SF will waive entertainment venue taxes as part of COVID-19 pandemic assistance

The Independent, Coronavirus, COVID-19

The Independent in San Francisco, closed, on March 16, 2020. Roman Gokhman/STAFF.

About 300 San Francisco businesses that have been unable to open since March, including concert halls, will get a business fee and tax waiver from the city.

“We need to do more to support those businesses that contribute to San Francisco’s unique and vibrant culture, which is a cornerstone for our economic recovery as a city,” Mayor London Breed said in a news release. “As we recover and keep up our progress on reopening, we want to make sure these businesses are still around to bring music, performances and excitement, as well as provide jobs for so many. Entertainment and nightlife are such an important part of why people live and visit our city, and we hope these additional fee waivers reduce some of the financial stress they’re experiencing.”

The two-year waivers, covering various regulatory licenses and registration fees, will apply to concert halls, bars, restaurants with live performances—which before had to pay them even though they remained closed. To be eligible, the venues have to have gross receipts of less than $20 million. Additionally, the businesses will not be required to pay payroll expense taxes for 2020.Businesses will not have to pay back these fees at a later date.

The city will cover the costs lost from the fees from a $2.5-million fund. Previously Breed had earmarked $2.5 million in support of working artists and arts and cultural organizations financially impacted by COVID-19.

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