Register a Business

San Francisco's Business and Tax Regulations requires that every person engaging in business within the City must register within 15 days after commencing business and renewed every year by May 31st. Business  Registration is valid for one fiscal year July 1st through June 30th.  

New Business Registration Application 

Renew your Business Registration

 

San Francisco’s Business and Tax Regulations Code requires that every person engaging in business within the City, regardless of whether the business or person is subject to taxation, must register within 15 days after commencing business within the City. 

In general, businesses must register if any of the below statements are true:

  • Operate as an independent contractor within San Francisco.
  • Conduct business in SF for any part of seven (7) days during the fiscal year, including use of streets.
  • Perform work or render services within San Francisco for all or part of any seven days during one fiscal year.
  • Solicit business within San Francisco for all or part of any seven days during one fiscal year.
  • Maintain a fixed place of business within San Francisco.
  • Exercise corporate or franchise powers within San Francisco.
  • Own or lease real or personal property within San Francisco for business purposes.
  • Regularly maintain a stock of tangible personal property for sale in San Francisco.
  • Employ or loan capital on property within San Francisco.
  • Liquidate businesses when the liquidators hold themselves out to the public as conducting such business.
  • Receive more than $500,000 in total gross receipts in the City during the tax year.

Unless otherwise required, you do not need to register if your only business is the receipt of rental income in connection with the operation of any of the following:

  1. A cooperative housing corporation, as defined in Section 216(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended;
  2. One residential structure consisting of fewer than four units; or
  3. One residential condominium.

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 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.

Are you an Independent Contractor? 

If your only business activity in San Francisco is as a driver for a taxi and/or a Transportation Network Company (TNC), you are no longer required to register as a business, or renew your existing business registration. 

Business Registration Fees for new businesses are based on San Francisco gross receipts or payroll expense for the current calendar year, and the business activity types selected.

What is my business activity?

What are San Francisco Gross Receipts?

Use Schedule B if your business consists solely of the business activities of Certain Services (e.g. Repair/Maintenance, Personal/Laundry, Civic Orgs), Retail Trade, and/or Wholesale Trade (described on page 1 of the Application). 

If your business does anything else, use Schedule A.

Business Registration Fees for the registration year ending June 30.

2018 San Francisco Gross Receipts2019 Schedule A2019 Schedule B2020 Schedule A2020 Schedule BState Fee
$0 to $100,000$95$79$100$83$4
$100,001 to $250,000$159$133$167$139$4
$250,001 to $500,000$266$213$278$222$4
$500,001 to $750,000$532$426$556$445$4
$750,001 to $1,000,000$745$639$779$668$4
$1,000,001 to $2,500,000$319$213$334$222$4
$2,500,001 to $7,500,000$532$426$556$445$4
$7,500,001 to $15,000,000$1,598$1,198$1670$1252$4
$15,000,001 to $25,000,000$5,327$3,995$5,567$4,175$4
$25,000,001 to $50,000,000$13,319$7,991$13,918$8,351$4
$50,000,001 to $100,000,000$23,974$15,982$25,053$16,702$4
$100,000,001 to $200,000,000$31,965$21,310$33,404$22,269$4
$200,000,001 and over$37,293$31,965$38,971$33,404$4

 

For businesses that qualify as Administrative Offices, the following Business Registration Fees apply for the registration year ending June 30.

2018 San Francisco Payroll Expense2019 AOT Rate2020 AOT RateState Fee
$0 to $2,500,000$15,982$16,702$4
$2,500,001 to $25,000,000$26,638$27,837$4
$25,000,001 or more$37,293$38,971$4

 

New businesses that register after the beginning of the registration year will have their registration fees prorated, except for those who qualify for the minimum registration fee for Schedule A ($100) or Schedule B ($83) and AOT Rate ($16,702).  

Business Start Date  Prorated Fee
July 1 - September 30100% of the fee
October 1 - December 3175% of the fee
January 1 - March 3150% of the fee
April 1 - June 3025% of the fee

A Business Registration Certificate will be mailed within 10-15 business days once the application is submitted and payment processed. The Business Registration Certificate must be conspicuously displayed at your place of business and renewed annually by May 31st. You will not get a printed Business Registration Certificate if:

  1. You did not renew your registration by May 31st and pay the annual registration fee
  2. You owe any taxes or fees (see: Payment Portal)
  3. Your mailing address is not up to date. Update your mailing address.

To check the status of your account, submit a help desk ticket

Note that business Information may be shared with other departments in the City and County of San Francisco, including, but not limited to the following departments: Office of the Assessor & Recorder; Department of Public Health; Fire and Police Departments; Entertainment Commission and Office of Short Term Rental. The following information you provide will be available to the public via DataSF.org, listed on your registration certificate, and/or available through public record requests:

  • Business/Ownership Name
  • Business Start Date
  • Mailing Address
  • Business Account Number
  • DBA Name
  • Business Activity Code / NAICS code
  • Third party tax collection (i.e. if your business is subject to collection or remittance of parking tax or transient occupancy tax)
  • Location Address
  • Location Start Date
  • License code (if applicable)

DataSF.org

Request a Public Record

All other information provided is considered confidential and treated in accordance with applicable laws.  Taxpayer confidential data will not be available on the website.

Short-Term Residential Hosts ("Host") are San Francisco residents who rent out (less than 30 days) any portion of their residence.  Earning income from a short-term residential rental, regardless of the amount, is considered a business, therefore, you are required to register.  Some hosts may be exempt from the business registration fee. The application will ask you specific questions about your business If your business qualifies for a refund, it will be processed automatically. You do not need to take any action.

After completing the business registration, you must Register as a Host with the Office of Short-Term Rentals, and begin filing and paying transient occupancy taxes (if applicable). 

Register a new business      Transient Occupancy Tax

After you become a Registered Bidder, you need to take additional steps before you can become an Approved Supplier and be fully awarded City contracts:

  1. Complete a San Francisco New Business Registration Application.  You will be asked for your Bidder ID number during the  registration process. If you are already registered in San Francisco, you need to  connect your San Francisco Business Account Number with your existing Bidder ID/Supplier ID to proceed.
  2.  Complete a 12B Equal Benefits Declaration.

Once your Business Registration information has been entered and accepted into the PeopleSoft system, your Bidder ID will be converted to a Supplier ID and you will receive a notification with your new Supplier ID number. Your SF City Partner login should remain unchanged but should now direct you to your business' Supplier account (and not your prior Bidder account). For Additional information and assistance to becoming a Registered Bidder/Approved Supplier visit the San Francisco City Partner site.

Not sure if you are required to register?

Complete this questionnaire. If you are not required to register the form will have you declare those facts. If you are required to register, the form will take you to the online business registration application. It's important to select "Yes" or "No" to each question on the form so you are routed correctly.

Business Information

Name - The name(s) your organization is using to conduct business in San Francisco. For sole proprietors and general partnerships not registered with the Secretary of State, this will be the name of the individual owner(s). For other entities, provide the entity name as registered with the California Secretary of State.

Business Tax ID - A Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is an identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the administration of tax laws:

Social Security Number (SSN) - For sole proprietors, the business identification number may be the same as the individual’s Social Security Number (SSN) or TIN, if applicable.

Federal Identification Number (FEIN, a.k.a. EIN) - An FEIN is required for all partnerships, corporations, and LLCs (single-member LLCs without an FEIN may use a SSN). This number is obtained from the Internal Revenue Service.

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) - An ITIN is a tax processing number only available for certain nonresident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who cannot get an SSN.

Organization Type - Describes the way your business entity is formed. For more information about the organization types listed, please consult http://businessportal.sfgov.org/ or discuss with your tax professional.

Start Date in SF - The date the entity started business activity in San Francisco. Future start dates are not permitted.

Ownership Details - Owners have the authority to make changes to the business account.

Owner Name - For owners that are general partnerships not registered with the Secretary of State, list the full names of all partners. For all other owners that are entities, provide the entity name as registered with the Secretary of State. For a trust, list the trustee as the owner.

Owner Tax ID Number (SSN, FEIN, TIN) - All businesses, including nonprofits, are required to list the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) of at least one owner. A TIN is an identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the administration of tax laws:

  • Social Security Number (SSN) - For sole proprietors, the business identification number may be the same as the individual’s Social Security Number (SSN) or TIN, if applicable.
  • Federal Identification Number (FEIN, a.k.a. EIN) - An FEIN is required for all partnerships, corporations, and LLCs (single-member LLCs without an FEIN may use a SSN). This number is obtained from the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) - An ITIN is a tax processing number only available for certain nonresident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who cannot get an SSN.

Email Address, Phone #, Mailing Address, City, State, ZIP - Contact information for each owner listed.

Officer Information - Business Officers are individuals such as a corporate officer, general or managing partner, board member or member of the registering business. Officers listed on the business registration application have the authority to make changes to the business account. This information is not required and can be kept blank.

Contact Information - Keeping contact information up-to-date is critical in order to receive notices from this Office. All tax information will be sent to this person at the associated address. To update this information after you have received a business registration certificate, please visit: Update Your Business Information

Recipient Name - Full name of the primary person responsible for tax matters.

Email/ Phone Number - Email address and business phone number for the contact person listed. Email will be used to send tax filing documents and correspondence.

Mailing Address - The business mailing address is the ONLY address to which this office will mail documents and correspondence including personal identification number (PIN) to file and pay taxes, business licenses, notifications to renew your business registration, and refunds. Any valid mailing address (including a postal box) is acceptable. A business can only have one mailing address. This address does not need to be located in San Francisco.

Location Information

Location Name, Trade Name or DBA - Each location name, fictitious business name (“FBN”), or DBA (“Doing Business As”) name should be listed as a separate location. If the Location Name is the same as your Business Name, list your Business Name on this line. After registering with the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector, all businesses with one or more locations in San Francisco and using an FBN must register the name with the County Clerk.

Start Date in SF - The date the registrant started business activity in San Francisco at this location. Future start dates are not permitted.

Tax/Fee Types - Select all applicable tax/fee types for the particular location. Failure to select an applicable tax or fee type may result in penalties and interest. Some tax types, such as third party taxes for transient occupancy operators, parking operators, and utility providers, have additional requirements. For more information about these requirements, visit: Other Taxes & Fees.

Note: A short-term residential rental host (“host”) is a person that receives rent in exchange for providing short-term (less than 30 days) accommodations in a residential structure. Some hosts receive payment of rent via a website company, while others receive payment directly from the guest. If you select "yes," you will be prompted to answer some additional questions at the end of the application.

Business Activities

Using the categories provided, select all applicable business activities at each location in San Francisco, regardless of the amount of gross receipts that the business activity is expected to generate. This information may be shared publicly and used for published information about business activity in San Francisco.

For more information on the business activities codes (NAICS codes) listed, go to: Business Activities / NAICS Codes

Note: categories added to NAICS for SF Use are 4 & 6 - “Biotechnology” and “Clean Technology” businesses are described in sections 906.1 and 906.2 of the San Francisco Business and Tax Regulations Code, respectively.

If you are engaged in any business activities not listed, check the box next to line 20, and describe the activity or activities in the space provided.

Estimated SF Payroll Expense - The estimated amount of San Francisco payroll expense expected during the current calendar year. Article 12-A of the San Francisco Business and Tax Regulations Code provides rules for determining San Francisco payroll expense.  Additional information available at: Payroll Expense Tax (PY)

Estimated SF Gross Receipts - The estimated amount of San Francisco gross receipts expected during the current calendar year. In general, "gross receipts" includes the total amounts received or accrued by a person 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. For assistance in estimating your gross receipts, use the Allocation and/or Apportionment Worksheets based on your Business Activity available at: Gross Receipts Tax  (GR)

Does this business receive rental income from one building consisting of four or more residential units?

A lessor of residential real estate (landlord) is required to submit a separate Business Registration Application for each building with four or more residential rental units. Buildings that meet this criteria may not be included on the same application as different locations, and may not be included on the same application as different business activities, whether at this location or other locations. Lessors of residential real estate may exclude 50% of the amounts received from rent-controlled units when calculating gross receipts. Additional information at: Information for Lessors of Residential Real Estate.

Are you establishing the business to be a vendor (City Bidder/Supplier) or participate in procurement processes with the City and County of San Francisco?

Selecting "yes" enables the business to be set up to receive payments from the City and County of San Francisco as a vendor or grantee. More information on how to qualify to do business with the City at: Become a Supplier 

Are you Exempt from the Registration Fee?

Any organization or person documenting the following shall not be required to pay a registration fee unless the organization is also engaged within the City in an unrelated trade or business within the meaning of Section 906 of Article 12-A or Section 954 of Article 12-A-1:

  1. Any organization having a formally recognized exemption from income taxation pursuant to Section 501(c), 501(d) or 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended,
  2. As qualified by Sections 502, 503, 504 and 508 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended;
  3. A person receiving rental income in connection with the operation of a cooperative housing corporation, as defined in Section 216(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended; one residential structure consisting of fewer than four units; or one residential condominium.

A person shall be exempt from paying the registration fee required by this Section if and to the extent that, and only so long as, federal or state law prohibits the imposition of the registration fee upon such person. If you select this box, a staff person will follow up to request your proof of tax-exempt status before your application can be processed.

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