Building Registry

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

You'll find the answers to the most frequently asked questions below.

What is the Business Registry Certificate?

Every business in the City is required to obtain a Business Registry Certificate annually. These are the requirement:

  • A flat fee of $54* and basic information about your business is required annually.
  • An online (or paper) application form is submitted along with payment of the annual fee.

This provides the City with basic data regarding businesses located within the City. Most of the questions are basic to your business, so it should take just a few minutes to complete. Once you submit the application form and pay the annual fee, your Business Registry Certificate will be mailed via USPS within 7-10 business days.

Why does the City need this data?

The data will help the City measure employment trends, business growth, and economic activity in a more comprehensive way. It is critical to have this data to develop and measure the effectiveness of programs to reduce traffic congestion, better utilize parking, and coordinate with other transportation-related efforts. The data will also help us to make better informed decisions on a host of critical issues including:

  • Land use
  • Economic development
  • Public safety/emergency response/disaster preparedness
  • Regional Water Quality Control Plant compliance
  • Business outreach and support

Where did the idea originate?

In November 2014, City Council passed Ordinance #5379 which required every business in the City operating from a “Fixed Place of Business” (e.g., a place meant for business purposes such as an office or retail space) to register and pay a fee each year.

Do I have to complete/submit an application form every year?

Yes, any business operating, or planning to operate, in a “Fixed Place of Business” (e.g., a place meant for businesses purposes such as an office or retail space) must register and complete the online (or paper) application form every year. This is to ensure the City has up-to-date information.

What questions will be asked of me?

To successfully complete the application form, please have the following information available:

  • Business name, description, structure, inception date
  • Business owner/principal name, telephone number, email address
  • Business address (primary plus all other locations in the City)
  • Square footage* your business occupies in each location
  • Number of employees on-site** at each location
  • Number of on-site parking spaces dedicated to your business at each location
  • Number of annual parking permits purchased for employees at each location
  • Federal EIN and/or Seller’s Permit # (if none, enter “NA”)
  • State of incorporation

What fees do I have to pay?

Each fixed-based business in Palo Alto shall pay a flat rate of $54 each year*.

* 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.

Why should i do this process?

It's important for you to follow official procedure to ensure safety in your construction. If you need more details, please call or visit us.