February 13, 2015
CONTACT: Amanda Fried
CITY LAUNCHES LOCAL GROSS RECEIPTS TAX ONLINE APPLICATION
Deadline for businesses to file their taxes for 2014 is March 2, 2015
San Francisco, CA—Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Treasurer José Cisneros celebrated the launch of the local Gross Receipts Tax online application. San Francisco adopted the Gross Receipts Tax as part of Proposition E in 2012, a consensus measure that passed with over 70% approval with broad support from business, labor, and elected officials.
The Gross Receipts Tax and Business Registration Fee Ordinance increased business registration fees, instituted a Gross Receipts Tax and reduced the Payroll Expense Tax over five years. Small businesses, such as those that have $1 million or less in gross receipts are exempt from the Gross Receipts Tax. Business taxes generated $563,406,000 in Fiscal Year 2013-2014, an increase of $83.3 million over the prior year. Increased business registration fee levels as a result of Proposition E significantly contributed to the growth in business taxes.
“Because we worked together, we now have a business tax system in San Francisco that incentivizes job creation,” said Mayor Lee. “Proposition E approved by San Francisco voters two years ago required an incredible amount of teamwork, and I want to thank Controller Ben Rosenfield and Ted Egan for their leadership, our businesses – large and small – for their active participation and input, and Treasurer José Cisneros and his team for leading the successful implementation and outreach effort. The City's new EZ Filing makes it easier for businesses to file their taxes and helps the City fund vital public services."
The Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector has been leading implementation of the Gross Receipts Tax and Business Registration Fee Ordinance. This included the significant build out of an IT system for online filing, a new EZ filing, and promulgation of multiple Tax Regulations. Many businesses in San Francisco can now file and pay their annual taxes online using an EZ form that takes less than 15 minutes to complete.
“I am proud to stand with this broad coalition of San Francisco leaders and report that the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector, has delivered a complex tax system on time, on budget, and with significant support from all of you here today,” said José Cisneros, Treasurer. “I want to thank all of our partners in this effort, including our colleagues in City Government, the business community, and our vendors Thomson Reuters and 21Tech. This was a herculean effort, and an outcome we can all be proud of.”
The City embarked on an extensive outreach campaign to inform more than 100,000 businesses of changes to San Francisco business taxes. In a collaborative effort between the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Office of Small Business, a robust multi-phased outreach plan was developed and executed. The outreach focused on small businesses and non-English proficient businesses, with all materials translated into multiple languages.
The goal of the outreach was to educate businesses on the changing business tax structure and the changing Business Registration Fee. The outreach plan included over 50 presentations about the Gross Receipts Tax to merchant associations, monthly Business Tax Seminars hosted at the Main Library, marketing and advertising on SFMTA buses and in neighborhood and mainstream newspapers, multi-language radio and television public service announcements (PSAs), and the launch of a new website (www.sfbiztax.org
“The Chamber has been a proud partner with the City in both the design and implementation of the Gross Receipts Tax,” said Jim Lazarus, Senior Vice President, SF Chamber of Commerce. “I am grateful to the City for the enormous outreach efforts to make sure all of our 100,000 businesses know about these changes.”
In conjunction with the Outreach Initiative, the City formed the Business Tax Advisory Group (BTAG), which includes a diverse representation from various large and small business sectors across all economic sectors in the City. It is co-chaired by Jim Lazarus, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and Kate Sofis, Executive Director of SFMade, a local manufacturing advocacy organization. The goal of the group was to guide and assist with the outreach and public information process.
“The shift to the Gross Receipts Tax is critical for San Francisco businesses to grow and thrive, especially for labor-intensive industries such as manufacturing,” said Kate Sofis, Executive Director, SFMade. “The new system will ensure that companies who choose to start, stay, and grow in San Francisco can compete and are supported in their efforts to create jobs.”
March 2, 2015 is the deadline for businesses to file their taxes for 2014. Taxpayers needing additional assistance are encouraged to visit www.sfbiztax.org
to view an online video tutorial, and see an upcoming calendar of outreach events.