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Business Personal Property – Frequently Asked Questions

BUSINESS PERSONAL PROPERTY AND FILING 571L

Completing the Business Property Statement (Form 571L)

Appealing an Assessment

Out of Business, Sold Business, or Do Not Own a Business

Completing the Business Property Statement (Form 571L)
What if the printed information on the BPS is incorrect?

If your business has moved or changed its mailing address, then draw a single line through the incorrect information (Please DO NOT make the preprinted information unreadable). Then legibly print or type the new information on the form and also indicate the effective date of the move or when the change became effective. When reporting a sale, include the new owner’s name and mailing address. When reporting that the business has been closed, provide the date(s) and information relating to the disposition of any taxable personal property. Complete the BPS, sign and return it to the Assessor’s Office.

What records do I need to complete the BPS?

The most useful item to aid in completing the form is an accurate and up to date asset listing. This list should include:

• The date of acquisition of the equipment
• The total cost (purchase price plus sales tax, freight and installation charges)
• Location of the equipment if you have multiple locations
• Disposal dates of equipment removed

Other records that could be helpful in completing the Business Property Statement are the Federal Income Tax Depreciation Form 4562 with depreciation schedule, and/or California State Tax Depreciation Form FTB 3885A, General Ledger or Trial Balance, Balance Sheet and Income Statement. Some business owners may have purchased an existing business. The information needed in that situation would be the purchase agreement or the escrow papers that would show the breakdown of the equipment, fixtures and leasehold improvements acquired through the purchase of the business.

All the equipment I use is my own personal equipment; must I report it?

If you are using any ‘personal’ equipment in your business, then yes, it must be reported. For example, persons working out of their homes must report personal desks, computers, etc.

I have a business in my home. Do I still have to complete the BPS?

Yes. Any equipment used for a home business is considered to be business personal property and must be reported on the BPS.

All the equipment I use was given to me. What should I report on the BPS?

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 BPS (that is, what you think it would sell for in the open market). Enter that estimated value in the most current year’s cost line and add a note indicating that the entry is a value estimate.

What is the difference between inventory and supplies?

Basically, inventory is an item subject to sale, rent or lease. If you are manufacturing a product, then the parts that go into the product are also inventory items. Supplies are things consumed in your normal course of business.

Should sales tax be included in the reported cost?

Sales tax is part of the original cost to the buyer, just like freight and installation costs, and must be reported as part of your total cost.

Can I just write 'Same as Last Year' on the BPS and return it?

No. You must report personal property holdings in detail as requested or mandated. If nothing has changed from the prior year (no equipment was purchased or sold), then you should refer to your prior year’s BPS filing in order to be consistent in completing the current BPS. If you electronically filed using SDR or e-SDR last year, and choose to file electronically this year, all the prior year’s entries will be carried forward, saving you extra time and effort.

My business is a 501(c)(3) exempt organization. Do I still need to complete the BPS?

Yes. You still are required to complete the BPS even if you are an exempt organization. You should contact the Exemption Section at (510) 272-6587 to verify your exempt status or to file an exemption claim.

Is the BPS form subject to audit?

Yes, the statement is subject to audit by the Assessor as provided by the statutes and regulations set forth in the California Revenue and Taxation Code. To encourage accurate reporting of business personal property, the Assessor is required to audit a significant number of all businesses who own, claim, possess, or control assessable trade fixtures and business personal property.

How can I obtain assistance in completing the BPS?

You may obtain assistance in the following ways:
Telephone: Call (510) 272-3848, Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 4:30pm, except holidays.
In Person: 125 12th Street, Suite 320, Oakland. We’re located on the corner of Oak St and 12th St., across from the County Administration Building.