How to file your Form 571-L Business Property Statements (BPS)


How to File 571-L


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

  • A property tax form that is required for declaring business personal property (assets owned) as of 12:01 a.m. January 1st (Lien date)
  • This is an annual filing that is required in each of the California counties where your business(es) is located.
  • The 571L (BPS) form is used to declare cost information regarding supplies
  • Business equipment and leasehold improvements for each business location. (The cost information the business owner provides is used to assess and tax property in accordance with California state law)

What is the “lien date” for property tax purposes?

  • January 1st of every year
  • Lien date is the date on which property becomes assessable
  • The date property taxes for become a lien against a business property owner

Who must file a BPS?

  • Anyone who was sent a form by the San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder’s Office, Assessor Division.
  • Any business that owns business property (supplies, business equipment and leasehold improvements) having a total combined cost of $100,000 or more is required to file the form even if the Assessor does not request that you file one.

What is business personal property?

All property used in the course of doing business that is not otherwise exempt.

Examples: (not limited to this list)

  • Computers
  • Manufacturing Equipment
  • Office Furniture
  • Copiers
  • Fax Machines
  • Lab Equipment
  • Video Equipment
  • Printing Equipment
  • Shop Equipment
  • Restaurant Equipment

What equipment is not taxable or exempt?

  • Business Inventory (equipment held for sale or lease/rent)
  • Application Software (examples: Microsoft Excel, Word)
  • Licensed Vehicles (DMV licensed vehicles)

What is the deadline for filing the BPS?

  • The form is due on April 1st.
  • The form is considered delinquent if filed in person after 5 p.m. on May 7th. (If mailed, the form must be postmarked May 7th) If May 7th falls on a weekend or a holiday, then the form is due by 5 p.m.on the next business day.

Books and records you will need to file your BPS:

  • California State Tax Returns
  • Balance Sheet or General Ledger
  • Fixed Asset Listing or Depreciation Schedule
  • Income Statement or Profit & Loss Statement
  • Purchase price of equipment (if purchased an existing business)

NOTE: Use records as of 12/31 of the year immediately preceding the filing year. For example, if filing a 2008 BPS, use records as of 12/31/07.

Form 571-L

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The BPS form has 3 Parts:

Part I: General Information
Part II: Declaration of Property Belonging to You
Part III: Declaration of Property Belonging to Others

Part I: General Information

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Basic information about the business:

  • Type of business
  • Telephone number, fax & e-mail
  • Whether or not you own the land?
  • Date you started doing business at your current location?
  • Location of accounting records
  • Name and phone number of business owner or written authorized representative
  • Change in Ownership Information
Part II: Declaration of Property Belonging to You
  • Supplies
  • Equipment
  • Equipment out on rent or lease
  • Building or Building Improvements
  • Construction-in-Progress
  • Alternative Schedule A

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What are “Supplies?” Supplies are the items that you use in the ordinary course of doing business.


  • Office supplies (pencils, paper)
  • Stationary (envelopes)
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Fuel
  • Computer supplies

How do I report “Supplies?” Report what you have on hand as of January 1st.

  • Take a physical inventory OR
  • Estimate the average of 12 months of all your operating supplies accounts. (example: Total Supplies for the year = $12,000/12 = report $1,000)

Schedule A – Cost Detail: Equipment

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Report by year of acquisition (example: Restaurant Equipment acquired on 4/06 for $20,000) Report “2006= $20,000″)

Report by Category (type of equipment)

  • Machinery & Equipment (Equipment particular to your type of business)
  • Office Furniture & Equipment (desks, chairs)
  • Other Equipment if it does not fit in category 1 or 2 - describe the equipment (ex., telephones, forklift)
  • Tools
  • Computer Equipment – PCs
Schedule B – Leasehold Improvements 

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  • Structures – Tenant Improvements to the real estate. (example: walls, bathrooms)
  • Fixtures – Improvements that relate to the business. (example: cabling, signs, plumbing fixtures)
Part III: Declaration of Property Belonging to Others 

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Leased Equipment: (complete the following information)

  • Name of Lessor
  • Address of Lessor
  • Year Lease Started
  • Description of Lease
  • Cost to Purchase New
  • Annual Rent

Declaration By Assessee: (must be completed and signed)

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Manual for Preparing the Form 571-L

Manual for Preparing the Form 571-L

BPS eFile