Small Business Center

I'm here to help entrepreneurs thrive

Chairman Horton greets local business owners

Small businesses are one of the driving forces behind our state's economic success. You are the visionaries, innovators, tireless workers, and most importantly -- job creators.

As an elected representative and Member of the California State Board of Equalization, one of my personal missions is to help small business owners succeed on every level. Whether you're a mom-and-pop doughnut shop, or a manufacturing company that employs 100 people, I want to see you all succeed.

In that effort, my staff and I put on numerous small business seminars throughout District 3 that are free to you and offer advice on everything from how to receive millions of dollars in tax credits and refunds, to contracting and loan opportunities.

Now I'm offering this website as another tool to help those of you who are contemplating opening your very own business, and those longtime owners who want to find new ways to increase their success. Here you will find useful references that will help guide you down the path to success.

If you have questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

How do I get started?

Knowing the first steps to opening your business

Shop owner shows woman multiple clocks for purchase in store

Getting your business venture off the ground takes a lot of work and attention to detail. First off, you will need a solid business plan that will become the foundation from which you build your enterprise. Sales, marketing, advertising and promotions are all key aspects of your business plan. Second -- location, location, location. Finding the right area can be paramount to a business' success, as well as finding the right facility to house your company. For more information on what you need to know when it comes to opening a business, visit here.

More resources for getting started:

The Kaufman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership
The Kaufman Center provides a multitude of resources covering topics such as starting and growing a business, and supporting entrepreneurship.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
There may be tax benefits available to you to open, expand, or relocate your business in a HUD Empowerment Zone, an Enterprise Community, an Urban Renewal Community, or a Rural Community. Find out more here:

U.S. Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration provides programs and services to help small businesses start, grow, and succeed.

Before you open your doors, it's time to register

Youíve formulated your business plan, located your place of operation, and are ready to open the doors. Not just yet. Itís now time to do one more, very important, step -- register your business or apply for a sellerís permit with the Board of Equalization (BOE).

The BOE wants to make doing business in California as easy as possible. You can register for a seller's permit or use tax account by using our online registration, or do it in person at one of the field offices in the Los Angeles area. The BOE also administers several special tax and fee programs in addition to the stateís sales and use taxes.

owner of a hardware store

You must obtain a seller's permit if you:

  • Intend to or are engaged in the business of selling or leasing tangible personal property in California that would ordinarily be subject to sales tax if sold at retail. (This includes wholesalers, manufacturers, and retailers.)
  • Will make sales for a temporary period in California, normally lasting no longer than 90 days at one or more locations (I.E., fireworks booths, Christmas tree lots, garage sale)

Even if you do not sell tangible personal property, you may need to register with the BOE as a "Qualified Purchaser" if you are engaged in business in California and meet all of the following conditions:

  • Receive at least $100,000 in gross receipts from business operations per calendar year
    Note: Gross receipts are the total of all receipts from both in-state and out-of-state business operations
  • Are not required to hold a seller's permit or certificate of registration for use tax (under section 6226 of the Revenue and Taxation Code)
  • Are not otherwise registered with the BOE to report use tax

The requirement to obtain a seller's permit or a use tax account applies to: any "person" including individuals, partnerships, corporations, organizations, husband/wife co-ownership, LLP's & LLC's.

Ready to get started? Go here to begin the registration process.

Photo of participants in a seminar

Keep learning with all my small business seminars

Once you're up-and-running, it's always good to find new ways to keep you and your business performing at the highest levels. That's why I offer multiple small business seminars throughout my district to educate business owners on all the different tools out there that can help them succeed.

These talks provide small-to-medium-sized businesses with information on millions of dollars in tax credits and refunds, business loan assistance and general guidelines for contracting opportunities with the state. Attendees of these conferences will learn about traditional and nontraditional capital and how to minimize the burden of tax compliance.

In addition to the benefits mentioned, owners will be able to meet their elected representatives who make the decisions that affect small businesses. For the latest business seminars coming to your area go here.

The BOE website also offers a host of tax guides that feature tips on everything from getting started, to basic information on different industries and links to resources that address specific questions and concerns.

More Related Resources

(BOE-produced information)

Sales & Use Tax Publications

Frequently Asked Questions for Sales & Use Tax

Resource Guide to Free Tax Products and Services pdf image

Sales and Use Taxes: Exemptions and Exclusions pdf image

Your California Seller's Permit pdf image

Sales and Use Tax Records

Frequently Asked Questions and Guidance on Keeping Records

(State, federal and nonprofit information)

California Business Portal offers help to start and operate a business in California, file business taxes, get a business license and more.

California Department of Consumer Affairs offers licensing for more than 200 business and professional categories.

California Tax Service Center provides federal and state resources for information and online filing.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers a Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center.

California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) will list tax requirements by business entity type.

Department of General Services will show you how to become Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise certified. Becoming certified SB/DVBE can lead to many contracting opportunities.