Property taxes are a reality for homeowners no matter where they live across The United States. The amount of property tax you owe, when the payments are due, and how you pay, are all individually regulated varying state by state and county by county. Fortunately for California homeowners, the state has a lower-than-average base property tax rate coming in at the 16th lowest across the country.
How Your Taxes Are Calculated
Property tax assessments begin by determining the value of your property. This is done by looking at the fair market value of the property at the time you purchased it (normally the purchase price). This taxable value then increases in subsequent years by no more than 2% per year until the property is either sold or new construction/additions are built triggering a new fair market value assessment.
Once the property value is determined, the appropriate property tax rates are applied. These consist of the general state tax levy, city and/or district tax assessments, and locally voted-on special taxes. In general, all of the individual assessments are added up, a good conservative estimate of how much you can expect to pay is approximately 1.25% of your taxable value.
Timeframes & How To Make Payments
In California, official annual property tax bills are prepared and mailed in October of each year. Although they are mailed annually, tax payments are actually collected twice a year by the county in which you reside. The majority of counties have an online tax assessor website where you can view current bills and make payments. Generally, the best way to make payments is to become familiar with your county’s website and check in every couple of months.
Below is a breakdown of when payments are due:
|Installment||Coverage||Date Payment Due||Date Payment Late|
|1st||July 1 – December 31||November 1||December 10|
|2nd||Jan 1 – June 30||February 10||April 10|
|Supplemental||Varies by Bill||Varies by Bill||Varies by Bill|
*Please note that California’s property taxes operate off a fiscal year that starts July 1st and ends June 30th.
*If you have a mortgage, you can elect to pay your property taxes monthly alongside your mortgage with an escrow account.
*You should expect to receive a supplemental tax bill when you purchase a new property and occasionally thereafter.
*Property tax proposals/changes often hit voter ballots every couple of years
Property taxes are an unavoidable part of homeownership. While, like any other form of tax, they are not fun, they are important. This tax is a large part of the state’s budget and helps go towards building the necessary infrastructure. As long as you stay on top of making your payments on time you should be able to avoid unnecessary headaches.