e-File Frequently Asked Questions
1. I saw a link on your website for e-Filing my Business Property Statement. Please give me a login and password.
You may participate in e-Filing your statement this year if you received, in the mail, a BUSINESS PROPERTY STATEMENT (Form 571-L), a NOTICE TO e-FILE a BUSINESS PROPERTY STATEMENT Form 571-L letter, a DIRECT BILL NOTICE letter, and a LOW VALUE EXEMPTION letter with a personal identification number (PIN), in addition to your account number. If there is no PIN number on your statement, it means that you will not be able to e-File this year. Please fill out the hardcopy Business Property Statement (571-L) and submit accordingly.
2. I received notice to e-File a business property statement form 571-L letter / direct bill notice letter/ low value exemption letter. Am I going to receive a hard copy of Business Property Statement (571-L)?
No, you are not going to receive a hard copy of Business Property Statement (571-L). The letter that you received is in lieu of a hard copy of the statement. Account number and PIN are printed on the letter. Please use them to e-File your rendition.
3. What are the advantages of e-Filing?
• accessibility: you can access your current and previous years filed statements anytime and anywhere there is an internet connection
• accuracy: less mistake in processing the return because data are loaded electronically
• convenience: the ability to file 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
• efficiency: faster than mailing, save on postage and minimize usage of paper
• proof of filing: a confirmation certification is issued after the return is submitted
• view and print: you can view and print your previous year’s statements.
4. I received my statement with my account number and PIN, but when I'm at your website and I select 'e-File', I receive an error message.
Your computer configuration does not allow the e-File application to load successfully. Please confirm that you meet the browser minimum requirements: Microsoft Internet Explorer version 6.0 or Firefox 3.0 or higher. If you still receive an error, please fill out the hardcopy Business Property Statement (571-L) and submit accordingly.
5. I'm not able to log on successfully. I keep receiving an error message when I type my company number and PIN number.
The PIN number is case sensitive. Please make sure that you are entering a capital "SF" when typing the PIN number. Then select 'submit' to go to the next page.
6. I received my statement with my PIN, but I've lost the statement.
Please send your written request preferably on company’s letter head to the Business Personal Property Division by fax (415) 554-5544 or e-mail as an attachment to email@example.com. Please note that once we receive this request, the Assessor's Office will not issue your PIN by phone, fax, or e-mail. We will only mail it to the address that we have in our record. If you want us to mail it to a different address, please indicate it in your written request. If you are an agent of a taxpayer, include an authorization letter from the business owner.
7. The e-File screens and printed copy of the Business Property Statement are too large – they are truncated on the right side so I can't see the complete statement.
Update your Microsoft Explorer view configuration by selecting 'View' on the top toolbar, then 'Text Size', and select a smaller text size.
8. How do I exit the e-File program without completing the final certification step? I don't have time to complete the entire form right now.
Save your changes, and select 'log off' from the top center of your e-File screen. The next time you log in to e-File, you can continue at the last uncompleted step.
9. How do I know that Assessor Recorder’s Office received my rendition?
You should receive the confirmation number after you press the submit button. Please keep this for your record. If you do not see the confirmation number at the end that means your e-File statement is not yet successfully submitted. Please go back and resubmit it again.
10. What is the deadline for amending a Business Property Statement using e-File?
You cannot amend a Business Property Statement using e-File once you have already completed ‘Step 5: Certification’.
11. I've completed the certification of my Business Property Statement and now realize that I need to amend the statement. What should I do?
You will need to make your changes on a hardcopy (paper copy) of the 571-L form and mail the form to the Business Personal Property Division, 1155 Market Street, Room 500, San Francisco, CA 94103. Please indicate this is an AMENDED COPY to the statement that was submitted through e-File. Pursuant to California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 441(i)
, statements may be amended without penalty until May 31st.
12. I completed my Business Property Statement, but forgot to print a copy. Can I still print a copy of my statement?
Yes, you can view and print a copy of your certified statement at any time by selecting 'VIEW STATEMENT' from the main screen.
13. What is the due date for the Business Property Statement?
The due date for filing the Business Property Statement is April 1st.
14. What is the last date to file the Business Property Statement without a penalty?
The due date for filing the Business Property Statement is April 1st. A 30-day extension until May 1st may be granted for reasonable cause. The request for extension must be made in writing, preferably on company letterhead, and addressed to Carmen Chu, Assessor-Recorder, Business Personal Property Division, 1155 Market Street., Room 500, San Francisco, CA 94103. You may also fax it to (415) 554-5544, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate your account number, if any, your name, title, phone no., and email address. Any property statement filed or postmarked after May 7th will have a 10% penalty added to the assessment (Revenue & Taxation Code 441 (b) & 463).
15. What is the last date to electronically file the Business Property Statement?
The due date for filing the Business Property Statement is April 1st. A 10% penalty will be added to the assessment for all statements electronically filed after May 7th. For taxpayers' convenience, the e-File site will allow a taxpayer with privileges to access and file their statements electronically until May 17th (again, a 10% penalty will be added to the assessment for all statements electronically filed after May 7th). Thereafter, the site will become unavailable for filing statements, and you must file by paper copy.
16. What if the Business Property Statement is filed after the filing date?
If the Business Property Statement is filed after May 7th, a 10% penalty will be added to the assessment.
17. How can I get a copy of my prior year's 571-L Business Property Statement?
To receive a hardcopy of your prior year's valuation/statement, the request must be made in writing, preferably on company letterhead, specifying the year you are requesting, address to Carmen Chu, Assessor-Recorder, Business Personal Property Division, 1155 Market Street, Room 500, San Francisco, CA 94103, or may be faxed to (415) 554-5544 or e-mail email@example.com. If you are an agent of a taxpayer, include an authorization letter from the business owner. If you filed your business property statement using e-File last year, you can print copies of previous statements by selecting 'VIEW STATEMENT' from the main screen and selecting the prior year if you used our e-File system in previous years.
18. How is the assessed value determined?
Assessment begins with the cost of the asset, including sales tax, freight and installation. The Assessor applies a depreciation factor to the asset cost and this becomes the assessed value. The depreciation factor is based on the expected economic life of the asset, and is different from the depreciation schedule used by tax accountants.
19. If the Business Property Statement is not filed, how will my business' assessed value be determined?
If you do not file a 571-L Business Property Statement, the Assessor's Office, directed by state law, will arbitrarily determine an assessable value. In addition, a 10% penalty for failure to file will be added to your assessment (R&T Code, Sections 441, 463 and 501).
20. How much will my taxes be?
Applying the 2013 tax rate of 1.1691% will give a conservative estimate of what the actual tax liability will be. Proposition 13 established a tax rate of 1% of the value of assessable property. San Francisco tax rate is determined by the Board of Supervisors, based on property assessed value and bond measures passed by San Francisco voters. For example, if the business depreciated assessed value is $125,000 the property taxes on the business assets will be approximately $1,462.
21. When will I receive my bill?
When you file your business property statement in a timely manner, you should receive your business tax bill by the end of July. Payment is due on or before August 31st, and becomes delinquent after that date and will be subject to penalties and interest for late payment imposed by the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector. If the owner of the business also owns the building in which the business resides, the business property tax will be included with the secured property tax bill. The secured tax bill is sent out in October with the first installment due by November 1st.
22. What if I don't agree with the value on my tax bill; can I dispute it?
The value can be corrected if a clerical or administrative error was made. If that's the case, first contact the Business Personal Property Division of the Assessor's office to speak to an auditor to understand how to go about correcting the error, by calling (415) 554-5531 during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST. However, if the disagreement is a matter of valuation, then you must file an "Application for Changed Assessment" with the Assessment Appeals Board no later than September 15th for the regular tax bill. Their telephone number is (415) 554-6778. Pay the bill first to avoid late payment penalties (if it cannot be cleared by August 31st ). A refund will be issued if the Appeals Board rules in your favor.
23. Is my Business Property Statement confidential?
Yes, by law the Business Property Statement is a confidential document. It is not a public document and will be held confidential by the Assessor.
24. I was not open for business on January 1. Do I still have to complete the statement?
Yes. A business does not have to be opened for its taxable personal property to be subject to assessment. For example, let's presume that on the lien date, January 1, a new pizza parlor is under construction and nearly ready for its grand opening. Even though the pizza parlor was not open for business on the lien date, taxable business personal property (such as furniture, ovens and supplies) was in the owner's possession on the lien date and the Assessor is required to assess it.
25. I went out of business prior to January 1. Do I still have to complete the statement?
Yes, make a notation in the 'Remarks' section when you file your statement the status (closed or sold) of your business including the date the status change took place. Please indicate the disposition of the equipment, if closed, or the name of the buyer, if sold. Make sure to complete Step 5: Certification to complete the filing.
26. I went out of business after January 1st. Do I need to complete the Business Property Statement?
Yes. The law specifies that all taxable personal property must be assessed as of specific point in time, and that point is precisely at 12:01 A.M. January 1 (regardless of what transpires after that date). Even if closed shortly after the lien date (January 1), a business must still file a Business Property Statement.
27. My business has moved to a new location within San Francisco City and County. Can I still e-File?
If you have moved your business within San Francisco City and County, you are not allowed to use the e-File.
If you have the hardcopy of the 571-L form, use the form to file your return. Put a line through the old location, including the mailing address if applicable, and write the new address next to it.
If you received the Notice to e-File a Business Property Statement Form 571-L letter, send your request for a hardcopy of the 571-L form, along with a copy of the said letter mentioning that you moved, to Business Personal Property Division by fax (415) 554-5544 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mail the completed forms to: Business Personal Property Division, 1155 Market Street, Room 500, San Francisco, CA 94103.
28. My business has moved to a new location outside of San Francisco City and County. Can I still e-File?
If you have moved out of San Francisco City and County, you are not allowed to use the e-File.
Please indicate on the hardcopy 571-L form or Notice to e-File a Business Property Statement Form 571-L letter that you have moved outside of the county and provide an updated mailing address. Mail the completed forms back to: Business Personal Property Division, 1155 Market Street, Room 500, San Francisco, CA 94103. Please contact the new county to request a Business Property form from them.
29. Are non-profit organizations required to file the Business Property Statement?
Yes, the filing laws apply to non-profit organizations. Nonprofit organizations may, however, qualify for property tax exemptions. For more information, please contact the Exemptions Division of the Assessor's Office by alpha assignment. If the assessee's name begins with A through M, please call (415) 554-5658; and N through Z, call (415) 554-5584.
30. What is a supply item?
Any items that are used in the normal operation of the business and are not intended for sale or lease on the lien date. Examples of assessable supply items include stationery and office supplies, chemicals, and precious metals used to produce a chemical or physical reaction, janitorial and lavatory supplies, fuel, and sandpaper. If you are a manufacturer, supplies do not include anything that becomes part of the finished product. You should report the cost of the supplies on hand, recorded during a physical inventory, as of 12:01 a.m., January 1st. An estimated cost can be used if physical inventory is not available.
31. How do I report disposals?
If you disposed of business personal property before 12:00 a.m., January 1st, then do not report it. Exclude the original cost of the disposed property from its year of acquisition. For example, in 2012, you reported a $2,000 computer you acquired in 2005 then sold prior to January 1st, 2013. In this year's filing (2013), you should exclude the $2,000 cost from the cost reported for the 2005 year of acquisition. Do not report negative costs in 2012 or deduct it from 2012 year of acquisition.
If you disposed of leasehold improvement, structure or fixture, ‘Supplemental Schedule for Reporting Monthly Acquisitions and Disposals of Property Reported on Schedule B’ should be completed by clicking on the amount under the ‘Un-reported Change’ column, under the ‘Schedule B Cost Detail’. Information on the disposed improvements should include the disposal date, method of disposal (transfer, scrapped, abandoned, sold, etc.) and name and addresses of purchasers when items are either sold or transferred.
32. Is there any property that is exempt or that I do not have to report on my Business Property Statement?
The following are some common exempt items that should not be reported:
· Business Inventory (Revenue & Taxation Code 129)
· Application Software (Property Tax Rule 152)
· Licensed Motor Vehicles (R&T Code 10751)
· First $50,000 of Employee-owned Hand Tools (R&T Code 241)