organization with no ancillary business on-site, or  3) A home-based or transitory (or virtual) business, you are exempt from obtaining a Business Registry Certificate.  Exempt businesses must file an application form on an annual basis; however, no fee will be applied.  To claim an exemption, file an application form and select your exemption status.

A general contractor or sub-contractor, who performs work from time to time in Palo Alto and does not have a fixed place of business (e.g., office) in the City, is exempt from obtaining a Business Registry Certificate and is not required to submit an application form – no action required. 

Required Business Registry Information:

  • Business Name, Description, Structure, State of Incorporation, and Inception Date
  • Owner/Principal Name, Address, Telephone Number, Email Address
  • Business Address(es) – primary location and any other locations in Palo Alto
  • Number of employees (full-time, part-time, contract, and volunteers – including Owner/Principal) at each location during peak times on a normal business day)
  • Number of on-site parking spaces dedicated to your business at each location
  • Number of annual parking permits purchased for employees at each location
  • Square footage your business occupies in each location
    Note: This is the gross area in square feet your business occupies. You can find this information in your lease agreement or building floor plans. For assistance, contact your property management team.
  • Federal EIN and/or Sellers permit number 

Further Information: Questions? Contact Avenu Insights & Analytics (formerly MuniServices) toll free at (866) 240-3665 or MuniBLSupport@avenuinsights.com. Please also refer to the Frequently Asked Questions. Please also refer to a set of Frequently Asked Questions


*This fee includes a $4 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. 

Ordinance #5379 – Ordinance regarding the Business Registration Program
Staff Report ID #6470 – Most recent Business Registry- related staff report with links to previous reports.