COULD I BE PAYING LESS IN PROPERTY TAXES?
Did you know that Proposition 13 protects all California property owners from tax increases? Even if you bought your home just a few years ago, Prop. 13 is protecting you by preventing the sudden and shocking tax increases that would occur if your property were reassessed to market value on a regular basis. That’s what used to happen before voters passed Prop. 13 in June 1978.
Under Prop. 13, the assessed value of your property is the fair market value at the time of sale (usually the purchase price), and for as long as you own it, the assessed value can rise no more than two percent per year, no matter how high the market value of the property may rise.
You might be able to save even more on property taxes if you are eligible for certain exemptions. Check this list to see if you’re missing out on any savings:
If you own a home and it is your principal place of residence, you may apply for the Homeowners’ Exemption, which exempts $7,000 of your property’s assessed value. The Homeowners’ Exemption will save you $70 per year in property taxes. The application form is available from your county assessor’s office.
If you are a single veteran with assets of less than $5,000, a married veteran with assets of less than $10,000 or an unmarried surviving spouse of an eligible veteran, you may apply for the Veterans’ Exemption, which will subtract $4,000 from the assessed value of your property, saving you $40 per year. It is not necessary for the veteran to reside on the property in order to qualify.
Disabled Veterans’ Exemption
Individuals who are severely disabled as a result of injury or disease incurred in military service may be eligible for an exemption of up to $150,000 of the assessed value of their homes. Unmarried surviving spouses may also qualify. The Veterans Administration must certify the veteran’s disability.
If your property is damaged or destroyed by a calamity such as flooding or fire, you may be eligible for tax relief. To qualify, the loss must exceed $10,000 of current market value, and you must file a claim with your county assessor’s office within 12 months from the date that the destruction or damage occurred. Ask for the form titled, “Application for Reassessment: Property Damaged by Misfortune or Calamity.”
Severely and Permanently Disabled Resident Exclusion
If you, or your spouse who lives with you, are severely and permanently disabled, you may buy a home of equal or lesser value and transfer the trended base year value of your current home (the assessed value under Prop. 13) to your new residence. Also, additions and modifications to your home are exempt from reassessment if the changes are made for the purpose of accessibility for a permanent resident with a severe and permanent disability.
If the current market value of your home is less than the current assessed value as of January 1, you may be eligible for a temporary reduction in assessed value. To apply, contact your county assessor’s office and ask for a Decline-in-Value Review Application.