Tax Exemption Criteria

Find out if your business is exempt from local taxes.

Business Tax Refund Request Form
Form 4506-T

Some qualified small businesses are exempt from the payment of business taxes if the annual gross receipts are below $3100 (both inside and outside of the City). Tax years before tax year 2006 are not eligible for exemptions.

Unless otherwise specified, the annual gross receipt requirement shall apply to Oakland based businesses and ALL out of town businesses seeking a Small Business Exemption.

To request and to be considered for the Small Business Exemption:

A business's annual gross receipts do not exceed $3100 on ALL gross receipts (from within and out of the city). NO APPORTIONMENT is allowed.

Existing businesses must renew their existing business tax certificate by March 1st of each year. The business may request a one-time 45-day extension, but renewal must be completed on or before the 45-day extension deadline. In applying for this Small Business Exemption, the following information must be provided and action taken on the business tax renewal declaration:

  • Check the box requesting the Small Business Exemption on the renewal form.
  • Enter gross receipt information (annual gross receipts of $3100 or less from within and outside of the city).
  • Sign the declaration.
  • The business (except rental property -- residential, commercial and industrial) must be engaged in business activity, which is taxed on a basis of gross receipts.
  • New businesses must apply for a business tax certificate and pay all required fees within 30 days of the start of business.

NOTE: The following business activities DO NOT qualify for the exemption:

  • Rental Property (Residential, Commercial and Industrial)
  • Corporate headquarters or administrative offices, which do not generate gross receipts.
  • Taxicab Companies and / or taxicab owners who own the “vehicle permit” issued by the Chief of Police. Taxing method is based on the number of vehicle permits.
  • Transportation (i.e. delivery/pickup services, ambulance, limousine, etc…). Taxing method is based on the number of employees or vehicles.
  • A business, which does not register for a business tax certificate within 30 days of the start of business; which fails to renew their business tax certificate by March 1st .

Any person claiming an exemption under this section needs to submit documentation showing their total taxable and nontaxable gross receipts to use in support of the initial exemption registration and the annual exemption renewal. This documentation must comply with the requirements established by the Finance Director to ensure accuracy and validity of the city's determination on the exemption claim. (OMC 5.04.620 ( B)).

Businesses that request and qualify for the small business exemption will be issued a business tax certificate for the period (a tax year) of qualification. Eligible businesses must request and qualify for this exemption each year.