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Frequently Asked Questions
The most commonly asked questions we receive from business owners and developers:
- I’m thinking of starting a business in Oakland. Whom should I contact?
- Where should I locate my business?
- How can I find out which licenses and permits I need for my business?
- Will I need a business tax certificate from the City of Oakland?
- Who can help me recruit qualified employees?
- Whom can I contact for business loans?
- How can I lower my State business taxes?
- Is there assistance to rehab or renovate my building?
- What does the Redevelopment Division do?
- What does it mean if my home or business is in a Redevelopment Area?
- Where can I find additional information on Redevelopment?
- Whom can I contact with additional questions?
I’m thinking of starting a business in Oakland. Whom should I contact?
Let the Business Assistance Center (BAC) be your first point of contact. To reach the BAC, call (510) 238-7952, visit www.OaklandBAC.com or send an e-mail request using our online management system.
Where should I locate my business?
A variety of resources can help you find a business location in Oakland: City staff, commercial brokers, website listings and shopping district leaders. For more information, please visit the Business Assistance Center’s website. When considering a business location, you should also consider zoning requirements & regulations. Contact the Zoning Division to obtain zoning clearance for your business location.
How can I find out which licenses and permits I need for my business?
The California Government: On-line to Desktops (CalGOLD) will help you determine which local, regional, state and federal licenses and permits you will need for your business operation.
Will I need a business tax certificate from the City of Oakland?
Yes. All businesses, residential rental properties, and commercial properties in Oakland must obtain a business tax certificate. Contact the Business Tax Unit for detailed information and applications.
Who can help me recruit qualified employees?
The Oakland Private Industry Council offers recruitment, screening, training and additional business services.
Whom can I contact for business loans?
In addition to working with a commercial lender, you may turn to the City of Oakland for help in financing new or on-going business ventures, inventory purchasing, and commercial real estate acquisition or rehabilitation projects. The OBDC Small Business Finance offers loans in amounts up to $249,500.
How can I lower my State income taxes?
If your business is located in the Oakland Enterprise Zone, you can take advantage of hiring and equipment tax credits and other tax benefits to lower your State business income taxes.
Is there assistance to rehab or renovate my building?
Yes. The Federal Historic Preservation program offers two investment tax credit programs for “substantial rehabilitation” of older commercial buildings: 20% for properties on the National Register of Historic Places and 10% for other pre-1936 buildings. The City of Oakland's Facade Improvement Program provides matching grants and design services for improvements to commercial building exteriors in targeted sections of downtown-link and neighborhood commercial districts.
What does the Redevelopment Division do?
The Redevelopment Division plans and directs major redevelopment projects that improve economic conditions throughout Oakland by reversing deterioration, remedying blight, and creating a new image for the City. Redevelopment projects rehabilitate property, build new homes, create jobs, simulate private business & development, and stimulate new investment.
What does it mean if my home or business is in a Redevelopment Area?
Please refer to the Citizen’s Guide to Redevelopment, published by California Redevelopment Association.
Where can I find additional information on Redevelopment?
For more general Redevelopment information, visit the California Redevelopment Association website.
Whom can I call with additional questions?
Need more information or have questions that are not answered by this web site? Assistance from our team of professionals is just a phone call or e-mail away.