How can I keep a business license in California, while I work remotely?

I used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I registered an LLC and the business address was the actual location of my office. I hung my business license in the location as well, as required.

The business does 100% of its business in the San Francisco Bay Area. Customers are there. My contractors are there. My business is focused there.

Well, the business hasn’t changed but I’m able to work remotely from anywhere in the world.

  • I no longer have an office in the Bay Area, so no where to hang my business license. In the past inspectors have come into my office to check that my business license was there.
  • I don’t have any physical location that I go back to in the US.
  • The only address I use is a mailing address for a mail-forwarding company that I use. I rent a locker from them and they consolidate all my mail and forward it to me where ever I may be in the world at that time. They have warehouse locations in Los Angeles, Reno, and Portland.

Considering my situation, how should I go about getting a business license in California?

  • LegalZoom says: “California state law requires businesses to use a street address in California. PO Boxes are not allowed. If your business is run out of your home, you can use that address.”
  • I don’t have a physical location, so there’s no where to hang my license when I apply for one from the city.
  • What would my business address be?
  • Should I apply for a business license in the city where the mail-forwarding company has the warehouse?
  • I also don’t have a location/person to act as my process agent in case someone needs to serve me court papers.
  • Ideally, I want to do EVERYTHING out of my mailing address, but all it is is a locker in a massive warehouse managed by the mail-forwarding company.

Does your business really need to be incorporated in California? It seems like it’s more trouble that it’s worth. Aren’t the taxes also pretty steep in CA?

Maybe consider incorporating an LLC in WY or even off-shore since you are no longer resident in the US.

From what I understand, my business does not need to be incorporated in CA, BUT I need a select a new place of incorporation carefully. One of my primary requirements would be that I be able to incorporate with just a mailing address, and with just a PO Box as absolute maximum. I want to never have to go in person to this location.

I have to be able to manage everything online. There is no way I’m going to be able to manage it in person, since that would require an airplane ticket. That means paying fees, opening accounts, updating company info, getting served by the court, and general business maintenance all done online.

Unfortunately, this seems to be a tall order since governments aren’t generally following the curve of technology :frowning:

I’m not doing this to avoid taxes. If I incorporate outside of CA, even anywhere in the world, I still have to pay the same CA LLC Franchise Tax Fees + CA Income tax since my sales are generated in CA and I do business primarily in CA.