On Monday, April 29, the Office of the Assessor-Recorder will transition to a new main office phone number, 628-652-8100. For the 12 months following this transition, constituents who call the Office’s prior phone number will automatically be transferred to our new line. As part of this transition, the Office is instituting key upgrades to improve the experience that San Franciscans have when calling us. To learn more, click here.

Business property owners must file a property statement each year detailing the acquisition cost of all supplies, equipment, fixtures, and improvements owned at each location within the City and County of San Francisco. 

Starting in 2021, taxpayers can use our new e-file portal to file statements: 571-L (business), 571-R (apartment), 571-STR (short term rental), and 576-D (vessel).  Please refer to your annual notice for account/property numbers and access pin for ease of on-line filing.

All lessors are required to report equipment out on lease in the City & County of San Francisco, regardless of any assigned tax responsibilities. All leased equipment including leases to public utilities, leases to public schools and free museums, and leases to other educational or charitable institutions must be reported.

Per Revenue & Taxation Code, Section 441, you must file a statement if…

  1. The Assessor’s Office has sent you one of the two documents: (1) Notice of Requirement to File Business Property Statement; and OR
  2. You have taxable business property with a total cost of $100,000 or more, located within the City and County as of January 1 of each year, even if the Assessor’s Office did not send you one of the above notices; OR
  3. If you have not filed a Form 571-L in past years because you were on Direct Billing (assessed based on existing information in our files), you will receive a notice to file Form 571-L this year because State Law requires a periodic update of Direct Bill accounts. Please file a Form 571-L to reaffirm your business’ assessed value has stayed the same, or to reflect changes that have taken place resulting in increases or decreases in value of your business property.

To file your Form for Business Personal Property (includes apartments, short-term rentals, and vessels), please visit our Business Property Statement E-file page.  For more information on how to download and print hard copies of the Form for Business Property Statement, please go to the User's Guide and FAQ and also use our Taxpayer Help Pages at http://www.sfassessor.org/Taxpayer_Help_Pages

Please note that the Assessor-Recorder's Office no longer mails the Form for Business Property Statement. If you have any questions, please contact us at (628) 652-8100 or askbpp@sfgov.org.

If you are a lessor, our office prefers to collect reporting data on all leased equipment (Form 571-L, Part II, Equipment Out on Lease or Rent to Others) in electronic format. If you have any questions, please contact us at (628) 652-8100 or askle@sfgov.org.

Failure to file the property statement will result in the Assessor’s Office estimating the value of your business property and adding a 10% penalty to the assessment (R&T Code, Sections 441, 463, and 501).
The property statement is a means for you to declare all your taxable business property located within the City and County on the lien date, January 1, (the day that taxes became a lien on the property and/or its owners), and is used to assist the Assessor-Recorder in determining the value of taxable for assessment purposes. All machinery, office furniture and equipment, fixtures, construction in progress and leasehold improvement held or used in connection with a trade or business are taxable business property.

You will receive one of the following documents: (1) Notice of Requirement to File, (2)  Direct Bill Notice, and (3) Low Value Exemption. Account # and Online PIN # are printed on the Notice. Please use to file on line using our E-file tool located at our website.

Per Revenue and Taxation Code, Section 441, you must file a business personal property (BPP) statement if:

a)   The Assessor’s Office has sent you Notice of Requirement to File for Business Property Statement.

    OR

b) You have taxable business property with a total cost of $100,000 or more, located within the City and County as of January 1st of each year, even if the Assessor’s Office did not send, or request you to file a Business Property Statement;

    OR

c) If you have not filed a Form 571-L in past years because you were on Direct Billing (assessed based on existing information in our files), you will receive a notice to file Form 571-L this year because State Law requires a periodic update of Direct Bill accounts. Please file a Form 571-L to reaffirm your business’ assessed value has stayed the same, or to reflect changes that have taken place resulting in increases or decreases in value of your business property.

Use this easy guide to BPP reportable assets

http://www.sfassessor.org/sites/default/files/uploaded/ASR_Factsheet_BusinessPersonalProperty_English_2022.pdf

Failure to file the Business Property Statement will result in the Assessor-Recorder’s Office estimating the value of your business property and adding a 10% penalty to the assessment (R&T Code, Sections 441, 463 and 501). Additionally, upon discovery, we are required by law to go back and impose the tax on your business, in arrears for 4 years, plus penalties and interests.
 
The following are some common exempt items that should not be reported: • Business Inventory (Revenue and 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)

The due date for filing the Business Property Statement is April 1st (If this day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, property statement postmarked on the next business day will be considered timely filed).

The last day to file the Form for Business Property Statement without a penalty is May 7th – postmarked (If this day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, property statement that is postmarked on the next business day will be considered timely filed). Pursuant to California Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 441 (b) & 463, if a business fails to file the Form 571-L Business Property Statement or it is filed late, a 10% penalty will be added to the assessment.

Lien Date.  Every taxing entity wants to make clear who has the responsibility for paying property taxes on real and personal property. California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 117 says the “lien date is the time when taxes for any fiscal year become a lien on property.” The owner of the property on a certain date and time has that responsibility. The owners on the lien date are shown as the roll assessee on tax bills issued after that lien date until tax bills are issued after the next lien date. The word lien relates back to the Latin verb ligare meaning “to tie or bind” and entered the English language from the medieval French noun meaning a “band or tie.” Thus placing a lien against someone or their property is a way of “binding” that property to show an obligation owed by that owner to the person who holds the lien. In this case, the obligation is to pay the taxes and the “person” who holds the lien is the taxing entity. January 1 at 12:01 AM is the current lien date in California.

Unsecured property taxes on boats, aircraft, unsecured business property, and possessory interests are usually not prorated when there is a transfer. Thus, someone who sells a boat in February that they owned on January 1 is still responsible for the property taxes for the fiscal year beginning July 1 after that February and running through June 30 of the next calendar year. Persons who sell their boat or aircraft between January 1 and when the bill comes out should collect the expected amount of taxes from the buyer. The reverse happens if someone buys a boat or aircraft after January 1. They will not receive a regular bill until July following the next January after their purchase.

Secured property taxes on real property such as land, homes, commercial/industrial structures, and ranches/vineyards are usually prorated in escrow as of the date of the transfer. The lien date does not make a significant impact on these transactions. The lien date is important, however, because decline in value reviews are made as of the lien date which sets the value for the coming tax year.

In short, unlike real property, business personal property is appraised annually. Owners of all businesses must file a business property statement each year with the Assessor’s Office detailing the cost of all their supplies, equipment, and fixtures at each location. This is required unless the Assessor’s Office has already established the value of the business property and sent out a notification of “direct billing” or “low value exemption”. Business inventory is exempt from taxation.

No, you do not need to file the Form, but you do need to notify the Assessor's office that the business has closed and the closing date.  If this is not done, the Assessor may not be aware of that fact, and may continue to assess the property despite its true circumstance.

Yes. The law specifies that all taxable personal property must be assessed as of a specific point in time, and that point is precisely at 12:01 a.m. January 1st (regardless of what transpires after that date). Even if closed shortly after the lien date (January 1st), a business must still file a Form 571-L Business Property Statement.

If you have moved within the City and County of San Francisco, line through the old location on your Business Property Statement, including the mailing address, if applicable, and write your new address above the old one.

If you moved out to another county before January 1st, make a notation on the statement that you have moved outside of the county. Mail the statement to the address indicated on the form and contact the new county to request a Business Property Statement.

Yes, indicate on the 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, then sign the front page and mail it to the Assessor’s Office.

Yes. Please send your written request, on company’s letterhead with an authorized signature. Include the Account number, ownership name, DBA, mailing address, and location of the property. Specify the year you are requesting, and mail it to the Business Personal Property Division, 1155 Market Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103, or fax to (415) 554-5544, or e-mail as an attachment to askbpp@sfgov.org. If you are an agent of a taxpayer, an authorization letter from the business owner is required.

Yes. You are required to report this information in Part III of the statement so that the Assessor can properly locate and assess the actual owner of the equipment. However, if you own any small equipment, such as printer, copier, supplies, etc., which you are using in the business you need to report these costs under Part II of the statement.
The owner or an authorized agent can sign the statement. When signed by an agent or employee other than a member of the bar, a certified public accountant, enrolled agent or a duly appointed fiduciary, the assessee’s written authorization of the agent or employee to sign must be filed with the Assessor. The signature on the authorization must be an original, not a fax copy. In the case of a corporate assessee, the statement must be signed by an officer or by an employee or agent whom the board of directors has designated in writing. A property statement that is not duly signed in accordance with the foregoing instructions does not constitute a valid filing and may be subject to the 10% failure to file penalty.
You will have to resubmit or file a new statement with all the preprinted identification that was on the initial statement. Please indicate this is an “AMENDED COPY” to the statement that was submitted previously. You may call the Business Division at (415) 554-5531 and ask for another statement, if necessary. Statements that were initially filed on time may be amended without penalty until May 31st (R&T Code, Sec. 441 (i)).

For lien year 2024, it is 1.1777%, and the Office of Treasurer & Tax Collector will mail tax bills for unsecured property to taxpayers in July 2024, and payments will be due by August 31, 2024, which is per CA law, § 2922 Rev. & Tax. Code, https://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/calendar.htm

When you file your business property statement in a timely manner, you should receive your 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. If the business owner also owns the building in which the business resides, the business property tax will be included with the secured tax bill. The secured tax bill is sent by the end of October with the 1st installment due by November 1st. Although the assessment is the responsibility of the Assessor, the tax bills are the responsibility of the Tax Collector’s Office. The assessor can handle any questions related to how your tax bill was determined. Questions related to billing and payment of bills should be directed to the Tax Collector’s Office. The Tax Collector’s website is  www.sftreasurer.org

Whenever a taxpayer has a question re unsecured property tax bill related to an assessment, they should always contact Assessor Recorder at askBPP@sfgov.org or call us at 415.554.5531 or visit us at City Hall, room 190, for the Assessor Recorder.

There could be various reasons why an unsecured tax bill may have increased from prior year, and this list includes

- leasehold improvements acquired after 2012 appreciate in value per Proposition 13 (unlike most other unsecured property assets which depreciate in value).

- penalty of 10% per R&T code, section 463, was added to the unsecured property assessment because the taxpayer was required to file but did not, or filed late after the due date.

- estimated value per R&T code, section 501, was the basis of the unsecured property assessment because the taxpayer was required to file but did not, and so appraisal judgement was used to assess estimated value.

- additional assets relating to business personal property were acquired since prior year.

- tax rate may have increased since prior year.


 

What if I disagree with my regular assessment?

If you disagree with an assessment made by the Assessor, we recommend you first discuss it with an Auditor-Appraiser at the Assessor's Office. An Auditor-Appraiser is available Monday through Friday, 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. via e-mail at askbpp@sfgov.org or call us at (415) 554-5531.  Whether or not you discuss the matter with the Assessor, you also have the right to file an assessment appeal with the Assessment Appeals Board. The Appeals Board is an independent agency representing the Board of Supervisors and is not connected with, nor is it under the control of, the Assessor's Office, and Burden of Proof is requirement per CA law, https://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/pdf/rules/Rule321.pdf

If I file an appeal do I still have to pay the property tax bill?
Yes. Filing an appeal does not exempt you from paying your property taxes as due because the assessment of your property is deemed correct until a change is made by the Assessment Appeals Board.

How do I file an Application for Changed Assessment?
An application must be filed, in writing with the Assessment Appeals Board at 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl., City Hall, Rm #405, San Francisco, CA 94102. You may request an application by calling the Assessment Appeals Board Clerk at 415-554-6778 or by mail at that address. The Assessment Appeals website is: https://www.sfgov.org/aab

When can I file an “Application for Changed Assessment”?
The normal filing period for filing an Application for Changed Assessment is July 2 to September 15th of the current fiscal year per CA law, https://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/pdf/filingperiods.pdf

The filing period applies to any assessment produced for the annual assessment roll. If a bill for an assessment roll is mailed to you after the normal filing period has expired, the filing period is extended and you must then file an application within 60 days of the date of mailing of that tax bill.

Even if you file an appeal, you must still pay the bill by August 31st of the current fiscal year to avoid late payment penalties; a refund will be issued if the Assessment Appeals Board rules in your favor.  August 31 due date for payments is per CA law, § 2922 Rev. & Tax. Code, https://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/calendar.htm