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 is due on February 29, 2024. Watch our instructional video on filing your 2023 Commercial Vacancy Tax Return.
File 2023 Commercial Vacancy Tax Return
Review the definition of Taxable Commercial Space and the map below to confirm that the Commercial Vacancy Tax applies to your space for 2023.
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:
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
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.
For 2023, the tax rate is $250 per linear foot of Frontage for Taxable Commercial Space that was not been kept Vacant in the 2022 tax year and $500 per linear foot of Frontage for Taxable Commercial Space that was been kept Vacant in the 2022 tax year.
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. Below is an explanation of information collected from the Commercial Vacancy Tax return that is available to the public via DataSF. Select "View Data" button.
What is in this public dataset?
This dataset delineates approximately 2,800 parcels with “Taxable Commercial Space” - meaning parcels where one or more property owner(s) and/or commercial tenant(s) are required to file or pay the Commercial Vacancy Tax. The dataset includes the Block, Lot, Parcel Number and Situs Address for each commercial parcel within the named Districts. Information about each filing received for the parcel is included, such as Filer Type (Owner / Tenant/ Subtenant), Filer Name, Situs Address from Filing, whether the filer reported a vacancy, and if so, the tax rate applied. The information displayed is reported by the taxpayers and subject to audit by the Tax Collector.
Filings that are reflected as Pending are under review by the Tax Collector. Reasons for review include: the filer reported that the parcel is not Taxable Commercial Space (ie, the parcel does not have a structure, is not within the boundaries, does not otherwise meet the definition of Taxable Commercial Space), or the Parcel Number and Situs Addresses are not aligned.
Data will be refreshed daily until further notice.
What’s not in this public dataset?
- Filings received that did not match a parcel number subject to this tax (ie, for an address outside the named districts, or where the filing had a typo in the address or parcel number)
- Duplicate filings (if we received more than one filing from the same person for the same place)
Why are there multiple filings per one address / parcel?
- CVT requires a filing from the property owner AND any tenants that are occupying or holding a space vacant
- One parcel could be subdivided into several addresses / spaces that have different filers
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