The term “unsecured" refers to property that is not secured real estate. The unsecured property tax rate for Fiscal Year 2020-21 is 1.1801%. In general, unsecured property tax is either for business personal property (office equipment, owned or leased), boats and berths, or possessory interest for use of a space. It can also be based upon supplemental or escape assessments against secured property for prior ownership.
Business property owners are required to file a property statement (Form 571-L) each year with the Office of the Assessor-Recorder detailing the acquisition cost of all supplies, equipment, fixtures, and improvements owned at each location within the City and County of San Francisco. If you don’t file, the Assessor’s Office will estimate the value of your business property and add a 10% penalty to the assessment.
If you were unable to pay your property taxes by the deadline because of the COVID-19 crisis, you can submit an online request for a penalty waiver. You can’t apply for a waiver until after the tax deadline has passed, and you must apply once for each bill.
|Mailed Date Printed on Bill||Delinquent After|
5:00 pm on
|Current fiscal year||Last day of the month following mailed date||10% plus 1.5% per month beginning 2nd month after delinquent date|
Unsecured Escape assessments for prior fiscal years can be set up on a payment installment plan. An Unsecured Escape Installment Plan allows taxpayers to make annual installment payments over a four-year period. To initiate an installment plan:
- Complete and sign a Unsecured Escape Installment Plan.
- Pay at least 20% of the total tax excluding delinquent penalties plus a $50 installment plan fee per parcel.
The Agreement form and payment can be submitted:
- Via mail to: City and County Tax Collector, P.O. Box 7426, San Francisco, CA 94120-7426.
Unsecured Supplemental or Escape - The term “unsecured supplemental” or “unsecured escape” when attached to real property refers to an assessment that is based on prior ownership of secured property. For example, if the homeowner with a 2010 garage addition sold the property in 2012, the bills issued in 2013 to the original homeowner would be unsecured because the original homeowner no longer owns the property. The 2010 supplemental and 2011 escape would be unsecured and billed to the original homeowner. The 2013 escape would remain secured and billed to the new homeowner. As the property changed ownership in 2012, the 2012 escape bill would be split as unsecured to the prior homeowner and secured to the new homeowner.
Unsecured Escape assessments for prior fiscal years can be set up on a payment installment plan. An Unsecured Escape Installment Plan allows taxpayers to make annual installment payments over a four-year period. For more information, see Unsecured Escape Installment Plan.
Mailed between July 1 and October (mail date printed on bill):
|Delinquent After 5:00 pm on||Penalties|
|December 10 - 1st Installment||10%|
|April 10 - 2nd Installment||10% plus $45.00 administrative fee|
Mailed between November 1 and June 30 (mail date printed on bill):
|Delinquent After 5:00 pm on||Penalties|
|Last day of the month after printed mailed date||10%|
|Last day of the 4th month after the first installment delinquent date||10% plus $45.00 administrative fee|
AVOID PENALTIES BY UNDERSTANDING POSTMARKS
Tax payments must be received or postmarked by the due date to avoid penalties. If a payment is received after the due date, with no postmark, the payment is considered late and penalties will be imposed.
POSTMARKS are imprints on letters, flats, and parcels that show the name of the United States Postal Service (USPS) office that accepted custody of the mail, along with the state, the zip code, and the date of mailing. The postmark is generally applied, either by machine or by hand, with cancellation bars to indicate that the postage cannot be reused. Foreign postmarks and private metered postage are not acceptable.
Taxpayers who send their payments by mail are cautioned that the USPS only postmarks certain mail depending on the type of postage used, and may not postmark mail on the same day deposited by a taxpayer.
Postage that is postmarked:
STANDARD POSTAGE STAMPS: Stamps purchased and affixed to mail as evidence of the payment of postage.
Postage that is not postmarked:
METERED MAIL: Mail on which postage is printed directly on an envelope or label by a postage machine licensed by the USPS. Many private companies use these types of postage machines.
PRE-CANCELED STAMP: Stamps sold through a private vendor, such as stamps.com®.
AUTOMATED POSTAL CENTER (APC) STAMPS: Stamps, with or without a date, purchased from machines located within a USPS lobby.
PERMIT IMPRINT: Pre-sorted mail used by bill pay services, such as online home banking.
If you use these types of postage, the USPS will not postmark your mail. You will be charged a penalty and fee, if applicable, if we do not receive your mailed payment by the due date.
Purchase and complete a CERTIFICATE OF MAILING from the USPS, which is a receipt that provides evidence of the date that your mail was presented to the USPS for mailing. It can only be purchased at the time of mailing through the USPS. The USPS charges a fee for this service.
Purchase a POSTAGE VALIDATED IMPRINT (PVI) Label from a USPS retail counter or window. The PVI is applied to a piece of mail by personnel at the retail counter or window when postage has been paid to mail that item. The item is retained in USPS custody and is not handed back to the customer. The date printed on the PVI label is the date of mailing.
Avoid long lines and wait times at City Hall by paying online or by mail.
Need Further Assistance?
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