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City of Citrus Heights launches option for online business licensing

Sentinel staff report–
As of Monday, business owners in Citrus Heights can now apply for, print and renew licenses for most businesses online, part of a plan to modernize city technology and save business owners time.

Online applications for business licenses are offered through a partnership with Citizenserve, a company offering digital solutions and automation for municipalities. New applications for general business licenses take about 10 minutes to complete and cost $79 for the first year, plus a 3 percent “convenience fee” tacked on for online payment. Annual renewals are charged $54.

Casey Kempenaar, who heads up business licensing at city hall, told The Sentinel on Thursday that turnaround time for general business licenses is “typically a couple of days, but is often the same day.” Businesses requiring a special license can also apply online, but the approval process can take longer and applicants are still required to visit city hall before a license is issued.

Special licenses cost $125 per year and are required for card rooms, mobile auto repairs, weapons dealers, dance facilities, and about a dozen other categories of businesses that require a background review by the police department before a license can be issued.

As noted in a Sentinel editorial last year, other cities in the region have also launched online licensing for businesses in recent years and have varying fees and requirements. The City of Elk Grove only requires licenses to be renewed every two years and charges a significantly lower fee of $16 for a two-year general business license, while charging the same price as Citrus Heights for a special license.

Other cities, like Sacramento, don’t require business licenses, but instead charge an additional “Business Operations Tax” based tax on gross receipts.

The goal to offer online business licensing in Citrus Heights appeared on the city’s six-month strategic planning goals in May, which listed a goal to “modernize city technology to provide online business license applications and renewal.”

Those interested in applying for, or renewing, a business license can find additional information on the city’s website at

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