City of San José Debuts New Tech to Help Alleviate Tax Burden on Businesses, Streamline Processes

Business Tax Amnesty Program Makes Tax Relief Easier

Dec. 10, 2019 (SAN JOSE, Calif. / CHICAGO, Ill.) — The City of San José is making tax penalty forgiveness and accurate tax payments easier for business owners, using new online software that streamlines the payment process and makes it more accessible.

The City of San José’s Finance Department, in partnership with government technology firm CityBase, recently placed a bundle of related business services and payments in one centralized online hub.

Businesses can now use the portal to apply for the Business Tax Amnesty Program, which forgives past due penalties and interest. The six-month amnesty period, which began October 1, is the first time that the process has been fully digitalized, which has automated the recordkeeping and supported processes that manage exemption requests.

The automated processes drastically reduce staff time for manual work and follow-up on incomplete form submissions. It also minimizes constituent confusion while completing the application because the form generates only the fields relevant to that particular business owner.  Information submitted runs through a real-time tax calculator which allows business owners to see what they owe immediately after submitting the form, and pay that amount, all in a single step.

The improved process represents a win-win for both businesses and City taxpayers.

“Taxpayers win because the City has streamlined a costly process and is better able to collect payments at the point of registration,” said Rick Bruneau, Deputy Director of Finance for the City of San José. “Business owners win because they have an easy way to seek forgiveness of overdue penalties in a single online interaction with the City.”

The tax is mandatory for most companies and individuals conducting business in San José, including commercial landlords, landlords renting residential units, retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, service companies, self-employed persons, independent contractors and home-based businesses. Using the portal, eligible businesses can also apply for a tax exemption.

The improved technology is an initiative of the Smart Cities and Service Improvement Committee, which prioritizes a “User Friendly Government” as one of the City’s top goals for civic innovation.

“Making technology sustainable, reusable and scalable for our public-sector clients is the ultimate premise of the CityBase approach,” said CityBase founder and CEO Mike Duffy. “San José leaders have been proactive in finding ways to make government processes easier and seeking ways to ease the burden on local businesses, and we are excited to team up to assist them.”

Chicago-based CityBase was founded in 2013 to create technology and guide strategy that improves people’s interactions with their local government. More than 100 agencies, utilities, cities and counties use the CityBase platform to provide payments and digital services to their constituents.

About the City of San José

With more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States and is Northern California’s largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation. San José’s transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world. In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets forth a vision and a comprehensive road map to guide the City’s anticipated growth through the year 2040. 

About CityBase

CityBase is a government technology company that transforms the way cities connect and do business with constituents. CityBase works with local governments, agencies and utilities to integrate payment functionality, business processes, and communications onto a central, cloud-based platform that consumers can access through the web, mobile, kiosk, IVR, or point of sale.


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