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How to Waive San Francisco Treasurer Business License Penalties and Fees

How to Waive San Francisco Treasury Business License Penalties and Fees

There have been about 30,000 Uber and Lyft drivers in San Francisco who received letters from the San Francisco Treasurer requiring them to register with the San Francisco Treasurer for a business license. Many drivers thought that they would only have to start paying $91 this year to get the license. In the letter, they received instructions to sign up for a business license.

In the next step after signing up for a business license, you are then sent a bill to pay for the business license. This is where many drivers came to a shocking bill:

Source: http://www.sfexaminer.com/citys-uber-lyft-drivers-paying-600-late-fees-91-business-license/

There were a few drivers I spoke to who received a $750 bill ($250 a year). The base fee was $91 but the late fees and penalties were $149 a year.

What Should You Do?

First of all, every driver needs to register for the business license. You don’t need to pay for the license when you sign up, but signing up is the first step to getting past the fees and penalties. The instructions (see below) says that any late fee would be waived as long as any driver who received a notice register for the business license by 8/31/2016 (sorry, I only found out about this yesterday).

How Do You Get The Penalties Waived?

A reader sent me this FAQ from the San Francisco Treasurer website:

TNC Driver Business Registration Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the steps to getting the fees waived:

  1. Sign up for the business license here: SF Treasurer Business License
  2. Sign the form. The instructions will be emailed to you once you sign up for the business license
  3. You will get another email with a bill to pay for the business license. This will include all late fees and penalties. 
  4. On this screen, on the far right, enter in $91 for each year instead of the full fee + penalty (see picture below).
  5. Pay the bill.
  6. Send in a fees waiver form, which can be accessed here at the SF Treasury Website.
Source: http://www.sfexaminer.com/citys-uber-lyft-drivers-paying-600-late-fees-91-business-license/

I spoke to a few drivers who registered as soon as they got the notice a month ago but haven’t paid the bill yet. There were a few others who went ahead and paid it via the above method.

What If You Did Not Register by 8/31/2016?

If you received a notice from the Treasurer office, you may still have to pay for the fees and penalties. There was so much confusion around business registration that the office MAY still waive the late fees and penalties. However, this is just a prediction and not fact. If you still haven’t registered for the business license, do so as soon as possible. Remember that you do not have to pay for the business license; you merely have to sign up for it to be eligible to get the late fees and penalties waived. However, you should try to pay the fees as the steps outline above.

What If You Did Not Get a Letter From SF Treasurer?

I would recommend you to sign up for the business license as soon as possible and then check your bill when it becomes available. Again, you don’t have to pay for the business license when you sign up. You will get a bill in a followup email from the SF Treasurer. You may be assessed late fees and penalties, but as long as you register, you should be safe from further fees and penalties. Then pay as normal, as outlined in the above steps.

What if you are not a driver anymore?

Go to http://www.sftreasurer.org/inactivetnc and declare that you do not need to register. You must have a copy of your letter in order to complete this process.


The Treasurer has every legal right to assess the fees and penalties, but due to the huge confusion around business registration and the length of time they gave for drivers to respond, they are waiving the fees temporarily until they can make the requirements clear to drivers and resolve any outstanding registration issues with current drivers. The only reason why this is happening is because the Treasurer got information on a list of Uber and Lyft drivers in San Francisco. They could have worked the normal legal channels like Portland and Seattle, but they choose to threaten and penalize drivers first and then sort out the mess afterwards.

Luckily, the office understands the confusion and in good faith, waive fees and penalties until they can clear up the registration issue.

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