Gross Receipts and Payroll Taxes
Businesses operating in San Francisco pay business taxes primarily based on gross receipts. The City began making the transition to a Gross Receipts Tax from a Payroll Tax (based on wages paid to employees) in 2014. Over the next few years, the City will phase in the Gross Receipts Tax and reduce the Payroll Expense Tax. During the phase-in period, businesses will pay both a gross-receipts tax and a payroll expense tax.
You may file your gross receipts and payroll expense taxes online with TTX. The most recent tax rates can be found on the TTX website.
Gross Receipts Tax
Gross receipts refers to the total amount of money received from doing business in San Francisco and includes amounts derived from sales, services, dealings in property, interest, rent, royalties, dividends, licensing fees, other fees, commissions and distributed amounts from other business entities.
The amount of Gross Receipts Tax you owe depends on the type of business and amount of income from business activity in the City.
Use this TTX worksheet to help calculate your gross receipts tax for tax planning and installment payment purposes.
Payroll Expense Tax
Until 2018, all businesses with a taxable San Francisco payroll expense greater than $150,000 must file a Payroll Expense Tax Statement for their business annually by the last day of February for the prior calendar year (Jan. 1st - Dec. 31st). The tax is calculated as a percentage of total payroll expense, based on the tax rate for the year.
Business Personal Property Taxes
The Office of the Assessor-Recorder taxes business personal property like machinery, equipment, fixtures, and leasehold improvement held or used in connection with a trade or business. Business owners must file a property statement each year detailing the acquisition cost of all supplies, equipment, fixtures, and improvements owned at each location within the City.
Each Spring, the SF Assessor will ask you to fill out a Business Property Statement (Form 571-L) by reporting the book cost/full cost of all your supplies, equipment and fixtures at each business location as of December 31st of each year. You then pay a tax on the total derived value. All businesses in California pay taxes on these items, which the state calls Business Personal Property.
Learn more and file the 571-L Business Personal Property Statement online with the Office of the Assessor Recorder.
Special Taxes ("Third Party Taxes")
Transient Occupancy Tax
In addition to registering as a business, San Francisco requires hotel operators, and small operators and hosts of Short-Term Residential Rentals to collect the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), also called the hotel tax, from their guests as a percentage of their nightly rate. Hotel operators, small operators and hosts hold Hotel Tax revenues in trust and remit them to the Tax Collector every month.
In order to collect these taxes, operators must apply for a Certificate of Authority (COA) from the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector, for every hotel and Short-Term Residential Rental location.
Parking Operators remit taxes monthly to the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector, and have additional requirements including a Certificate of Authority, a Paking Bond, and Revenue Control Equipment fees. If you rent parking spot(s) but earn less than $40,000 per year, you may qualify as a small parking operator. Parking operators must pay monthly parking taxes to the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector (TTX) for each location they operate. In order to collect these taxes from customers, operators must obtain a Certificate of Authority (COA) and a bond. The COA must be renewed each year.
Access Line Tax, Telephone Users Tax, & Utility Users Tax
These taxes apply to telephone communications service providers and are assessed per telephone line. Learn more from the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector.
*Rates and regulations are subject to change without notice. Please refer to the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector for the most up-to-date rates and regulations.
Last modified date: Thu, 01/26/2017 - 12:06