About Business Property Assessments
Unlike real property, business personal property is appraised annually.
The Business Personal Property Division (BPP) of the Office of the Assessor-Recorder is responsible for assessing all unsecured property owned by businesses located in the City and County of San Francisco and conducts business audits mandated by the State. Business Personal Property includes items like machinery, equipment, fixtures, and leasehold improvement held or used in connection with a trade or business. Unlike Real Property, Business Personal Property taxes are based on information provided to the Office of the Assessor-Recorder on an annual basis. Business Personal Property is reassessed annually because businesses may have acquired new or disposed of existing personal property during the course of the year.
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.
The State Constitution indicates that all property is subject to property tax unless otherwise exempt. Failure to file the Business Property Statement (Form 571-L) will subject business owners to an arbitrary assessment plus a 10% penalty.
Assessment begins with the cost of the asset, including sales tax, freight and installation per filed Business Property Statement (Form 571-L). The Assessor applies a valuation factors (for reference, please see the Business Factor Table) to the cost of the asset to arrive at the assessed value.
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. For more information, call (415) 554-5531.
The Assessor-Recorder’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).
What if I disagree with my 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. at (415) 554-5531, or in person at 1155 Market Street, Fifth Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103, from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. 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.
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: 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. 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 to avoid late payment penalties; a refund will be issued if the Assessment Appeals Board rules in your favor.