Legal Stuff in San Francisco - SewMeiMei

Legal Stuff

Get a Seller’s Permit

Getting a seller’s permit is the most basic license you need in order to do business in San Francisco. The permit allows you to collect sales tax for goods sold from your customers. Then in turn you pay the State for the taxes collected.

You need one for your store/studio/home address, or the address where you do your main business. You might also need additional ones called “temporary seller’s permit”. You need these temporary ones if you’re attending craft shows or temporary locations 90 days or shorter.  This is what they look like:

Screen Shot 2019-06-05 at 8.36.38 PM.png

You can get one these with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration:

Business Licenses

Business licenses are different than seller’s permits. Business licenses are issued by the city or municipality and it is documentation that says you are allowed to do business in California. It also allows you claim your company name so that no one else in the State can have it.

Depending on what kind of maker you are, you’ll need a license from the State to do business as well. California requires special licenses if you sell certain products such as firearms, gasoline, liquor, lottery tickets, etc…

You can get the business license at City Hall or this site:

Business Registration

If you are opening a business as a sole proprietorship, or running the business using your name, then you don't need to register your business.  But for example, limited liability partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations and other business structures that limit the owner's personal liability typically must register.  

Tax Registration and Important Dates 

If you are conducting business in San Francisco as a sole proprietorship (as individual) using your name, then you will need to register using your social security number.  If you have an LLC or other type of organization, when you register your business, they will assign you an EIN (Employee Identification Number).  Your SSN or EIN are the IDs used to track your sales and then submission of tax payments. 

Remember - when you set up a business and start selling, there are key dates to remember: 

Payment Type


Due Date
Business Registration (License) Renewal Yearly May 31
Gross Receipts Tax Payments Quarterly

April 30

July 31

October 31

February 28

To pay Gross Receipts Tax Payments - visit //  You should also be receiving yearly notification via mail.