SF businesses to see tax fines, neighborhood rewards

As the local economy continues to sputter, businesses in San Francisco are being buffeted by a crackdown from the under-funded city government, but also lifted by an association aimed at encouraging neighborhood firms.

On Monday Mayor Gavin Newsom proposed new legislation that would crack down on San Francisco businesses with unpaid or unreported taxes. According to San Francisco Examiner writer Erin Sherbert, any business caught with fraudulent taxes “could be hit with a fine equaling 50 percent of the amount that is underreported.” Through this the city can expect to gain $331,000 in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

In response to the proposal Scott Hauge, president of Small Business California, told the Examiner, “Small-business leaders say they realize city leaders must go after companies that are not paying their taxes in full, but this legislation would only target a few thousand businesses, which doesn’t seem fair.”
The proposed legislation is only the latest challenge facing local business owners. Landlords whose properties are vacant are also feeling the squeeze. Last month, the city  increased the fine charged to owners of abandoned buildings, SF Public Press writer Angela Hart reported. The owners of more than 200 abandoned buildings in the city are now billed as much as $6,885 each, instead of the previous maximum fee of $765. The city is expected to make more than $3 million if all fines are paid in full.

Business associations are responding with incentives. On Thursday the San Francisco Business Times reported that the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau would award as many as 10 grants to local businesses that are “uniquely San Franciscan” and “have the pull to draw visitors away from traditional tourist centers.” The grants will exceed $1,600 and come with a one-year membership in the organization. Joe D’Alessandro, the group’s president and CEO, said, “By providing membership grants to under-exposed businesses, we hope to draw more visitors into the city's diverse and fascinating neighborhoods.”

See also:

San Francisco seeks stiff fine for unpaid taxes
sfexaminer.com -  3/15/10

In crackdown, SF abandoned building fee hiked ninefold
sfpublicpress.org -  2/12/10

Visitors bureau promotes S.F. neighborhoods with membership grants
bizjournals.com - 3/18/10 

Other big stories this week:


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