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Online Property Tax Payment - FAQ

What are “volume”, “block” and “lot” numbers?

How are tax amounts determined?

How is the annual tax rate determined?

When are regular property tax bills mailed?

When are property taxes due or considered late?

When will my payment show online?

What are the penalties for late payment?

Why does my name not appear on my online tax bill?

How can I change the mailing address for my property tax bill?

Please explain the “Assessment Information” section of my tax bill.

What should I do if I disagree with the assessed value of my property?

What are the direct charges and/or special assessments on my tax bill?

Am I eligible for a Homeowner’s Exemption?

I have recently purchased property in San Francisco. What are my responsibilities as far as taxes are concerned?

What is a supplemental tax bill?

What is the Voluntary Arts Contribution Fund (VACF)?

What property information can I find using this online service?

Whom should I contact if I need assistance?

I entered my property address correctly but I'm unable to access my property tax bill using this website.

Are property tax assistance programs available for senior citizens, blind, or disabled homeowners?

I don't have a printer. Can I send a check for my property tax without printing the bill?

What is an "electronic check?"

How much are the convenience fees that are charged for online payments?

Can you explain special assessment code 29?

What are “volume”, “block” and “lot” numbers?

A property’s volume number indicates in which of the city’s 45 designated sections your property is located. Block and lot numbers identify a specific property according to the city’s assessment map. Please reference the official lot and block number as shown on your tax bill when making any payment or when requesting property information.

How are tax amounts determined?

The amount due on the property tax bill is calculated as follows:
(Assessed Value x Annual Tax Rate) – Exemptions + Special Assessments/Fees/Liens

The Office of the Assessor-Recorder first assesses the value of your property. Generally, the assessed value is the cash or market value at the time of purchase. This value increases by not more than 2% per year until the property is sold or new construction is completed, at which time it must be reassessed. After the assessed value has been determined, the Office of the Controller applies the appropriate tax rates. After applying the tax rates, the Office of the Controller calculates the total tax amount, subtracting any applicable exemptions and adding any special assessments, license fees, lien amounts or other fees. Finally, the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector prepares property tax bills based on the Office of the Controller's calculations, distributes the bills, and then collects the taxes.

How is the annual tax rate determined?

The annual tax rate is recommended by the Controller based upon a combination of the general tax levy (which is determined in accordance with State law and is limited to $1 per $100 of assessed value of your property) and the City’s voter-approved indebtedness (which may include locally voted special taxes, bond measures, and city or district direct assessments). Once the annual tax rate for regular secured property taxes is recommended by the Controller, it must be adopted by the Board of Supervisors and approved by the Mayor. The tax rate varies slightly from year to year. The tax rate for the current year and the previous five years are shown below:

2014-2015: 1.1880%
2012-2013: 1.1691%
2011-2012: 1.1718%
2010-2011: 1.1640%
2009-2010: 1.1590%
2008-2009: 1.1630%
2007-2008: 1.1410%

When are regular property taxes bills mailed?

Regular secured property tax bills are mailed once a year to the mailing address on file with the Office of the Assessor-Recorder. California state law mandates that the bills must be mailed each year by November 1. The City and County of San Francisco mails approximately 200,000 secured property tax bills each year, generally starting near the beginning of October. Bills are mailed at the rate of about 20,000 per day for 10 consecutive business days. Thus there may be up to two weeks difference between the dates of receipt of the first and last mailing batches. The bill for both installments is mailed together and is mailed just one time; no reminder notices are mailed for the second installment.

When are property taxes due or considered late?

The first installment of regular secured property taxes becomes officially due and payable starting on November 1 and becomes delinquent after December 10*; the second installment of taxes becomes officially due and payable

on February 1 and becomes delinquent after April 10*. Payments made by U.S. mail and postmarked on or before the delinquent date are considered paid on time; private/office postage meters are not acceptable as proof of timely payment. Foreign mail, regardless of the postmark, must be received no later than December 10* and April 10* respectively. Of course, you are welcome to pay both installments at the first deadline should you wish to do so. Many homeowners choose to do this for income tax reporting purposes and/or for convenience. Online payments and automated phone payments completed by 11:59 on the deadline dates are considered paid on time, provided the payments are approved and paid in full. Partial payments are not permitted. The first installment must be paid in full (including any delinquent fees, if applicable) before the second installment can be paid.

(* If December 10 or April 10 falls on a weekend or legal holiday, the deadline extends to the next business day.)

When will my payment show online?

If you pay your property taxes online or by phone, it can take up to 10 days for the payment to show posted on our website. The date the payment was originally made will show as the posting date.

What are the penalties for late payment?

Any amount of the first installment not paid by December 10 deadline is considered delinquent and will be assessed a 10% penalty. Any amount of the second installment not paid by the April 10 deadline is considered delinquent and will be assessed a 10% penalty plus a $45 administrative fee. If any amount of the year’s regular secured property tax remains unpaid after June 30, the property then becomes tax defaulted, and will be assessed additional fees and interest until redeemed by full payment.

Why does my name not appear on my online tax bill?

California state law (AB 2238) changed the requirements for the publication of names and addresses on the Internet. To comply with this change in the law, the name of the property owner and the name for mailing purposes will no longer appear on the Internet version of your property tax bill. To request an official copy of your bill that contains the property owner's name and the name for mailing purposes, contact the Treasurer and Tax Collector or call our Taxpayer Assistance help line at (415) 554-4400.

How can I change the mailing address for my property tax bill?

Changes to the mailing address for a property tax bill are handled by the Assessor-Recorder's office. Complete and sign the Mailing Address Change Form and mail it to the Office of the Assessor-Recorder, City Hall – Room 190, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102. Please call the Assessor-Recorder’s office at (415) 554-5596 if you have any questions.

Please explain the “Assessment Information” section of my tax bill.

Generally, the assessed value of your property is the cash equivalent or market value at the time of purchase. This value increases by not more than 2% per year until the property is sold or any assessable improvements are completed, at which time it must be reassessed. For more information on how the assessed value is determined, contact the Assessor-Recorder’s Office at (415) 554-5596. Gross Taxable Value is [land + improvements + fixtures + personal property (if applicable)] Exemptions, provided by state law to certain property owners, reduce the net taxable value of a property, lowering the property tax. Types of exemptions include the Homeowner's Exemption and exemptions for veterans/disabled veterans, churches, religious entities, and some charitable organizations. Please contact the Assessor-Recorder's office at (415) 554-5574 for further information or to apply for exemptions.

The Net Taxable Value = (Gross Taxable Value of your property) – (Exemptions)

The Total Due +(Net Taxable Value * Tax Rate) + (Total Direct Charges and Special Assessments)

The total due is divided into two equal installments.

What should I do if I disagree with the assessed value of my property?

If you disagree with the new base year value on which an assessment is based you should first contact the Assessor-Recorder's Office Valuation Division within 15 days of receiving your notice. If you and the Assessor-Recorder's Office cannot agree on the proper assessed value, you have the right to file an application for reduction in assessment for the following year. The application must be filed with the Assessment Appeals Board by September 15th. For more information, visit the Assessment Appeals Board website at http://www.sfgov.org/assessment/ or call (415) 554-6778.

What are the direct charges and/or special assessments on my tax bill?

These are additional fees or outstanding city debts added to a property tax bill by other city departments.

Please contact the appropriate department (listed below) directly for further information:

Assessment # Description Phone #
29  Rent Stabilization Fee      (415) 554-4452 
31  Civic Center CBD (415) 554-6936 
35      ABAG CFD04-1         (916) 561-0890 
36 Fire Inspection Fee (415) 558-3300
37 Fire Protection A.D. (415) 558-3320
38 Hunters Point CFD #7 (877) 561-8293
39 Redevelopment CFD (South Beach) (877) 561-8293
40 MB Maintenance CFD #5  (877) 561-8293
41 MB South CFD #6 (877) 561-8293
42 DPH Re-inspection Fee (415) 252-3877
44 Time Share Fee (415) 554-5596
50 Sidewalk Repair (415) 554-5797
52 Demolition & Restoration (415) 558-6070
55 Building Inspection (415) 558-6220
56 Bayshore Hester A.D. (866) 807-6864
57 Union Square BID (415) 781-7880
60 Water Lien (415) 551-4760
61 Noe Valley CBD (415) 519-0093
62 North Market/Tenderloin (415) 292-4812
63 Upper Market/ Castro (415) 355-1294
64 Fisherman's Wharf (415) 673-3530
65 2500 Block of Mission (650) 347-6014
66 Central Market CBD (415) 957-5985
68 ABAG CFD06-1 (SF Rincon Hill) (916) 561-0890
69 ABAG CFD06-2 (SF Mint Plaza Area) (916) 561-0890
70 Garbage Lien (415) 252-3872
73     Ocean Avenue CBD (650) 273-6223
75 Hazardous Materials Lien (415) 252-3991
76  Top of Broadway CBD (415) 554-4984 
78 Blight ASAP (415) 554-5797
79 Dw Code Enf Fee (415) 558-6288
86 Transit Impact Development (415) 923-2531
89 SFUSD Facilities District (415) 355-2203
91  SFCCCD Parcel Tax  (415) 487-2400 
92 Apartment House License Fee (415) 558-6288
93 Hotel License Fee (415) 558-6288
94 FY 94-95 Delinquent Rent Fee (415) 554-6203
96 Yerba Buena CBD (415) 644-0728
98 SF-Teacher Support (415) 355-2203

UPDATED 10/04/13

 

Am I eligible for a Homeowner’s Exemption?

The Homeowner’s Exemption reduces the net taxable value of a property, lowering your property taxes. California property tax laws provide two options for homeowners to file for a property tax exemption of up to $7,000 of assessed value. The exemption is available to an eligible owner of a dwelling that is occupied as the owner’s principal place of residence as of 12:01 a.m., January 1 each year or to an eligible owner of a dwelling subject to supplemental assessments resulting from a change in ownership or completion of new construction on or after January 1. Please contact the Assessor-Recorder's Office at (415) 554-5596 to apply for or request more information about the Homeowner’s Exemption.

I have recently purchased property in San Francisco. What are my responsibilities as far as taxes are concerned?

You are responsible for any taxes that were not paid as of the time escrow closed. Depending on when the ownership change is placed on the tax roll by the Assessor-Recorder’s office, the annual tax bill could be sent either to the previous owner or directly to you. If there are any remaining unpaid taxes, and if you did not receive an annual tax bill from either the previous owner or the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector, you should contact Taxpayer Assistance at (415) 554-4400 immediately to request one. You can also use this online Property Tax Information & Payment service to access your bill. It is your responsibility to obtain the bill. State law stipulates that failure to receive a bill does not permit the Tax Collector to excuse penalties on late payments. In addition to annual regular taxes, you will probably be responsible for paying supplemental property taxes. Any time property is sold, the value of the property is reassessed. If the property has been reassessed at a higher value, you will receive one or more supplemental tax bills in addition to the annual bill mentioned above. If the property has been reassessed at a lower value, you will receive a refund of any amount you overpaid.

What is a supplemental tax bill?

As the name suggests, a supplemental tax bill is a property tax bill issued in addition to the annual regular secured property tax bill. The Assessor-Recorder’s office reappraises property whenever a change of ownership occurs or new construction is completed. The Assessor will send you a “Notice of Supplemental Assessment” to inform you of the new assessed value. Following this notification, the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector will send one or more supplemental tax bills to collect the difference between the taxes on the old and new values for each year. Whereas the deadlines for payment of regular property tax bills fall on the same dates each year (December 10 and April 10) the deadlines for payment of supplemental bills can vary based upon the issue date of the bill. Please note that the regular secured property tax bill reflects only the assessment amount of your property as of January 1, 2007. You will not be liable for any supplemental taxes until the date that a supplemental tax bill is issued.

What is the Voluntary Arts Contribution Fund (VACF)?

The VACF allows San Francisco taxpayers to add a contribution to their tax bills to benefit the arts. The program aims to provide an additional funding source for the City’s cultural activities. 100% of your contribution to the VACF provides assistance to San Francisco arts organizations. For more information call (415) 554.6710 or visit the website at http://www.sfgfta.org.

What property information can I find using this online service?

By California state law, property tax records are public information. This online property tax service includes information on assessment, mailing address, payment amount and status. Online bill summaries do not include information concerning tax-defaulted properties or properties subject to a power of sale.

Whom should I contact if I need assistance?

For technical assistance with the Property Tax Information and Payment website, please email the Service Agent at support@link2gov.com.

For all general questions, including property that has been sold, updating of mailing address, and information about deadlines and payment methods, you can speak to a live service representative 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in 145 different languages by calling:

  • 3-1-1 (from inside San Francisco), or
  • (415) 701-2311 (from outside of San Francisco)
  • (415) 701-2323 (TTY service for the deaf and hard of hearing)

 

For questions regarding the assessed property value, ownership or the property, homeowner’s exemption and other exemptions, call:

 

For questions regarding receipt of payment, duplicate bills, supplemental and prior years’ taxes,  contact the Treasurer and Tax Collector or call our Taxpayer Assistance help line at (415) 554-4400.

I entered my property address correctly but I'm unable to access my property tax bill using this website.

Sometimes the online property tax payment system cannot find an address even though the information entered seems correct. The following search tips will assist you in locating your property tax record.

If you have a printed property tax bill: Use the block and lot number printed at the top of the bill to locate your property tax record.

When searching by address:

  • Street Suffix - Since this field is optional, you can search for your property without specifying the street suffix. If too many records are found matching your address criteria, then go back and specify the street suffix.
  • Street Name - You must enter the street name in a form similar to what has been recorded in the Property Tax system. Follow these guidelines to increase the chances of finding the desired record:
    • For a street name that contains a number, first try entering the street name as it would appear on a mailing address. For example, First Street would be entered as "1st", Second Street would be entered as "2nd", and so on. However, First Street could also be entered as "01st", and Second Street could be entered as "02nd" in the Property Tax System, so you may need to try both.
    • If the street name has a direction associated with it, spell out the direction. For example, if you are looking for "100 S. Van Ness Avenue" you should enter 'South Van Ness' in the street name field.
  • Street Number - The street number field should contain only numbers between 0 and 9. If a fraction or other "suffix" appears after your street number, please enter only the numeric portion of the street number. If your actual street number is non numeric, please contact the Treasurer and Tax Collector or call our Taxpayer Assistance help line at (415) 554-4400 for instructions on how to proceed.

 

When searching by block and lot:
Some block and lot designations contain a letter after the number, called the "suffix". You should enter the suffix directly after the numeric portion of the block or lot number (for example, '25B' or '1234L'). If you are still having problems finding a property tax record, please leave off the suffix, and the system will return all records matching the specified block and lot number, regardless of suffix.

If you have followed the guidelines above and are still unable to find a property that you know exists in San Francisco, please contact the Treasurer and Tax Collector or call our Taxpayer Assistance help line at (415) 554-4400.

Are property tax assistance programs available for senior citizens, blind, or disabled homeowners?

Property Tax Postponement Program Suspended Effective February 20, 2009
On February 20, 2009, the Governor signed Chapter 4, Statutes of 2009, which immediately suspends the Senior Citizens' Property Tax Deferral Program.  This legislation prohibits the filing of claims for property tax postponement and prohibits the Controller from accepting claims filed after February 20, 2009.  As a result of the program suspension, the Controller will no longer accept claims for property tax postponement pending modification or repeal of this new law.  However, the Controller Office will continue processing claims postmarked prior to February 20, 2009.  For the most current information on the PTP program please visit or website at www.sco.ca.gov.

California Homeowner or Renter Assistance Program
Important update from the State of California regarding this program: The state budget approved for the 2008/2009 fiscal year deleted funding for the Homeowner and Renter Assistance (HRA) Program. Since there is no funding in the state budget for this program, 2008 claims cannot be paid or processed. In addition, funding has been reduced for all existing HRA workloads. As a result, you may experience delays with phone calls or HRA claims and correspondence for 2007 and prior years..

I don't have a printer. Can I send a check for my property tax without printing the bill?

If you are unable to print your property bill, you have two options: You can request a copy of the bill by contacting the Treasurer and Tax Collector or you can send the payment with the property block and lot numbers clearly indicated on your check. Payments should be made payable to “San Francisco Tax Collector” and mailed to:
SF Tax Collector
City Hall, Room 140
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
P.O. Box 7426
San Francisco, CA 94120-7426

What is an "electronic check?"

An electronic check works just like a regular check, only no paper is involved. Your bank account information is securely transmitted through the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, a withdrawal is generated against your account, and money is transferred to the City's bank account. The process is very similar to using your Automated Teller Machine card to pay for groceries at the local store.

Not all accounts are appropriate for electronic payments. You cannot pay with E-check using a savings account. Certain accounts, such as home equity line of credit, or brokerage accounts, may not be acceptable. If you plan to use an account other than a standard bank checking account, please check with your financial institution before submitting payment.

Examples of Checks Not Accepted for Electronic Transactions:

  • Equity Line Checks
  • Credit Card Checks
  • Money Market Checks
  • Corporate Checks
  • 3rd Party Checks
  • Cashier’s Checks
  • Money Orders
  • Traveler's Checks
  • US Treasury Checks
  • Brokerage Account Checks

How much are the convenience fees that are charged for online payments?

A convenience fee is charged for paying your property taxes online using a debit or credit card*. Please note that the convenience is a third-party fee and is not part of city funds.

  • Electronic payments can now be made by electronic check ("E-check") with NO CONVENIENCE FEE.
  • For qualifying Debit Card payments (Visa Personal Debit, STAR, NYCE and PULSE; subject to your bank's participation*) the convenience fee is a flat rate of $3.95
    (* Please note that if your banking institution does not authorize your card for "PIN-less debit" transactions, your transaction will be processed as a credit card with the correponding 2.25% convenience fee.)
  • For Credit card payments (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover) the convenience fee is 2.25% of the total amount charged.
  • Convenience Fee Calculator

Can you explain special assessment code 29?

If there is no Code 29 and no rent board fee amount listed on your tax bill, please disregard this information.

On July 6, 1995, the Board of Supervisors approved Ordinance No. 287-95, authorizing the Tax Collector's Office to bill the rent board fee amount as a special assessment on the property tax bill.
Pursuant to Chapter 37A, The Rent Board is entitled to collect $29.00 for each dwelling unit and $14.50 for each hotel guest room subject to the Ordinance, whether it is vacant or not.
Owners may seek recovery of the from the tenant who is in Occupancy on November 1. The owner(s) of an apartment, condo, duplex and single family dwelling may collect a maximum of $14.50 for each unit and hotel tenants are liable for a maximum of $7.25 per unit.
Please note the other provisions of the law concerning the landlord's collection of the fee from the tenant:

  • The fee must be deducted from the interest due the tenant on the deposit held unless the landlord has paid the interest payment annually to the tenant. In those instances, the owner can bill separately for the fee. Where no deposit is being held, the owner would bill directly for the fee.
  • Landlords may now "bank" the fee and collect it in later years. This change only applies to fees imposed from 1999 tax year on. Prior years fees cannot be banked.
  • Request for payment of the fee to the tenant shall include: (1) written explanation that itemizes the fee amount due for each year for which payment is sought; (2) itemization of interest due for each year not paid.
  • State law requires that the amount shown on the tax bill be paid in full; any exemptions must be processed as a refund.
REQUEST FOR EXEMPTION AND REFUND OF THE RENT BOARD FEE
Check the appropriate box(es) for your exemption and provide the requested supporting evidence, ONLY IF REQUESTED, as noted after each category.

 My (check one)single family home,condominium,
 co-op, or apartment unit is occupied by an owner of record. Sole occupancy by children or relatives not on title as owner DOES NOT qualify for exemption. VACANT UNITS CANNOT BE EXEMPTED! (NO PROOF REQUIRED) TENANT-OCCUPIED SINGLE FAMILY HOMES AND CONDOS ARE STILL SUBJECT TO THE FEE AND EVICTION LIMITATIONS.

 This unit is in a building that was built as a new construction and has a Certificate of Final Completion (CFC) stating "ERECT or CONSTRUCT NEW BUILDING" and was first issued by the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) after June 13, 1979. (A CFC OR 3-R Report is REQUIRED AS PROOF)

 One or more of the units are LEGALLY used for commercial use only. Enclosed is a Certificate of Final Completion or a 3-R Report issued by the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) stating conversion from residential use. (PROOF REQUIRED)

 One or more of the rooms are designated for tourists use under the Residential Hotel Ordinance. Enclosed is the most current Certificate of Use from the Housing Inspection Division of DBI. (PROOF REQUIRED)

 The units are a non-profit cooperative owned, occupied and controlled by a majority of the residents. Enclosed is a copy of the non-profit document (501.c) currently on file with the Secretary of State, or a current copy of homeowner's tax exemption for the building. (PROOF REQUIRED)

 The units are housing accommodations in a (check one) hospital, convent, monastery, extended care facility, state certified home for the aged, or a dormitory owned and operated by an institution of higher education, a high school, or an elementary school. A Medi-Cal Certificate, a Department of Social Services Certificate or other verifying documentation is enclosed. (PROOF REQUIRED)

 The rent for some or all of these units is controlled or subsidized by a government unit, agency or authority (other than the San Francisco Rent Board.) Enclosed is documentation from that government unit, such as proof of Section 8, Section 236, a 202 or 231 HUD PROGRAM, ETC. (NOTE: RAP units are not exempt from this fee) (PROOF REQUIRED) November copy of bottom portion of payment stub from Housing Authority is sufficient proof.

 

I DECLARE UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY THAT THE FOREGOING IS TRUE AND CORRECT.
 
SIGNED ________________________________________
NAME   ________________________________________
LOCATION ______________________________________
BLOCK __________________ LOT __________________
DAY PHONE ___________________ DATE ____________
UNIT COUNT_____________________________________
Number of Tenants in Common____________________
REFUND AMOUNT REQUESTED $______________________
ONLY IF YOU ARE REQUESTING A REFUND AND HAVE PAID THE TAX BILL IN FULL, RETURN THIS NOTICE AND ANY REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION TO THE TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE. For questions concerning this notice, please call the Tax collector's office at 415-554-6203. For questions concerning Landlord/Tenant issues, please call the Rent Board at 415-252-4600.

MAIL TO:
SF Tax Collector's Office
P.O. Box 7426
San Francisco, CA 94120-7426

 

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