Questions About Being a Business Owner


Can I file my business property statement online?

Yes, you will be notified by our office if you are eligible to file online. If you wish to participate you may contact our Business Division at this email BPS Electronic Filing Request.

Can large businesses file property assessments online?

There is a separate electronic filing program for large businesses that have multiple locations throughout the state. Participation in this program requires programming on behalf of the business entity such that business property data itself is uploaded to a state-wide server. Filing deadlines apply. Feel free to contact us if you need more information. 

How do I know if my business is located in the County of Santa Barbara?

The following list identifies the cities and towns located within the borders of Santa Barbara County. If you are unsure or need assistance please do not hesitate to contact us at (805) 568-2550.

  • Buelton
  • Carpenteria
  • Cuyama
  • Goleta
  • Guadalupe
  • Isla Vista
  • Lompoc
  • Los Alamos
  • Los Olivos
  • Santa Barbara
  • Santa Maria
  • Santa Ynez
  • Solvang
  • Summerland
  • Unincorporated Area of the County

What is a Business Property Statement - Form 571-L (BPS)?

A Business Property Statement is a form, or a series of reporting forms upon which both real and personal property must be declared as such assets exist on the Lien date (January 1st). The assets must be reported at acquisition cost, if known. 

What if the pre-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 pre-printed 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 on 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 deposition of any taxable personal property. Complete the BPS, sign and return it to the Assessor's Office. 

What is considered "business equipment"?

Basically, any equipment that you use in your business should be reported. Examples: 

  • Copmuters, printers, servers
  • Office furniture
  • Telephones
  • Copiers, fax
  • Restaurant Equipment
  • Forklifts
  • Video Equipment
  • Cameras

What is the Lien Date?

The Lien date is January 1st every year, and is also the date property taxes for any fiscal year become a lien against a business property owner.

What is the purpose of the Business Property Statement (BPS)?

The BPS collects information regarding the supplies, business equipment and leasehold improvements for each business location within the county. 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 the supplies, business equipment and leasehold improvements that were owned on lien date at the address shown (location of the property). All 58 California county assessors mail out similar statements.

What is the tax rate on personal property?

Throughout California, the property tax rate is 1% of the assessed value (also, applies to real property). However, your tax bill might also include special assessments voted into effect by the voters or by their representatives within the property's taxing jurisdiction. Therefore, you can estimate that the taxes will be approximately 1.2% of the assessed value. For example, if your personal property assessment is $10,000, your personal property tax bill should be roughly $120.00.

Note: Under the California law, there is no provision for the pro-ration of unsecured personal property taxes.

When is the Business Property Statement (BPS) due?

The BPS is due on April 1st and is considered delinquent if it is filed after 5:00 P.M. on May 7th. 

Who must file a Business Personal 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 Leasehold Improvements having a total combined cost of $100,000 or more is required to file a BPS even if the Assessor did not send you a formal request to do so. Also, any other business that is requested by the County Assessor to file, must file, regardless of the value of their assets. 

Why did I receive a Business Property Statement (BPS)?

The Assessor might have learned about your business through the city where your business is licensed, from a fictitious business name report, or from a field check. Every person who owns taxable personal property other than a mobile home, that has an aggregate cost of $100,000 or more, must report the itemized nature, location, and cost of acquisition of such property to the county assessor. 

Why do I have to pay taxes on my Business Property?

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 them to 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.

Why does my tax bill say "period dated July 1st through June 30th", when the statement is due as of January 1st lien date?

The State of California as well as all the California counties operate on a fiscal year, and that fiscal year is July 1st through June 30th. The responsibility for the tax bill rests with the owner in possession of the business as of January 1st.