State of California Real Estate Property Tax Laws

Property tax laws in California revolves about a 1978 voter initiative which even now goes via its decades-old ballot identification: Proposition 13. By passing this initiative, California voters took the power of setting the property tax rate away from local and state legislators and placed it within their own purview. Since its passing, no subsequent legislative body was successful at taking back that electricity.

Proposition 13

Property taxes often are directly proportional to property values. If home values go up, property taxes go up. As California property values climbed during the 1970s, property owners that were retirees and/or of moderate to low income could not afford the raising taxes on their homes. Proposition 13 froze the basic tax rate and restricted the appraised value of property to the value at sale plus no more than 2 percent a year.

Calculating Property Taxes

California law determines property taxes by multiplying a tax rate from an appraised property value. Proposition 13 specifies the speed as 1 percent and also a speed necessary to repay bond obligations for faculty facilities approved by 55 percent of voters and also for other bond obligations approved by two-thirds of voters. Such bonds could be issued from the state, counties and various kinds of local districts, so tax rates vary from place to place within the Golden State.


California allows certain exemptions from property taxes. Each homeowner in the state is allowed an exemption which subtracts $7,000 in the appraised value of the home before it’s multiplied by the tax rate. Frequently the exemption is filed automatically when a home changes hands ; if so, it will appear on the initial tax bill. If it doesn’t, file to the exemption at the county tax assessment office no later than the deadline for assessment appeals. The furthest carries over automatically year annually. Complete or partial exemptions are also given to veterans, churches and schools.

Due Date and Tax Year

California law says that the tax year runs from July 1 through June 30. Taxpayers should pay their property tax bill in two installments: the first by Dec. 10 and the second from April 10. An delinquent tax bill results in a penalty of 10 percent and also a 1.5 percent a month redemption fee depending on the amount owed. If the tax remains unpaid for five decades, the law permits the local tax collector to go through a process of selling the house so as to collect on the past-due penalties and taxes.

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