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Taxes are the last thing anyone wants to think about, but they are a vital part of any major transaction. When it comes to real estate, property taxes can become confusing as homeowners struggle to understand just how much they owe.

Property tax revenue was $3 billion in San Francisco last year, making up around 25% of the total revenue of the city. Among other things, property tax supports vital public services such as police, fire, public health, and parks and recreation.

In order to waylay some of your concerns, here is a definitive guide to property taxes in San Francisco.


The basics 

The first step is reading your bill, which can be confusing to those not well-accustomed to real estate terms. Volume, block number, tax bill number, and property location all refer to your property’s specific location in San Francisco for tax purposes. You don’t have to stress too much about these as they are there to help the city organize and quickly refer to your property.

Other important information is the owner record and the mailing assessment. These show the name and address of the owner as of January 1st in the given year. 

Next up is assessment information. This section gives any information from the assessor as to how the assessed value was made. Direct charges and/or special assessment will show any additional fees or outstanding debts to your property tax bill. You can find out more information by reaching out to the appropriate department listed in this section.

Now we get into the numbers. The net taxable value is the gross taxable value of your property minus any exemptions that the property might have. This is the amount that will be taxed by the city of San Francisco.

The total due is exactly what it sounds like: This is the amount that you owe in taxes. This is defined by the following equation: (net taxable value * tax rate) + (total direct charges and special assessments). The total due is split into two parts, one of which is due December 10 and the other April 15.

Lastly is the tax rate, which is located on the back of the tax bill. The secured property tax rate for this year is 1.1801%. For unsecured property (things such as business personal property, boats, berths, or other property liable to the person), the tax rate for this year is 1.1630%. This amount varies slightly each year.

Important dates 

If you don’t pay your taxes on time, you’re liable to receive a 10% penalty. So in order to make sure you don’t miss any important deadlines, we’ve included every important date here.

  • July: The assessor will mail taxpayers a notice of assessed value
  • September: Property tax rates are approved by the board of supervisors 
  • October 15: All taxpayers receive their property tax bill
  • December 10: Deadline for the first installment payment covering July 1 to December 31
  • March 31: The last day to make any changes to the tax bill and owner
  • April 10: Deadline for the second installment payment covering January 1 to June 30

Other important information

There are other important details that you need to be aware of when it comes to your tax bill. 

With shelter-in-place laws still in effect, it’s important to be able to pay your bills while still staying at home. To pay bills online, simply go to If you have any questions or have trouble paying, you can use the customer service function on the website or dial 311 while in San Francisco.

One last thing to note is that select seniors may qualify for the SFUSD senior citizen exemption. To see if you meet the requirements for the exemption, visit here

Now that you understand the information on your tax bill and are aware of important dates throughout the process, you’re best set to pay your tax bill correctly and on time. Make sure you do everything covered in this article and you’ll never miss a payment.

Disclaimer: The information contained within this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.

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