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Assessed Roll Value Reaches Record $312 Billion Taxable Value; $19.4 Billion in Tax Exemptions 

 

For Immediate Release 

Date: April 13, 2022 

Contact: Adam Mehis, 415-554-5502    

***PRESS RELEASE*** 

 

SAN FRANCISCO, CAToday, City and County of San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Joaquín Torres released the 2020-2021 Annual Report for the Office of the Assessor-Recorder, which provides overall roll growth and value changes of San Francisco’s real and personal property. Even during a time of unprecedented challenges affecting our economy and workforce, the total net assessment roll value for the City and County of San Francisco for 2021-2022, including all real and business property, grew by $12.5 billion to a record $312 billion, a 4.1 percent increase over the prior year. The assessment roll includes over $19 billion in tax exemptions and approximately $3 billion in temporary decline-in-value reductions to reflect value changes as of the lien date on January 1, 2021. 

 

The 2021 Annual Report is available online at http://sfassessor.org/news-information/annual-reports 

 

Successfully completing our core property-related tax and assessment functions is especially important during these past two years when San Franciscans counted on the City to retain jobs, support small businesses, provide public health and safety for all San Francisco residents, and fund new programs that respond to the diverse and immediate needs of our city, said Assessor-Recorder Joaquín Torres.  I’m proud of the resilience and commitment my office has shown as we continue to outperform budgeted levels of value and contribute to San Francisco’s first budget surplus in over 20 years. 

 

The work of the Assessor-Recorder's Office in fiscal year 2020-2021 is responsible for generating $4 billion for fundamental services. San Francisco’s economic growth, and the revenue derived from it, relies heavily on changes to business, tourism, real estate, and employment activities, all of which were impacted by the pandemic. While much of the City’s sales and tourism tax revenues fell sharply, San Francisco’s commercial and residential property values and the real estate market remained relatively steady. The strength of San Francisco’s real estate resulted in a growth to the assessment roll totaling $312 billion which is expected to generate $3.7 billion in property tax revenues. Additionally, the Recorder division collected over $345 million in real property transfer tax revenues which when combined with property tax revenues provides a solid foundation of $4 billion in support of city services.  

 

The 2020-2021 Annual Report provides an overview of the Office of the Assessor-Recorder's work highlighting the year’s achievements, new technology launches, and innovative programs. The report is broken down into categories: Explanation of Property Tax Basics and our Property Tax System, Property Tax Savings, Roll Growth, Temporary Reductions in Assessments, Real Estate Transactions & Transfer Tax, Business Personal Property, and more. The report provides a progress update on the office’s major technology project that will modernize our property assessment system. The report also highlights our efforts that pursue and advance racial equity. 

 

Here are a few highlights from the report: 

 

Roll Growth  

In June 2021, staff from the office closed the roll on-time for the third year since clearing an historically large backlog. The growth of San Francisco’s secured assessment roll is due to three major factors: 1) an annual inflation factor - capped at 2%, 2) any changes to individual base year property value assessments triggered by changes in ownership, and 3) triggered by new construction. The total net assessed value of taxable property was approximately $312 billion.  

 

For 2021-22, California’s consumer price index grew by 1.04% contributing to 27.3% of the roll’s total net value. Assessment value growth attributed to the changes in ownership accounts for 23.2%, and new construction 49.5% of the roll. Since fiscal year 2016-17, the total assessed roll value increased by 51%. General Fund property tax revenues are expected to grow to $2.12 billion in FY 2021-22. 

 

Temporary Reductions – Informal Reviews and Proposition 8 Decline-in-Value 

The 2021-22 roll reflects assessed values of all real and business property as of January 1, 2021. Our office saw some property valuation changes resulting in temporary declines in real estate values in San Francisco. The proactive work of our office in FY202-21 lead to the temporary reduction of approximately $2.9 billion in value for over 8,300 properties for the 2021-2022 taxable roll. 

 

Exemptions 

Exemptions reduce the taxable value of property that leads to discounts on property taxes. Over the past five years, we have seen an increase in exemptions rise from $8 billion to $19.4 billion. 

 

Transfer Tax 

Transfer tax is collected when land or real property is transferred from an individual or entity to another reflecting a change in ownership. The transfer tax amount is based on the purchase price, or fair market value, of the transaction. In fiscal year 2020-2021, $345 million in transfer tax was collected. Total revenues include $319 million from real estate transactions during the fiscal year, and $26 million collected from the Transfer Tax Audit program. The Transfer Tax Audit program monitors high value transaction to ensure entities that are not underreporting their transfer tax obligations. Since 2015, the Recorder division has recovered $71 million through the audit program.  

 

Modernizing Technology - SMART Phase 1.0 

In FY 2020-21, the office launched Phase 1.0 of our multi-year systems modernization project, System for Managing Assessment, Records, and Transactions (SMART). The updated system will improve property data collection, accuracy, security and integrity; provide additional transparency; enhance efficiency and customer service; and allow for more efficient collection and processing of annual property tax revenues. We are on track to deliver Phase 2.0 in early 2023.

 

Community Engagement 

In 2020-2021, the office partnered with community organizations and service providers to engage with the community both online and in-person. The office held virtual forums to share updates on new state laws such as Proposition 19 and continued focused outreach and education on the benefits of estate planning and tax savings programs, particularly for communities of color. 

 

Racial Equity 

In 2020, the department recruited a Core Team of staff to develop Phase I of the Racial Equity Action Plan. Phase I of the Plan identifies specific objectives and action items to address race and equity disparities that may exist within our operations. The office will continue to expand recruitment efforts to reach non-traditional applicants and support professional development for all staff. This action plan will be a living document that continues to grow and evolve to reflect the full commitment, experiences, aspirations and practices of the team.  Read more about the plan at https://sfassessor.org/about-us/our-mission  

 

In the coming year, our office will implement a new state law that speaks to San Francisco's history of segregation and exclusion toward people of color. The implementation of AB 1466 will ensure that racist covenants are removed from recorded documents while acknowledging past wrongs that hindered communities of color from economic advancement and wealth generation. 

 

The 2021 Annual Report is available online at http://sfassessor.org/news-information/annual-reports 

 

 

 

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Pub Date: 
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Contact: 

City Hall Office:
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place Room 190
San Francisco, CA 94102-4698
Tel: (415) 554-5502