Changes eyed for San Francisco parking tax ordinance to collect more money 

A program aimed at collecting more of the tax revenue small residential parking operators owe The City by making it easier for them to comply with the ordinance could be expanded.

Supervisor Scott Wiener, who authored legislation creating the program, wants it to apply to operators renting out up to 10 spaces instead of five. In addition, an operator’s revenue potential would increase — the gross receipts one can earn and still qualify would go from $4,000 per quarter to $12,000 and from $15,000 annually to $40,000.

An estimated 2,000-plus small residential parking operators have for years skirted The City’s parking tax, a 25 percent levy on revenue from spaces rented out to nonresidents.

Last year, as the tax collector began going after the scofflaws, Wiener introduced legislation to create the Parking Tax Simplification for Residential Properties program. It created a six-month amnesty period, which concluded June 30, and lifted the cumbersome requirements for the small-time operators that remain in place for large operators. Those requirements include a $1,000 fee, fingerprints and special revenue-collection equipment.

A report from the Budget Analyst’s Office said 470 residential parking operators applied for the program, of the estimated 2,435 in operation. About 650 registered San Francisco parking operators of all sizes paid $81.2 million in parking taxes last fiscal year.

“The parking tax always applied even if you were renting out one space in your home,” Wiener said. “You still had to pay parking tax on it. Most people had no idea for decades they were supposed to be paying this tax.”

As it stands, five parking spaces can be rented at $250 to $267 a month. That would increase to 10 spots rented at $333 to $400.

“Based on anecdotal accounts, some residential parking operators with more than five parking spaces, but fewer than 11 parking spaces, have evicted renters from parking spaces in order to qualify for the exemptions under the recent Residential Parking Tax Simplification ordinance, and the gross-receipts thresholds were too low for some residential parking operators who otherwise would have qualified,” the report said.

Under the expansion proposal, renters of five of the spaces would need to live within 1,250 feet of their parking space, and for the other five spaces there would be no distance requirement.

Last year, Wiener’s legislation was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors. The board’s Budget and Finance Committee is expected to vote on the changes Wednesday.

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