California business licensing for driver-partners on the Uber app
Driver-partners operating on the Uber app may be required by local governments to obtain a business license (or related local business tax liabilities) and pay associated fees. Failure to do so may result in penalties and citations.
Uber is providing notice to TNC driver-partners pursuant to this new state law but cannot advise on the applicability of local laws. Drivers only need to obtain a single license (or related tax liability) in their home city, and only if:
- They have operated on the Uber platform for more than 30 days in the preceding year
- Their municipality requires one for independent contractors
Pursuant to this new law, cities cannot enforce penalties for non-compliance with local licensing requirements prior to January 1, 2018.
How do I know if my home city requires a business license?
You can reach out to the city you live in to find out more information about potential local liabilities. Some drivers may receive written notice about business license obligations, but they are not subject to those requirements if they do not live in that particular city.
City-specific pages about business licenses can be found here:
I don’t drive on the Uber app very often, do I still need to get a business license?
Under state law, TNC drivers only need to obtain a business license if they have operated for more than 30 days total in the prior year and the city they live in requires a business license or related business taxes.
Where do I need to go to obtain a business license?
Some cities provide an option to obtain a business license online. For example, San Francisco allows businesses to obtain or annually renew business licenses here. Other cities without online capability may require you to visit a city treasurer or tax collector’s office. Start by checking in with the city you live in.
How much does a business license cost?
Business license prices vary by city. For example, San Francisco requires a $92 business license for TNC drivers that have gross receipts of less than $100,000. Other cities may ask drivers to register with no associated fees.
What if I already have a business license for other work that I do?
As an independent contractor earning through the Uber app, you would need to register as a business separate from other work you may be licensed to do. Nearly all businesses need some form of license or permit to operate, however these requirements vary by state and city. You can find information for each state listed on the SBA website.
What if I am no longer driving on the Uber app or don’t live in the city enforcing business license fees on me?
You can simply notify a city that you are no longer conducting business as an Uber driver-partner. If you are still driving, you can notify the city that contacts you that you are not subject to their business license requirements under state law if you don’t live in that city or have not driven for more than 30 days.