Water your plants and grow your farm, no taxes necessary.
Online gaming company Zynga dodged San Francisco's payroll tax when it went public in December, taking advantage of a tax exemption aimed at keeping tech companies happy to the tune of $6 million or more, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
Zynga officials notified city leaders that the company would leave San Francisco unless it was given a tax break. San Francisco is the only city in California that levies a payroll tax on stock options, the newspaper reported.
So the city adopted a tax break on stock options, which meant that Zynga's $510 million in employee stock compensation was not taxed at 1.5 percent. That saved the company some $7.65 million, the newspaper reported.
Tax breaks such as these are contentious in San Francisco. Some argue that giving companies a break robs the public coffers, while proponents of business say that tax breaks keep jobs around.
Zynga "wouldn’t have been here," without the tax break, said Supervisor Mark Farrell, himself a venture capitalist and advocate of business-friendly deals, such as the tax break that enticed Twitter to move to Mid-Market (a deal still in the works). With the tax break, Farrell added, Zynga employees are spending their windfall -- the exact size of which is not made public record -- in the local economy, plus San Francisco gets to brag that Zynga is a local company. "It’s a big deal," Farrell told the newspaper. "You can’t dismiss that."
That's right: Farmville's locally-grown. Tell all your friends back home.