Form 571-L Business Property Statement Manual

CARMEN CHU
ASSESSOR-RECORDER
SAN FRANCISCO
OFFICE OF THE ASSESSOR-RECORDER
Form 571-L
Business Property Statement
Manual
Prepared by:
Business Personal Property
1155 Market St., 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel: (415) 554-5531
Fax: (415) 554-5544
www.sfasr.org
[email protected]
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Overview for Filing a Business Property Statement .................................................................. 2
II. Filing a Form 571-L Electronically (e-File) .............................................................................. 6
II (A). E-File User’s Guide (Instructions for Electronic Filing) .............................................................. 7
II (B). E-File Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) ............................................................................... 40
III. Filing a Form 571-L Paper Document ................................................................................... 49
III (A). File by Mail User’s Guide (Download, Print, Complete, Sign & Mail) .................................... 49
III (B). Instructions for Filing the Form 571-L ...................................................................................... 55
V. General Business Personal Property Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) .......................... 60
IV (A).
Apartment House Property Taxation Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) ........................... 67
V. Filing Through the Standard Data Record (SDR) System ...................................................... 69
V (A). E-File and SDR Capabilities Overview ...................................................................................... 70
VI. Contact Information ............................................................................................................... 71
VII. Appendix .............................................................................................................................. 72
Form 571-L Business Property Statement .............................................................................................. 73
Form 571-D Supplemental Schedule ...................................................................................................... 76
Form 571-L Alternate Schedule A .......................................................................................................... 78
Form 571-R Apartment House Property Statement ................................................................................ 79
New Business Registration Form............................................................................................................ 81
Request for Address and Other Changes Form ....................................................................................... 82
Request for Copies of Property Statements (Form 571-L) and Other Documents Form ........................ 83
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Overview for Filing a
Business Property
Statement
I
I. OVERVIEW FOR FILING A BUSINESS PROPERTY STATEMENT
Purpose
This user-friendly reference guide will provide an overview of the statutory requirements,
answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and provide step-by-step instructions for
filing the business property statements. The guide is divided into Seven sections –
Overview for Filing a Business Property Statement, Filing a Form 571-L Electronically
(e-File), Filing a Form 571-L Paper Document, General Business Personal Property
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Filing through the Standard Data Record (SDR)
System, Contact Information, and Appendix with samples of common forms relating to
filing a business property statement.
Why are you taxing my business assets?
The State Constitution says all property is subject to property tax unless otherwise
exempt. Homeowners are familiar with the property taxes on their home. The assets of a
business are also subject to assessment and taxation.
What is Business Personal Property?
Business Property is any tangible property owned, claimed, used, possessed, managed or
controlled in the conduct of a trade or business. This includes all machinery, fixtures,
office furniture and equipment. In general, business personal property is all property
owned or leased by a business except licensed vehicles, business inventory, intangible
assets or application software.
Examples of business property that would be assessed as personal property would
include, but is not limited to:
 Operating Supplies
 Machinery & Equipment
 Office Furniture
 Copiers and Fax Machines
 Telephones
 Computers
 Restaurant Equipment
 Cameras
 Printing Equipment
 Leasehold Fixtures
 Leasehold Structures (Tenant Improvement)
In essence, Business Personal Property is all property used in the course of doing
business that is not exempt.
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What personal property is exempt?
Personal Property is and can be exempt by reason of its ownership, use and/or type.
Types of property that are exempt:
 Business Inventories held for sale or lease
 DMV licensed vehicles
 Application software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)
 Fire suppression systems
 Solar panels
Equipment owned by banks and financial institutions and insurance companies are
exempt by ownership, while churches, public libraries and schools are exempt by use.
Who is required to file the Form 571-L?
Per Revenue and Taxation Code, Section 441, you must file a statement if:
a) The Assessor’s Office has sent you a Notice of Requirement to File 2015 Form 571-L
Business Property Statement, OR
b) You have taxable business property with a total cost of $100,000 or more, located in
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 records), you will receive a Notice of
Requirement to File 2015 Form 571-L Business Property Statement 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.
Failure to complete and return 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). 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 (R&T Code Sections 506, 531, and 531.3).
We encourage you to e-File (electronic filing) using your business Account # and
Online PIN # which are pre-printed on the top right of your Notice of Requirement to
File 2015 Form 571-L Business Property Statement. If you would prefer to file the
traditional way, you must download and print a hard copy using your business
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Account # and Online PIN #. Both options can be accessed from our website,
www.sfasr.org/efile. For more information, please refer to Part II - Filing a Form 571L Electronically (e-File).
What is the “lien date”?
The lien date is January 1st 12:01 a.m. every year. All personal property costs are to
be reported or declared as of that date. Since the lien date is 12:01 a.m., you will
report all personal property in your possession as of December 31st of the previous
calendar year. For example, if the lien date is January 1st, 2015, then you would report
all personal property in your possession as of December 31st, 2014.
Why am I getting a Notice of Requirement to File 2015 Form 571-L, I am no longer in
business?
Even though you are no longer in business, or moved out of this location as of lien
date January 1st, and you received a Notice of Requirement to File 2015 Form 571-L,
you are required by law to respond to this Notice.
When are the filing deadlines?
All property statements are due April 1st annually. The statements are accepted as
timely filed until May 7th at 5:00 p.m. When mailed through the post office the forms
are required to be postmarked May 7th. For your protection, it is helpful to get a
postage paid receipt for the statements mailed on the deadline day or close to that day.
This will help eliminate the possibility of receiving a late filing penalty, because you
will have proof of the date it was mailed. For statements filed electronically, the
May 7th deadline also applies.
What if I file after May 7th?
May 7th is the last day to file without incurring a penalty. Section 463 of the Revenue
and Taxation Code states “that any person who is required by law or is requested by
the assessor to make an annual property statement fails to file the business property
statement within the time specified, will be subject to a penalty of 10% of the
assessed value of the property”.
What if I do not file at all?
The penalty for not filing the business property statement is also 10% of the assessed
value. However, the assessor is also allowed by law to estimate the value of the
property based on the information in his possession. This generally is based on the
prior year’s filing, or a site inspection of the business at the physical location.
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What information is needed?
The most useful item to aid in completing the Form 571-L is an accurate and up to
date asset listing. This list should include:
 The date of acquisition of the equipment
 The total cost (purchase price plus sales tax, freight and installation charges)
 Location of the equipment if you have multiple locations
 Disposal dates of equipment removed
Other records that could be helpful in completing the Form 571-L are the California
State Tax Depreciation Schedule-form 4562, General Ledger, Balance Sheet and
Income Statement. Some business owners may have purchased an existing business.
The information needed in this situation would be the purchase agreement or the
escrow papers that would show the breakdown of the equipment, fixtures and
leasehold improvement acquired through the purchase of the business.
Confidentiality
The Form 571-L is not a public document. Therefore, the information declared on the
Form will be held confidential by the assessor.
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Filing a Form 571-L
Electronically (e-File)
II
II. FILING A FORM 571-L ELECTRONICALLY (E-FILE)
This year, the Assessor’s Office is no longer mailing paper copies of the Form 571-L and
attachments. Instead we are simplifying the process by providing you with an option to file
directly online.
We mailed out several types of Notices, along with the assigned Account # and Online Personal
Identification Number (PIN). By using the Account # and Online PIN # provided, you can meet
your filing requirements by submitting a completed statement online, or by downloading,
printing, and returning a completed statement to our office. We strongly encourage you to file
your Form 571-L electronically using e-File system.
The online portal, www.sfasr.org/efile, will begin accepting online statements beginning
Tuesday, February 17th, 2015. When logging in, enter the Account # and Online PIN #. The
Account # and Online PIN are unique to your business and provides secure access to your
statement, guards your confidential information and protects your privacy. Please remember that
the PIN is case sensitive.
There are many benefits of e-Filing. E-File is a free online application that allows businesses to
quickly and securely file the 2015 Form 571-L via the internet. No new software is needed to eFile. Businesses are allowed to save the statement in progress and complete it at a later time. EFiling allows businesses to receive an immediate online confirmation once a statement is
submitted. If you do not see the confirmation number after submitting, it means that your e-File
statement is incomplete and did not go through. Please go back and resubmit it. In addition, once
a business has e-Filed, the Form 571-L statements are stored online, allowing businesses the
ability to retrieve, view and print prior year e-Filed statements.
The e-File PIN is only good for this year, 2015, and is non-transferable. If you have multiple
business locations, but only received notices to file in some of the locations, please call our
office at (415) 554-5531 for assignment of additional Account # and Online PIN #.
We will not issue your Online PIN # by phone, fax, or e-mail. In case you misplaced or lost your
PIN, 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, to the Business Personal Property Division by fax (415) 554-5544, or e-mail as an
attachment to [email protected] Please note that once we receive this request, the Assessor’s
Office will only mail the Online PIN to the address that we have in our records. 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, an authorization letter from the business owner is required.
For more information, please refer to the e-File Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section. If
you still have any questions, please contact the Business Personal Property Division by sending
an email to [email protected]
Your 2015 Business Property Statement is due by April 1st, 2015. The last day to e-File without
incurring a penalty is May 7th, 2015. The late filing penalty is 10% of the total assessed value.
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II (A). E-FILE USER’S GUIDE (INSTRUCTIONS FOR ELECTRONIC
FILING)
This is a comprehensive user’s guide on how to electronically file (e-File) the Form 571-L
Business Property Statement. It includes a step-by-step instruction with sample screens.
Although the actual screen will show information relating to your business, some data on the
sample screens were blocked to maintain the confidentiality of certain businesses.
The advantages of e-Filing are as follows:
 Accessible: You can access your current and previous years’ e-Filed statements
anytime and anywhere there is an internet connection.
 Accurate: Less mistakes in processing the return, because data is loaded
electronically.
 Convenient: The ability to e-File 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may save your
data anytime and complete your e-Filing later.
 Efficient: Faster than mailing, save on postage and minimize usage of paper.
 Reliable: A confirmation certification indicating the date and time of filing is issued
after the return is submitted.
 Green: Let’s go green together. Use technology, not paper.
 Confidential: Only the owner of the Account # and Online PIN # can view the
statement, and it is not a public document.
 Retrievable: You can view and print prior year statements.
In February 2015, you received one of the following four Notices: (1) Notice of Requirement
to File 2015 Form 571-L Business Property Statement, (2) Notice to e-File 2015 Form 571-L
Business Property Statement, (3) Direct Bill Notice, or (4) Low Value Exemption Notice. The
Account # and Online PIN # printed on the Notice will provide access to your business
account online.
The minimum system requirements are as follows:
 Microsoft Internet Explorer, version 7.0 through 10.0; OR
 Mozilla Firefox, version 3.0 or higher
 Adobe PDF Reader
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I.
FILE 2015 STATEMENT - Go to the San Francisco County Assessor’s e-Filing
website, www.sfasr.org/efile, and click on “FILE 2015 STATEMENT”.
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II.
LOG ON - Enter the Account # and Online PIN # provided on the Notice, and then
click “Submit”. Do not use dashes or spaces when entering the Account #. Note that the
PIN is case sensitive.
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III.
ELECTRONIC FILING - Click “Electronic Filing (E-File Directly Online)” to start
the e-File process.
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IV. QUESTIONNAIRE – The screen below will appear after you click “Electronic Filing”
on the “Welcome” screen. Review if any of the boxes apply to your business. If any of
the boxes apply, check the appropriate box and click “Submit”. Unfortunately, if you
check any of the boxes, you cannot use our e-File system. If none of the boxes apply to
your business, click “Submit” to go to “Step 1 - Ownership Info”.
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There are five major steps: Step 1 - Ownership Info, Step 2 - General Info, Step 3 - Your
Property, Step 4 - Other’s Property, and Step 5 - Certification. The highlighted tab indicates
which step you are in. You can always go back to any step, if you need to make changes, by
clicking the corresponding “STEP” tab, once required fields are completed. If you need to
stop at any point, click “Save” and “Log Off” to exit the system.
STEP 1 – Ownership Information
Review the information and make the necessary changes. To make a minor correction to the
“Location of Property” such as change of street type or spelling of street name, click
“Remarks”. Enter your changes in the “Remarks” window, then click “Save” found in the
“Remarks” window. You are required to update all the fields marked with a red asterisk (*)
before you can go to the next step. Click “Save”, then click “Next” to go to the next screen –
“Step 2 - General Info”.
CLOSED OR SOLD BUSINESS – If your business was closed or sold, click “Remarks”
and enter the following information: 1. the status of your business (closed or sold), 2. date the
status change took place, 3. the disposition of the equipment, if closed, or the name of the
buyer, if sold. Remove all the last year’s cost, which populated in “This Year’s Cost” column
in Steps 3: Your Property, and 4: Others’ Property (if any). Make sure to complete Step 5:
Certification to complete the e-Filing. We will inactivate your old account in our database.
For the new location, we will send you a new “Notice of Requirement to File 2015
Form 571-L Business Property Statement” with a new Account # and Online PIN # for you
to e-File.
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STEP 2 – General Information
Update all the fields marked with a red asterisk (*). These fields are required before you can
go to the next step. Click “Save”, then click “Next” to go to the next screen – “Step 3 - Your
Property”.
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STEP 3 – Your Property
The main screen of Step 3 is the “Declaration of Property Belonging to You”. This screen
shows major business property categories: Supplies, Equipment, Buildings/Improvements,
and Construction in Progress. The Equipment and Buildings/Improvements categories are
linked to sub-categories and cost detail screen. You can change the cost for each subcategory and create a new sub-category (refer to applicable instructions in succeeding pages).
If you have nothing to report, go to Step 4 - Other’s Property.

Supplies – Enter the amount under “This Year’s Cost”.

Equipment – If you have any equipment to report, click “View/Update”. This will bring
you to the “Schedule A: Equipment” screen.

Buildings/Improvements – If you have any leasehold improvement to report, click
“View/Update”. This will bring you to the “Schedule B: Buildings, Building
Improvements, and/or Leasehold Improvements, Land Improvements, Land and Land
Development” screen.

Construction in Progress – If you have any construction in progress to report, click
“View/Update”. This will bring you to the “Construction in Progress Cost Detail” screen.
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Schedule A: Equipment
Schedule A shows the following sub-categories: Machinery and Equipment, Office Furn and
Equipment, Other Equipment, Tools, Personal Computers and Local Area Network.
1. To change the cost for each sub-category, click “View/Update” under the “Operation”
column. This will bring you to the “Schedule A Cost Detail” screen (refer to sample).
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SAMPLE OF COST DETAIL
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2. To create a new category, click “Select New Category” from the drop down menu at the
bottom, or enter a new category on the blank field. Click “Create” to add the new subcategory and to create a new cost detail screen (refer to sample of new cost detail screen).
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SAMPLE OF NEW COST DETAIL
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Schedule B: Buildings, Building Improvements…Land Development
Schedule B shows the following sub-categories: LHI - Structural, LHI - Fixtures, Land
Improvements, and Land & Land Development.
1. To add, delete or change the cost for each category, click “View/Update” under the
“Operation” column. This will bring you to “Schedule B Cost Detail” screen (refer to
sample). Do not enter any negative number. Click “Save”.
2. Any net change needs to be reported on Schedule D. Click the number shown under
“Unreported Change” column. This will bring you to “Supplemental Schedule for
Reporting Monthly Acquisitions and Disposals of Property Reported on Schedule B”
(Schedule D). Enter the following information: Type, Month and Year of Addition or
Disposal, Cost, Description, and Year Acquired. Click “Create” then click “Next”.
3. Tenant Allowances - If you received allowances for tenant improvements, select “Yes”
and indicate the amount. If you need to provide additional information regarding tenant
improvements, click “Remarks”, enter the information and click “Save”.
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Construction in Progress
Under “Construction in Progress Cost Detail” screen, fill out the following information: Year
of Acq., Cost, and Description. Click “Save”, then click “Back”.
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STEP 4 – Other’s Property
The main screen of Step 4 is the “Declaration of Property Belonging to Others”; which
shows 3 sub-categories: Leased Equipment, Vending Equipment, and Other Businesses. You
can create, edit or delete a lessor, a vendor and/or other businesses.
If you have nothing to report on this step, proceed to Step 5 - Certification.
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 Leased Equipment
Click “View/Update/Create” under the “Operation” column. This will bring you to the
“Lessor” screen. To return to the “Declaration of Property Belonging to Others” screen,
click “Back”.
1. To edit or delete an existing lessor or lease information, click “View/Update” under
the “Operation” column. This will bring you to the “Create/Update Lessor Data”
screen. Add or make changes to the leased equipment information. To delete a leased
equipment item, check the box under “Delete” column. Click “Save”, then click
“Back” to return to the “Lessor” screen.
2. To create a new lessor, click “Create Lessor”. This will bring you to the
“Create/Update Lessor Data” screen. Fill out the leased equipment information. Click
“Save”, then click “Back” to return to the “Lessor” screen.
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 Vending Equipment - Follow similar procedure as Leased Equipment.
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 Other Businesses - Follow similar procedure as Leased Equipment.
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STEP 5 – Certification (final step)
This is the “Submit Statement” or “Certification” step of the e-File process. It is strongly
recommended that you review all the existing and new information you submitted/reported
before you start this step. You CANNOT go back to the previous steps once you submit your
statement. To complete the e-File process, do the following:
1. Click “Next” on “Declaration of Property Belonging to Others” screen to start
“Certification” process.
2. Make corrections if the “Certification” screen shows “Certification Incomplete”. You
cannot complete the process unless you address the necessary corrections.
3. Complete declaration section. This section includes Ownership Type and Business
Description, Federal Employer ID number, Preparer Information, and Additional
Information. Save the information by clicking “Save”.
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4. Click “Submit Statement”. A message window will appear with an option to “Review”
or “Submit”. If you click “Review”, a new window will appear showing the unofficial
Form 571-L Business Property Statement. You can print the form for you to review by
clicking “Print”.
5. Click “Submit” to submit your business property statement. A “Certification Complete”
screen will appear that shows your Company Name, Company Account Number,
Confirmation Number, and Date of Submission.
6. Print a “Certification Complete” screen for your records.
Currently, you cannot attach any supporting documents when e-Filing. If you have
supporting documents, please mail them along with a copy of the “Certification Complete”
screen page. By including a copy of the “Certification Complete” screen page allows us to
accurately match your supporting documents to your original e-Filed statement.
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II (B). E-FILE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)
1. I saw a link on your website, 2015 e-File Business Property Statements. Please give me
the Account # and Online PIN #.
You may participate in e-Filing your statement this year if you received, in the mail, one of
the following documents: a NOTICE OF REQUIREMENT TO FILE 2015 FORM 571-L
BUSINESS PROPERTY STATEMENT, or a NOTICE TO E-FILE 2015 FORM 571-L
BUSINESS PROPERTY STATEMENT, or a DIRECT BILL NOTICE, or a LOW VALUE
EXEMPTION NOTICE with an online PIN #, in addition to your account number.
2. I have the personal identification number (PIN) from last year. Can I use it to e-File
this year?
No, you cannot use last year’s PIN to e-File this year. For security reasons, on an annual
basis, your business is assigned a different PIN.
3. I received one of the following documents: (1) Notice of Requirement to File 2015 Form
571-L Business Property Statement, (2) Notice to e-File 2015 Form 571-L Business
Property Statement, (3) Direct Bill Notice, (4) Low Value Exemption Notice. Am I going
to receive a hard copy of the 2015 Form 571-L Business Property Statement?
No, you are not going to receive a hard copy of the 2015 Form 571-L Business Property
Statement. The Notice that you received is in lieu of a hard copy of the statement. Account #
and online PIN # are printed on the Notice. Please use them to either: 1) E-File Directly
Online, or 2) Download, Print, Complete, Sign and Mail your Form 571-L.
4. How can I have a hard copy of the Form 571-L statement mailed to me?
Our office is no longer mailing hard copies of the Form 571-L and attachments. Instead we
are simplifying the process by providing you with an option to file directly online.
Downloading and printing your own Form 571-L is a lot faster and more efficient than
request a hard copy from our office by mail.
5. What are the advantages of e-Filing?


Accessible: You can access your current and previous years’ e-Filed statements anytime
and anywhere there is an internet connection.
Accurate: Less mistakes in processing the return, because data is loaded electronically.
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





Convenient: The ability to e-File 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may save your
data anytime and complete your e-Filing later.
Efficient: Faster than mailing, save on postage and minimize usage of paper.
Reliable: A confirmation certification indicating the date and time of filing is issued after
the return is submitted.
Green: Let’s go green together. Use technology not paper.
Confidential: Only the owner of the Account Number and PIN can view the statement,
and it is not a public document.
Retrievable: You can view and print prior year statements.
6. Businesses not qualified to e-File.







Residential Rental Property (Form 571-R)
Leasing Companies
Financial Institution recognized by the State of California
Insurance Company recognized by the State of California
Billboard Companies
Biotech Companies
Any business that does not have an email address
7. Additional Resources to Assist Businesses in Completing the Form 571-L



Online Manual: Please go to www.sfasr.org/Manual571L
In-person Workshops: to be held at the Business Personal Property Division, 1155
Market Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103
 Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 - 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
 Thursday, March 26th, 2015 - 04:00 - 05:00 p.m.
Call our Office: (415) 554-5531 or email [email protected]
8. I logged in with my Account # and Online PIN #. I selected Electronic Filing, but I
received an error message.
The most common cause for unexpected error messages is due to an unsupported Browser
version. Please confirm that you meet the minimum browser requirements: Microsoft Internet
Explorer version 7.0 through 10.0, or Firefox 3.0 or higher. If you are still receiving an error
and are using one of these supported Browsers, please select “File by Mail” to Download,
Print, Complete, Sign, and Mail the hard copy Form 571-L Business Property Statement.
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9. I'm unable to log on successfully. I continue to receive an error message when I enter in
my company’s Account # and Online PIN #.
The PIN # is case sensitive. Please make sure that you are entering a capital “SF” when
typing the PIN #. Then select ‘Submit’ to go to the next page.
10. I received the Notice with my PIN, but I’ve lost it.
We will not issue your PIN by phone, fax, or e-mail. 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, to the Business Personal Property
Division by fax (415) 554-5544, or e-mail as an attachment to [email protected] Please
note that once we receive this request, the Assessor’s Office will only mail the PIN to the
address that we have in our records. If you want us to mail it to a different address, please
indicate it on your written request. If you are an agent of a taxpayer, an authorization letter
from the business owner is required.
11. The e-File screens and printed copy of the Business Property Statement are too large –
they are truncated on the right side that 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. Alternatively, you may select a different
“Zoom” level. To do this, select “View” from your Browser’s toolbar, then choose “Zoom”
and select a smaller zoom level. (This can also be done using your Mouse and keyboard, by
holding down the CTRL key on your keyboard and using your mouse’s scroll-wheel at the
same time.)
12. I don’t have time to complete the entire form right now. How do I exit the e-File
program without completing the final certification step?
You do not have to complete your form at one time. You may save your data at any time by
clicking “Save”. To exit the e-File program without completing the final certification step,
click “Save” and then click “Log Off” from the top center of the e-File screen. The next time
you log in to e-File, you can continue at the last uncompleted step.
13. Can I attach documents to e-File?
No, you cannot attach documents to e-File. However, after you have successfully submitted
your e-Filed statement, you can mail your attachment with the copy of the “Certification
Complete” page on top of it.
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14. How do I know that the Assessor-Recorder’s Office received my rendition?
A “Certification Complete” page will appear after you click “submit”. This page indicates
your company name, company number, confirmation number and date and time of your
submission. Please print and keep this for your record. If you do not see the confirmation
number after submitting, it means that your e-File statement has not been submitted
successfully. Please go back and resubmit it.
15. Can I amend my Form 571-L Business Property Statement using e-File?
No, you cannot amend a Form 571-L Business Property Statement using e-File once you
have already completed ‘Step 5: Certification’.
16. I realized that I need to amend my Form 571-L Business Property Statement after I
have already completed the ‘Step 5: Certification’ step. What should I do and when is
the deadline?
You will need to print a copy of the certified Form 571-L to make your changes and mail it
to the Business Personal Property Division, 1155 Market Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco,
CA 94103. Please indicate that it 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.
17. I completed my Form 571-L Business Property Statement, but I forgot to print a copy.
Can I still print a copy of my Form 571-L statement?
Yes, you can print a copy of your certified Form 571-L statement at any time. Select “VIEW
STATEMENT” from the e-File home page. At the “Logon” screen, enter your Account # and
Online PIN #.
18. What is the due date for the Business Property Statement?
The due date for filing the Business Property Statement is April 1st.
19. What is the last date to file the Form 571-L Business Property Statement without a
penalty?
The last day to file the Form 571-L Business Property Statement without a penalty is May 7th
– postmarked. Pursuant to California Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 441 (b) & 463, if
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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.
20. What is the last date to electronically file the Form 571-L Business Property Statement?
For taxpayers’ convenience, the e-File site will allow a taxpayer with privileges to access and
file their statements electronically until May 26th (a 10% penalty will be added to the
assessment for all statements electronically filed after May 7th). Thereafter, the site will
become unavailable for e-Filing statements, and you must file by hard copy (a 10% penalty
will be added to the assessment).
21. What if the Form 571-L Business Property Statement is filed after May 7th?
If the Form 571-L Business Property Statement is filed, or postmarked after May 7th,
regardless of e-File or hard copy, a 10% penalty will be added to the assessment.
22. How can I get a copy of my prior year’s Form 571-L Business Property Statement?
If you filed your Form 571-L Business Property Statement using e-File last year, you can
print copies of your prior year’s statement by selecting “VIEW STATEMENT” from the eFile home page and logon with your Account # and Online PIN #. To receive a hard copy of
your prior year’s statement, 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 [email protected] If you
are an agent of a taxpayer, an authorization letter from the business owner is required.
23. How is the assessed value determined?
Assessment begins with the asset cost, including sales tax, freight and installation costs. The
Assessor applies a valuation factor to the asset cost to arrive at the assessed value. The
valuation factor is based on the expected economic life of the asset, and is different from the
depreciation schedule used by Internal Revenue Service, Franchise Tax Board, and tax
accountants.
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24. If the Form 571-L Business Property Statement is not filed, how will my business’
assessed value be determined?
If you do not file a Form 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 the assessment, pursuant to California Revenue and Taxation
Code Sections 441, 463 and 501.
25. How much will my taxes be?
Applying the 2015 tax rate of 1.1743% 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 assessed value is $125,000 the property taxes on the business assets will be
approximately $1,468.
26. When will I receive my tax bill?
When you file your Form 571-L Business Property Statement in a timely manner, you should
receive your Unsecured Property Tax Bill by the end of July. Payment is due on, or before
August 31st, and becomes delinquent after that date. It 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 property tax bill is sent out in
October with the first installment due by November 1st.
27. If I don’t agree with the value on my tax bill, can I dispute it?
Yes, you can dispute the tax bill if you don’t agree with the value. The value can be corrected
by our office if a clerical or administrative error was made. If this is the case, first contact the
Business Personal Property Division of the Assessor's office at (415) 554-5531 to speak to an
auditor to understand how to go about correcting the error. Our normal business hours are
Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST. However, if the disagreement is a
matter of valuation and penalty, then you must file an “Application for Changed Assessment”
with the Assessment Appeals Board (AAB) no later than September 15th for the regular tax
bill. The AAB’s telephone number is (415) 554-6778. Pay the bill by August 31st to avoid
late payment penalties. A refund will be issued if the Appeals Board rules in your favor.
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28. Is my Form 571-L Business Property Statement confidential?
Yes. By law, the Form 571-L Business Property Statement is a confidential document. It is
not a public document and will be held confidential by the Assessor.
29. When is the lien date?
12:01 a.m., January 1st. (R & T 2192)
30. I was not open for business on January 1st. 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 1st, 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.
31. I received a Notice from your office, but I went out of business prior to January 1st. Do I
still have to complete the statement?
Yes, you have to e-File your statement and indicate in the ‘Remarks’ section the status of
your business (closed or sold) and the date the status change took place. Please indicate the
disposition of the equipment, if closed, or the name of the buyer, if sold. Remove all the Last
Year’s Cost which populated in “This Year’s Cost” column in Steps 3: Your Property and
4: Others’ Property (if any). Then click Step 5: Certification to complete the e-Filing.
32. I went out of business after January 1st. Do I need to complete the Form 571-L Business
Property Statement?
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.
33. My business has moved to a new location within San Francisco City and County. Can I
still e-File?
Yes, you can still e-File for the old location and indicate in the ‘Remarks’ section the new
business location, email address, and the date that you moved. Remove all the Last Year’s
Cost which populated in “This Year’s Cost” column in Steps 3: Your Property and 4: Others’
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Property (if any). Then click Step 5: Certification to complete the e-Filing. We will inactivate
your old account in our database.
For the new location, we will send you a new NOTICE OF REQUIREMENT TO FILE 2015
FORM 571-L BUSINESS PROPERTY STATEMENT with a new Account # and Online
PIN # for you to e-File.
34. My business has moved to a new location outside of San Francisco City and County.
Can I still e-File?
Yes, you can still e-File your statement for the old location and indicate in the ‘Remarks’
section the new business location and the date that you moved. Remove all the “Last Year’s
Cost” which populated in “This Year’s Cost” column in Steps 3: Your Property and
4: Others’ Property (if any). Then click Step 5: Certification to complete the e-Filing. We
will inactivate your old account in our database.
35. Are non-profit organizations required to file the Form 571-L 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 I, please call (415) 554-5658; J through R, please call (415) 554-5584; and S through
Z, please call (415) 554-5250.
36. 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 1 st. An
estimated cost can be used if physical inventory is not available.
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37. How do I report disposals?
If you disposed business personal property before 12:01 a.m., January 1st, do not report it.
Exclude the original cost of the disposed property from its year of acquisition. For example,
in 2014, you reported a $2,000 computer you acquired in 2005 then sold prior to January 1st,
2015. In this year’s filing (2015), you should exclude the $2,000 cost from the cost reported
for the 2005 year of acquisition. Do not report negative costs in 2014, or deduct it from 2014
year of acquisition.
If you disposed leasehold improvement, structure or fixture, you need to follow the above
procedure and the ‘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 the purchasers
when items are either sold or transferred.
38. Is there any property that is exempt or that I do not have to report on my Business
Property Statement?
The followings 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)
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Filing a Form 571-L
Paper Document
III
III. FILING A FORM 571-L PAPER DOCUMENT
III (A). FILE BY MAIL USER’S GUIDE (DOWNLOAD, PRINT, COMPLETE,
SIGN & MAIL)
This guide will provide businesses using our “File by Mail” program with step-by-step
instructions on how to download and print hard copies of the Form 571-L Business Property
Statement or Form 571-R Apartment House Property Statement, whichever applicable.
In February 2015, you received one of the following four Notices: (1) Notice of Requirement
to File 2015 Form 571-L Business Property Statement, (2) Notice to e-File 2015 Form 571-L
Business Property Statement, (3) Direct Bill Notice, or (4) Low Value Exemption Notice. The
Account # and Online PIN # printed on the Notice will provide access to your business
account online.
For more information, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
The minimum system requirements are as follows:
 Microsoft Internet Explorer, version 7.0 through 10.0; OR
 Mozilla Firefox, version 3.0 or higher
 Adobe PDF Reader
INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Go to the San Francisco County Assessor’s e-Filing website, www.sfasr.org/efile, and
click on “FILE 2015 STATEMENT.”
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2. Enter the Account # and Online PIN # provided on the Notice, and then click on
“Submit”. Please do not put dashes or spaces when entering the Account #. Note that the
PIN is case sensitive.
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3. Click on the “File by Mail (Download, Print, Complete, Sign and Mail)” button.
4. A prompt window will appear, then click on “Form 571-L [PDF]” or “Form 571-R
[PDF]”, whichever applicable, to download the Form.
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5. After clicking on “Form 571-L [PDF] (or “Form 571-R [PDF]”),” the browser will open a
new tab containing the Form 571-L (or Form 571-R) and schedules. Please check all the
information to ensure accuracy.
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6. Print the Form and schedules.
7. A barcode has to appear on the front page (see images on point 5). If there is no barcode,
or barcode is incorrectly printed, or just some numbers show up, please review if your
browser is the latest version. If not, please download the latest version.
If you still have difficulty to get the barcode printed, please follow the following steps:
Using a PDF reader plugin:
To change from using the built-in PDF viewer to your PDF reader plugin:
a) Click the menu button
and choose Options.
b) Select the Applications panel.
c) Find Portable Document Format (PDF) on the list and click on it to select it.
d) Click on the drop-down arrow in the Action column for the above entry and select
Use PDF reader name (in Firefox).
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8. Complete the Form 571-L (or Form 571-R) by filling-in all the necessary information and
data.
9. After completing, reviewing and signing the Form, please mail it to:
Business Personal Property Division
1155 Market Street, 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
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III (B). INSTRUCTIONS FOR FILING THE FORM 571-L
(See Appendix for Sample Forms)
Owner name and DBA name
Please make sure that the information regarding the Owner Name and DBA name are preprinted correctly on the Form 571-L. If the assessor’s information regarding your property
is not up to date on the pre-printed Form, please line through the incorrect information and
write the correct information on the Form.
Property location and mailing address
It is important that this information is kept up to date with the Assessor’s Office. The
property location is the address of the business. The mailing address is the address you
would like to have the Notice and Tax Bill mailed. It is our office policy not to mail the
Notice to agents’ addresses. However, if you are a sole proprietor and would like to have
the Notice to be mailed to your home, or P.O. Box, that is perfectly acceptable. If the
mailing addresses change, please contact our office immediately to update the information.
Part I. General Information (a) through (g)
All the information pre-printed under this section of the Business Property Statement is
vital to the Assessor’s Office in keeping accurate records of your business as well as
mailing out the Tax Bill. Although the email address is optional, it would be helpful
information to assist us in contacting you.
Part II. Declaration of Property Belonging to You
This section of the Business property Statement is where you declare the equipment that
belongs to you and the equipment that you may be leasing to others. For most small
business, you will only need to fill numbers 1, 2 and 4 of Part II of the Business Property
Statement.
Supplies
Supplies are those items that are used in the ordinary course of business and are not
intended for sale or lease. The reportable supplies are those supplies on hand as of the
January 1st lien date. Types of supplies could include stationary and office supplies,
janitorial supplies, chemical supplies and computer supplies. Your business may be
small to estimate the amount of supplies. If your business maintains an Income
statement, you would use the year end balances as of December 31st of the previous
calendar year and take the average of 12 months. For example, you would take the
Office Supplies year-end total of cost $12,000/12 months=$1,000 worth of supplies to
be reported on page 1, Part II line 1 of the Form.
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Schedule A – Cost Details: Equipment
Everything reported under Schedule A of the Form relates to Part II, line 2, Equipment
on page 1 of the Form 571-L. Include expensed equipment and fully depreciated
equipment on this Schedule. Also include sales or use tax, freight and installation
costs. Equipment should be reported by each calendar year of acquisition. To calculate
this, add the totals of all equipment acquired in any specific year. Do not report
equipment that has been removed from the site or disposed of. The disposal should be
deducted from the year the equipment was originally acquired. Please do not report
negative numbers or cents. Each cost should be rounded to the nearest dollar.
The equipment reported on this schedule is divided into five categories:
1. Machinery and Equipment for Industry, Profession or Trade
2. Office Furniture and Equipment
3. Other Equipment
4. Tools, Molds, Dies and Jigs
5. (a) Personal Computers
(b) Local Area Network (LAN) Equipment and Mainframes
1.
Machinery and Equipment for Industry, Profession, or Trade (Schedule A,
column 1)
The equipment reported under this category would include equipment specific to
your trade, industry, or profession. If your business is a restaurant, then the type
of equipment you would report is restaurant equipment. This might include
refrigerators, stoves, freezers and various other pieces of equipment related to the
restaurant industry. This is why it is important to list the type of business under
(a) in the general information section of the Form. This will assist the assessor in
determining the life of the equipment.
2.
Office Furniture and Equipment (Schedule A, column 2)
This category consists of furniture and office equipment.
3.
Other Equipment (Schedule A, column 3)
This category includes the special types of equipment that does not fit into any
other categories. This section of the Form asks you to describe the type of
equipment that you report. Some types of the equipment that would fit into this
category are: telephones, lab equipment, exercise equipment, fax machines,
copiers, unlicensed vehicles and point of sales equipment.
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4.
Tools, Molds, Dies and Jigs (Schedule A, column 4)
This category would include tools, molds, dies and jigs.
5.
(a) Personal Computers (Schedule A, column 5a)
This category mainly includes desktops, printers, laptops, monitors,
notebooks, scanners and non-production computer components. Application
software should not be reported. However, the operational software
should be included. Any computers used in any application directly related to
manufacturing or used to control or monitor machinery and equipment should
be reported in column 1 and should not be reported in this section.
(b) Local Area Network (LAN) Equipment and Mainframes (Schedule A,
column 5b)
This category mainly includes external storage devices, hubs, mainframes,
routers, servers, switches, and LAN components. Do not include application
software in this category.
Schedule B – Cost Detail: Buildings, Building Improvements, and/or Leasehold
Improvements, Land Improvements, Land & Land Developments
Most small business would only have information for columns 1 and 2 of Schedule B.
This is the section of Leasehold Tenant Improvement. It is divided into two types of
leasehold improvements, structures and fixtures.
1. Structure Item Only
Improvements are classified as “structure item” when its primary use or purpose
is for housing or accommodation of personnel, personalty or fixtures; or when the
improvement has no direct application to the process or function of the trade,
industry, or profession. Examples: Air conditioning – office and building
cooling, Conveyors – for moving people, Partitions – floor to ceiling,
Refrigeration systems – that are an integral part of the building.
2. Fixture Only
Improvement is classified as “fixture” if its use or purpose directly applies to or
augments the process or function of a trade, industry, or profession. Examples:
Air conditioning – process cooling, Conveyors – for moving materials and
products, Partitions – annexed- less than floor to ceiling, Refrigerators – walk in –
unitized – including operating equipment.
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571-D Supplemental Schedule for Reporting Acquisitions and disposals of Property
Reported in Schedule B
This form is where you report all acquisitions or disposals from Schedule B, columns
1, 2, 3 or 4. For all practical purposes, you will only be dealing with columns 1 and 2.
The form is divided into two sections. The first section is for Additions, and the
second section is for disposals. This form has space for the details of both situations.
Part III. Declaration of Property Belonging to Others
If property belonging to others, or their business entities, is located on your premises,
report the owner’s name and mailing address. If it is leased equipment, read your
agreement carefully and enter A (Lessor) or B (Lessee), and whether lessor or lessee
has the tax obligation. For assessment purposes, the Assessor will consider, but is not
bound to, the contractual agreement.
1. LEASED EQUIPMENT. Report the year of acquisition, the year of manufacture,
description of the leased property, the lease contract number or other identification
number, the total installed cost to purchase (including sales tax), and the annual
rent; do not include in Schedule A or B (see No. 3, below).
2. LEASE-PURCHASE OPTION EQUIPMENT. Report here all equipment acquired
on lease-purchase option on which the final payment remains to be made. Enter the
year of acquisition, the year of manufacture, description of the leased property, the
lease contract number or other identification number, the total installed cost to
purchase (including sales tax), and the annual rent. If final payment has been
made, report full cost in Schedule A or B (see No. 3, below).
3. CAPITALIZED LEASED EQUIPMENT. Report here all leased equipment that
has been capitalized at the present value of the minimum lease payments on which
a final payment remains to be made. Enter the year of acquisition, the year of
manufacture, description of the leased property, the lease contract number or other
identification number, and the total installed cost to purchase (including sales tax).
Do not include in Schedule A or B unless final payment has been made.
4. VENDING EQUIPMENT. Report the model and description of the equipment; do
not include in Schedule A.
5. OTHER BUSINESSES. Report other businesses on your premises.
6. GOVERNMENT-OWNED PROPERTY. If you possess or use government-owned
land, improvements, or fixed equipment, or government-owned property is located
on your premises, report the name and address of the agency which owns the
property, and a description of the property.
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Signature Requirements
The law requires that the Form 571-L Business Property Statement, regardless of
where it is executed, shall be declared to be true under the penalty of perjury under
the laws of the State of California. The Business Property Statement must be signed
by the business owner, a duly appointed fiduciary, or a person authorized on behalf
of the owner.
In the case of a corporation, the Form 571-L must be signed by an officer or by an
employee or agent who has been designated in writing by the board of directors, by
name or by title, to sign on behalf of the corporation. In the case of partnership, the
Form 571-L must be signed by a partner or an authorized employee or agent.
In the case of a Limited Liability Company (LLC), the Form 571-L must be signed
by an LLC manager. If the Form 571-L is signed by someone other than a member of
the bar, certified public accountant, a public accountant, and enrolled agent or a duly
appointed fiduciary, the San Francisco County Assessor-Recorder’s Office requires a
written authorization from the owner.
A Business Property Statement that is not signed and executed in accordance
with the instructions is considered an invalid filing. The penalty imposed by
Section 463 of the Revenue and Taxation Code for failure to file or late filing is
applicable to an unsigned Business Property Statement.
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General Business
Personal Property
Frequently Asked
Questions (FAQs)
IV
V. GENERAL BUSINESS
QUESTIONS (FAQS)
PERSONAL
PROPERTY
FREQUENTLY
ASKED
1. When is Business Personal Property appraised?
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.
2. I have a business in San Francisco but did not receive a Business Property
Statement, what shall I do?
You are not going to receive a hard copy of the 2015 Form 571-L Business Property
Statement. Instead, you will receive one of the following documents: (1) Notice of
Requirement to File 2015 Form 571-L Business Property Statement, (2) Notice to e-File
2015 Form 571-L Business Property Statement, (3) Direct Bill Notice, and (4) Low
Value Exemption Notice. The Notice that you received is in lieu of a hard copy of the
statement. Account # and Online PIN # are printed on the Notice. Please use them to
either 1) e-File Directly Online, or 2) Download, Print, Complete, Sign and Mail your
Form 571-L. Each statement downloaded from our website is assigned with a barcode
that is specific to each business which is necessary for receiving, processing, and
valuation purposes.
3. Why are you taxing my business assets, under what authority?
The State Constitution says that all property is subject to property tax unless otherwise
exempt. Most people are familiar with the property taxes on their home. The assets of a
business are also subject to assessment and taxation. Section 201 of the Revenue and
Taxation Code of California states that “All property in this State, not exempt under the
laws of the United States or of this State, is subject to taxation under this code”.
4. What is Business Personal Property?
Business Personal Property is any tangible property owned, claimed, used, possessed,
managed or controlled in the conduct of a trade or business. This includes all machinery,
fixtures, office furniture and equipment. In general, business personal property is all
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property owned or leased by a business except licensed vehicles, business inventory,
intangible assets or application software.
5. Who must file a Business Property Statement?
Per Revenue and Taxation Code, Section 441, you must file a statement if:
a) The Assessor’s Office has sent you one of the two documents: (1) Notice of
Requirement to File 2015 Form 571-L Business Property Statement; and (2) Notice to
e-File 2015 Form 571-L 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.
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). 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.
6. What is the due date for the Business Property Statement?
The due date for filing the Business Property Statement is April 1st.
7. What is the last date to file the Business Property Statement without a penalty?
The last day to file the Form 571-L Business Property Statement without a penalty is
May 7th – postmarked. 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.
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8. I was not open for business on January 1st. 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 1st, 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.
9. I went out of business prior to January 1st. Do I still have to complete the statement?
Yes, you still need to file the Form 571-L. The form must still be signed and returned to
the Assessor. Make a notation on the form 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.
10. I went out of business after the lien date. Do I still have to complete the statement
and pay personal property taxes?
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 1 st), a
business must still file a Form 571-L Business Property Statement.
11. My business has moved to a new location within San Francisco.
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.
12. My business has moved to a new location outside of San Francisco.
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.
13. I closed or sold my business. Do I still have to file the 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
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closed, or the name of the buyer, if sold, then sign the front page and mail it to the
Assessor’s Office.
14. Are non-profit organizations required to file Business Property Statements?
Yes. The filing laws apply to non-profit organizations. Non-profit organizations may,
however, qualify for property tax exemptions. For more information, please contact the
Exemption Division of the Assessor’s Office by alpha assignment. If the assessee’s name
begins with A through I, please call (415) 554-5658; J through R, please call (415) 5545584; and S through Z, please call (415) 554-5250.
15. All the equipment I use in my business was given to me and I don’t know what to
report on my property statement?
Equipment gifted to you for use in your business is taxable and must be reported on the
property statement. If you don’t know the equipment cost and/or year of acquisition,
provide a good description including make and model and the general condition of each
piece of equipment.
16. Can I get a copy of my prior year Form 571-L statement?
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 [email protected] If you are an
agent of a taxpayer, an authorization letter from the business owner is required.
17. 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 schedule is based on the expected economic life of the asset, and
is different from the depreciation schedule used by tax accountants.
18. If the statement is not filed, how is my assessed value determined?
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).
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19. I do not own anything and lease all my equipment; do I still have to file the
statement?
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.
20. Who can sign 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.
21. I have already completed and sent my Business Property Statement and now realize
that I have to amend the statement. What should I do?
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)).
22. How much will my taxes be?
Applying the 2015 tax rate of 1.1743% 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 $1,468.
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23. When will I receive my bill?
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 phone number is 415-554-4400 and the
website is www.sftreasurer.org.
24. I received my Unsecured Tax bill but don’t understand the valuation under
Structures/Fixtures?
This line item includes assessments for a combined structural improvements, as well as
any fixtures to your property that was reported during this lien year.
25. 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.
26. 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 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)
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27. Is the Business Property statement subject to audit?
Yes, the Business Property Statement is subject to audit by the Assessor’s Office. A new
law was enacted and became effective January 1st, 2009. This law basically gives the
Assessor the discretion to audit a significant number of all businesses to encourage the
accurate and proper reporting of personal property.
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IV (A). APARTMENT HOUSE PROPERTY
ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)
TAXATION
FREQUENTLY
1. Why are you taxing my business assets?
The State Constitution states all property is subject to property tax unless otherwise
exempt. Homeowners are familiar with the property taxes on their home. The assets of a
business are also subject to assessment and taxation.
2. What is Business Personal Property?
Business Property is any tangible property owned, claimed, used, possessed, managed or
controlled in the conduct of a trade or business. In general, business personal property is
all property owned or leased by a business except licensed vehicles, business inventory,
intangible assets or application software. This includes all supplies, equipment, furniture,
appliances, and improvements made to the property.
3. How is the assessed value determined?
Assessment begins with the cost of the asset, including sales tax, freight and installation
costs. The Assessor applies a valuation factor to the asset cost to arrive at the assessed
value. The valuation factor is based on the expected economic life of the asset, and is
different from the depreciation schedule used by Internal Revenue Service, Franchise Tax
Board, and tax accountants.
4. How much will my taxes be?
Applying the 2015 tax rate of 1.1743% on the assessed value will give a conservative
estimate of what the actual tax will be. Proposition 13 established a tax rate of 1% of the
value of assessable property. San Francisco’s 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 assessed value is $25,000 the property taxes on the
business assets will be approximately $294.
5. When will I receive my bill?
When you file the Apartment House Property Statement in a timely manner, your
apartment house (or other residential rental) tax will be included with the secured
property tax bill for the building (land and structure). The secured property tax bill is sent
out in October with the first installment due by November 1st.
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6. Is my Apartment House Property Statement confidential?
Yes, by law the Apartment House Property Statement is a confidential document. It is not
a public document and will be held confidential by the Assessor.
7. If the Apartment House Property Statement is not filed, how will my business’
assessed value be determined?
If you do not file a Form 571-R Apartment House 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.
8. How can I receive a copy of my prior year’s valuation?
To receive a copy of your prior year’s valuation, please send your written request, on
company’s letterhead with an authorized signature. Include the account number,
ownership name, DBA, mailing address, location of the property. Specify the years 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 email as an attachment
to [email protected] If you are an agent of a taxpayer, an authorization letter from the
taxpayer is required.
9. I closed, or sold, my property before January 1st of this year. Do I still need to file
the Apartment House Property Statement?
Yes. Anytime a person receives a statement from the Assessor and their business is no
longer in operation, the statement must still be signed and returned to the Assessor. Make
a notation on the statement that the business has closed and the closing date. Please
indicate the name and mailing address of the new owner, sign the front page and return
the form to the Assessor’s Office.
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Filing through the SDR
Website
V
V. FILING THROUGH THE STANDARD DATA RECORD (SDR) SYSTEM
Large business filers with multiple locations in one or more counties should use the SDR
network to submit statements (data files), all in one upload. Programming or special software
is required to create SDR data files in the approved XML schema. SDR users are required to
register on-line at www.calbpsfile.org. To request a copy of the XML schema, print and
submit a Schema Request Form from the Links menu on the homepage.
Filing instructions, help screens, and reference materials are provided on the SDR website.
Filers using SDR can print a completed Form 571-L with schedules, filing confirmation and
the exact time it was submitted. Statements are stored on-line for seven (7) years, so you can
get a copy whenever you need one. Access to your statement(s) is protected with Login ID
and Password. Statements are encrypted and transmitted on a secured site to protect
confidential information.
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V (A). E-FILE AND SDR CAPABILITIES OVERVIEW
E-FILING
File One Statement at a Time
Complete one statement at a time online (recommended
for businesses with 1 to 20 locations in up to 10 counties)
View Statement Data Before Filing
Use the PRINT function within e-File to review and print
your statement before submitting the statement for
certification.
Print Statement After Filing
Print the Certification page with the confirmation
number and date/time stamp. Use the PRINT function
within e-File to print the submitted statement.
Confirmation and Date
Each certified statement is assigned a confirmation
number and date/time stamp.
Account Number
Account Number is provided on the hardcopy
statement/Invitation to e-File. You must use this number
to file a statement. The Account Number is unique to
each statement.
PIN
PIN is provided on the hardcopy statement/Invitation to
e-File and must be used with the Account Number to eFile. The PIN is unique to each statement/account
number.
Address
Mail to address is required.
Situs/property address is required.
Statement Type
E-File provides fill-in support to create the Form 571-L.
E-File does not support: 571-A, 571-F, 571-R, 571-P or
LEQ – these forms must be submitted on hard copy.
Registration
Not required. Use Account Number + PIN.
Amendment/Changes
Amendments must be submitted on hardcopy. Notes to
Assessor are recommended.
Prior Year Statements
Prior year e-File statements are accessible for viewing
and printing.
SDR
File Many Statements at One Time
One to 4000 statements (XML files) can be filed
in 1 to 58 counties all at once.
View Statement Data Before Filing
Use the SDR style sheet.
Print Statements After Filing
No statement print capability
Confirmation and Date
Each statement is assigned an SDR confirmation
number and date/time stamp.
Account Number
Account number is provided by the Assessor. A
filer must use this number to submit a statement.
The Account Number is unique to each statement.
PIN
Not required to file.
Address
Mail to address is required.
Situs/property address is required.
Statement Type
SDR supports 571-A, 571-F, Form 571-L, 571-P
and 571-R, plus LEQ. All schedules A, B, C, D,
E, Alt A and CIP and spare parts.
Registration
Required.
Amendment/Changes
Re-file a complete statement for amendments or
changes. The new statement will get a new
confirmation number and date/time stamp. Notes
to Assessor are recommended.
Prior Year Statements
None
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Contact Information
VI
VI. CONTACT INFORMATION
Please feel free to contact our office. The following is our current contact information. You may
ask for an auditor on duty who will be able to answer your questions.
Email:
[email protected]
Fax:
(415) 554-5544
Telephone:
(415) 554-5531
Address:
Assessor-Recorder’s Office
Business Personal Property Division
1155 Market Street, 5th Fl.
San Francisco, CA 94103
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Appendix
VII
VII. APPENDIX
Form 571-L Business Property Statement
Form 571-D Supplemental Schedule
Form 571-L Alternate Schedule A (for Bank, Insurance Company, or Financial
Corporation Fixtures)
New Business Registration Form
Request for Address and Other Changes Form
Request for Copies of Property Statements (Form 571-L) and Other Documents Form
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FORM 571-L BUSINESS PROPERTY STATEMENT
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FORM 571-D SUPPLEMENTAL SCHEDULE
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FORM 571-L ALTERNATE SCHEDULE A
For Bank, Insurance Company, or Financial Corporation Fixtures
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FORM 571-R APARTMENT HOUSE PROPERTY STATEMENT
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NEW BUSINESS REGISTRATION FORM
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REQUEST FOR ADDRESS AND OTHER CHANGES FORM
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REQUEST FOR COPIES OF PROPERTY STATEMENTS (FORM 571-L) AND
OTHER DOCUMENTS FORM
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