Thursday, December 15, 2016

San Francisco Business Tax Updates

As the year comes to a close, the San Francisco Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector has a number of updates for the local tax preparation community.

New Business Registration Videos Posted

In our ongoing efforts to make tax reporting accessible to all San Franciscans, we have produced videos on how to register a business using our online form. The videos are in English, Spanish, Tagalog, and Cantonese. You may view them here. Please share with your networks, particularly if you work with small businesses where English is not the first language of the proprietors!

Simplifying New Business Registration – Consolidation of Assessor and Tax Collector Forms

Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu and Treasurer José Cisneros have announced a simpler way for new businesses to register in San Francisco. Businesses who register with the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector are no longer required to register separately with the Office of the Assessor-Recorder. The enhancement was made possible through an innovative data-sharing agreement between the two offices to improve taxpayer experience, and increase tax compliance. The press release announcing this change will be posted here. It will also be posted here.

Proposed Ordinances

The Treasurer has submitted proposed legislation to the Board of Supervisors. These items will be heard in January 2017. The two items that most directly affect the gross receipts tax and payroll expense tax are:

File 161264, which proposes to modify the quarterly filing and payment requirements for payroll expense taxes and gross receipts taxes, clarify the requirements for requesting an extension, and expressly permit taxpayers to apply refunds of the business registration fee, the payroll expense tax, and the gross receipts tax to subsequent tax periods.

File 161225, which proposes to remove the $100 minimum penalty from one of the penalties for failing to register with the Tax Collector; and to remove the fee and administrative requirements for obtaining a duplicate registration certificate.

Both of these proposed ordinances were guided by feedback from the business community about simplifying quarterly installment payments, applying refunds to subsequent tax periods, and reducing penalties and fees on small businesses.

Small Business Enterprise Thresholds Increase

The San Francisco Tax Collector has announced increased small business enterprise thresholds for tax year 2016 and retroactively increased thresholds for 2015. You can find more information as well as the 2016 tax rates here.

Quarterly Installment Filing Online Form Available Through November, Filing Period Ends December 1
The deadline for submitting quarterly installments for the third quarter was Monday October 31. We will continue to have the online form available for taxpayers to amend their third quarter installment payment amounts through the end of November. As of December 1, we will be taking down the online form to prepare for the 2016 filing period. If taxpayers wish to make installment payments when the form is unavailable they should include the payment when they file their annual return in February 2017. The quarterly installment online form is available here.

Combined Groups of Related Entities – 2016 Annual Return Functionality Enhancements

If you or the taxpayer you are filing for is filing on behalf of a combined group of related entities, or was part of a combined group for a portion of the tax year, we have added online functionality so most combined groups do not have to file by mail and can more easily report your group members. Combined groups of related entities will need to report their group members in the annual return (rather than through Account Update), including the dates the entities were part of the group, and the extent they are unitary with the group. Tax preparers should have this information ready when filing to facilitate their filing process. For information about what constitutes a combined group of related entities, please see our instructions for the 2015 return here.

Secured Property Tax Deadline December 12

Finally, a reminder that the deadline to pay secured property taxes is December 12 (since December 10 falls on a Saturday). After the deadline a 10% penalty applies. You can look up your bill here.

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