Doing Business Here

If you are looking for a place to start, relocate or expand a business, look no further than Kern County, at the southern end of California’s San Joaquin Valley. Thanks to its prime location at the gateway to Southern California, many major companies have chosen Kern County as their west coast distribution hub.


Businesses looking to relocate or expand in Kern County can find a wide variety of incentives available. The Kern Economic Development Corporation can direct businesses to select federal, state and local economic incentives available to attract new jobs, investment and development.

Kern County Business Recruitment and Job Growth Incentive Initiative

Enhancements to the County’s incentive program include:

  • The County eliminates all caps and special terms on potential sales tax, use tax, and property tax rebates, and will add transient occupancy tax rebates for the first time, setting the stage for opportunities for more meaningful, robust and competitive incentive packages in pursuit of impactful business investments.
  • The County’s incentive agreements prioritizes sustained, full-time job creation, in addition to capital investment, at better-than-living wage rate for Kern County.
  • The County expands the list of targeted industry clusters for these incentives, to include: e-commerce, general manufacturing and destination retail.
  • The initiative provides for maximum flexibility in pursuing opportunities with performance-based incentives requiring quantitative thresholds, tested for accountability.
  • New business ventures will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for overall net benefit and value added, with incentives tailored to meet County objectives.

For further information visit


  • Employment Training Panel (ETP) – funds offsetting the cost of developing and implementing customized training programs.
  • America’s Job Center Workforce Investment Act (WIA) – Free assistance, customized recruitment plans, positions advertising, qualifying applicants and hiring.

California Incentives

  • Manufacturing equipment + sales and use tax exemption.
  • New Employment credit between Jan 2014 – Jan 2026.
  • California Competes Tax Credit – Criteria includes number of jobs to be created or retained, extent of property in business development area, minimum compensation limitation, and set job retention period.
  • Research and Development Tax Credit – Reduces income or franchise tax.
  • Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Manufacturing – tax exemption of 3.9375% for basic manufacturing equipment.
  • Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Agriculture – tax exemption for the sale, storage, use, or other consumption of farm equipment, and machinery.

Foreign Trade Zone 276

  • Tejon Ranch Commerce Center

Recycling Market Development Zone

  • Low interest loans and assistance for manufacturers using recycled materials.

Permit Overview

A Business-Friendly Environment

The permit and plan check process is dramatically shorter in Kern County than elsewwhere in California, typically measured in days or weeks rather than months and sometimes years. This is just one example of how Kern County works with business, not against.

Permit Process Time
Building Permit/ Commercial Plan Check 3-4 Weeks
Conditional Use Permit 30-day preliminary review. 4 months public process (Planning Commission) if not environmental document. If Negative Declaration is needed, then 4 – 6 months. If approved, then 14 day appeal period.
Grading Permit 10 working days preliminary review
Precise Development Plan

30-day preliminary review. 2 months to public process to Directors Hearing if no environmental document is needed.

If Negative Declaration is needed, then 4-6 months.

Impact Fees Traffic Impact fees/sewer fees may or may not be required depending on location. Assessed with Building Permit.
Fire Inspection Permit Part of plan review.
Zone Change

30-day preliminary review. 4 months public process and hearings (Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors). If no environmental document is needed, then four months.

If Negative Declaration is needed, then 6 months.

If EIR is needed, then 12 to 18 months. If approved, then 30 days before change is effective.

General Plan Amendment

Notice of Intent is filed. 30-day preliminary review. If Negative Declaration is needed, then 6-7 months. If EIR is needed, then 12 to 18 months.

Requires Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors General Plan Window (4 times per years).

Sign Permit Part of plan review.
Business License Majority of businesses in unincorporated areas do not need a business license. 2 weeks within city limits.
Kern county offers the counter, on-line, fast track and fax permitting options, depending on the permit type.


California Tax Service Center

The California Tax Service Center is a partnership of the State Board of Equalization, State Employment Development Department, State Franchise Tax Board, and the Federal Internal Revenue Service. The purpose of the California Tax Service Center is to streamline and improve the taxpayer resource and educational program. For more information, please visit:

California Tax Rates

Tax Base or Measure Rate Administering Agency
Corporation Income Tax Combined net income apportioned to California. 8.84% Franchise Tax Board
Sales and Used Tax (Statewide Base Rate Only) Receipts from sales or lease of taxable items. 7.50% Board of Equalization
Property Tax 100% of assessed valuation Avg. 1.1% Board of Equalization
Personal Income Tax Taxable personal income 1.0 – 12.3% Franchise Tax Board
Unemployment Insurance Tax (“Payroll Tax”) Fixed by statute. First $7,000 of wages per employee per year 1.5 – 6.2% Employment Development Department
Employment Training Tax Fixed statute. First $7,000 of wages per employee per year 0.001% Employment Development Department
Disability Insurance Tax (Employee paid) Taxable wage limit for withholding of $95,585 1.00% Employment Development Department
Finished Goods, Raw Materials, and Inventory Tax None None None
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Per $100 of payroll Varies based on job classification, workplace safety record, and insurance carrier. Department of Industrial Relations Division of Workers’ Compensation

Corporation Tax Rates

Entity Type Tax Rate
Corporations other than banks and financials 8.85%
Banks and financials 10.84%
Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) rate 6.65%
S corporation rate 1.50%
S corporation bank and financial rate 3.50%

[Check Back Soon for Site Selection Information including an Interactive Kern County Map]


For all site selection related questions, please contact Melinda Brown.

Get in Touch

Call Me at:
(661) 862-5058

Or Email me at:

Kern Economic Development Corporation (Kern EDC) is a public-private partnership that brings together private businesses, education, elected officials, and non-profit organizations for the purpose of a single goal: creating a strong and diverse economy for Kern County. Kern EDC promotes the region to businesses looking for areas to expand, and works with existing local businesses to ensure they have what they need to thrive and grow here in Kern County.

Contact Us


Kern Economic Development Corporation
2700 M Street, Suite 200
Bakersfield, CA 93301


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