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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

Out of Business, Sold Business, or Do Not Own a Business
I was not yet open for business on January 1. Do I still have to complete the BPS?

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

All I have is a fictitious name and business phone number. I haven't purchased any equipment or conducted any business as yet in Alameda County. Must I still file the BPS?

Yes, if you received a “Notice to File.” Please note those facts on the BPS and return the signed BPS to the Assessor’s Office. The Assessor needs to know these facts in order to prevent an improper assessment from being issued to you.

I went out of business prior to January 1. Do I still have to complete the BPS?

Yes. Anytime a person receives a “Notice to File” or a BPS from the Assessor and their business is no longer in operation, the BPS must still be signed and returned to the Assessor. You should also include a note on the BPS indicating that the business has closed. If you don’t, the Assessor will not be aware of that fact and may continue to assess the property despite its true circumstance.

On the BPS or an attachment to it, please write a note that includes the date you went out of business, as well as 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. If any of the property reverted to your own personal use as household personal property, we need to know what property did that as well. Then sign and return the BPS to the Assessor’s Office.

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.

I closed my business on February 1st. Do I have to complete the BPS and pay taxes for the entire next fiscal year?

Yes. The law specifies that all taxable business personal property must be assessed as of a specific point in time, and the point is precisely at 12:01 a.m. January 1s (lien date), regardless of what transpires afterwards. Even if closed shortly after the January 1st, a business must still file a BPS and pay taxes for the coming fiscal year on any property owned on the lien date.

I sold my business between January 1st and July 1st. Will the Tax Collector prorate the taxes between the buyer and the seller?

No. Any arrangement to share the property tax liability should be worked out between the buyer and seller. The County does not prorate the taxes.