How To Reduce Property Tax in California

Taxable property is defined as all things and matters, whether personal, real and mixed things that can be owned by a person or a party. The tax bills in California are prepared and sent by the county tax collector. Residents of California are required to pay their property taxes in two installments annually. The first installment is on the first of February and the second installment is on the first of November of each year. The first payment should be received by the county tax office no later than the first of April. The second installment should be paid by the first of December. Payments not received on these dates are already considered delinquent and will be charged a penalty of 1.5 percent of the amount due per month until the tax is fully paid. Property tax in California is computed at 1.25 percent of the selling price of the property. As properties are expensive in California, the property tax can be a huge amount. However there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of tax you will pay for your property in California.

  • You can make an appeal to reduce the tax on your property. There are forms that you can request from the county tax collector’s office that will guide you to make your property tax appeal. Be sure to follow all the instructions stated in the form.
  • Check that the description of your property is accurate. You have to know how your property was assessed to make it possible for you to check if the amount of tax being charged is correct.
  • Make a survey of other properties in your area to compare properties that are similar to your own in size, age and construction. Document your findings  and include as much detail as you can. Make sure that the tax valuation for your property is ten percent higher than the properties that you have checked for the tax collection office to take action and review your appeal. If you think you will not be able to handle this, hire the services of a property appraiser so will be able to get an accurate report that you can include in your appeal.
  • The constitution of the State of California allows for some property tax exemptions. Work with the local tax collection office to determine what can and cannot be included in the exemptions. Generally, personal effects like hobby equipment, household furniture and selected personal effects are exempted. Intangible property like bank accounts, mortgage loans, stock certificates and cash are also exempt from property tax.
  • Disabled veterans get protection from current California law. Veterans who have qualified disabilities and unmarried surviving spouses of disabled veterans who have passed away can avail of the basic exemption of one hundred thousand dollars on their principal place of residence and will require only one-time filing. If the disabled veteran or the unmarried surviving spouse has an annual income of forty thousand, they can qualify for a property tax exemption of one hundred fifty thousand dollars. This exemption requires annual filing as the amount is adjusted annually due to inflation.
  • You can also avail of some tax relief measures that are currently enforced to reduce the property tax you have to pay. If your house has been damaged by a natural disaster you can have it reassessed provided that the county wherein your property is located has adopted a disaster relief ordinance as provided by the current constitution.

Be sure that all your claims to reduce the property tax as well as your application for tax relief are properly documented. Make it a point to get in touch with the right office and the right person and be very vigilant in following up your request for tax reduction.


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