Business License
All persons or corporations conducting business in the City of South El Monte must obtain a City Business License. Businesses that require a license include, but are not limited to, retailers, service providers, wholesalers, manufacturers, contractors and subcontractors, consultants, home offices, property managers and landlords, private schools, and carnivals or fairs. Persons or corporations who or based outside the City but provide their service in the City must also obtain a business license. A license must be obtained before a business is allowed to operate.

Planning Department Approval

For questions regarding zoning of a property and whether you business is allowed at that location, please contact the Planning Department at (626) 579-6540, Ext.3201.

Business License Fee

The business license fee is an annual tax subject to most businesses in the City. Per State Law, some businesses are exempt from this fee. The fee amount varies by the type of business. The fee is paid before the City issues a business license.

Occupancy Permit


South El Monte based businesses must obtain an Occupancy Permit along with the Business License. The permit is obtained by simply submitting a business license application. Both the Occupancy Permit and the Business License are applied for with the same forms. The permit fee is included in the business license fee. 

Obtaining a Business License

The business license is obtained by submitting a business license application. The application can be picked up at City Hall located at 1415 Santa Anita Avenue. All applications must be submitted in person. All forms within the application must be completed or the application will not be accepted. A business license will not be issued until a city inspection is conducted on the business.

Inspection of Business

For South El Monte-Based Businesses, not including Home Offices, an inspection is the last step of the application process. An occupancy inspection must be scheduled within 30 days of when the business license application is submitted. The City Inspector will visit and then approve the business only if he determines the structure is safe and ready for occupancy.


Agency Contact Information: 

Fictitious Business Name Filing (DBA) 

L.A. County Clerk
12400 Imperial Hwy
Norwalk, CA 90650
(562) 462-2177

Sellers Permit/Sales Tax Number
State Board of Equalization
1521 W. Cameron Ave.
West Covina, CA 91790

El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce
1903 N. Durfee Ave.,  Suite 4 
South El Monte, CA 91733 
(626) 443-0180

Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

U.S. Small Business Administration
330 N. Brand #1200
Glendale, CA 91203
(818) 552-3215

State Department of Consumer Affairs
(800) 952-5210

Internal Revenue Service
9350 E. Flair Dr.
El Monte, CA 91731
(626) 312-5138
(To file for EIN)

Secretary of State
300 S. Spring St.
LA, CA 90013
(213) 897-3062
(To file for Corporation, LLC, LLP, Partnership, etc.)

Other Requirements


    • You must check with the Planning Department to determine if your business meets the proper zoning requirements and if the business will require a conditional use permit.
    • If you plan to change or install a new sign for your business, you must first contact the Planning Department.
    • Banner permits are issued by the Planning Department.
    • Contact the Building Department, if you plan on making any physical changes to your business. They will determine if any building permits will be required.
    • Some types of businesses require special permits. In such cases, no Business License shall be issued until the proper permit has been first obtained.

Multiple Businesses

A separate business license is required for each different business operated in the City of South El Monte. A person or company operating a second business at a primary business address must obtain a business license for both businesses. 

Business License Payment


For new businesses, the business license must be paid prior to commencement of any business activities. Once established, a business must renew their business license every year. The fees and expiration dates vary depending on the type of business.

Business License Displayed

All Business Licenses must be posted in public view at the fixed location of the business. Business that do not have a fixed address in the City, the responsible party must carry the Business License with them while conducting business in South El Monte.  

Business Renewal

As a courtesy, the City sends annual renewal notices approximately two months before the due date. However, it is the responsibility of each business owner to pay their business license fee by the due date, whether or not a renewal form is received. Penalties apply if the business renewal tax is not received by the due date.

Note of State Mandated $1 Fee (SB 1186- Disability Access)

The State of California passed SB 1186 on September 9, 2012, which requires cities to add $1.00 to each business license issues on or after January 1, 2013 for the purpose of increasing disability access and compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements to develop education resources for businesses in order to facilitate compliance with federal and state disability laws, and to reduce unwarranted litigation. This legislation will affect business owners who pay City of South El Monte business licenses.

Information Changes to a Business License

If there is a change in ownership of an existing business, the new owners must apply for a business license under their name, even if the business name stays the same. Business licenses are not transferable. A change of business name or location within South El Monte also requires a new business license application. 

Businesses Operating without a Business License 

Operating a business in the City of South El Monte without a valid business license constitutes a violation of Municipal Code. Penalties will be issued. Enforcement of City Municipal Code will be made by contacting the business owner by telephone, mail, or in person to inform them of this requirement. 

Please note this information does not constitute a final or complete interpretation of all legal requirements that may apply to your particular type of business. Please contact the Planning Department for additional information.  

Ian McAleese, Assistant Planner 
Phone: (626) 579-6540 Ext. 3201