Filing Business Property Statements
Taxes on business personal property began with the signing of the California Constitution. They are governed by the State of California and administered by the various counties.
eFile Business Property Statements
The due date for filing is April 1st. Late penalties will be applied if filed after May 7th (or next business day if May 7 is on a weekend). The online portal for e-filing is open until 11:59pm on May 31, however the statement must be submitted by 11:59pm on May 7 (or next business day if May 7 is on a weekend) to be considered filed timely.
We mail the Notice to File letters in late January to early February. Important information that you will need for e-filing is included in the Notice to File Letter including your Assessment Number, Business Identification Number (BIN), and Property Statement Code (Form ID). The following link will include instructions and a link on how to proceed with electronic filing. E-file your Business and Personal Property Statement online.
Purpose of the Business Property Statement
The Business Property Statement is used for reporting all business equipment, supplies and fixtures for each business location along with other important information. The information provided on the statement is used to assess and tax property in accordance with California State Law.
The owner also reports the acquisition costs of new business equipment, supplies and fixtures that were owned on lien date at the address shown (location of the property) as well as any equipment, supplies and/or fixtures that were sold or no longer owned by the business.
All 58 California County Assessors mail out similar statements that enable businesses to report the cost of their equipment, supplies, leased equipment, real property and improvements.
Examples of reportable property
Some of the property that must be reported includes:
- Computers, printers, servers
- Copiers and fax machines
- Office furniture
- Restaurant Equipment
- Storage Tanks
- Video Equipment
Reporting Your Own Personal Equipment
If you are using any personal equipment in your business, it 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. Other examples include:
Someone operating an auto repair shop is using their own "personal" tools in the business. In this case, such tools become assessable as business personal property and must be reported.
A home business or auto repair shop goes out of business prior to January 1. In this case, any equipment previously used in the business that could revert back to "personal" use is no longer taxable. Such items become nontaxable because they can revert to being "Household Furnishings or Personal Effects," which are exempt.
A grocery store goes out of business prior to January 1st 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 in this case, the equipment could not revert to or be used as "Household Furnishings or Personal Effects".
Reporting Your Home Business
Any equipment used for a home business is considered to be business personal property and must be reported on the Business Property Statement.
Reporting Equipment That has Been Gifted or Given to you
Where the equipment you use in your business was acquired as a gift, you may report your estimate of its current market value on the Business Property Statement (that is, what you think it would sell for in the open market place). Enter that estimated value in the most current year's cost line and add a note indicating that the entry is an estimate.
Reporting Equipment Owned by Someone Else
The Business Property Statement must show all taxable property owned, claimed, possessed, controlled or managed by the person filing the form. If you are responsible for paying the tax on the equipment, then you may estimate its value and report it on the Business Property Statement.
On the other hand, if you are not responsible for its tax, then you should declare the equipment in Part III of the Business Property Statement (Equipment belonging to others). Where equipment is declared in Part III of the Business Property Statement, the Assessor will also send a Notice to File to the person reported as the equipment's actual owner.
Reporting Equipment and/or Furnishings Belonging to Your 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 (Equipment Belonging To Others) of the form. 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 also Schedule A.
Renting Space for Your Business (such as a hairdresser)
Note these facts on the Business Property Statement, or on an attachment to it, and include the name and address of the business that actually owns the equipment. You also need to report any equipment you might own in Part II of the Business Property Statement.
Reporting Leased Equipment
You are required to report this information in Part III of the Business Property Statement so that the Assessor can properly locate and assess the actual owner for the equipment.
Filing When There Has Been No Change from the Prior Year
You must report personal property holdings in detail and as requested or mandated. If nothing has changed from the prior year (no equipment was purchased or sold), 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. If you failed to keep a copy of the prior year's filing, you may request a copy of it from the Assessor's Office.
Reporting Just Current Acquisitions
You must report all business property that you own, control, or possess as of the lien date.
If Your Business was Sold or Closed
If You Sold or Closed Your Business Before January 1
Note the change in the Remarks section of the eFile form and also complete the "information for Businesses Closed, Sold or Moved" form which can be found on the back of the Notice to File Letter or you can submit the information using an e-form "Business/Agricultural Statement of Change Form". If you are filing a paper form, fill out the cover page, and send it to us along with the following details:
If Your Business Was Sold
Indicate the new owner's name, address, date of sale, and sales price of the equipment, furniture, and fixtures.
If Your Business Was Closed
Indicate the date the business closed under "Date of Sale". Also indicate how the business property was disposed of. Any business property that you retain may still be assessable.
If you received a Notice to File a Business Property Statement from the Assessor and your business is no longer in operation, you are still required to file the Business Property Statement. You should also include a note on the Business Property Statement indicating that the business has closed, so the Assessor does not continue to assess the property.
Outside of the normal statement filing season, you may contact us and request a Certificate of Disposition form to notify us with the date you went out of business, the status and disposition 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. Make sure to identify any property that reverted to your own personal use as household personal property.
Note: Where 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 can be converted to household uses (that is, could become your personal effects), then it may not be assessable on the next lien date.
If You Sold or Closed Your Business After January 1
All property is assessable to the owner as of the lien date. The lien date is the date that property taxes for any fiscal year become a lien against a property owner.
Be sure to complete the "information for Businesses Closed, Sold or Moved" form which can be found on the back of the Notice to File Letter or you can submit the information using an e-form "Business/Agricultural Statement of Change Form".
The law specifies that all taxable personal property must be assessed as of a specific point in time, and that point is precisely at 12:01 a.m. 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.