Wednesday, February 1, 2017

UPDATE: San Francisco Business Tax Updates February 2017 - Resources for Small Businesses

The tax filing deadline is February 28th. All taxpayers should have received their filing notices by now. Please let me know if you have any feedback. Below are some news updates that may be of interest.

Tax Seminar at the Main Library Wednesday February 15, 3:00 p.m.

Once again, the Treasurer's office will host a free tax seminar at the San Francisco Public Library Main Branch Koret Auditorium. The event will be Wednesday, February 15 at 3:00 p.m. They will demonstrate some examples of tax filings and take general questions about the annual return filing process. This event is designed for use by small businesses that do not use tax preparers. More information is available here

2016 Annual Return Videos Posted

With regard to the Treasurer's office ongoing efforts to make tax reporting accessible to all San Franciscans, they have produced videos on how to file an Annual Return under various circumstances. You may view them here.

Legislative Update

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, has passed the Board of Supervisors and is to the Mayor’s desk.

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, passed unanimously on first reading on January 31. It will come back for a second reading on February 7.

Small Business Enterprise Thresholds Increase

The San Francisco Treasurer's office has announced increased small business enterprise thresholds for tax year 2016 and retroactively increased thresholds for 2015. Taxpayers affected by the 2015 retroactive increase have been contacted directly. You can find more information as well as the 2016 tax rates 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, the San Francisco Treasurer's office has 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 the instructions for the 2016 return here.

How to Access the 2016 Annual Return

The 2016 Tax Year Annual Return is accessbile at

To enter the Online Return you will need:

1. Seven digit Business Account Number
2. Last four digits of your business tax identification number (Federal EIN or SSN)
3. Eight digit alphanumeric Online PIN (same as prior year)

The The San Francisco Treasurer's office sent out filing notices in mid-January that included the Business Account Number, Online PIN, and other information to assist taxpayers with filing their Return, including all quarterly installment payments received by the office. 

San Francisco City Performance Financial Scorecards - How Well is the City Managing Your Tax Dollars?

Did you know that the City and County of San Francisco issues scorecards that measure the financial performance of the municipality?

This data is important as BOMA San Francisco members contribute millions of dollars annually to The City in the form of transfer taxes, property taxes, and fees, to name a few. It's important to know how our elected leaders are using the funds from BOMA membersthe greater business community and residents to ensure they are utilizing the funds efficaciously.

If this information intrigues you, please consider joining BOMA San Francisco's Government Affairs Committee by contacting the Chair, Marty Smith, President and Owner of Alhouse Deaton, at

BOMA San Francisco Government Affairs Committee Members Meet with California Assemblymember David Chiu

BOMA San Francisco Government Affairs Policy Advisory Committee (GAPAC), met with California State Assemblymember David Chiu recently. Mr. Chiu represents San Francisco and BOMA has worked with the Assemblymember for many years on various issues affecting the commercial real estate industry in San Francisco.

It was a pleasure to welcome Assemblymember Chiu to speak with a select group of BOMA San Francisco advocacy and business leaders to get an early look at many issues including:
  • California politics in 2017 – what can BOMA San Francisco and BOMA California members (and the business community) expect?
    • The California State Legislature has a supermajority (two thirds) of members from the Democratic Party in both the State Senate and Assembly. 
      • This could mean that many proposals important to the party may become law although Governor Jerry Brown has the final review of all measures. He is known to be thoughtful about his decisions to enact a law with a pragmatic and future focused approach to public policy.
    • There will be a major focus on housing in the Legislature by Mr. Chiu and his colleagues. Stay tuned.
    • Transportation improvements are also a priority.
    • Homelessness and street behavior in the major cities are issues and should be addressed.
  • The California State Legislature’s possible public policy outcomes vis-à-vis a Trump Administration and how will that affect and San Francisco?
    • As BOMA members are already aware, predicting what President Trump will do that could have a fiscal and/or social impact to San Francisco and California is not easy.
      • Many important San Francisco and California issues that he has targeted such as  Obamacare, immigration, trade, and the environment have a significant impact to society and the bottom line of the State and The City and County of San Francisco 
  • Chiu’s thoughts on Proposition 13 and its future.
    • A number one priority for our members is the predictability that Proposition 13 provides for all property owners - both commercial and residential. BOMA California will monitor any potential changes that come, either through the initiative or legislative process, that may affect this important tax protection that California voters approved many years ago. 
      • Mr. Chiu did not have information about Proposition 13 at this time.
  • The Assemblymember's thoughts on the state’s budget prognosis – with a projected $2 billion dollar shortfall in 2017/2018 – given a predicted turn in the economy around 2019 (depending on who you ask, of course).
    • At the Federal level, if an action is impactful to California and San Francisco budgets - note that San Francisco receives 1 billion dollars from the State in direct and indirect methods - then it is possible that revenue measures may be necessary and every option might be on the table.

The bottom line is that there are many unknowns and it is difficult to answer these questions right now. Even so, BOMA San Francisco members felt that this meeting was very productive and will monitor proposals at every level of government to ensure that BOMA members interests are met. 

BOMA thanks Assemblymember Chiu for talking with us and for his dedication to San Francisco in the California State Legislature. Our members look forward to meeting with him again a few more times in 2017 and 2018.

BOMA San Francisco Government Affairs Committee Members Meet with San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell

BOMA San Francisco Government Affairs Policy Advisory Committee (GAPAC), met with San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell recently. Mr. Farrell represents District 2 in San Francisco , which includes the Presidio, Marina, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Anza Vista, Laurel Heights, Jordan Park, the Lake Street corridor, Sea Cliff and parts of Russian Hill.

For the first meeting of the year, BOMA San Francisco's Government Affairs Committee leaders wanted to hear from Mr. Farrell who has chaired the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee for the last four years.

BOMA members' activities contribute a lot of money to the City and County of San Francisco - via transfer taxes, property taxes, fees and jobs created. One aspect of paying into our local government is that the money is spent efficaciously for all who live and work in San Francisco. As such, his insight to how budget process works, and how the Board members and the Mayor's office might be looking at covering projected budget shortfalls, is very important to BOMA members and to their many small business tenants.

We also asked Mr. Farrell to speak about other issues of importance. Here is a synopsis of our conversation:

  • How will a Trump Administration affect City Hall public policy outcomes? 
    • The budget could be substantially impacted quickly if the Federal Government does stop funding for state and/or local programs that have already expected those funds for the fiscal year budget.
  • What will the public priorities be for the Board of Supervisors in 2017
    • Housing - especially affordable housing
    • Essential immigrant services 
    • Transportation 
    • Homelessness
    • Public Safety
BOMA thanks Mr. Farrell for his time and we look forward to working with him in the new year,