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There are a number of state programs that can help Californians lower or defer their property tax payments. You may be eligible for tax relief and not even know it.

If you owned the home you live in on January 1 of the current year, you’re eligible for the Homeowners’ Exemption. This reduces the assessed value of your home by $7,000, which translates to a tax savings of $70 per year. To claim the exemption, the homeowner must make a one-time filing with the county assessor where the property is located. The claim form, BOE-266, Claim for Homeowners’ Property Tax Exemption, is available from your county assessor’s office. A list of county assessors and their contact information can be found online at this link: boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/countycontacts.htm.

The claim for the Homeowners’ Exemption may be filed anytime during the year, but it must be filed by February 15 to receive the full exemption for that year. (If you later move out of the house but continue to own it, you must notify the assessor’s office no later than December 10 that you are no longer eligible for the exemption.)

If your property has sustained more than $10,000 in damage from fire, rain or other disaster, you may be eligible for a value adjustment that will lower your property taxes. If you believe you qualify, complete the Application for Reassessment of Property Damaged by a Misfortune or Calamity and submit it to the assessor within 12 months of the date the calamity occurred. It’s helpful to submit copies of cost estimates and contracts to repair the damage along with the application. Contact your county assessor’s office for assistance.

The State Controller’s office administers a program that allows homeowners who are seniors, are blind or have a disability to defer current-year property taxes on their principal residence if they meet certain criteria, including at least 40 percent equity in the home and an annual household income of $45,810 or less. The deferment of property taxes is secured by a lien against the property, which must eventually be repaid. For more information, call (800) 952-5661 or e-mail postponement@sco.ca.gov.