Startup Guide

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Welcome to the Startup Guide

Answer a few questions about the business you are looking to open and receive a step-by-step registration checklist to complete the applications necessary to register your business.
You’re only steps away from becoming compliant. Get started!

  1. City registration
  2. Business name
  3. Seller’s permit and use taxes
  4. Employee Identification Number
  5. Registration checklist
The assistant is estimated to take 10 to 15 minutes.
Please click on below arrow to start creating your checklist.
1 / City registration

Registering with the City of Encinitas is required to conduct business within the city limits. Also, it will enable you to take advantage of the incentives or credits that the city has to offer. First, let’s check if you need to register your business.

Will you receive any income outside of a salary from an employer?

If you receive 1099 forms, are starting a non-profit or trade association, or make income by leasing property, select Yes.


Thanks for checking! It doesn’t look like you need to register as a business.

However, if you’re still unsure or have special circumstances not covered by this guide, you can verify your status by City’s Business Registration Program at (760) 663-2708 or

Will you conduct business within the boundaries of the city of Encinitas?

The boundaries of the city of Encinitas are complex. We recommend you use E-Zoning map to verify your address even if you feel certain. Click below.

2 / Business name

Continue to see if you need to register your business name with the County of San Diego.

Will your business name be the same as your personal name, with your first and last name only?

For example, if your business is called John Doe, select Yes. If it’s called John’s Barbershop, select No.


3 / Seller's permit and use taxes

Find out if you need to register with the State of California to report and pay sales taxes or to legalize your business entity.

Do you intend to sell any products that will be subject to sales tax, whether as a retailer, manufacturer or wholesaler?

For example, selling shampoo at a hair salon is subject to sales tax.

Will you operate a service business and expect to have more than $100,000 in gross (pre-tax) receipts per year?


What type of business will you have?

Sole proprietor is the simplest business entity, but it requires that you take personal responsibility for all business matters. See additional information for a description of other business entities such as partnership, corporation, LLC and more.


4 / Employee Identification Number

Find out if you need to register with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Will you have any employees?

A business needs an EIN to pay employees and to file business tax returns. Registering for an EIN is free and an easy way to protect your social security number.


5 / Registration checklist

Congratulations! Here is your registration checklist.

Follow the steps below to register your business with the City, County, State, and Federal government. You may print or email this checklist to yourself.

Depending on the type and location of your business, you may also need to obtain additional permits and licenses - review the tips in the Plan section of the Business Portal. The City's Development Services Counters are also a great place to start if you want to find out more about the city's planning and building requirements, or call (760) 633-2710.

Also, the City of Encinitas frequently has contracting opportunities available. To learn more or register for alerts, please visit

Good luck!

Please note that this guide does not substitute for legal or professional advice, and additional permits or registrations may be required depending on the circumstances of your business.