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County of Madera

California

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Business Personal Property

THE BUSINESS PROPERTY STATEMENT AND FILING REQUIREMENTS

  • Why did I receive a Business Property Statement (BPS) - Form BOE-571-L (or F)?
    • You were sent a statement because our records indicate that you were in business on the Lien Date, January 1, and the Assessor is required to assess any taxable business personal property in your possession on that date.
  • What is the purpose of the Business Property Statement (BPS)?
    • The BPS collects information regarding business equipment, supplies and fixtures for each business location. The information an owner provides on the statement is then used to assess and tax property in accordance with California State Law. The owner reports the acquisition costs of business equipment, supplies and fixtures that were owned on the lien date relating to that 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.
  • Who must file a Business Property Statement (BPS)?
    • If the Assessor sends you a BPS, the law requires that you complete, sign and return the statement to the Assessor's Office in the time period specified. Any business that owns Personal Property and/or Fixtures having a total combined cost of $100,000 or more is required to file a BPS even if the Assessor does not request that you file one.
  • What is business personal property?
    • Business Personal Property includes all supplies, equipment and any fixtures used in the operation of a business (see Page 3 of the 571-L instructions for an explanation of what specifically constitutes a business fixture). Business inventory and licensed vehicles (except Special Equipment, 'SE' tagged, off-road vehicles) owned by the business are exempt from reporting (note: SE tagged and other off-road vehicles and equipment are taxable personal property and must be reported).
  • Why do I have to pay taxes on my Business Property?
    • That's because the California Constitution states in part that, 'Unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or the laws of the US, (a) All property is taxable....' That is, unless otherwise exempted, all forms of tangible property are taxable in California and the Assessor must assess business personal property because the law requires he or she do so.
      Some forms of personal property are exempt from taxation under the Constitution. For example, household furnishings, personal effects and business inventory are exempt under the law. However, Business Personal Property is not exempt under the law and neither are privately or business-owned vessels or aircraft. Click here for assessment information on vessels and aircraft.
  • Where can I obtain assistance in completing the BPS?
    • See the end of this page for the contact information you will need in order to obtain assistance.
  • What is the 'Lien Date'?
    • The Lien Date* is January 1 every year, and is also the date property taxes for any fiscal year become a lien against a business property owner. Where personal property is concerned, the lien is placed on the owner of the property (not the property), and owners who allow their personal property taxes to become delinquent may have a Summary Judgment recorded against them personally (see 'Judgments & Liens' section for more detail). (*NOTE: for all years prior to January 1, 1997, the lien date was March 1).
  • What if the printed information on the BPS is incorrect?
    • If the 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.
  • I do not own the real property. Do I still need to fill out the BPS?
    • Yes. Even if you don't own the real property where your business is located, you must still file the BPS because it is used to report business personal property (equipment, supplies, etc.) you do own. You must also complete any related schedules that apply to your particular business. If you do not own the real property, you may not need to complete Schedule B, columns 1, 3, and 4. If you own or have added any tenant-owned improvements, you will need to report their costs in column B-2 (see official instructions for the 571-L).
  • What does the Assessor's Office do with the BPS after I mail it in?
    • We review the form for completeness and accuracy and then employ a number of methods to convert reported costs to an estimate of their lien date, fair market value equivalent. After the Assessor has assessed your property and has finished processing your BPS, the form is then filed with your property tax records. By law, your BPS is NOT a public document and it is not open to public inspection in any case. The assessment itself is then forwarded to the County Auditor, who computes the taxes owed and then forwards that information on to the Tax Collector, who in turn creates the bill and collects the tax.
  • How is the assessed value of my business property determined?
    • The Assessor is required to annually assess most taxable personal property at 100% of its lien date, fair market value. In order to determine that fair market value, the assessor employs a number of methodologies. For example:
      The Assessor often relies on various trade publications and 'Blue Books' that provide current, open market sales price and/or cost data for various types of both new and used equipment, vehicles, aircraft and vessels.
      The Assessor often trends forward actual owner-reported costs to a present replacement cost estimate using trending tables provided by the State Board of Equalization (or developed in-house). We then reduce the trended costs to reflect normal or actual depreciation and derive a market value estimate.
      Unlike most real property, which is assessed under Proposition 13, most personal property does not fall under Prop 13's umbrella (although it does enjoy the same, maximum 1% tax rate). The only exception is personal property 'fixtures,' which are defined as real property for property tax purposes and are subject to Proposition 13 restrictions. Fixtures are not subject to Supplemental Assessment.
  • I want to appeal my assessed value. What do I do first?
  • What happens if I do not return the BPS or return an Incomplete BPS?
    • Failure to File: Where a BPS is not filed as required by law or requested by the Assessor, we must then rely on the best information available in order to estimate the value of any personal property owned by the non-reporting business. In the absence of a BPS, an 'average' assessed value (based upon businesses of a similar size and use) may be used to derive such an estimate. Our office may also perform a field inspection of your business property, during which an estimate of the lien-date, fair market value of the business personal property discovered there will be made. Additionally, a 10% penalty must also be added to any assessment made as a result of a failure to file the BPS.
    • Incomplete Filing: If you file an incomplete BPS, the Assessor may return it to you for proper completion. In that case, penalties may be assessed if the Assessor's Office does not receive a properly completed BPS by the normal due date. An incomplete filing is treated the same as a 'failure to file' and a 10% penalty must be added in that circumstance.

COMPLETING THE BUSINESS PROPERTY STATEMENT

  • 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, calculators and etc., if those items are used in their business. Other examples include:
      • Example 1: 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.
      • Example 2: 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.
      • Example 3: 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 instance the equipment could not revert to or be used as 'Household Furnishings or Personal Effects'.
  • All the equipment I use was given to me, and I don't know what to report.
    • 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 place). Enter that estimated value in the most current year's cost line and add a note indicating that the entry is an estimate.
  • Most of the equipment I use does not belong to me; a friend is letting me use it and I have no idea what it cost. Must I report their equipment on my BPS?
    • Yes. The BPS 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 BPS. On the other hand, if you are not responsible for its tax, then you should declare the equipment in Part III of the BPS (Equipment belonging to others). Where equipment is declared in Part III of the BPS, the Assessor will also send a BPS to the person reported as the equipment's actual owner.
  • I only rent an office and all of the furniture and equipment belongs to the landlord. Do I still have to complete the BPS?
    • Yes. In this case, you need to write a remark about that circumstance on the BPS, or on an attachment to it. Also fill out Part III (Equipment Belonging To Others) of the form, and then sign and return it to the Assessor's Office. If you own any small equipment, such as a printer, copier, supplies, etc., that you are using in the business, you should report these costs under Part II of the BPS.
  • What is a supply item?
    • Any item that you are consuming in your business, such as office supplies, pencils, paper, calculator tape, stationary, envelopes, cleaning supplies, fuel and 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 because they become business inventory once in the products, and business inventory is exempt from property taxation.
  • Can I just write 'Same as Last Year' on the BPS and return it?
    • No. 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 BPS filing in order to be consistent in completing the current BPS. 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. See the end of this page for contact information you will need in order to request a copy.
  • The BPS shows my home address, but my office is located elsewhere. Do I still need to complete the BPS?
    • Yes. Note that circumstance in a remark on the BPS, or on attachment to it, and also include the proper location and mailing address of your main office. Then sign and return the BPS to the Assessor's Office.
  • As a store owner, do I report the actual cost of my video tapes?
    • No. You should only report the number of tapes that were out on rent the night of December 31, and you should report their cost as the approximate cost of a blank, commercial quality tape. You only report the equivalent cost of a blank tape because the material or movie recorded on the tape is considered an intangible and is also not taxable.
  • I do not own anything and lease all my equipment. Must I still complete a BPS?
    • Yes. You are required to report this information in Part III of the BPS so that the Assessor can properly locate and assess the actual owner for the equipment.
  • 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.
  • I am a hairdresser and rent space from the Salon Owner? Do I still need to complete the BPS?
    • Yes. Note these facts on the BPS, or on an attachment to it, and include the name and address of the business that actually owns the equipment. Then sign the BPS and return it. You also need to report any equipment you might own in Part II of the BPS.
  • My business/organization is exempt. 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 may contact the Assessor's Office Exemption Section at (559) 675-7710 to verify your exempt status or to file an exemption claim.
    • Click here for more information on exemptions.
  • What happens if I simply refuse to file a Property Statement?
    • In such a circumstance, you need to be aware that a number of potentially quite severe penalties may apply:
      • If a property owner refuses to comply with a lawful, written request for information from the Assessor, then R&T 501 requires the Assessor to estimate the value of their taxable property and then promptly assess it with whatever information is available.
      • If the refusal also includes a failure to file or incomplete filing of the BPS, then the Assessor must also add a 10% penalty under R&T 463.
      • If an owner willfully conceals, fails to disclose or misrepresents tangible personal property, an additional 25% penalty may be added under R&T 502 & 504.
      • Under R&T 503, a 75% penalty may also be added to an assessment for any fraudulent acts or omissions committed by the owner or their agent.
      • R&T 462 also tells us that any person who refuses to make available to the Assessor information lawfully requested in writing by the Assessor pursuant to R&T 441 is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to six-months in the county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

FILING THE BUSINESS PROPERTY STATEMENT USING SDR

  • What is SDR?
    • SDR (Standard Data Record) is an application developed by California County Assessors (SDR/NG) that allows businesses required to file in multiple Counties and locations the ability to file all of the necessary statements as a bundle. The data supplied is then separated out into the various property statements and made available to the appropriate County for download and use. In order to use SDR a user must register. Please click HERE to go to the SDR website for more information.
  • Who would benefit from filing using SDR?
    • Given the current level of investment/effort required to use SDR it is unlikely that single statement filers would benefit from using SDR.
  • How do I get more information about or register for SDR?

REQUESTING COPIES, ADDITIONAL FORMS, OR FILING AN EXTENSION

  • How do I request copies of prior year filings?
    • The owner or their agent may request copies either in person or in writing. The cost for prior year copies is $2.00 per page. Enclose a check with your order for the proper amount made out to Madera County Assessor's Office.
      • Note: If an agent is requesting copies or other information about a taxpayer's account, they must first file a letter of authorization appointing them as the owner's agent. That letter must be an original copy bearing the original signature of the owner and the owner's phone number. If the owner is a corporation or business, the letter of agency must be on the company's official stationery and signed by an officer of the corporation.
    • Click here for more information about access to Assessor's Records.
  • How do I request additional forms?
    • See the end of this page for contact information you will need in order to request additional forms.
  • How do I obtain a copy of the current year's BPS after it has been processed by the Assessor and shows the assessed values?
    • When requesting current value information, please include the request with your completed BPS, a copy of the completed BPS, and enclose a self-addressed stamped return envelope. Otherwise, you must send a separate request. See the end of this page for contact information you will need in order to do so.
  • How do I request a filing date extension?
    • All requests for a filing date extension must be made in writing and accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. Address your request to: Assessor's Office, Personal Property Division, 209 W. Yosemite Ave. Madera, CA 93637.

YOU ARE OUT OF BUSINESS OR DO NOT OWN A BUSINESS

  • I went out of business on January 15th, do I still have to complete the BPS and pay personal property taxes?
    • Yes. 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 (and regardless of what transpires after that date). Even if closed shortly after the lien date, a business must still file a BPS and pay taxes for the coming fiscal year on any taxable property they owned on the lien date.
  • I was not 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.
  • I went out of business prior to January 1, do I still have to complete the BPS?
    • Yes. Anytime a person receives 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, because 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. Please 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.
  • All I have is a business phone number. I'm no longer in business and I'm not conducting any other business at the present time. Must I still file the BPS?
    • Yes. Please note those facts on the BPS, or attachment to it, 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.
  • Although I have a license to do business, I haven't purchased any equipment or conducted any business as yet. Must I still file the BPS?
    • Yes. Please note those facts on the BPS, or attachment to it, 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 am only an employee of the company and I don't own any Business Personal Property myself. Must I still file the BPS?
    • Yes. Please note those facts on the BPS, or attachment to it, and return the signed BPS 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.

SUMMARY JUDGMENTS & LIENS - HOW TO GET THEM RELEASED

  • My Personal Property taxes went delinquent and a Summary Judgment was recorded against me. How do I get the judgment released?
    • There are two circumstances under which a Summary Judgment may be released:
      • Payment of Debt: Paying the delinquent bill (including all penalties and costs) will result in a release of the judgment. You should first contact the Tax Collector's Office (see below) to determine the current amount due, and then simply pay the tax bill in full. Upon satisfaction of all delinquent tax, penalty, and costs, the Tax Collector will record a Satisfaction of Judgment, thereby releasing the lien.
      • Invalid or Corrected Bill: If you believe the bill or the assessment is invalid, you should contact the Assessor (see final section of this document) to discuss that matter. If the Assessor determines the bill to be invalid, upon cancellation or correction of the assessment by the Assessor, the Tax Collector will record a Release and without fee.
    • Once your personal property tax obligation has been satisfied or corrected and a release has been recorded, a copy of the Satisfaction of Judgment or the Release will be mailed to you by the County Clerk-Recorder's Office. If needed, additional copies of the Summary Judgment and/or the Release may also be purchased from the County Clerk-Recorder. It is our understanding that the entire process, from debt satisfaction to recordation of the release, ordinarily takes roughly four weeks to complete.
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Contact the Assessor

Assessor
200 W. 4th Street
Madera, CA 93637
(559)675-7710
Fax: (559)675-7654
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Office Hours: 8:00am to 5:00pm


Assessor's Department Staff Spotlight

Jacquelyn Nieves - Assessor Staff Spotlight

J. SPOTLIGHT_20141009_140906 How long have you worked for the County? 7 1/2 years
What do you like most about your job? Serving the community and working with great people.
Why did you decide to work for the County? I saw an awesome opportunity for learning, growth and advancement.
What is your most memorable accomplishment during your County career? Becoming a valued employee and being entrusted with a wide variety of responsibilities.
When I'm not at work you can find me...Engrossed in some art project, cooking, sewing, and doing community work with my congregation.
What was your first job?  I was a waitress in a Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles.
What is your favorite food? Always chocolate!
What is your favorite kind of music? My husband and I DJ'd for a few years, so I love variety - especially good dance music in-the-mix!
What is your favorite sports team? I'm more into art than sports, but I enjoy watching a good game with great friends.
If you were to travel anywhere in the world for a dream vacation, where would it be? To Uruguay, South America with my husband to see where he grew up and meet his family.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Happily retired, close to my parents and family in Arizona.



General County Contact

General County Contact
200 W. 4th Street
Madera, CA 93637
559-675-7703
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Use this number to get general information about the County or County departments.  

For non-emergency information or service, dial 311