3.5.002 Short Title.

This chapter shall be known as, and for all purposes may be referred to as, the "Business License Tax of the City of Oakley."

3.5.004 Purpose and Authority.

The purpose of this Ordinance is to effectuate Government Code §37101 and Businesses and Professions Code §§16000 et seq. in order to levy a license tax upon business transacted in the City for the purpose of generating revenue.

3.5.006 Definition and License Requirements.

a.    Definitions. The following words and phrases used in this chapter shall be construed as defined in this section.

1)    "Amusement and itinerant businesses" includes only those businesses which are (1) not operated or carried on regularly throughout the year in the unincorporated area of the City, such as circuses, carnivals, and other exhibitions or entertainments on an occasional basis and not otherwise licensed and (2) involve the operation of a temporary place of sale, and itinerant vendors, peddlers, hawkers and solicitors.

2)    "Business" includes all activities engaged in caused to be engaged in within the City with the object of gain, benefit or advantage, whether direct or indirect, to the taxpayer or to another or to others, but does not include the services rendered by an employee to his or her employer or a casual or isolated transaction.

3)    "Employee" means every person engaged in the operation or conduct of any business whether as an owner, any member of owner’s family, partner, associate, agent, manager or solicitor, and any and all other persons engaged in such business. In addition, an "employee" means any person who works for or receives a salary for work in the City, from which Federal Withholding Tax or Federal Insurance Compensation Act (FICA) funds have been withheld.

4)    "Engaging in business" means commencing, conducting or continuing in business, and also the exercise of corporate or franchise powers, as well as liquidating a business when the liquidators thereof themselves hold themselves out to the public as conducting such business.

5)    "Full time equivalent employee" shall be calculated by ascertaining the total number of house of service including vacation, or other paid leave, performed by all employees of applicant within the City during the previous year ending on December 31st and dividing the total number of hours of service thus obtained by the number of hours of service constituting a year’s work of one full-time employee according to the customs or laws governing such employment, in the absence of other such standards, 1,800 hours of service per year shall constitute one full-time employee.

6)    "Finance Director" shall mean the Finance Director of the City of Oakley.

b.    License required. It is unlawful to engage in business in the City without first procuring a business license unless an exemption is granted.

c.    Exemptions. Exemptions must be requested and acceptable proof must be presented to the Finance Director that shows the business meets one or more of the following criteria:

1)    Nonprofit organizations as defined in Section 501 (c)(1), (2) or (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as it currently exists or is hereafter amended;

2)    Businesses exempt from local taxation by of the Constitution or applicable statutes of the United States or the State of California;

3)    Businesses with annual gross receipts less than $20,000;

4)    Businesses which rent or lease to others no more than four residential dwelling units;

5)    Any public utility which pays a franchise tax the City based on gross receipts. The exemption applies only to the business conducted under the franchise agreement;

6)    Every peddler, solicitor or other person entitled to exemption from the payment of any license provided for in this chapter upon the ground that such license casts an unreasonable burden upon his/her right to engage in commerce with foreign nations, or among the several States, or conflicts with the regulations of the United States Congress respecting interstate commerce;

7)    Businesses engaged in growing livestock, or agricultural products for sale or disposal by the growers themselves.

d.    License Fee A Tax – Does not permit business otherwise prohibited. "License," as used in this chapter, does not mean a permit. Any other permits or licenses which are required otherwise than by this chapter remain in effect and are not superseded by this chapter. The fees prescribed by this chapter constitute a tax for revenue purposes, and are not regulatory permit fees. The payment of a license tax required by the provisions of this chapter, and its acceptance by the City, and the issuance of a business license to any person, shall not entitle the holder thereof to carry on any business unless he/she has complied with all of the requirements of this chapter and all other applicable laws, nor to carry on any business in any building or on any premises designated in such license in the event that such building or premises are situated in a zone or locality in which the conduct of such business is in violation of any law.

e.    Contents of License. After the submission of a business license application and payment of the prescribed fee to the Finance Director, the Finance Director shall issue a license which shall contain the following:

1)    The name of the person to whom the license is issued;

2)    Identification of the business licensed;

3)    The place where such business is to be carried on;

4)    The date of the expiration of such license; and

5)    Such other information as the Finance Director determines.

f.    Annual License.

1)    All licenses except daily licenses, and the first license issued, except daily licenses, and the first license issued to a new business, shall be issued and due for renewal effective July 1st and shall expire on the subsequent June 30th.

2)    All daily licenses are due in advance no later than the day prior to the start of the business activity for which the license is necessary.

3)    All daily licenses are due in advance no later than the day prior to the start of the business activity for which the license is necessary.

3.5.008 License Procedures.

a.    Transfer of License – Procedure. No license granted or issued under any provisions of this chapter shall be in any manner transferred, or authorize any person other than the person named in the license to carry on the business therein named, or to transact such business in any place other than the place of location therein named, without the written consent of the Finance Director thereon. At the time such license is assigned or transferred or the place of location for the carrying on of such business is changed, the person applying for such transfer or change shall pay to the Finance Director a fee, as provided in Section 3.5.010(a), for each assignment or transfer.

b.    License to be Conspicuously Posted – Exception. Every person having a license under the provisions of this chapter and carrying on a business at a fixed place of business shall keep such license posted and exhibited in some conspicuous part of said place of business. A copy of the license may be posted in additional business locations if the licensed business operates out of more than one location. Every person having a license and not having a fixed place of business shall carry such license in possession at all times while carrying on the business for which the same was granted. Every peddler having a license shall keep such license prominently displayed.

c.    Multiple Locations. A separate license is not required for every branch establishment or separate place of business in which a business is carried on within the City. The flat fee portion of the business license tax is assessed on one location. Per employee fee is assessed for employees at all locations.

3.5.010 Fees and Penalties.

a.    Rates.

Class A: All businesses not defined as amusements or itinerant businesses.

Flat fee

$100 per business entity


$10 per each full time equivalent employee over one

Class B: Amusements and itinerant businesses.

Flat fee

$100 per business entity

Other fees:

Transfer of license or location


Lost license/duplicate license


b.    New Businesses. If a business opens after the start of the fiscal year, the business license shall be pro-rated by quarters as follows:

July – September

$100 per business entity plus $10 per full time equivalent employee

October – December

$75 per business entity plus $7.50 per full time equivalent employee

January – March

$50 per business entity plus $5 per full time equivalent employee

April – June

$25 per business entity plus $2.50 per full time equivalent employee

c.    Daily License. Flat fee of $25 per day per business entity.

d.    Penalties and Interest. If a business tax remains unpaid the Finance Director shall:

1)    Impose a twenty-five percent (25%) penalty, but not less than $25 for an annual license tax which is not paid within thirty (30) days of the due date;

2)    Impose a twenty-five percent (25%) for a daily license tax which is not paid by the close of the day when it was due; and

3)    In addition to the penalties imposed, any person who fails to pay any license fee within thirty (30) days of the due date shall pay interest at the rate of one and one-half percent (1.5%) per month or fraction thereof, on the amount of the fee and penalties from the date on which the license fee is delinquent, until paid.

e.    License a Debt. The amount of any fee penalty, and interest imposed by the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a debt to the City; and any person carrying on any business without having procured a license from the City to do so shall be liable to action in the name of the City in any court of competent jurisdiction for the amount of license and penalties and interest imposed on such business. The City may collect debt through any legal means including attachment and seizure of business property.

(Sec. 1, Ordinance No. 14-18, adopted September 11, 2018)

3.5.012 Enforcement, Appeals, and Refunds.

a.    Enforcement. It is the duty of the Finance Director, and he/she is directed, to enforce each and all of the provisions of this chapter. After July 1, 1999 each department of the City which issues permits for work to be done shall require the production of a valid unexpired license prior to the issuance of such a permit. The Finance Director, in the exercise of the duties imposed upon him/her under this chapter, and acting through deputies or duly authorized assistants, shall examine or cause to be examined from time to time all places of business in the City to ascertain whether the provisions of this chapter have been complied with. The Finance Director, and each and all of the his/her assistants and any police officer, shall have the power and authority to enter, free of charge and at time, any place of business required to be licensed in this chapter and demand an exhibition of its license certificate. Any person, having such license certificate heretofore issued in his/her possession or under his/her control, who willfully fails to exhibit the same on demand, shall be guilty of an infraction. It shall be the duty of the Finance Director and each of his/her assistants to cause a complaint to be filed against any and all persons found to be violating any of said provisions.

b.    Remedies Cumulative. The conviction and punishment of any person for transacting any business without obtaining a license shall not excuse or exempt such person from the payment of any license tax due or unpaid at the time of such conviction, and nothing in this chapter shall prevent a criminal prosecution of any violation of the provisions of this chapter. All remedies prescribed under this chapter are cumulative and the use of one or more remedies by the City shall not bar the use of any other remedy for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this Ordinance.

c.    Appeals.

1)    Any person aggrieved by any decision of an administrative officer or department with respect to the issuance or refusal to issue a license, or the amount of a license tax, may appeal to the City Council by filing a written notice of appeal setting forth in full the grounds of the appeal, with the City Clerk.

2)    The amount of any license tax finally determined, as provided in this section, or any other section of this chapter, shall be due and payable as of the date the original license fee was due and payable, together with any penalties and interest that may be due thereon; provided, however, if the amount of such license tax is fixed in accordance with the original statement of the applicant, then no penalty shall attach by reason of any delinquency.

d.    Examination of Books, Records; Witnesses – Information Confidential – Penalty. The Finance Director, or any authorized employee of the Finance Director is authorized to examine the books, papers and records of any person subject to this chapter for the purpose of verifying the accuracy of any application or, if no application was made, to ascertain the license fees due under this chapter. Every licensee or business operating in the City is directed and required or his/her duly authorized agent or employee, the means, facilities and opportunity for making such examination and investigations as are authorized by this section. The Finance Director is authorized to examine any person, under oath, for the purpose of verifying the accuracy of application made, or, if no application was made, to ascertain the license fees due under this chapter and for this purpose may compel the production of books, papers and records and the attendance of all persons before him/her, whether as parties or witnesses, whenever he/she believes such persons have knowledge of such matters. The refusal of such examination by any employer or person subject or presumed to be subject to the license fees shall be deemed a violation of this chapter.

e.    Refund Of Tax – Penalty or interest paid more than once or erroneously or illegally collected. Whenever the amount of any tax, penalty or interest has been paid more than once or has been erroneously or illegally collected or received under this section, it may be refunded provided a verified claim in writing therefor, stating the specific grounds upon which said claim is founded, is filed with the Finance Director within one year from the date of payment by the person paying the tax. The claim shall be audited by the Finance Director and shall be made in accordance with current City refund procedures. If the claim is approved, the refund may be refunded or may be credited on any amounts then due and payable from the person from whom it was collected or by whom paid, and the balance may be refunded to person or to his/her administrators or executors. No refund under this chapter shall be made, except on a claim verified by the person who paid the tax, his or her guardian, executor or administrator. Only the person who paid the tax, his or her guardian, conservator, executor or administrator may bring an action against the City to recover any tax, penalty or interest paid pursuant to this chapter which the City has refused to refund. No other person may bring such an action for such a refund; but if another should do so, judgment shall not be rendered for the plaintiff.