Tax Credits and Incentive Programs

Local Incentives

Central Market/Tenderloin Payroll Tax Exclusion
The Central Market/Tenderloin Payroll Tax Exclusion (CMTPTE) exempts businesses located within the defined exclusion area from additional payroll tax as they add jobs during any six years in an eight-year period. 

Stock Based Compensation Payroll Tax Exclusion
A payroll expense tax exclusion for stock based compensation was approved on June 3, 2011 and allows companies to exclude stock based compensation above certain thresholds for tax years 2011 – 2017. The exclusion expires in 2017. All pre-IPO companies are eligible. Only stock compensation granted before an IPO is eligible.

Clean Technology
The City of San Francisco provides a payroll tax exclusion for up to 10 years to clean technology companies located in the City. Any business that employs less than 100 employees is eligible for the payroll tax exclusion.
NOTE:  The application deadline for the 2009 Cleantech Payroll Tax Exclusion has been extended to February 15, 2010.

San Francisco Enterprise Zone 
The local Enterprise Zone program enables businesses located in targeted locations of the City to reduce their payroll tax expense for qualified employees. The tax credit is for new jobs created on or after January 1, 1992.

Biotechnology Payroll Tax Exemption 
San Francisco’s Mission Bay community is at the center of the biotechnology revolution. To support the expansion of this flourishing industry and the creation of new jobs, the City of San Francisco offers a payroll tax exclusion for up to 7.5 years to San Francisco-based businesses engaged in biotechnology pursuits.

Film Production - Scene in SF Program
The SF Film Office offers a the "Scene in San Francisco" rebate program, in which qualifying productions are eligible for a refund of all payroll tax and city fees up to $600,000 per production.

Solar Rebates and Tax Credits 
To encourage more installations of solar power in San Francisco, the City has been offering incentives to San Francisco residents and businesses to install solar power on their properties. The incentive program, GoSolarSF, coupled with the California Solar Initiative, a rebate program sponsored by the State of California, and federal tax credits, could pay half the cost or more of a solar power system installed in San Francisco. If you have questions about GoSolarSF and how to apply for the program, email or call (415) 554-3289.

State Incentives

California Enterprise Zone (EZ) Tax Credits and Incentives
The State of California EZ program helps businesses reduce their state income tax liability through hiring tax credits, business expense deductions, accelerated depreciation, and a 15-year carry-over of up to 100% of net operating losses. Eligible businesses must be located in designated Enterprise Zone areas.

California New Job Tax Credit
Effective January 1, 2009, any small businesses (20 employees or less) not located in the Enterprise Zone that adds one or more full time positions in 2009 receives a $3,000 tax credit per position.

California Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

Additional State Tax Credits and Incentives

Federal Incentives

Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) 
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is an income tax credit for employers who hire employees from eligible groups including youth, ex-offenders, and public assistance recipients.

Renewal Community (RC) Tax Credits & Incentives 
San Francisco businesses are eligible to receive wage credits, tax deductions, capital gains exclusions and bond financing to stimulate economic development and job growth in locally designated Federal Renewal Community zones.

Historic Preservation Tax Credit
The US Department of the Interior supports the preservation of historic buildings through federal tax incentives, including a 20% tax credit for the certified rehabilitation of historic structures, and a 10% tax credit for the rehabilitation of non-historic buildings built before 1936.

Tax Incentives for Accessibility Improvements
Businesses can take advantage of two Federal tax incentives available to help cover costs of making access improvements for customers with disabilities. A tax credit is available for small businesses that remove access barriers from their facilities, provide accessible services, or take other steps to improve accessibility for customers with disabilities. A tax deduction is available for businesses that remove access barriers in their facilities or vehicles.

Federal Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency 

Additional Federal Tax Credits and Incentives



Small Business Assistance Center, City Hall, Room 110, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: 415-554-6134 Office Hours: M-F, 8 AM - 5 PM