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General Business Information


When considering whether or not to start a small business, there are several factors to keep in mind while determining where you would start your business. Fit Small Business compiled a 2018 ranking of all 50 states to determine the best states to start a small business, using the following categories:

  • Taxes – This includes corporate, sales, property tax, individual income, and unemployment insurance tax rates. The ranking demonstrates how much you can expect that your business would have to pay in taxes in the state ranked.
  • Labor Market – This category was assessed by including unemployment rates well as education levels (% of adults ages 25 to 34 who have attained at least a bachelor’s degree). This is meant to measure availability of desirable employees and the overall strength of this market in the state ranked.
  • Cost of Living – This includes costs of utilities, grocery, healthcare, housing, and transportation.
  • Quality of Life – This category is based on access to education, physical safety, and healthcare.
  • Cost to Start a Business – Using per capita income in the state ranked, this is meant to evaluate costs to staff your business as well as the per sq. ft/year cost to rent a commercial building.
  • Startup Activity – Meant to illustrate how likely new businesses are to succeed or fail in the state ranked, this represents the # and survivability of new businesses in that state.
  • Access to Capital – This assesses the likelihood of your business attaining startup capital by evaluating the size and # of small business loans granted and by measuring access to capital based on the availability and amount of venture capital funds.

Taking into account these factors, the survey ranked California 43rd out of the 50 states, with each of the categories above ranked accordingly:

  • Taxes: 48 out of 50
  • Labor Market: 26 out of 50
  • Cost of Living: 49 out of 50
  • Quality of Life: 23 out of 50
  • Cost to Start a business: 36 out of 50
  • Startup Activity: 1 out of 50
  • Access to Capital: 11 out of 50

It goes without saying that California is the birthplace of some of the most famous startups of our time, but ironically it has some of the least accessible financing and the most expensive office spaces. However, its plethora of natural beauty, state parks, delicious wines, and craft breweries may be more than enough to convince you that California may be the right place for you and your new business!

California Department of Revenue
3321 Power Inn Road, Suite 250
Sacramento, CA 95826-3893
P  800-852-5711

Portal Link

California Secretary of State
1500 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
P  (916) 653-6814

Website Link

Small Business Advocacy
Los Angeles District Office

330 N. Brand Blvd. suite 1200
Glendale, CA 91203
P 818-552-3201

Website Link

Fresno District Office
801 R St. suite 201
Fresno, CA 93721
P 559-487-5791

Website Link

San Francisco District Office
455 Market St. suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94105
P 415-744-6820

Website Link

Sacramento District Office
6501 Sylvan Road Suite 100
Citrus Heights, CA
P 916-735-1700

Website Link

San Diego District Office
550 West C St. suite 550
San Diego , CA 92101
P 619-557-7250

Website Link

Business Filing Fees

LLC Filing Fee
Incorporation Filing Fee

Tax Information

Tax Type
Rate / Fee
Due Date
Corporate Income Tax
Sales Tax
Due Date:
Last day of the month following the reporting period
Property Tax
Due Date:
April 1
Unemployment Tax
Due Date:
The first day of the month following the end of the quarter
Annual Report Required?*
*(C-Corp & LLC only)
Corporations - $25 / LLC's - $20
Corporations - Annually by the last day of the anniversary month of incorporation. You can start filing five months prior. // LLC's - Biennially by the last day of the anniversary month of formation or qualification. You can start filing five months prior.
File Report

Reserving your name in California:
The California SOS will not approve a California business name which is so similar to another California business name (Corporation or LLC) that it could likely be mistaken for it.
Reserve Your Name in California

Additional Information

New Hire Reporting Required?
E-Verify Required?
Comprehensive State Guide
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