2015 Gross Receipts Tax & Payroll Expense Tax Online Filing Instructions

Table of Contents

A Guide to the Gross Receipts Tax Filing for Residential Landlords and Other Small Businesses

What’s New for 2015

What You Need to Prepare Your Return

Note for Tax Preparers

Technical Advisory

Who Must File

Persons Exempt from the Gross Receipts Tax and/or Payroll Expense Tax

Non-Exempt Persons Other Than Lessors of Residential Real Estate

Non-Exempt Persons That May Not File Online and Must File By Mail or In Person

Non-Exempt Lessors of Residential Real Estate

Example 1: Lessor of Residential Real Estate Registration and Filing Requirements

Combined Groups

When You Must File

Extension Requests

Entering the Online Filing System

Navigating the Online Form

Menu Options

Filing Tabs

Navigation Icons

Submission

A1. Business Identification

A2. Filing Questionnaire

B. Tax on Administrative Office Business Activities

B1. Tax on Administrative Office Business Activities

B2. Tax on Administrative Office Business Activities Obligation Summary 

Tax Credits & Exclusions Selection

Biotechnology Exclusion Worksheet

Clean Technology Business Exclusion Worksheet

Enterprise Zone Tax Credit Worksheet

C1. Payroll Expense Tax Filing – Statement Data

C2. Payroll Expense Tax Filing Summary

D. Lessor of Residential Real Estate (Residential Landlord)

Example 2: Lessor of Residential Real Estate

D. Online EZ

D. Identification of Business Activities

E. Apportionment

F. Calculation of Gross Receipts

G. Calculation of San Francisco Gross Receipts

H. Calculation of Gross Receipts Tax

I. Obligation Summary

Refund Request Checkbox (Only Displays for Overpayments)

Community Challenge Grant

Taxpayer Statement

View Filing Data

Payment Options and Accessing Your Return

Downloading or Emailing Filing

Online Bill Payment (Payment Portal)

Due Tab

Payment Options

Paid Tab

 

This document provides instructions for the 2015 Gross Receipts Tax and Payroll Expense Tax Online Filing (the “Return”).  These instructions provide a summary of the applicable rules to assist you with completing your filing.  The San Francisco Business and Tax Regulations Code (referred to throughout these instructions as the “Code”) provides the law for the computation of the Payroll Expense Tax and the Gross Receipts Tax, as well as the rules for filing the Return. 

A Guide to the Gross Receipts Tax Filing for Residential Landlords and Other Small Businesses

The Gross Receipts Tax can be complicated, but if you are a residential landlord or other small business, the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector has created tools to make it easy for you.

If You are a Residential Landlord

If you were engaged in business in San Francisco as a lessor of residential real estate (a residential landlord), each individual building in which you lease residential real estate units is treated as a separate person (with a separate Business Account Number), and you must file a separate Return for each individual building and for its other business activities combined.  A lessor of residential real estate must therefore allocate its gross receipts and payroll expense to each individual building in which it leases residential real estate units and to its other business activities combined.  “Residential real estate” means real property where the primary use of or right to use the property is for the purpose of dwelling, sleeping or lodging other than as part of the business activity of accommodations.

Lessors of residential real estate in San Francisco must file a return for each building in San Francisco under a separate Business Account Number to correctly report their tax liability.  Lessors of residential real estate that engage in any business other than leasing residential real estate (e.g., leasing commercial real estate, retailing, etc.) must complete a Return under a separate Business Account Number for the portion of their business that is not leasing residential real estate.

Lessors of residential real estate in San Francisco must file a Return if they are not otherwise exempt under Code sections 906 and 954, unless both of the following are true:

  • Their taxable payroll expense in the City, computed without regard to the small business tax exemption in Code section 905-A, is less than $150,000; and
  • They lease fewer than 4 units in any individual building

Residential landlords that do not qualify for a tax exclusion or credit have a simplified online filing experience as follows:

  1. Log in to the online filing system using your seven-digit Business Account Number, the last four digits of your Tax Identification Number, and your eight-character PIN (see Entering the Online Filing System for instructions with respect to log in).
  2. Answer a few introductory questions about your business (see Business Identification and the subsequent sections for instructions with respect to these questions).
  3. Select “Yes” when the system asks if you are a lessor of residential real estate on page A2.
  4. Go through the Payroll Expense Tax filing similarly to how you would have in prior years (see Payroll Expense Tax Filing – Statement Data for instructions with respect to the Payroll Expense Tax filing).
  5. In the gross receipts tax filing page D, the system will automatically select “Real Estate and Rental and Leasing Services” as your industry.  Enter the number of units you leased out, and your total gross receipts.  The system will automatically calculate your Gross Receipts Tax.  If you leased out fewer than four units in the building for which you are filing, you will qualify for the small business exemption and will owe no Gross Receipts Tax. If you lease units subject to rent control you may enter those amounts to calculate the 50% exclusion of gross receipts.  Note: you must enter a value in line 3 to proceed with the filing. This figure must include the gross receipts you enter in line 4 for rent controlled units  (See D. Lessor of Residential Real Estate (Residential Landlords) for instructions with respect to the Gross Receipts Tax filing for lessors of residential real estate).
  6. Review, sign, and submit your filing electronically.  The system will explain your payment options, if payment is required.

Residential landlords that qualify for a credit, exclusion, or limit may not file online and must file a paper form.  Please go to www.sftreasurer.org/contact-us to request a paper form using our online information request function.

You May Be Exempt From Filing

If you were engaged in business in San Francisco other than as a lessor of residential real estate and you had less than $500,000 in taxable gross receipts and less than $150,000 in taxable payroll expense,[1] you do not owe any Payroll Expense Tax or Gross Receipts Tax and do not need to file a tax return.

You May Be Eligible for a Simplified Online EZ Filing

If you were in engaged in business in San Francisco other than as a lessor of residential real estate, you may be eligible to use a simplified Online EZ filing if you do all of your business within San Francisco and meet certain other requirements.  To use the Online EZ filing:

  1. Log in to the online filing system using your seven-digit Business Account Number, the last four digits of your Tax Identification Number, and your eight-character PIN (see Entering the Online Filing System for instructions with respect to log in).
  2. Answer a few introductory questions about your business (see Business Identification and the subsequent sections for instructions with respect to these questions).
  3. Select “Yes” when the system asks if you would like to use Online EZ in line 3.
  4. Go through the Payroll Expense Tax filing similarly to how you would have in prior years (see C1. Payroll Expense Tax Filing – Statement Data for instructions with respect to the Payroll Expense Tax filing).
  5. If you qualify for the Online EZ filing, select your industry and enter your total gross receipts.  The system will automatically calculate your Gross Receipts Tax.  Most small businesses (other than lessors of residential real estate) with $1 million or less in San Francisco gross receipts qualify for the small business exemption and will owe no Gross Receipts Tax.  (See E. Gross Receipts Tax Filing – Online EZ for instructions with respect to the Online EZ filing).
  6. Review, sign, and submit your filing electronically.  The system will explain your payment options, if payment is required.

 

If you do not use the Online EZ filing, the system will route you to the standard form, which is explained in detail in this instruction booklet.

Businesses may proceed directly to Entering the Online Filing System to receive instructions on accessing the online system. 

 

What’s New for 2015

The Gross Receipts Tax adjustment factor is 25% and the Payroll Expense Tax rate is 1.162% (0.01162) after adjustment by the Controller as mandated by law. 

The filing for 2015 has been changed to provide more taxpayer self-service assistance.  Improvements include:

  • Each page has hyperlinks to access specific instructions in this instruction booklet.  The booklet overall is available via a link on the top of the page, as well as technical assistance.
  • A button to move back one screen and progress icons have been added to help taxpayers navigate the filing.
  • Taxpayers that qualify for most exclusions and tax credits will now be able to file online. 
  • Filers of combined groups will no longer be able to add members live in the filing, as this functionality caused a number of accounts to lock out.  Therefore, Filers are advised to validate their combined group membership early to avoid delays in updating their account around deadlines.
  • Finally, the questions to validate if taxpayers are residential landlords or qualify for Online EZ have been moved earlier in the filing experience and reduced in number. 

What You Need to Prepare Your Return

You must have the following to enter the online filing website:

  • Your seven (7) digit Business Account Number;
  • The last four (4) digits of your Tax Identification Number; and
  • Your eight (8) character alphanumeric Personal Identification Number (PIN) previously mailed to you by the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector.

If you do not have your PIN, go to www.sftreasurer.org/pinreset to learn how to reset your PIN.  Please note that PINs are only sent via US Mail to your mailing address on record with our office.  You will be unable to file any taxes without your new PIN.  If you do not file by the deadline, you will be subject to penalties, interest, and fees.  You will not be able to reset your PIN over the phone or in person.

Note for Tax Preparers

Tax preparers may log in to the form and enter data, then have the taxpayer return to review and submit the form with little or no need to re-enter data.  Alternatively, tax preparers may complete and submit the form, provided they maintain the appropriate signed Power of Attorney in their records. 

Technical Advisory

The online form has been tested in Mac and Windows versions of Internet Explorer 9, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox environments.  The Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector will maintain a list of known issues on a page accessible in the form through the “Technical” button.  The website is:

http://www.sftreasurer.org/OnlineFilingIssues.

If you have an extended time of inactivity, the system may not allow you to resume your filing.  You may have to close your browser window and re-log in to continue filing.

At times the system may have a number of users, causing a slowdown in page rendering.  Please be patient and do not use your back button on your browser, as this may cause your information to be overwritten or lost.

Who Must File

Persons Exempt from the Gross Receipts Tax and/or Payroll Expense Tax

If you are completely exempt from both the Payroll Expense Tax and the Gross Receipts Tax under Code sections 906 and 954, respectively (summarized below), you do not need to file a Return.  If you are exempt from either the Payroll Expense Tax or the Gross Receipts Tax, complete the Return and enter zeros for the tax for which you are exempt.

Code section 906 provides a detailed list of persons that are exempt from the Payroll Expense Tax.  Such persons include:

  • An organization having a formally recognized exemption from income tax pursuant to sections 501(c), 501(d), or 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (the “IRC”), as qualified by sections 502, 503, and 504 of the IRC.  However, organizations (other than organizations described under section 501(c)(3) of the IRC) directly engaged within the City in an unrelated trade or business within the meaning of section 513(a) of the IRC that have, from their own operations, unrelated business taxable income within the meaning of section 512(a)(1) of the IRC, do not qualify for this complete exemption.
  • Skilled nursing facilities licensed under the provisions of Title 22, California Administrative Code, Division 5, Chapter 3.
  • Banks and financial corporations exempt from local taxation under Article XIII, Section 27 of the California Constitution and Revenue and Taxation Code section 23182.
  • Insurance companies exempt from local taxation under Article XIII, Section 28 of the California Constitution.
  • Persons engaging in business as a for-hire motor carrier of property under Revenue and Taxation Code section 7233.
  • Persons engaging in intercity transportation as a household goods carrier under Public Utilities Code section 5327.
  • Charter-party carriers operating limousines that are neither domiciled nor maintain a business office with the City under Public Utilities Code Section 5371.4.
  • Any other person upon whom the City is prohibited under the Constitution or statute of the United States or under the Constitution or statute of the State of California from imposing the Payroll Expense Tax.

Code section 954 provides a detailed list of persons that are exempt from the Gross Receipts Tax.  Such persons include:

  • An organization exempt from income taxation by Chapter 4 (commencing with section 23701) of Part 11 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, or Subchapter F (commencing with section 501) of Chapter 1 of Subtitle A of the IRC, as qualified by sections 502, 503, 504, and 508 of the IRC.  However, organizations directly engaged within the City in an unrelated trade or business within the meaning of section 513(a) of the IRC that have, from their own operations, unrelated business taxable income within the meaning of section 512(a)(1) of the IRC, do not qualify for this complete exemption.
  • Banks and financial corporations exempt from local taxation under Article XIII, Section 27 of the California Constitution and Revenue and Taxation Code section 23182.
  • Insurance companies exempt from local taxation under Article XIII, Section 28 of the California Constitution.
  • Persons engaging in business as a for-hire motor carrier of property under Revenue and Taxation Code section 7233.
  • Persons engaging in intercity transportation as a household goods carrier under Public Utilities Code section 5327.
  • Charter-party carriers operating limousines that are neither domiciled nor maintain a business office with the City under Public Utilities Code Section 5371.4.
  • Any other person upon whom the City is prohibited under the Constitution or laws of the United States or under the Constitution or laws of the State of California from imposing the Gross Receipts Tax.

Non-Exempt Persons Other Than Lessors of Residential Real Estate

Persons other than lessors of residential real estate must file a Return if they were engaged in business in San Francisco in 2015 (as defined in Code section 6.2-12, qualified by Code sections 952.3(f) and (g)) and are not otherwise exempt under Code sections 906 and 954, unless both of the following are true:

  • Their combined taxable payroll expense in the City, computed without regard to the small business tax exemption in Code section 905-A, is less than $150,000; and
  • Their combined taxable gross receipts in the City, computed without regard to the small business exemption in Code section 954.1, is less than $500,000.

Due to the extensive features offered in the online filing, taxpayers are encouraged to use the online form if they are eligible to do so.

Non-Exempt Persons That May Not File Online and Must File By Mail or In Person

You may not file your Return online and must file a paper Return if:

  • You are a combined group (described below) with more than one entity engaged in business in San Francisco at any point during the tax year and plan on taking the Biotechnology Exclusion, the Clean Technology Business Exclusion, and/or the Stock-Based Compensation Exclusion with respect to your Payroll Expense Tax;
  • You are a combined group (described below) with more than one entity engaged in business in San Francisco at any point during the tax year and plan on taking the “Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion” Credit as a result of your qualification for the Biotechnology Exclusion or the Clean Technology Business Exclusion;
  • You are a combined group (described below) with more than one entity engaged in business in San Francisco at any point during the tax year and plan on taking the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit and/or the “Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion” Credit as a result of your qualification for the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit;
  • You plan on taking the Central Market Street and Tenderloin Area Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion with respect to your Payroll Expense Tax;
  • You plan on taking the Central Market Street Limit in Code section 961;
  • You are currently a member of a combined group (described below), but are filing on behalf of a different combined group for an earlier portion of the year;
  • You are a combined group (described below) that includes only a portion of an entity.  For example, assume Corporation A and Corporation B are unitary with Partnership C, and Corporations A and B each own 30 percent of Partnership C.  Under California Franchise Tax rules, Partnership C would be included in Corporation A and B’s unitary group to the extent of their combined 60 percent ownership.  In this scenario, the combined group with Corporation A, Corporation B, and 60 percent of Partnership C must file a paper return.  As another example, assume Corporation D has two divisions that engage in distinct unitary businesses, each of which is unitary with a separate combined group of entities.  The combined groups that include the single division of Corporation D must file a paper return.
  • You are filing for a portion of the year as a separate filer, but are included in a combined group or groups for a separate portion of the year.  For example, if Corporation E joins combined group F in July and is filing as a separate entity from January through June, Corporation E must file a paper return.
  • You are a combined group (described below) that includes an entity for a portion of the year when that entity is also included in a different combined group for a portion of the year or is filing as a separate filer for a portion of the year.  In the example above, combined group F must file a paper return because Corporation E was only a part of combined group F for a portion of the year and filed as a separate entity for a portion of the year.
  • You are a lessor of residential estate claiming a tax credit, exclusion, or limit.

You may obtain a paper form by submitting an online request for service at www.sftreasurer.org/contact-us.

Non-Exempt Lessors of Residential Real Estate

For purposes of this Return, a lessor of residential real estate is treated as a separate person (with a separate Business Account Number) with respect to each individual building in which it leases residential real estate units, and must file a separate Return for each individual building and for its other business activities combined.  A lessor of residential real estate must therefore allocate its gross receipts and payroll expense to each individual building in which it leases residential real estate units and to its other business activities combined.  “Residential real estate” means real property where the primary use of or right to use the property is for the purpose of dwelling, sleeping or lodging other than as part of the business activity of accommodations.

Lessors of residential real estate in San Francisco must file a return for each building in San Francisco under a separate Business Account Number to correctly report their tax liability.  Lessors of residential real estate that engage in any business other than leasing residential real estate (e.g., leasing commercial real estate, retailing, etc.) must complete a Return under a separate Business Account Number for the portion of their business that is not leasing residential real estate.

Lessors of residential real estate in San Francisco must file a Return if they are not otherwise exempt under Code sections 906 and 954, unless both of the following are true:

  • Their taxable payroll expense in the City, computed without regard to the small business tax exemption in Code section 905-A, is less than $150,000; and
  • They lease fewer than 4 units in any individual building. 
 

Example 1: Lessor of Residential Real Estate Registration and Filing Requirements

Assume Corporation A leases 10 residential units and 5 commercial units in Building A, leases 3 residential units and 4 commercial units in Building B, and generates $3,000,000 of gross receipts and $300,000 of payroll expense from these activities. 

Based on rules analogous to those in Code section 904 or another appropriate cost accounting methodology, Corporation A allocates $200,000 of its payroll expense to the lease of its 9 commercial units, $75,000 to the lease of its 10 residential units in Building A, and $25,000 to the lease of its 3 residential units in Building B. 

Based on its books and records, Corporation A determines that $2,000,000 of its gross receipts are from the lease of the 9 commercial units, $750,000 are from the lease of the 10 residential units in Building A, and $250,000 are from the lease of the 3 residential units in Building B. 

Corporation A would have to file one Return reflecting the $200,000 payroll expense and $2,000,000 gross receipts of the 9 commercial units because its payroll expense and gross receipts were not less than $150,000 and $500,000, respectively. 

Corporation A would also have to register as a separate person and file one Return reflecting the $75,000 payroll expense and $750,000 gross receipts for the 10 residential units in Building A because Corporation A leases more than 3 residential units in Building A.  Corporation A would not need to file a Return for the 3 residential units in Building B because Corporation A leases fewer than 3 residential units in Building B and the $25,000 payroll expense allocated to the residential units in Building B is less than $150,000. Corporation A would have to register as a separate person for the 3 residential units in Building B because it has payroll expense allocated to that building.

Combined Groups

All persons and their related entities (defined below) must file Gross Receipts Tax and Payroll Expense Tax returns on a combined basis, reflecting the gross receipts, payroll expense, and other tax attributes (e.g., credits and exclusions, payroll for apportionment, etc.) of all related entities.  Prior to filing your Return, please ensure all information about any related entities engaged in business in San Francisco is up-to-date in Account Update online.  For purposes of these instructions, the terms “you” and “your” will refer to the Filer and any related entities if a combined group, unless otherwise noted.

For purposes of this Return, the term “combined group” refers to a taxpayer and all of its related entities.  A person is a related entity to a taxpayer if: (1) that person and the taxpayer are permitted or required to have their income reflected on the same combined report for California Franchise or Income Tax purposes; or (2) that person and one or more other persons (including the taxpayer) derive gross receipts solely from sources within California and their business activities are such that, if conducted both within and outside California, a combined report would be required for California Franchise or Income Tax purposes. 

If an entity was a member of your combined group for only a portion of 2015, include that entity in your combined group’s Return for the portion of 2015 that it was a member.  For the portion of 2015 that the entity was not a part of your combined group, that entity will have to file separately or as part of another combined group.  As noted above, any combined group including an entity for only a portion of that year when the entity is filing separately or as part of another combined group for a different portion of the year may not file online and must file a paper Return.

If you are currently a non-filing member of a combined group but were a separate entity for a portion of the year, you must file (on a paper Return, as described above) as a separate entity for that portion of 2015 that you were a separate entity engaged in business in San Francisco.  As also noted above, if you are currently a member of a combined group, but are filing on behalf of a different combined group for an earlier portion of the year, you may not file your Return online and must file a paper Return.

If your combined group for California Franchise or Income Tax purposes includes an entity that is exempt from the Payroll Expense Tax and/or Gross Receipts Tax (e.g., banks or financial corporations exempt from local taxation under Article XIII, Section 27 of the California Constitution and Revenue and Taxation Code section 23182), you should exclude the gross receipts, payroll expense, and other tax attributes of this exempt entity from your combined Return.

To file a Return on behalf of a combined group, you must have authorization to file on behalf of each taxpayer in the combined group.  A form for this purpose, Form POA-2, is available on the website of the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector at http://sftreasurer.org/business-form-central.   You do not need to submit this form with your Return.

NOTE: Pursuant to Tax Collector Regulation 2014-2, a single-member entity (including a single-member limited liability company) treated as a disregarded entity for federal income tax purposes will be disregarded for purposes of the Gross Receipts Tax, Payroll Expense Tax, and business registration requirements.  Each such entity will be treated as a sole proprietorship, branch, or division of its owner.  The owner of the disregarded entity will be the registrant and taxpayer for purposes of the Gross Receipts Tax, Payroll Expense Tax, and business registration requirements.

When You Must File

Returns and payments are due on or before the last day of February of the year following the tax year, unless the Tax Collector has granted you an extension prior to the due date.  Online forms must therefore be transmitted before midnight on February 29, 2016.  Payments must also be received or postmarked on or before February 29, 2016.  Failure to meet these deadlines will result in penalties, interest, and fees.

Extension Requests

The Tax Collector may extend for a period not to exceed 60 days the time for filing a Return. As a condition of such extension, the person seeking the extension shall make a payment of not less than 90 percent of such person's estimated liability for such period.

Taxpayers may access an extension request at www.sftreasurer.org/extensionrequest. The form and any required payment must be submitted by February 29, 2016. Taxpayers qualifying for the extension must file their Return and make any required payment by April 29, 2016. The Tax Collector may use the filing information from the annual Return to establish the conditional payment required to approve or deny the extension request.

Entering the Online Filing System

Once you click on the link to the online filing, you will be taken to a page with instructions to the filing.  You must have the following to enter the website:

  • Your seven (7) digit Business Account Number;
  • The last four (4) digits of your Tax Identification Number; and
  • Your eight (8) character alphanumeric Personal Identification Number (PIN) previously mailed to you by the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector.

If you do not have your PIN, go to www.sftreasurer.org/pinreset to learn how to reset your PIN.  Please note that PINs are only sent via US Mail to your mailing address on record with our office.  You will be unable to file any taxes without your new PIN.  If you do not file by the deadline, you will be subject to penalties, interest, and fees.  You will not be able to reset your PIN over the phone or in person.

Note: If another business has informed our office that they are filing on your behalf as part of a combined group, you will be directed to a page confirming that this is accurate.  If you wish to file as a separate entity anyway, please click “Continue to Filing.”  To file for any portion of the tax year for which you were not entirely included in the combined group (either as a separate entity or as the Filer of a different combined group), you must file a paper return.

Navigating the Online Form

New for the 2015 tax filing, the online form has a number of useful help features for taxpayers. 

Menu Options

Each page of the online form has three buttons on the top, next to the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector logo.   The Instructions button directs you to the online instruction booklet.  You need to enable popups to access the instruction booklet.  Next, the Technical button directs you to our technical advisory page that provides updated information on known issues and troubleshooting tips for technical issues.  Finally, the “Exit Filing” button allows you to exit the form.  Note that any entries on the page you are currently on will not be saved without first clicking “Save and Continue.”

Filing Tabs

Below the logo and Top Menu are five arrow tabs that will help orient you to your progress through the filing.  The tabs are Business Identification, Payroll Expense Tax, Gross Receipts Tax, Summary, and Sign / Print / Pay.  They correspond to the five general sections of the online form. 

Navigation Icons

Do not use browser buttons to navigate once you are in the filing or data may be lost.  At the bottom of the form are buttons to navigate the filing.

Once you have completed entering amounts and answers on a page select “Save & Continue” on the bottom right side of the page to go on to the next page of the filing.  If you wish to go back one screen, you may select the “Go Back” button on the bottom left. If you wish to go back more than one screen, continue to use the filing tabs on the top of the page.    

Icons are also provided at the bottom of the page to help you assess your progress through the filing. 

You may only proceed through the form in the order the pages are presented.  The page headers as well as the page titles will indicate which section you are currently completing. Page titles correspond to the Table of Contents in these instructions. You must progress through the form sequentially.  You cannot skip ahead.  Pages of the form that are not accessible yet are headed in gray.  Pages you have previously completed are headed in green.  The active page is headed in blue.  You may go back to pages that you have previously completed.  However, you must progress sequentially forward if you choose to go to a previous screen.

If you need to go back to a prior screen, use the button on the bottom of the form to navigate.  Do not use your browser’s back button, as this may cause data to be lost. 

If you need to leave your session, you may exit at any time by clicking on the “Exit Filing” button on the top right of the screen.  Entries on pages for which you have selected “Save and Continue” will be saved for a future session, as long as you do not change entries earlier in the form, which would overwrite any dependent data. 

Once you submit your filing you will have the option to Amend or View your filing.  After your filing is submitted it is no longer stored in the online form.

Submission

Once you have entered all information for the filing, you will have the option of reviewing your filing information on the Obligation Summary page.  You must enable popup windows to see this information.  On the Taxpayer Statement page you must input the required information and select “Submit.” Note that submission may take several minutes. Refreshing or using your browser’s back button will cause your submission to fail and your filing will not be received. 

Once your filing has been received, a “Filing Submitted” window will display.  Selecting “Continue” will take you to a page to download, email, or select payment options. 

 

A1. Business Identification

Question 1 – Business Personal Property

Check “Yes” if you had any taxable business personal property in the City during the tax year. Otherwise check “no.”

Business Personal Property includes items like machinery, equipment, fixtures, and leasehold improvements held or used in connection with a trade or business. Business property owners must file a property statement each year with the Business Personal Property Division (BPP) of the Office of the Assessor-Recorder detailing the acquisition cost of all supplies, equipment, fixtures, and improvements owned at each location within the City and County of San Francisco.

For more information, visit:

http://sfasr.org/property-information/business-owners/about-business-property-assessments

Question 2 – Average Weekly Employees

Input your average number of weekly employees for your entire business (not just San Francisco) in 2015.  This is a survey question that does not affect your Gross Receipts Tax or Payroll Expense Tax liability. 

Combined Groups of Related Entities

If you are the Filer of a combined group of related entities you will have the opportunity to review the list of related entities engaged in business in San Francisco in 2015 you have declared to the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector.  If this information is incorrect or incomplete, or if any related entities engaged in business in San Francisco in 2015 are missing, you must log out of the form and go to Account Update to add or delete members. These changes require review by our office and may take multiple business days to be updated in the online form.  Taxpayers are encouraged to verify their combined group status early in the filing period to avoid delays in filing and the resultant penalties and interest. Information will not be updated until you log out and log in again. 

Please note: If you are the Filer of a combined group of which you were the only entity engaged in business in San Francisco during the tax year, and you have not added any entities as ‘related entities’ on Account Update, you will not see this section, even though you have related entities.  This is not a problem.  Of course, you must still complete your Return as a combined group

A2. Filing Questionnaire

Question 1 – Residential Landlord

Check “Yes” if you are filing this Return as a lessor of residential real estate in 2015.  “Residential real estate” means real property where the primary use of or right to use the property is for the purpose of dwelling, sleeping or lodging other than as part of the business activity of accommodations.

Question 2 – Credit, Payroll Expense Exclusion, or Limit

The City and County of San Francisco offers a number of tax credits, payroll expense exclusions, and the Central Market Street Limit.  Check “Yes” if you are claiming any of these to be directed to the page to input the correct information.  Please note, most credits and exclusions require prior qualification and do not apply to most taxpayers. 

Question 3 – Online EZ

The Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector has provided an “Online EZ” filing option for certain small businesses that meet all of the following criteria:

  1. All gross receipts in 2015 were derived from business activities within San Francisco; and
  2. All employees (if any) only work in San Francisco; and
  3. The business does not qualify for any deductions, exclusions, credits, or limits; and
  4. The business is not a combined group of related entities; and
  5. More than 80 percent of your San Francisco gross receipts are derived from business activities described in one tax rate category (i.e., one of Code sections 953.1 through 953.7).  Select here for a list of tax rate categories.  To determine whether more than 80 percent of your San Francisco gross receipts in 2015 were derived from a single tax rate category, divide your San Francisco gross receipts for each tax rate category into your total San Francisco gross receipts for all tax rate categories combined.  If you derived gross receipts from business activities within and outside San Francisco, determine your San Francisco gross receipts for each tax rate category by allocating/apportioning your total gross receipts from each tax rate category to San Francisco under the allocation/apportionment rules for that tax rate category.

Select “Yes” if you qualify for and would like to file using the Online EZ form.  This form allows qualifying taxpayers to file more quickly. Select “No” if you are required to or prefer to not use the Online EZ form.

B. Tax on Administrative Office Business Activities

This page contains up to three questions that will determine whether you are subject to the Administrative Office Tax, or whether you are subject to the Payroll Expense Tax and Gross Receipts Tax.  If you are the Filer of a combined group, answer these questions on a combined basis.  However, for purposes of these three questions only, a person is a “related entity” if they could be included in the same combined report for California Franchise or Income Tax purposes but for the existence of a water’s edge election (i.e., you should ignore any water’s edge election for purposes of these three questions). 

If you answer “Yes” to all three questions, you are subject to the Administrative Office Tax and will be directed to the Tax on Administrative Office Business Activities filing.  If you answer “No” to any one of the questions, you do not qualify for the Administrative Office Tax and will be directed to the Payroll Expense Tax filing.

Question 1 – Employees

Check “Yes” if the total combined number of full-time and part-time employees within the United States of your business and any related entities exceeded 1,000 as of the most recent December 31st (12/31/2015).  Otherwise, check “No.”

Question 2 – Gross Receipts

Check “Yes” if the total combined gross receipts of your business and any related entities reported on United States federal income tax return(s) for your most recently completed federal income tax year exceeded one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000).  Otherwise, check “No.”  If you and/or any of your related entities have not yet filed United States federal income tax return(s) for your most recently completed federal income tax year, use the gross receipts that will be reported on such return(s) when filed.

Question 3 – Payroll Expense Attributable to Administrative or Management Services

Check “Yes” if over 50 percent of the total combined payroll expense in the City of your business and any related entities in 2015 was associated with providing administrative or management services exclusively to you and any of your related entities.  Otherwise, check “No.”  For purposes of this question only, payroll expense in the City is determined in the same way as for the Payroll Expense Tax (in Code section 901 et seq.), except that grants of rights to acquire an ownership interest in an employer (e.g., stock options) are not included as payroll expense.  Also for purposes of this question, “administrative or management services” comprises internal support services provided on an enterprise-wide basis, such as executive office oversight, company business strategy, recordkeeping, risk management, personnel administration, legal, accounting, market research and analysis, and training services.  “Administrative or management services” does not include, for example, sales personnel or personnel actively engaged in marketing, research and development, direct customer service, and product support services.

 

B1. Tax on Administrative Office Business Activities

If you answered “No” to any of the questions on the previous page, you will not see this page and will be taken directly to the Payroll Expense Tax filing.

If you answered “Yes” to all three of the questions on the previous page, you will be asked to input your San Francisco payroll expense and all quarterly installment payments (including all Payroll Expense Tax and Gross Receipts Tax quarterly installment payments made by you or any member of your combined group for periods during which they were a member of your combined group) made for 2015.

Enter the combined payroll expense and quarterly installments of you and any related entities.  Article 12-A of the Code (imposing the Payroll Expense Tax) provides detailed rules for determining San Francisco payroll expense.  The system will then calculate your Administrative Office Tax due or overpayment.

Line 1 – San Francisco Payroll Expense

Input your San Francisco payroll expense.

Line 2 – Administrative Office Tax @ 1.4%

The system will multiply line 1 by 1.4% (0.014).

Lines 3a – 3c – Quarterly Installments

Input the sum of your San Francisco Payroll Expense Tax and Gross Receipts Tax quarterly installment payments (including all Payroll Expense Tax and Gross Receipts Tax quarterly installment payments made by you or any member of your combined group for periods during which they were a member of your combined group).

Line 4 – Total Installment Payments

The system will subtract the sum of lines 3a through 3c from line 2.

Lines 5 – 8 – Penalties, Interest, and Fees

The system will calculate applicable penalties, interest, and fees for delinquent filings and/or payments.  These fields will be blank or zero for timely filings and payments.

Line 9 – Total Obligation Due / Overpayment

The system will calculate the total obligation due, net of quarterly installment payments and with penalties, interest, and fees (if applicable). A positive number reflects a balance due. A negative amount reflects an overpayment. 

B2. Tax on Administrative Office Business Activities Obligation Summary

This page displays the obligation summary for the Tax on Administrative Office Business Activities and allows taxpayers to request a refund or designate a portion of their tax liability to the Community Challenge Grant program.  

Refund Request Checkbox (Only Displays for Overpayments)

If the amount in line 9 (“Total Obligation Due / Overpayment”) is negative, you may request a refund from the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector.  A field that has been default marked to request a refund will be displayed if you qualify for a refund.  The field will not show if you do not have an overpayment.

If line 9 reflects an overpayment and you do not check the box requesting a refund, you must file a request for refund form and/or claim for refund form within the time period mandated by law or you will forfeit the amount of your overpayment.  This amount will not be carried forward to future years.  If you checked the box requesting a refund and do not receive a check from the Tax Collector, you must file a claim for refund form within the time period mandated by law to obtain your refund.

Community Challenge Grant

If you would like to designate a portion of your tax liability on line 1 to the Neighborhood Beautification and Graffiti Clean-up Fund (also known as the "Community Challenge Grant Program") you may:

  1. Check the box at left to designate 2.6 percent (0.026) of your tax liability in the box at the right; or
  2. Check the box and enter an amount in the box at right up to 2.6 percent of your tax liability. (for example, $260 if your tax liability is $10,000)

This designation will not increase your tax liability, but will designate a portion of the tax you pay to go to the Community Challenge Grant Program.

Clicking “Save and Continue” will take you to the Taxpayer Statement page.  You may skip to that page in these instructions as the intervening instructions do not apply to you. 

 

Tax Credits & Exclusions Selection

San Francisco offers a number of tax credits and exclusions for taxpayers meeting specific requirements, as described below. This page is designed to allow taxpayers to file for their credits and exclusions. Check the credit or exclusion for which you qualify and select “Save and Continue” to enter your credit and exclusion information.  If you are not qualified for a credit or exclusion listed on this page select the green Business Identification tab at the top of the page to return to the beginning and change your answer on Question 2 of the Filing Questionnaire to “no.”

If you are (1) filing for the Central Market Street and Tenderloin Area Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion and Central Market Limit; (2) filing for the Stock-Based Compensation Exclusion; or (3) a combined group with more than one entity engaged in business in San Francisco at any point during the tax year that checks one of the boxes you may not file your Return online and must obtain a paper return (if you have not already received one) by submitting an online request for service.

Stock-Based Compensation

The requirements of the Stock-Based Compensation Exclusion in Code section 906.4 include (but are not limited to) undertaking an initial public offering on a public stock exchange or experiencing a change in control prior to any such initial public offering on or after July 3, 2011, and meeting minimum stock-based compensation levels.  An affidavit claiming the payroll expense tax exclusion must have been timely submitted with supporting documentation by January 31, 2016.  The affidavit can be found at www.sftreasurer.org/business-form-central under “Tax Credits and Exclusions.” If you are filing for this exclusion you may not file your Return online and must obtain a paper return by submitting an online request for service, or calling 3-1-1 from within San Francisco or 415-701-2311 outside of San Francisco.

Biotechnology

The requirements for the Biotechnology Exclusion can be found in Code section 906.1.

Clean Technology

Many of the requirements for the Clean Technology Business Exclusion in Code section 906.2 are summarized by the San Francisco Department of the Environment.

Central Market Street

Many of the requirements of the Central Market Street and Tenderloin Area Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion in Code section 906.3 are summarized by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development

If you are filing for this exclusion and the Central Market Street Limit you may not file your Return online and must obtain a paper return by submitting an online request for service, or calling 3-1-1 from within San Francisco or 415-701-2311 outside of San Francisco.

Enterprise Zone

The requirements of the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit can be found in Code section 906A.  Persons filing for this credit and the related “Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion” Credit must have received vouchers for their qualified employees on or before December 31, 2014. Businesses that are eligible for the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit must go to http://sftreasurer.org/EZTC_2015 to download and complete the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit Calculation Table for upload with your Annual Return.  

Biotechnology Exclusion Worksheet

The Biotechnology Exclusion permits an exclusion from payroll expense for persons meeting the requirements of Code section 906.1, in an amount determined under that Code section.  The “Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion” Credit permits a credit against the Payroll Expense Tax and Gross Receipts Tax of the entity generating the Biotechnology Exclusion in an amount equal to the additional Payroll Expense Tax reduction to which the eligible person would have been entitled as a result of the Biotechnology Exclusion if the Payroll Expense Tax had remained in effect at 1.5 percent.  You must timely file your Return to take the credit and exclusion.

To file for the Biotechnology Exclusion and related “Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion” Credit, complete and submit this page.

Line 1. Input the amount of payroll expense to be excluded from the eligible person’s San Francisco payroll expense due to the Biotechnology Exclusion in Code section 906.1. 

This is the Payroll Expense Tax exclusion for the eligible person, and will be input in your Payroll Expense Tax Statement.

Line 2. The system will multiply the amount in line 1 by 0.338% (0.00338). This product is your “Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion” Credit.  It will be apportioned proportionately between the Payroll Expense Tax and Gross Receipts Tax.

Click “Save and Continue” to proceed to the next page.    

 

Clean Technology Business Exclusion Worksheet

The Clean Technology Business Exclusion permits an exclusion from payroll expense for persons meeting the requirements of Code section 906.2, in an amount determined under that Code section.  The “Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion” Credit permits a credit against the Payroll Expense Tax and Gross Receipts Tax of the entity generating the Clean Technology Business Exclusion in an amount equal to the additional Payroll Expense Tax reduction to which the eligible person would have been entitled as a result of the Clean Technology Business Exclusion if the Payroll Expense Tax had remained in effect at 1.5 percent.  You must timely file your Return to take the credit and exclusion.

To file for the Clean Technology Business Exclusion and related “Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion” Credit, complete and submit this page.

Line 1. Input the amount of payroll expense to be excluded from the eligible person’s San Francisco payroll expense due to the Clean Technology Business Exclusion in Code section 906.2. 

This is the Payroll Expense Tax exclusion for the eligible person, and will be input in your Payroll Expense Tax Statement.

Line 2. The system will multiply the amount in line 1 by 0.338% (0.00338). This product is your “Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion” Credit.  It will be apportioned proportionately between the Payroll Expense Tax and Gross Receipts Tax.

Click “Save and Continue” to proceed to the next page.    

 

Enterprise Zone Tax Credit Worksheet

The Enterprise Zone Tax Credit permits a credit against the Payroll Expense Tax for persons meeting the requirements of Code section 906A, in an amount determined under that Code section.  The “Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion” Credit permits a credit against the Payroll Expense Tax and Gross Receipts Tax of the entity generating the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit in an amount equal to the additional Payroll Expense Tax reduction to which the eligible person would have been entitled as a result of the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit if the Payroll Expense Tax had remained in effect at 1.5 percent.  However, the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit and related “Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion” Credit are no longer available for employees hired on or after January 1, 2014, or for employees hired before January 1, 2014, who were not vouchered on or before December 31, 2014.

Businesses that are eligible for the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit, must go to http://sftreasurer.org/EZTC_2015 to download and complete the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit Calculation Table.  For each employee, you will need to populate the yellow highlighted fields: Employee First Name, Employee Last Name, Job Title, Date Hired, Date No Longer Employed (If applicable), Gross Payroll Expense and Ineligible Payroll Expense.  The spreadsheet will calculate the tax credit. Save your calculation table Excel document with your employee information and upload it to the Annual Return when prompted by the form.  

Line 1 – Credit Amount

Enter the calculated amount into line 1 of this page. 

Upload

Select the “Upload” button to upload the spreadsheet used to calculate the tax credit.  Our office will use this document to validate the credit taken.

The online form will apportion the tax credit between the Gross Receipts Tax and Payroll Expense Tax. 

              

 

C1. Payroll Expense Tax Filing – Statement Data

This page allows you to enter the information to calculate your Payroll Expense Tax liability. 

Column – San Francisco Employees

Enter the number of your San Francisco employees (full- and part-time) at the end of the period for which you are filing this Return.

Column – San Francisco Payroll Expense

Enter your San Francisco payroll expense for 2015. Article 12-A of the Code provides rules for determining San Francisco payroll expense. 

For combined groups, enter employees and payroll expense separately in each corresponding row for each entity in your combined group that is engaged in business in San Francisco.  If each entity in your combined group that was engaged in business in San Francisco during 2015 is not listed on this page, you must exit your filing and update your information in Account Update online. These changes require review by our office and may take multiple business days to be updated in the online form.  Taxpayers are encouraged to verify their combined group status early in the filing period to avoid delays in filing and the resultant penalties and interest. Information will not be updated until you log out and re-login.    As noted above, if the entity is part of your combined group for only a portion of the tax year and is filing as a separate entity or part of another combined group for another portion of the year, or is only partially included in your combined return, you may not file online and must file a paper return.

After entering your employees and San Francisco payroll expense, the system will calculate your total Payroll Expense Tax before any credits on page C2.

Note:  Lessors of residential real estate are treated as separate persons for purposes of the Payroll Expense Tax for each individual building in which they lease residential real estate, and must file separate Returns for each individual building and for their other business activities combined.

C2. Payroll Expense Tax Filing Summary

This page calculates your Payroll Expense Tax liability based on your entries on the previous page. 

Line 1 – San Francisco Payroll Expense

Your entry or entries from the previous page.

Line 2 – Payroll Expense Exclusion

The system will automatically calculate any payroll exclusion from the appropriate page B1 or the Net New Payroll Exclusion available under Code section 906.5.  You must timely file your Return for exclusions to be available.

Line 3 – Net San Francisco Payroll Expense

The difference between lines 1 and 2. 

Line 4 – Payroll Expense Tax at @ 1.162%

The product of line 3 and 1.162% (0.01162).  The system will automatically apply any small business tax exemption, which applies to entities with taxable payroll expense that does not exceed $260,000.

Line 5 – Total Payroll Expense Tax Before Credits

This line calculates your total Payroll Expense Tax before credits.  For a single entity, this will be the same as line 4.  For combined groups, this will sum the Payroll Expense Tax before credits for all entities in line 4.

 

D. Lessor of Residential Real Estate (Residential Landlord)

You will be directed to this page if you selected “Yes” that you are a lessor of residential real estate (residential landlord) in the Filing Questionnaire. If you are not a residential landlord, click on the “Business Identification” tab above to change your answer. 

After you answer the questions on this page, the system will automatically calculate your total Gross Receipts Tax. Once you complete this page and click “Save and Continue,” the system will take you to your Obligation Summary page, and you will not see any further pages regarding the calculation of your Gross Receipts Tax. 

Line 1—Business Activity

 “Real Estate and Rental and Leasing Services” will be automatically selected for you.

Line 2—Enter the Number of Units Leased Out

Enter the number of units leased out.  Only whole numbers are accepted entries, no decimals or fractions.  A unit leased out for part of the year would be one unit for the purpose of this question. 

Line 3—San Francisco Gross Receipts

Enter the total gross receipts attributable to the residential units in this building. Note: you must enter a value in line 3 to proceed with the filing. This figure must include the receipts you enter in line 4 for rent controlled units (if applicable)

Use the same method of accounting (i.e., cash or accrual) that you use for federal income tax purposes to determine when to include gross receipts for purposes of the Gross Receipts Tax.

Line 4 – San Francisco Gross Receipts from Rent-Controlled Units

Enter the total San Francisco gross receipts from the rental of real property to tenants in occupancy at rent-controlled units (i.e., any location in the City which is subject to the limits on rent increases pursuant to the Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Ordinance, San Francisco Administrative Code, Chapter 37, Section 37.1 et seq.).  This amount is included in gross receipts reported in line 3 and may be the same as line 3. 

Line 5 – 50% of Gross Receipts from Rent-Controlled Units

The system will automatically calculate fifty percent (50%) of gross receipts from rent-controlled units using the entry from line 4.  You may exclude from total gross receipts in any tax year 50% of the total amount received from the rental of real property to tenants in occupancy at these rent-controlled units.

Once you complete this page you will automatically be taken to the Obligation Summary page. 

Example 2: Lessor of Residential Real Estate

NOTE: If you are both a lessor of residential real estate and are engaged in another business activity or activities in San Francisco in 2015, you are treated as a separate taxpayer (requiring a separate Business Account Number, or account numbers if a combined group) for all of your other business activities combined, as well as being treated as a separate taxpayer (requiring a separate Business Account Number) for each individual building in which you are a lessor of residential real estate. 

For example, if Corporation A is a lessor of 6 residential units in Building B in San Francisco, is a lessor of 5 residential units and 1 commercial unit in Building C in San Francisco, and sells widgets in San Francisco, Corporation A will be treated as 3 separate taxpayers (each requiring a separate Business Account Number):  one for the 6 residential units in Building B; one for the 5 residential units in Building C; and one for the commercial unit in Building C and the widget sales combined.  Thus, if you are engaged in a business activity (or activities) other than as a lessor of residential real estate, you will need to complete a separate Return for those activities (in addition to separate Returns for each individual building in which you lease residential real estate).

 

D. Online EZ

If you are not eligible to use the Online EZ filing, you will not see this page.  If you have selected to use the Online EZ filing, complete the Online EZ filing as described below.  The Online EZ filing is designed to provide an easier filing for businesses that are wholly within San Francisco, primarily in one business activity.  After you answer the questions on this page, the system will automatically calculate your total Gross Receipts Tax. Once you complete this page and click “Save and Continue,” the system will take you to your Obligation Summary page, and you will not see any further pages regarding the calculation of your Gross Receipts Tax. 

Line 1—Business Activity

Select from the drop-down menu the business activity from which you derived the greatest amount of your gross receipts for tax year 2015.  For a description of the business activities, refer to our NAICS page

Line 2—Gross Receipts

Enter the total gross receipts for your business.  Include the gross receipts from all of your business activities—not just the business activity you selected via the drop-down menu.

In general, “gross receipts” includes all amounts received or accrued from whatever source derived, including, but not limited to, amounts derived from sales, services, dealings in property, interest, rent, royalties, dividends, licensing fees, other fees, commissions, and distributed amounts from other business entities.  Gross receipts generally include, but are not limited to, all amounts that constitute gross income for federal income tax purposes.

Use the same method of accounting (i.e., cash or accrual) that you use for federal income tax purposes to determine when to include gross receipts for purposes of the Gross Receipts Tax.

Once you complete this page you will automatically be taken to the Obligation Summary page. 

 

 

D. Identification of Business Activities

If you are not eligible to use the Online EZ filing, the system will automatically direct you to the standard Gross Receipts Tax form, commencing with this page: D. Identification of Business Activities.  If you are eligible and complete the Online EZ filing, you will not see these pages and will be automatically taken to your Obligation Summary page.

Check the box corresponding to each business activity in which you engaged in 2015, regardless of the amount of gross receipts that the business activity generated.  Most activities are categorized by their 2012 North American Industry Classification System (“NAICS”) code.  For more information on the 2012 NAICS codes, go to www.census.gov/eos/www/naics. The “Biotechnology” and “Clean Technology” businesses are described in Code sections 906.1 and 906.2, respectively.  If you are engaged in any business activities not listed on this page, check the box next to line 20, and describe the activity or activities in the field that appears.

Note: Interest earned on savings accounts and other passive investment receipts may be reported in your primary business activity and do not need to be listed as a separate business activity.  

 

E. Apportionment

If you selected only Accommodations and/or Real Estate and Rental and Leasing Services as your business activity or activities, you will not see this page.  If you selected any other business activities, and you derived gross receipts from both within and outside San Francisco, your San Francisco gross receipts will be determined, at least in part, by apportionment. To calculate your apportionment percentage, enter your total payroll and San Francisco payroll for 2015. 

Total Payroll

Total payroll is the total worldwide compensation paid by you and any related entities, unless you made a valid water’s edge election for California Franchise Tax purposes, in which case your total payroll is determined in accordance with that election.  If you have employees, “compensation” means wages, salaries, commissions and any other form of remuneration paid to those employees for services.  If you have no employees, compensation includes all taxable income for federal income tax purposes of your owners or proprietors who are individuals.  If you had no payroll during 2015, enter zero.

Total San Francisco Payroll

San Francisco payroll is determined by apportioning total payroll under Code section 904 (the rules applicable for determining your taxable San Francisco payroll expense for Payroll Expense Tax purposes).  If you had no San Francisco payroll during 2015, enter zero.

 

F. Calculation of Gross Receipts

For each business activity selected, the system will walk you through the calculation of your taxable gross receipts on a separate page H.  If you are a combined group, provide this information on a water’s edge or worldwide basis, depending on the election you made that governs your California Franchise Tax Board filing for 2015.  To determine the gross receipts to include in the “San Francisco” column, use the rules in Code section 956.1, including the gross receipts of all related entities, regardless of the entities’ individual connections to San Francisco.

If the San Francisco gross receipts for a particular business activity are determined wholly by allocating receipts according to Code section 956.1, then only the “San Francisco” column will show and allow data entry.  Similarly, if the San Francisco gross receipts are determined wholly by apportioning based on payroll according to Code section 956.2, then only the “Total” column will show and allow data entry.  For business activities that use both allocation and payroll apportionment, both columns will display and allow data entry.

General Instructions for Entering Gross Receipts

In general, “gross receipts” includes all amounts received or accrued from whatever source derived, including, but not limited to, amounts derived from sales, services, dealings in property, interest, rent, royalties, dividends, licensing fees, other fees, commissions, and distributed amounts from other business entities.  Gross receipts generally include, but are not limited to, all amounts that constitute gross income for federal income tax purposes.

In lines 1-9, enter your gross receipts for that business activity.  Enter amounts even if excludable as gross receipts under the Code, because exclusions will be taken into account in lines 10-17.  Enter amounts only once, even if they qualify in more than one of lines 1-9.

In lines 10-17, enter any exclusions from your total gross receipts for that business activity as reported on lines 1-9.  Enter amounts only once, even if they qualify in more than one of lines 10-17.  Only enter amounts included in lines 1-9.

Clicking “Save and Continue” at the bottom of the page will bring you to a separate page H for your next business activity.  Each of the business activities selected is listed across the top of the page.  Once you have completed a page H for all business activities selected, the system will automatically calculate your Gross Receipts Tax.

Line 1 – Sales

Enter your gross receipts or sales for the business activity in 2015, except for amounts listed on lines 2 through 9.  Include gross receipts in the year that they are recognized as gross income for federal income tax reporting purposes.  Do not include as gross receipts cash discounts allowed or taken on sales, or cash and credit refunds made to customers for returned merchandise.

Line 2 – Rent

For the business activity selected, enter the sum of all rental receipts (i.e., rent payments to you), whether received in cash or otherwise, for the lease or rental of real property in 2015, including any payments for services that are part of the lease or rental.

Line 3 – Royalties

For the business activity selected, enter all royalties received or accrued in 2015.

Line 4 – Interest, Dividends, and Other Amounts From the Ownership or Sale of Financial Instruments

For the business activity selected, enter the sum of all interest, dividends, and other amounts received or accrued from the ownership or sale of financial instruments in 2015.  “Financial instruments” include:

  1. Stocks or other similar written instruments evidencing a right to participate in the assets of any business;
  2. Bonds or other evidence of indebtedness; and
  3. Any other marketable securities. 

To the extent that any loss on the sale or exchange of financial instruments in 2015 reduces your gross income for federal income tax purposes in 2015, you can reduce your gross receipts from the sale or exchange of other financial instruments in 2015 by the amount of that loss, but in no event shall those receipts be less than zero.

Line 5 – Distributed Amounts from Business Entities

For the business activity selected, enter the sum of all distributions from business entities received or accrued in 2015.

Line 6 – Licensing Fees

For the business activity selected, enter the sum of all licensing and related fees received or accrued in 2015.

Line 7 – Commissions

For the business activity selected, enter the sum of all commissions received or accrued in 2015. 

Line 8 – All Taxes and Other Governmentally Imposed Fees

For the business activity selected, enter the sum of all taxes and governmentally imposed fees received or accrued in 2015.

Line 9 – Other Amounts

For the business activity selected, enter the sum of any other amounts received or accrued in 2015, but not included in lines 1-8, including, but not limited to, amounts that constitute gross income for federal income tax purposes.

Line A – Subtotal Gross Receipts

This line will sum lines 1 through 9 automatically.

Line 10 – Related Entities

For the business activity selected, enter all amounts received from or charged to any related entity (as defined in Code section 952.5) in 2015.

Line 11 – Investment receipts—Interest, Dividends, and Other Amounts

For the business activity selected, enter the sum of all interest, dividends, and other amounts received from the ownership or sale of financial instruments and distributions from business entities in 2015, provided such items are directly derived exclusively from the investment of capital and not from the sale of property other than financial instruments or from the provision of services to any person.  “Financial instruments” include: (1) stocks or other similar written instruments evidencing a right to participate in the assets of any business; (2) bonds or other evidence of indebtedness; and (3) any other marketable securities.

Line 12 – Allocations of Income, Gain, and Distributions From an Investment In a Pass-through Entity

For the business activity selected, enter the sum of all allocations of income or gains, or distributions (including returns on capital) in 2015 from an entity treated as a pass-through entity for federal income tax purposes, provided such allocations or distributions are derived exclusively from your investment in such entity, and not from any other property sold to, or services provided to, such entity.

Line 13 – Distributed Share of Gross Receipts From a Pass-through Entity Subject to the Gross Receipts Tax

For the business activity selected, enter the sum of all gross receipts received in 2015 from a pass-through entity that is subject to the Gross Receipts Tax.

Line 14 – Receipts From the Sale of Real Property Subject to the Real Property Transfer Tax

For the business activity selected, enter the sum of all receipts received from the sale of real property in 2015 with respect to which the Real Property Transfer Tax imposed by Article 12-C of the Code has been paid to the City.

Line 15 – Excludable Taxes

For the business activity selected, enter the sum of all excludable taxes in 2015.  Taxes excluded from gross receipts include only:

  • Taxes imposed on or with respect to retail sales;
  • Taxes imposed upon a person for which that person is reimbursed by means of a separately stated charge to a purchaser, lessee, licensee or customer; and
  • Third-party taxes that a taxpayer collects from or on behalf of the taxpayer’s customers and remits to the appropriate governmental entity imposing such tax.

Line 16 – Other Amounts

For the business activity selected, enter the sum of any other amounts excludable by law if included in lines 1-9 and not otherwise included in lines 10-15 or line 17.  Include only amounts excluded as gross receipts, and not any reductions from the Gross Receipts Tax as a result of any credits, as these will be taken into account after calculating your gross tax liability.

Line B – Subtotal Exclusions

This line sums lines 10 through 16.

Line C – Total Gross Receipts Before Allocation/Apportionment

This line is the difference between lines A and B.  The “San Francisco” column is your gross receipts allocated according to Code section 956.1 (if applicable to this business activity).

Line D – Allocated/Apportioned Gross Receipts

This line applies the appropriate allocation and apportionment methodology to your gross receipts. 

For business activities that use 50% apportionment and 50% allocation (i.e., those activities with both “Total” and “San Francisco” columns), the calculation is: (1) Line C of your “Total” column multiplied by your apportionment percentage multiplied by 50% plus (2) Line C of your “San Francisco” column multiplied by 50%.

For business activities that use only apportionment (i.e., those activities with only a “Total” column), the calculation is: Line C of your “Total” column multiplied by your apportionment percentage.

For business activities that use only allocation (i.e., those activities with only a “San Francisco” column), this line will equal line C of your “San Francisco” column.

Line 17 – Amounts Paid to Subcontractors

Note: This line will only show in the “Construction” business activity page.  Your San Francisco gross receipts for the business activity of construction may be reduced by amounts paid in 2015 to a subcontractor possessing a valid business registration certificate with the City and County of San Francisco during the tax year to the extent that those amounts were included in line C of the “San Francisco” column.  Do not subtract any other costs, including, without limitation, costs for materials, fees, equipment, or other services.  In order to claim the reduction for payments to subcontractors, you must maintain an itemized schedule of payments to subcontractors and information sufficient to enable the Tax Collector to verify that the subcontractor possessed a valid business registration certificate with the City.

Line E – Allocated/Apportioned Gross Receipts for Construction After Subcontractor Deduction

Note: This line will only show in the “Construction” business activity page.  This line is the difference between line D and line 17. 

 

G. Calculation of San Francisco Gross Receipts

This page summarizes your San Francisco gross receipts based on your entries on the prior pages.  You may click the green bars above this table to edit your responses. 

H. Calculation of Gross Receipts Tax

This page applies the appropriate tax rate(s) to your San Francisco gross receipts.  If you or your combined group is engaged in multiple business activities, this page applies the rules specified in Code section 953.9.  These rules include:

  • If more than 80% of your San Francisco gross receipts are derived from business activities in one tax rate category, then that tax rate category applies to all of your gross receipts derived from all business activities.
  • The small business exemption provided in Section 954.1 applies only if the sum of your San Francisco gross receipts from all business activities does not exceed $1,000,000 in total.
  • The progressive tax rates apply on an aggregate basis for businesses with multiple sets of activities.
  • The applicable rate for each set of business activities is determined in numbered order of the Code sections describing each set of business activities; i.e., activities described in Code section 953.1 are determined first, Code section 953.2 second, and so on.
  • The tax rate(s) applicable to any set of activities after the first shall be determined by adding together the San Francisco gross receipts for all previous sets of activities and applying the rate scale commencing with the next dollar.  For instance, if you are engaged in a Retail Trade and Food Services and you have $1 million of gross receipts from your Retail Trade, your Gross Receipts Tax attributable to Food Services is calculated starting with the second tier tax rate for gross receipts from $1,000,001 to $2,500,000.
  • Your Gross Receipts Tax liability is the sum of your liabilities for each set of business activities.

This page will summarize the gross receipts, tax rate, and Gross Receipts Tax attributable to each of your business activities, pursuant to the rules above.  Line F totals the Gross Receipts Tax before credits for all of your business activities, and because Gross Receipts Tax rates for 2015 are at 25% of the rates approved by the voters, line G multiplies that amount by 25% to calculate your total Gross Receipts Tax liability before credits.

 

I. Obligation Summary

This page summarizes your total Payroll Expense Tax and Gross Receipts Tax obligations on a single page.

Note: These instructions do not apply to the page B2. Tax on Administrative Office Business Activities Obligation Summary. Instructions for that Obligation Summary are contained within the instructions for page B2. Tax on Administrative Office Business Activities Obligation Summary. 

Line 1 – Total Tax Before Credits

This line displays your total tax amounts prior to tax credits, based on your entries in the filing.

Line 2 – Tax Credits

This line displays tax credits, including the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit and “Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion” Credit, if applicable.  The “Payroll Expense Tax Exclusion” Credit is apportioned proportionately between the Gross Receipts Tax and Payroll Expense Tax. It will not display if you do not qualify for tax credits.

Line 3 – Total Taxes After Credits

This line displays the total taxes after credits.

Line 4 – Quarterly Installment Payments

Input your quarterly installment payments for each tax.  You can enter the amounts paid as either Payroll Expense Tax payments or Gross Receipts Tax payments, regardless of how you designated the payments when made. How you enter these amounts may affect the calculation of any penalties, interest, or fees in this form.  The quarterly installment payment amounts our office has received and credited are provided in the written notice you received from our office, for your information when filing the Return.  

Line 5 – Tax After Installment Payments

This line displays the tax due after credits and installment payments. If your installment payments exceed your tax amount, this number will be negative.

Lines 6-9 – Penalties, Interest, and Fees

These lines display penalties, interest, and fees for late filings, if applicable.

Line 10 – Net Amount

This line is calculated as line 5 plus lines 6 through 9.

Total Obligation Due/Overpayment

This line is the sum of the Payroll Expense Tax and Gross Receipts Tax from line 10.   A negative amount reflects an overpayment.

Refund Request Checkbox (Only Displays for Overpayments)

If your Total Obligation Due/Overpayment is negative, you may request a refund from the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector.  A field that has been default marked to request a refund will be displayed if you qualify for a refund.  The field will not show if you do not have an overpayment.

If this page reflects an overpayment and you do not check the box requesting a refund, you must file a request for refund form and/or claim for refund form within the time period mandated by law or you will forfeit the amount of your overpayment.  This amount will not be carried forward to future years.  If you checked the box requesting a refund and do not receive a check from the Tax Collector, you must file a claim for refund form within the time period mandated by law to obtain your refund.

Community Challenge Grant

If you would like to designate a portion of your tax liability on line 3 to the Neighborhood Beautification and Graffiti Clean-up Fund (also known as the "Community Challenge Grant Program") you may:

  1. Check the box at left to designate 2.6 percent (0.026) of your tax liability in the box at the right; or
  2. Enter an amount in the box at right up to 2.6 percent of your tax liability.

This designation will not increase your tax liability, but will designate a portion of the tax you pay to go to the Community Challenge Grant Program.

Clicking “Save and Continue” will take you to the Taxpayer Statement page.

Taxpayer Statement

Enter the information requested on the Taxpayer Statement page and, after agreeing with the terms of the Taxpayer Statement, click “Submit.”  If you are an agent of the taxpayer authorized to sign this Return on the taxpayer’s behalf, you must have a validly executed Power of Attorney.  A Power of Attorney form (Form POA-1), along with instructions as to how to use the form to grant an individual authority to file a Return on behalf of a taxpayer, is available on the website of the Treasurer and Tax Collector at http://sftreasurer.org/business-form-central.

Clicking “Submit” will transmit your Return to the Treasurer and Tax Collector.  By clicking “Submit” you are certifying under penalty of perjury that you are the taxpayer (including an officer, general partner, member manager, executor, trustee, fiduciary, or other individual with the authority to bind the taxpayer), or an agent of the taxpayer authorized to sign this Return on behalf of the taxpayer pursuant to a validly executed Power of Attorney, and that you have examined the Return and all accompanying schedules or worksheets and have determined that, to the best of your knowledge and belief, all of the information is true, correct, and compliant with all the requirements in Articles 6, 12, 12-A, and 12-A-1 of the Code.  You are also acknowledging that you are providing information in response to a request for financial information pursuant to Code section 6.5-1, and that you are required by law to complete this Return in its entirety and that the Return is subject to audit.

View Filing Data

Selecting this button at the bottom of the Taxpayer Statement page allows you to review and print out a copy of your filing prior to submission.  You must enable popups in your browser to access the document. 

After clicking “Submit” you will be shown the “Filing Submitted” popup screen.  Only now is your filing submitted. 

Click “Continue” to print your Return and review payment options. 

 


Payment Options and Accessing Your Return

This page allows you to access the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector’s online payment portal to print a payment coupon for mailing a payment, or pay online. Note, if your account is paid in full you may not be able to access the Payment Portal from this page.  Please select here for troubleshooting if you still wish to pay.  

Payments are due on or before the last day of February of the year following the tax year, unless the Tax Collector has granted you an extension prior to the due date.  Online forms must be transmitted before midnight on February 29, 2016.  Payments must also be received or postmarked on or before February 29, 2016.  Failure to meet these deadlines will result in penalties, interest, and fees.

If a payment is not honored by a financial institution, for any reason, the tax payment is null and void and a $50 returned check fee will be charged.

 To Pay Online

Electronic payments are made through our service provider FIS (formerly Link2Gov).

Please read the information on the FIS payment page about acceptable payment types and convenience fees associated with each.

Be advised that FIS's confirmation only indicates a receipt of your payment information.

It may take 5-10 business days for the payment to process and clear with your financial institution.

 To Pay By Check 

To assist in the processing of your payment by check, note the following:

  • Make payable to "San Francisco Tax Collector."
  • Write the Business Account Number on your check.
  • Include ONLY the payment stub, not the statement, with your payment.
  • Mail to: San Francisco Tax Collector, P.O. Box 7425, San Francisco, CA 94120-7425.

To Pay In Person at City Hall

You may pay in person during business hours (8am - 5pm, excluding holidays) at City Hall - Rm 140, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102.

To pay by Electronic Transfer (wire transfer through Federal Wire System or ACH) 

Follow the detailed instructions located at:

http://www.sftreasurer.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/tax/business_zone/WireInstructionsBT.pdf.

Downloading or Emailing Filing

You may also select “Download” to open a copy of your filing in a new window to be saved.  You may also have a copy of your filing emailed by selecting “Email.”  Note that the filing will be emailed to the address provided in the Taxpayer Statement page. 

Online Bill Payment (Payment Portal)

The Payment Portal will display your current and paid obligations.  For your information, Business Account Number, Business Name, and address on file are displayed at the top of the page. 

Note that payment of displayed obligations may not constitute payment in full of all tax liabilities. This does not reflect any obligations referred to collections.

The payment portal contains two tabs; “Due” and “Paid.” If your business has filed taxes and fees in the past year, those obligations will display on this page in addition to your Gross Receipts Tax and/or Payroll Expense Tax obligation(s) for tax year 2015. 

Due Tab

The first tab is “Due,” which displays all taxes and fees that have been filed, but not paid. 

Select to Pay Column

You may click the button at the top of the list of obligations to “Select All” or “Unselect All” obligations.  You may also check the box in each row of the column “Select to Pay” to select individual taxes/fees to pay. 

Tax Type Column

This column provides a description of the tax or fee that has an obligation.  Most business will just see “Gross Receipts” or “Payroll Expense” unless you have other obligations.

Tax Year / Period

This column provides the year and period for the tax or fee.  For the annual filing, the four digit tax year and the period “04” will be displayed as “2015/04” for each tax.  Other taxes or fees may be displayed.

Name

This column displays your business name.

Street Address

This column displays the address we have on file.

Bill Number

This number is for internal use.

Amount Due

This column displays the amount due for each obligation.

Amount to Pay

The cells in this column are set by default to zero.  Once you check the box on the left to select an obligation to pay, the amount to pay will display in this column.  If you do not wish to pay this amount, you may edit the amount in this cell to an amount less than the amount due.  This action will change the amount you pay by credit/debit or the amount on the payment coupon, depending on the payment option you choose.  Note that penalties and interest will accrue on unpaid amounts remaining after deadlines until paid.  

If an obligation you wish to pay does not appear on this screen, or you need more information on how to adjust your payment amounts select here to troubleshoot.  

Payment Options

Once you select which obligations you wish to pay, you may select from the four options at the bottom of the page:

Credit/Debit will take you to our online payment partner FIS to pay by credit card or debit card.  Please note that a convenience fee will apply. 

Electronic Check will take you to our online payment partner FIS to pay by electronic check.  Please note that there is no convenience fee for this service. 

Print Payment Stub will generate a payment coupon for you to mail in your payment or pay in person.  Please note that if you select more than one tax or fee to pay, the payment coupon will appear as a table on the page and you will have to submit the entire page with your check so our office can allocate your payments correctly. 

Cancel will take you to back to the login screen for the Payment Portal. 

Paid Tab

The second tab is “Paid,” which will list recent taxes and fees that have been filed and paid.  The amount due will be listed as “$0” for those paid obligations.

The columns on the “Paid” tab are the same as the “Due” tab, with the exception that there is not a column to select to pay and the “Amount Due” is zero for all the obligations on this tab.

 

 

[1] Before taking any small business exemption in Code section 905-A or 954.1.