The Commercial Vacancy Tax is a tax on keeping certain commercial space vacant for more than 182 days in a calendar year. Follow the steps below to file. Filing and payment of the Commercial Vacancy Tax Return must be submitted and paid on or before February 28, 2023.
Watch our instructional video on filing your 2022 Commercial Vacancy Tax Return. To learn more about the Commercial Vacancy Tax, view our informational video and download the presentation (Español Filipino 中文 ).
Review the definition of Taxable Commercial Space and the map below to confirm that the Commercial Vacancy Tax applies to your space for 2022. If you received a notice from our office and believe you are NOT required file a Return, complete the Non-Filer Certification Form.
For purposes of the Commercial Vacancy Tax, "Taxable Commercial Space" means the ground floor of any building or structure, or the ground floor of any portion of a building or structure, where such ground floor:
- is adjacent or tangent to a Public Right of Way,
- is located in one of the Named Neighborhood Commercial Districts (NCD) or Named Neighborhood Commercial Transit Districts (NCT), as they existed on March 3, 2020; and
- is not Residential Real Estate.
Map of Districts that may be Covered by the Commercial Vacancy Tax
The areas highlighted in orange are Named Neighborhood Commercial Districts (NCD) or Named Neighborhood Commercial Transit Districts (NCT), as they existed on March 3, 2020. This map is for estimation purposes only. Click on map to move or zoom.
Find the Block/Lot of the Taxable Commercial Space, which is required to begin the Commercial Vacancy Tax Return.
- Click on the button above
- Enter the address of the Taxable Commercial Space
- The parcel Block/Lot will be listed directly below the address
Click on the button below and enter the Block/Lot of the Taxable Commercial Space to begin the Return. Click on the "Instructions" button for detailed instructions on how to file the Return.
File Commercial Vacancy Tax Return (2022)
All owners, lessees/tenants, and sublessees/subtenants of Taxable Commercial Space, as defined in the Code, must file a Return. A Return must be filed for all Taxable Commercial Spaces, even if the spaces are in the same building. This may require those filing to use the same block and lot and/or Business Account Number on more than one Return.
All co-owners, co-tenants, and co-subtenants must file a Return. If one of the co-owners, co-tenants, or co-subtenants will be satisfying the obligation, the other parties must provide the contact information of those satisfying the obligation. The Return will prompt you for this information.
Persons exempt from or otherwise not subject to the Commercial Vacancy Tax who are the owner, tenant, or subtenant of Taxable Commercial Space still must file a Return. They may declare their exemption or explain why they do not owe the tax on the Return.
If you received a notice to file a Commercial Vacancy Tax Return and believe you are NOT required to file, click the button below to complete the Non-Filer Certification Form. Have the notice to file you received from our office available, as it has information necessary to fill out the form.
For 2022 the tax rate is $250 per linear foot of Frontage. The Commercial Vacancy Tax rate is calculated based on a building’s Frontage (the total length of Taxable Commercial Space that is adjacent or tangent to the Public Right of Way) rounded to the nearest foot.
Taxable Commercial Space is considered vacant if it’s unoccupied, uninhabited, or unused for more than 182 days, whether consecutive or nonconsecutive, in a tax year. The Code provides for qualified exclusions, which are detailed in the Commercial Vacancy Tax Return Instructions.
If a tenant has operated a business in Taxable Commercial Space for more than 182 consecutive days during a lease of at least two years, the tenant will not be liable for the Commercial Vacancy Tax for the remainder of that lease, regardless of whether the space is vacant.
Additionally, any organization that is exempt from income taxation under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) is exempt from the Commercial Vacancy Tax.
However, the owner, tenant, or subtenant of a Taxable Commercial Space must file a Commercial Vacancy Tax return regardless of whether they are exempt from paying the Commercial Vacancy Tax or other taxes.
San Francisco’s Business and Tax Regulations Code generally 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. Lessors of residential real estate can find information on business registration requirements here.
In general, businesses must register if any of the below statements are true:
- Maintain a fixed place of business within San Francisco.
- Perform work or render services within San Francisco for all or part of any seven days during one tax year.
- Solicit business within San Francisco for all or part of any seven days during one tax year.
- 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 in San Francisco for sale in the ordinary course of business.
- Employ or loan capital on property within San Francisco.
- Liquidate businesses when the liquidators hold themselves out to the public as conducting such business.
- Use streets in San Francisco for business purposes for any part of seven (7) days during the tax year.
- Have more than $500,000 in total gross receipts allocated to 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:
- 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 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.
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.
The Board of Supervisors passed legislation to permit the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector to disclose certain Commercial Vacancy Tax information to the public. The following information collected from the Commercial Vacancy Tax return will be made available to the public via DataSF:
- Name of the person(s) required to file a Commercial Vacancy Tax Return and whether each person filed;
- Name of the person(s) required to pay the Commercial Vacancy Tax;
- The address and block and lot number of the Taxable Commercial Space;
- If the Taxable Commercial Space was kept Vacant during a tax year; and
- The Commercial Vacancy Tax rate that applies to the Taxable Commercial Space for a given tax year.
Article 29: Vacancy Tax Ordinance
Legislation re: Disclosure of Vacancy Tax Information; Penalties For Failure to Timely File Vacancy Tax Returns (6/27/22)
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