San Francisco Property Taxes: Helpful Guide in Simple Language

San Francisco Property Taxes Featured Image

Especially for businesses, SF property taxes have been in an uproar since COVID-19. Companies have moved increasingly toward remote work and have asked for changes in response. 

For typical residential property taxes, everything is business as usual. Read on to have all your questions about San Francisco property bills answered.

San Francisco Property Taxes - Helpful Guide in Simple Language

For 2022, the secured property tax rate is 1.18248499%, while the unsecured property tax rate is 1.1801%.  

Put simply, the difference between secured and unsecured property is whether it is moveable or fixed to land. For example, a yacht is unsecured, but a house is secured.

Moveable (unsecured) property cannot necessarily be seized and sold upon a tax default. That’s why it exists in a separate category.

Property tax bills are mailed every October. If for some reason you have not received a letter, use the SF Treasurer Help Center to contact the city.

Late payments result in delinquent property taxes. If you fail to submit a first installment payment before the first delinquency deadline, the unpaid amount will receive a 10% fee. You will receive an additional 10% fee and a $45 flat-rate administrative charge if you miss the delinquency deadline for the second installment.

Typically the first delinquency deadline is December 10th and the second is April 10th of the following year. 

On June 30th, the property becomes tax defaulted. In this case, you will receive an additional 1.5% monthly fee until you have repaid the full amount including interest.

The annual tax bills can be paid in 2 installments: by December 10th and April 10th. For the first installment, you must pay at least 50% of the total bill.

In addition to secured property (physical structures attached to land), business property taxes also include unsecured property (moveable property). This can include anything from a food truck to a lawn mower.

Business property owners must file a property statement each year detailing the acquisition cost of all supplies, equipment, fixtures, and improvements owned at each location within the City and County of San Francisco.

Property taxes are based on a fiscal year that begins July 1st and ends June 30th of the following year. Three months later, beginning in October, the SF Treasurer and Tax Collector mails out property tax bills.

There are two values that matter for escape assessments: the purchase price of a property and the estimated market value according to the city of San Francisco. An assessor decides the market value. 

If an assessor decides the market value of a property is 5% more or less than the purchase price, then an escape assessment will be issued to adjust the property taxes. 

If the city of San Francisco notices a discrepancy due to no fault of the property owner, the city has 4 years to discover the difference and issue an escape assessment. If the property owner caused the incorrect assessment in some way, the city has 8 years. 

Property owners will be responsible for past years where the discrepancy existed. 

Escape assessments can occur for many reasons. If you have been issued one, it’s best to find out your case’s specific details by contacting the Office of the Assessor-Recorder at (415) 554-6778.

To pay your property bill on the phone, call 1-800-890-1950. You may submit your payment either with a credit or debit card.

Besides calling or paying in person, you can submit a wire transfer using the information below:

Banking Institution:Bank of America
Address:555 Capitol Mall, Suite 765 Sacramento, CA 95814
Branch Locator:#148
ABA/Routing Number (ACH):021-052-053
Bank Account Number:50410998
Bank Account Name:City and County of San Francisco
For credit to:Property Tax (TTX)

Of course, the simplest way to pay is online using the SF Property Tax Payment Portal.

Finally, you can mail in your property tax bill. Although you will receive two pre-addressed envelopes in the mail, here is the address:

San Francisco City and County Tax Collector Real Estate Tax
P.O. Box 7426
San Francisco, CA 94120-7426

The SF Treasurer and Tax Collector mails secured property taxes in October. Upon receipt, you can either pay the entire sum at once or in two payments. 

The first installment is due November 1st, and becomes delinquent if you do not pay by 5 p.m. on December 10th. The send installment becomes delinquent on April 10th. Properties become tax-defaulted on June 30th.

Attempting to lower your property tax bill can be a complicated, time-consuming process. Obviously a multi-million dollar corporation has more reason to contest a bill than the standard homeowner. 

Corporations are well-advised to consult with a professional, although we can point you to this article on 10 Common Overlooked Ways to Reduce California Property Taxes

For the typical homeowner, the standard process often involves collecting lots of data, such as neighboring home values and independent home appraisals. Then you will have to file an appeal to the SF Assessor’s Office. Clearly, this can be an intensive process. 

However, we can provide some basic tips that won’t take forever:

  1. Be there for the assessor’s appraisal and draw attention to aspects of your home that lower the property value. 
  2. Check your tax bill for inaccuracies.
  3. Apply for tax exemptions that apply to primary residences, disabled veterans, and senior citizens.

How To Lower Your SF Property Taxes

San Francisco Premier Homes

If you need help selling your home or finding a new nest home, I’d love to participate in building a brighter future for you. Check out my outstanding reviews and get in touch.

San Francisco Premier Homes