Treasurer urges independent contractors working in San Francisco to comply with business registration requirements

April 15, 2016


37,000 Notices sent to drivers of Transportation Network Companies regarding registration requirements and enforcement action. 

April 15, 2016

San Francisco, CA—The Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector mailed notices to nearly 37,000 people identified as drivers for Transportation Network Companies (TNC) in San Francisco, notifying them of business registration requirements. TNC’s provide prearranged transportation services for compensation using an online-enabled application or platform to connect passengers with drivers using their personal vehicles. Drivers who receive the notice are instructed to take action within 30 days by either registering as a business, or declaring under penalty of perjury that they do not need to register because they are no longer in business, not a TNC driver, an employee of the TNC, or already registered with the Office.

“I take seriously my obligation to fairly implement San Francisco’s business registration requirements,” said Treasurer José Cisneros. “I urge all the people receiving this notice, and all unregistered businesses operating in San Francisco to take prompt action to come into compliance immediately.”

The Office of Treasurer & Tax Collector has the charter authority and obligation to collect business taxes in San Francisco, including the Business Registration Fee.  This notice to drivers follows nearly two years of enforcement work, including multiple requests for information and subpoenas to get sufficient data about business operations from TNC’s domiciled in San Francisco.

San Francisco has over 105,000 registered businesses, which pay $1.2 billion per year to the Treasurer’s Office in business taxes including Registration Fees, Gross Receipts Taxes, Payroll Expense Taxes, Transient Occupancy Taxes, Parking Taxes, and Utility Users Taxes. Business Registration is required for anyone “engaging in business” in San Francisco—common examples are maintaining a fixed place of business, soliciting or performing business for seven days or more, or driving on San Francisco streets for business purposes. Registration can be completed online in minutes by visiting

Every person engaging in business within the City is required by law to conspicuously display a current registration certificate on the business premises. Business registration is required within fifteen days of operation, and is valid from July 1 to June 30th. Registration must be renewed annually by May 31st.  Registration fees for new businesses range from $75 to $35,000, based on the type of business activities, and annual gross receipts, and were set by the voters as part of 2012’s Proposition E-- The Gross Receipts Tax and Business Registration Fees Ordinance.