Business Property

Richard N. Benson, Assessor - Recorder - County Clerk

Business Property Statement

A Business Property Statement is a form for reporting both real and personal property that is owned, controlled, managed, possessed, claimed or utilized for business purposes. Property must be declared as an asset if it exists on the Lien Date (January 1). The assets must be reported at full acquisition cost (this includes purchase price, sales tax, freight and installation).

Questions and Answers

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  • File Your 2015 Business Property Statement by May 7
  • When is the Business Property Statement due?

    The Business Property Statement is due on April 1 and is subject to a 10% penalty if it is filed after 5:00 P.M. on May 7.

  • What is the purpose of the Business Property Statement?

    The Business Property Statement collects information regarding business equipment, supplies and leasehold improvements for each business location. The information provided on the statement is then used to assess and tax property in accordance with California State Law. The Law requires the form be used to report information, including the full acquisition cost of business equipment, supplies and leasehold improvements that were owned, controlled, managed, possessed, claimed or utilized on the Lien Date at the address shown on the form. All 58 California County Assessors mail out similar statements.

  • Why were you sent a Business Property Statement?

    You were sent a statement because our records indicate that you were in business and/or owned business property on the Lien Date, January 1, and the Marin County Assessor is required to assess any taxable business property in your possession on that date. The Marin County Assessor may have learned about your business from a variety of sources including, but not limited to business licenses, fictitious business name statements, or field inspections.

  • Who must file a Business Property Statement?

    If the Assessor sends you a Business Property Statement, the law requires that you complete, sign, and return the statement to the Assessor's Office in the time period specified. If your business owns Personal Property having a total combined cost of $100,000 or greater, you are required to annually file a Business Property Statement, even if the Assessor did not send you a formal request to do so. Failure to complete and file this form will result in the Assessor estimating the value of your business property and adding a 10% penalty to the assessment.

  • What should be reported on the Business Property Statement?

    Property to be reported includes all supplies, equipment, fixtures and leasehold improvements used in the operation of a business. Examples of reportable property include (but are not limited to) office furniture, shelving, computers, machinery, tools, fixtures and leasehold improvements, etc. Do not report the following exempt items: business inventory, application software and most licensed vehicles.

  • What cost components must be included in reported costs?

    Business Property is to be reported on the Business Property Statement at full acquisition cost. Full acquisition cost includes purchase price, sales tax, freight and installation.

  • Examples of reportable property:

    Reportable property includes but is not limited to the following:

    • Computers, printers, servers
    • Office furniture
    • Shelving
    • Telephones
    • Copiers and fax machines
    • Cameras
    • Video Equipment
    • Restaurant Equipment
    • Machinery
    • Forklifts
    • Tools
    • Storage Tanks
  • What is a supply item?

    Any item that is consumed in a business, such as office supplies, pencils, paper, calculator tape, stationery, envelopes, cleaning supplies, fuel, etc. is a supply item.

    If you are a manufacturer, "supplies" would not include anything that becomes part of the finished product. Materials or supplies that are integrated into the products you market are exempt as inventory.

  • What is the difference between inventory and supplies?

    Inventory consists of items subject to sale, rent or lease. Supplies are items consumed in the normal course of business.

Business Property Assessments

Questions and Answers

  • How is the assessed value of business property determined?

    Generally, to calculate an assessed value, the Assessor applies trending tables provided by the State Board of Equalization to reported costs.

  • Does the Assessor pro-rate taxes between buyer and seller in the event a business is sold?

    No. The owner on Lien Date (January 1) is responsible for the entire tax. Any arrangement regarding property tax liability must be worked out contractually between the buyer and seller.

  • Why are taxes levied on business property?

    Property taxes are the chief source of municipal income and are measure by value. Under the California Constitution, all property is taxable. Unless otherwise exempted, all forms of tangible property are taxable in California and the Assessor must assess business personal property, fixtures and leasehold improvements because the law requires him to do so.

    Some forms of personal property are exempt from taxation under the Constitution. For example, household furnishings, personal effects (not used in business) and business inventory are exempt under the law.

  • What is the tax rate on personal property?

    Throughout California, the basic property tax rate is 1% of the assessed value, which applies to real property and personal property. However, your tax bill might also include special assessments voted into effect by the voters or by their representatives within the property's taxing jurisdiction. In general, you can estimate that the taxes will be 1.2% of the assessed value. For example, if your personal property assessment is $10,000, your personal property tax bill should be roughly $120.00.

  • Does Proposition 13 affect personal property?

    Unlike most real property, personal property does not fall under Prop 13's umbrella.

  • Is this a one-time tax?

    No, this is an annual tax.

  • What to do if you disagree with the taxable values?

    If you disagree with an assessment made by the Assessor, you can ask for an informal review of your assessment. Call or email our office for an initial review and explanation of your assessment.

    If our review does not clarify the assessment to your satisfaction, we will ask that you provide:

    • a completed property statement for the current year if one has not been filed
    • a current detailed depreciation schedule
    • any other documentation supporting your claim

    Additional documentation may be requested depending on our initial review.

    Under certain circumstances, assessments cannot be changed without a formal audit of your books and records. You may request an audit in writing.

    Whether or not you discuss the matter with our office, you also have the right to file a formal appeal with the Marin County Assessment Appeals Board using the Application for Reduced Assessment. The Appeals Board is an independent agency representing the Marin County Board of Supervisors; it is not connected with the Marin County Assessor’s Office nor is it under our control in any way. You may download an appeal application or request one from the Appeals Board by calling (415) 473-7345. You may also request an appeal application by mail or in person at the Marin County Appeals Board, Marin County Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive Room 329, San Rafael, CA 94903.

  • Is help available to fill out the Business Property Statement?

    You can contact us for assistance with completing a Business Property Statement. General questions can be handled by calling (415) 473-7208. An Auditor-Appraiser is also available during office hours to assist you in person. Our office is located at the Marin Civic Center room 208, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA. Our office hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You do not need to make an appointment.

  • Can the Business Property Statement be filed online?

    The e-SDR system is an online “single location” filing system. It is accessible by taxpayers and their appointed representatives, and carries data forward, making subsequent filings easier. If you received the e-SDR letter, “E-File Your Business Property Statement”, you may file online. If you did not receive this letter with your annual Business Property Statement you may not be able to file online. Contact the Assessor to find out. Also, you may print the Business Property Statement from our web site. You must include the property ID number when returning the statement.

    If you electronically filed the Business Property Statement using e-SDR and received a confirmation number, keep a copy of the confirmation number as your proof of filing. You may want to print and keep a copy of the e-SDR filed Business property Statement for your own records. However, if you have filed online, do not send the assessor a paper copy of your Business Property Statement.

  • Can large businesses file property statements online?

    Yes, but another filing tool may be more expedient.

    The Standard Data Record (SDR) filing system was designed to simplify the process of filing annual property statements for large businesses that have many locations in one or more California counties. Participation in this program requires programming on behalf of the business entity so that business property data is uploaded to a state-wide server. Filing deadlines apply. Feel free to contact us if you need more information.

  • Can filings be changed after an e-SDR filing is submitted?

    Yes, you can amend your filing on the e-SDR website until June 30, after which amendments will have to be submitted by hard copy.

  • How to find out if your business is located in Marin County:

    The following list identifies the cities and towns located within the borders of Marin County:

    • Belvedere
    • Corte Madera
    • Fairfax
    • Larkspur
    • Mill Valley
    • Novato
    • Ross
    • San Anselmo
    • San Rafael
    • Sausalito
    • Tiburon
    • Unincorporated County

    The following list identifies the zip codes associated with Marin County:

    Marin County Zip Codes
    City Zip Code City Zip Code
    Belvedere-Tiburon 94920 Nicasio 94946
    Bolinas 94924 Novato 94945
    Corte Madera 94925 Novato 94947-9
    Dillon Beach 94929 Olema 94950
    Fairfax 94930 Point Reyes Station 94956
    Fireman’s Fund (Novato) 94998 Ross 94957
    Fort Baker 94965 San Geronimo 94963
    Ignacio 94947 San Quentin 94964
    Inverness 94937 San Rafael 94901
    Lagunitas 94938 Sausalito 94965-6
    Larkspur 94939 Stinson Beach 94970
    Marin City 94965 Tomales 94971
    Marshall 94940 Woodacre 94973
    Mill Valley 94941-2    
  • What if the pre-printed name and address information on the Business Property Statement is incorrect?

    If this information is incorrect, simply draw a single line through the incorrect information and then legibly print or type the new information on the form. Please do not make the pre-printed information unreadable.

    Included in your Business Property Statement packet is a form used to report the move, sale or closure of your business. When completing the form please be sure to include the date of the change, the new owner’s name and address, and disposition of property if appropriate.

  • What to do if you do not own the real property where your business is located?

    Even if you don't own the real property (land, building) where your business is located, you must still file the Business Property Statement because it is used to report the business personal property (equipment, supplies, etc.) that you do own. You must also complete any related schedules that apply to your particular business. If you own or have added any improvements, you will need to report their costs on Schedule B. See the official instructions for the Business Property Statement.

  • Is the Business Property Statement a public record?

    By law, your Business Property Statement is NOT a public document and it is not open to public inspection.

  • What is the Lien Date?

    The Lien Date is 12:01 a.m., January 1 of each year.

  • Why does the tax bill say "period dated July 1 through June 30", when the Lien Date is January 1?

    The State of California as well as all the California Counties operates on a fiscal year of July 1 through June 30. January 1 is used as the Lien Date or measurement date to allow time in advance of the June billing for the assessments to be calculated. The responsibility for the tax bill rests with the party that owned, controlled, managed, possessed, claimed or utilized the business property as of January 1.

  • What happens if the Business Property Statement is incomplete or not returned?

    Incomplete Filing: If you file an incomplete Business Property Statement, the Assessor may return it to you for proper completion. Penalties may be added if the Assessor's Office does not receive a properly completed Business Property Statement by the normal due date. After the due date, an incomplete filing is treated the same as a "failure to file" and a 10% penalty must be added. Failure to File: When a Business Property Statement is not filed as required by law, the assessor must rely on the best information available to estimate the value of any property owned by the non-reporting business. In the absence of a Business Property Statement, an estimate of value is made based on the nature of the business. A 10% penalty must also be added to any assessment made as a result of a failure to file the Business Property Statement.

  • What to do if your business closed prior to January 1, but you still received a Business Property Statement.

    Anytime a person receives a Business Property Statement from the Assessor and their business was no longer in operation as of the Lien Date (January 1), a Moved, Sold, Closed form must be signed and returned to the Assessor.

    Please include the date you closed the business, as well as the status and location of any equipment owned or used by you at the time the business closed. If any of the property was sold to another person or business, please indicate the buyer's name and address. If any of the property was moved, please indicate to where.

    When a business has closed but you still own equipment previously used in the business, it may still be taxable despite the fact the business is closed. If the equipment you still own was converted to personal effects, then it may not be assessable.

    Depending on circumstances, the assessor may determine that a Business Property Statement is still required.

  • What to do if you sold or closed your business after the Lien Date, January 1?

    All property is assessable to the party that owned, controlled, managed, possessed, claimed or utilized it as of the lien date, January 1, regardless of what transpires after that date. Even if closed shortly after the lien date, a business must still file a Business Property Statement and pay taxes for the coming fiscal year on any taxable property they owned on the lien date. To inform the assessor that your business has moved, sold or closed, please submit a Moved, Sold, Closed form to identify the new owner and/or the disposition of the property.

  • What to do if your business was not open on January 1.

    If you had no property in the county on the lien date, please notify the assessor’s office by stating such in the Remarks section of the Business Property Statement.

    A business does not have to be open for its taxable property to be subject to assessment. For example, assume that on the lien date, January 1, a new pizza parlor is under construction and nearly ready for its opening. Even though the pizza parlor was not open for business on the lien date, taxable business property (such as supplies, furniture, ovens and leasehold improvements in progress) was in the owner's possession, in Marin County, on the lien date and the Assessor is required to assess it.

  • Is reporting required if all the equipment is the owner's personal equipment?

    Any personal equipment used in your business must be reported. For example, persons working out of their homes must report personal desks, computers, calculators and etc., if those items are used in their business. Similarly, someone operating an auto repair shop may use their own "personal" tools in the business. In this case, such tools become assessable as business personal property and must be reported.

    Any equipment previously used in the business that has reverted back to "personal" use is no longer taxable if that business is closed or sold prior to January 1. Items like home office desks and computers become nontaxable when they revert to being "Household Furnishings or Personal Effects," which are exempt.

    In an opposite example, a grocery store goes out of business prior to January 1, but equipment such as freezer boxes and store shelving remains in the building on that date. In this case, such items would still be taxable and must be reported even though the business was closed on the lien date. That is because the equipment has not reverted to "Household Furnishings or Personal Effects".

  • What if equipment was given to the business instead of purchased?

    If the equipment you use in your business was acquired as a gift, you may report your estimate of its current market value (that is, what you think it would fully cost to replace with like equipment) on the Business Property Statement. Enter that estimated value in the most current year's cost line and add a note indicating that the entry is an estimate.

  • What to do if the equipment you use does not belong to you, or is being borrowed?

    The Business Property Statement must show all taxable property owned, claimed, possessed, controlled or managed by the person filing the form. If you are not the owner of the equipment then you must declare the equipment in Part III of the Business Property Statement under “Equipment belonging to others”. The Assessor will also send a Business Property Statement to the person reported as the equipment's actual owner. Based upon information available to the assessor, the assessor will determine the assessee.

  • What to do if your business rents an office and all of the furniture and equipment belongs to the landlord?

    In this case, you need to write a remark about that circumstance on the Business Property Statement, or on an attachment to it. Also, fill out Part III of the form, “Equipment Belonging to Others.” Sign and return it to the Assessor's Office. If you own any small equipment, such as a printer, copier, etc., that you are using in the business, you should report these costs under Part II of the Business Property Statement and on Schedule A.

  • What if nothing has changed on the Business Property Statement since last year?

    You must report business property in detail, as requested or mandated. If nothing has changed from the prior year (no equipment was added or removed), then you may refer to your prior year's Business Property Statement filing in order to be consistent in completing the current Business Property Statement. The current Business Property Statement must be filed. If you failed to keep a copy of the prior year's filing, you may request a copy of it from the Marin County Assessor's Office.

  • What about expensed equipment?

    Businesses have varying policies for capitalizing long term acquisitions. As distinguished from current period consumable supplies, long lived items that have been expensed must be expressed in some manner as if they were capitalized. E.g., a $600 computer may have been expensed, but will need to be added to the computer category, or expressed in some way. You may already have an “Expensed Equipment” or similarly titled account from which you can obtain the annual amount. This could be reported as “Other-Expensed Equipment” with the category building upon itself each year.

  • Can a business just report current acquisitions?

    No. You must report all business personal property that you owned, controlled, managed, possessed, claimed or utilized as of the lien date (January 1), regardless of year of acquisition.

  • What to do if your business does not own anything and leases all equipment?

    You are required to report this information in Part III of the Business Property Statement. The assessor will assess the property to the person owning, claiming, possessing or controlling it on the Lien Date (January 1).

  • Does a Business Property Statement have to be completed for a home based business?

    Yes. Any furniture, equipment, etc. used for a home business is considered to be business personal property and must be reported on the Business Property Statement.

  • Should exempt businesses or organizations file the Business Property Statement?

    Yes. Regardless of your exempt status, you must file a Business Property Statement if the Assessor requests that you file one, or your total combined personal property costs are $100,000 or more.

    You may contact the Exemption Section at (415) 473-7206 to verify your exempt status or to file an exemption claim.

  • Can Business Property Statements be amended after filing?

    Yes. A timely filed statement can be amended within the four year statute of limitations. Additional documentation may be required.

  • How to request copies of prior year filings.

    You may request copies in person, in writing or by phone. Our phone number is (415) 473-7208. Staff is available during office hours to assist you. Our office is located at the Marin Civic Center room 208, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA. Our office hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. I.D. may be required. Our mailing address is Marin County Assessor, PO Box C, San Rafael, CA 94913.

  • How to request a Business Property Statement.

    You may request a Business Property Statement either in person, in writing or by phone. Our phone number is (415) 473-7208. Staff is available during office hours to assist you. Our office is located at the Marin Civic Center room 208, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA. Our office hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Our mailing address is Marin County Assessor, PO Box C, San Rafael, CA 94913.

  • How to obtain a copy of the current year's Business Property Statement that shows the assessed values.

    Revenue & Taxation Code Section 443.1 requires that the assessor supply specific category valuations if so requested, if the property statement is timely filed in duplicate. Marin County satisfies this requirement by providing printed schedules showing the valuation of each category, as well as acquisition years within the category. These may be mailed or faxed by request.

  • What to do if you are only an employee of the company and do not own any Business Personal Property?

    Please note those facts on the Business Property Statement, or attachment to it, and return the signed Business Property Statement to the Assessor's Office. Please also include the name of the company you work for and its mailing address among your notes. The Assessor needs to know these facts in order to prevent an improper assessment from being issued to you.