In an effort to improve tax and license administration services and enhance customer service, the city of Sana Barbara will launch an online business portal and move to a calendar-year business license renewal period, starting in January.

The online system will allow businesses to conveniently apply for, renew, and pay their business license payments totally online. Avenu Insights & Analytics will administer the new system on behalf of the city’s Finance Department.

As part of the change, the city will transition to a calendar year-based business license tax program. The change begins with the 2023 license tax year. All current business licenses will expire on Dec. 31, 2022, and will require business licenses be renewed in January.

Thereafter, all business license tax certificates will expire on Dec. 31 of each year. Businesses that have already paid into 2023 will be eligible for a tax credit on the 2023 tax obligation that requires renewal by Jan. 31, 2023.
Businesses will receive letters the first week of December further explaining the new process.

The city has worked toward identifying ways to improve efficiency in how it delivers service to the community. The change marks the Finance Department’s latest effort at streamlining processes to improve customer service.

Starting Jan. 3, businesses will still be able to apply, renew, and pay for their business license in person at City Hall, 735 Anacapa St., 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on alternating Fridays.

“We are excited to offer this customer service improvement to the thousands of businesses that do business in the city,” said Finance Director Keith DeMartini. “Implementing an online portal, allowing payment online with a credit card, and standardizing the renewal process will allow for greater ease, more transparency and more efficient processes, ultimately saving time and money.”

Earlier this year the Finance Department launched its online budget book to increase transparency and allow for easy search and viewing by the community.

In addition, the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada recognized the department for financial reporting for its annual comprehensive financial report for fiscal year 2021.