The position of San Francisco Treasurer is an elective office created by the City Charter in 1850. In July 1979, a charter amendment added the office and duties of Tax Collector to the Treasurer’s responsibilities. The Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector serves as the banker, collection agent, and investment officer for the government of San Francisco, the only combined city and county in the state of California. The Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector serves two basic functions for the citizens of the City and County of San Francisco:
The Office of the San Francisco Treasurer & Tax Collector serves as the banker, tax collector, collection agent, and investment officer for the City and County of San Francisco. Our mission is to collect and safeguard the City’s money and use our expertise to assist low-income San Francisco families build economic security and mobility.
We are committed to providing excellent services for taxpayers, customers, and our community. By promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are a stronger, smarter, and more informed government agency.
Supporting Small Businesses and Taxpayers
The Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector in partnership with the Mayor and Board of Supervisors took several unprecedented actions to provide relief to City businesses to address the economic downturn. These included:
- Implementing 10 tax and fee deadline deferrals which impacted over 100,000 businesses
- Waiving taxes and fees for small businesses that provided up to $18 million in relief
- Launching technology solutions that made it easy for businesses to receive relief and stay updated on new programs
Many of the deferred deadlines converged on April 30, 2021. These deadlines did not usually fall on the same day and are not related to relief, so the Office conducted extensive outreach to small business to make them aware of the actions they needed to take.
|Original Deadline||New Deadline|
|Business Registration Renewal -FY 2020-21||June 1, 2020||April 30, 2021|
|Annual Business Taxes (2020)||March 1, 2021||April 30, 2021|
|2020-21 License Fees||March 31, 2020||November 1, 2021|
|2021-22 License Fees||March 31, 2021||November 1, 2021|
|Business Registration Renewal - FY 2021-22 - $25 million or less in gross receipts||May 31, 2021||November 1, 2021|
|Business Registration Renewal - FY 2021-22 - more than $25 million gross receipts||May 31, 2021||June 30, 2021|
|Delinquency Date for Point of Sale and Weights and Measures||Anything billed after March 2020||November 1, 2021|
Proposition F Implementation
The Office simultaneously implemented Proposition F, the business tax overhaul approved by San Francisco voters in 2020. It became effective on January 1, 2021 and our office moved to immediately make businesses aware of the changes, with a special focus on supporting small businesses who may need more assistance in understanding the elimination of the Payroll Expense Tax and full transition to the Gross Receipts Tax. This included launching a comprehensive website and tax estimation tool for small businesses, so that they can understand the impact of the changes.
Property Tax Payments and Penalty Waivers
Multiple secured property tax payment deadlines passed during the pandemic and early on it became clear that certain property owners were accustomed to in-person property tax payments and wished to continue to make payments in this manner. These property owners were generally older, and many were not English proficient. With this knowledge, we developed a communications outreach plan to reach those taxpayers via in-language radio, print and social media with messages instructing them on the safety and convenience of paying online or via the mail. We simultaneously offered limited in-person payment options for those who still wished to make in-person payments.
Because of extensive outreach from our office to property owners and the encouragement of penalty waivers, more than 99 percent of secured property tax revenue was collected on time, providing billions in revenue to support the City’s recovery.
Financial Resources for Low-Income Residents
Our Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) continued efforts to connect residents with pandemic relief available through government and the private sector. OFE surveyed banks about their participation in the Paycheck Protection Program, and about their response to COVID-19 related to consumer and small business relief. Survey results were synthesized to create a report on how banks have responded and makes recommendations for the future, with a specific focus on black and brown communities. We served more than 600 clients in our free, confidential, one-on-one financial coaching program. We hosted a series of Facebook Live conversations and used various social media platforms to make sure needed information was clear and accessible. OFE’s Smart Money Coaching program also partnered with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH), to deliver financial coaching to at-risk Transitional Age Youth (TAY) through the Rising Up campaign, which supports their financial capability and addresses their unique financial challenges.
Emergency Cash Assistance and Guaranteed Income
When City agencies sought to quickly provide cash assistance to people in need, our Office leveraged our banking contracts and financial empowerment work to provide a quick and safe way for more than 7,000 residents to receive cash through the programs run by the Human Services Agency (HSA), Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), and the Human Rights Commission.
This work matured into a policy effort to support Guaranteed Income work. We provided ongoing staff support for the San Francisco Guaranteed Income Advisory Group and are working to develop, advise, and execute a robust playbook for Guaranteed Income work in the future. With the support of the Board of Supervisors, we deepened our analysis of the impact of Guaranteed Income on taxes and benefits. We continue to work with several pilots to apply for waivers from state and federal programs, and will continue to utilize our banking contracts to make payments seamless and secure.
Prioritizing Programs Centered Around Equity
The Financial Justice Project (FJP) led a multitude of reforms to fines and fees disparately impacting low-income communities of color. Highlights include: making all City jail phone calls free and eliminating commissary markups; working in coalition to replicate statewide the City’s work to eliminate administrative fees charged to people exiting criminal justice system; and issuing a guide to fine and fee discounts.
The Kindergarten to College Programmanages 46,000 college savings accounts for San Francisco Unified School District students, resulting in families saving $5.1 million for college. K2C also implemented an equity incentive pilot for incoming Kindergarten students from low-income families, encouraging college savings by increasing their initial seed money. We will also work to implement a technology platform to integrate K2C with California Treasurer's ScholarShare's 529 offering, to expand K2C's reach, build interconnections between local CSAs and the emerging statewide programs, and chart a path to a groundbreaking hybrid 529/bank CSA model.
- Facilitate citywide small business relief efforts, including installment plans and fee waiver programs
- Extend contactless payments Citywide while reducing costs
- Develop, advise, and execute a robust playbook for Guaranteed Income work
- Continue to identify and eliminate fines and fees that disproportionality impact low-income people of color
- Grow and Interconnect Kindergarten to College
Moving forward, we commit at least ten percent of budget to efforts that advance racial and economic equity, and we’re working to assure that these are prioritized across all the work of our office.
José Cisneros, Treasurer
José Cisneros is the elected Treasurer for the City and County of San Francisco. As Treasurer, he serves as the City’s banker and Chief Investment Officer, managing all tax and revenue collection for San Francisco. Appointed in 2004, and first elected in 2005, Cisneros has used his experience in the tech and banking industries to enhance and modernize taxpayer systems and successfully manage the City’s portfolio through a major recession.
Treasurer Cisneros believes that his role of safeguarding the City’s money extends to all San Francisco residents, and continues to expand his role as a financial educator and advocate for low-income San Franciscans through award-winning programs like Kindergarten to College, Bank On San Francisco and the Financial Justice Project. Cisneros served as Vice Chair on the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, and is currently Co-Chair of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Coalition.
Prior to his role as Treasurer, Treasurer Cisneros served as Deputy General Manager for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. In this capacity, he managed MUNI’s $7 billion capital program designed to repair, replace and enhance system assets – including the 3rd Street Rail extension serving Chinatown, Mission Bay and the residents of Bay View and Hunters Point. Before working at MUNI, Treasurer Cisneros served as a member of the MTA Board of Directors and was instrumental in creating Proposition E, the Muni Reform Charter Amendment.
Treasurer Cisneros has a strong business background in the private sector, previously working for IBM Corporation and Lotus Development Corporation as a Senior International Product Manager. Prior to this, he was an Assistant Vice President at Bank of Boston where he managed financial product portfolios valued at over $100 million.
Treasurer Cisneros lives with his husband in San Francisco. He received his Bachelor of Science from Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Tajel Shah, Chief Assistant Treasurer
As Chief Assistant Treasurer, Tajel Shah serves as Deputy to José Cisneros and manages investments, banking, cashiering, budget, solutions management, IT and human resources for the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector.
Ms. Shah joined the organization in January 2008. Prior to joining the Treasurer & Tax Collector, she managed policy and planning for the Department of Children, Youth and their Families for several years. Ms. Shah comes to the office with a unique blend of public and private sector experience, which includes leading global expansion for Organic Inc. – an internet company and managing several of their Fortune 500 clients. She also served as the first woman of color to lead the national advocacy organization, United States Student Association.
Ms. Shah grew up in New Jersey and holds a B.A. from Rutgers University. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children and serves on several boards and commissions, including the San Francisco Unified School District’s Quality Teacher and Education Oversight Committee.
David Augustine, Tax Collector
In March 2013, Treasurer José Cisneros appointed David Augustine as San Francisco Tax Collector. The San Francisco Tax Collector is responsible for all tax collection in the City and is the ex offico license collector under California law.
Mr. Augustine joined the Office in 2004 as Policy & Legislative Manager, and was instrumental in the implementation of the Treasurer’s many innovative social programs, including Bank on San Francisco, Kindergarten to College, and the Working Families Credit program. As Tax Collector Attorney he represented the office in a number of bankruptcy proceedings and coordinated collections work with the Bureau of Delinquent Revenue.
Prior to joining the City, Mr. Augustine worked in municipal public finance, and with the New York City Mayor’s Office. He holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School and a B.A. in Political Science from Swarthmore College. He is a member of the California State Bar. He has attended the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at the Kennedy School, and has served on the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities. Mr. Augustine is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and resides in San Francisco.
Amanda Fried, Chief of Policy and Communications
Ms. Fried oversees taxpayer assistance, communications, legislation and financial empowerment initiatives for the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector.
Ms. Fried joined the organization in October 2014. Prior to joining the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector, she served as Deputy Director in the Mayor’s Office of Housing, Opportunities, Partnerships and Engagement (HOPE) for Mayor Ed Lee, as a Senior Advisor to the Mayor in New York City, and as a legislative aide.
Ms. Fried grew up in Philadelphia and earned a B.A. in Political Science and Urban Studies from Stanford University, and an Masters in Public Administration from the New York University Wagner School of Public Service. She lives in San Francisco with her family.