State law allows owners of agricultural land to reduce their property taxes by placing their property into agricultural preserve contracts.
Agricultural preserves are areas designated by the county or certain cities that are used for farming, grazing or orchards, and where the preservation of open space and agricultural use is in the public’s interest. Property owners in those areas can enter into contracts with the jurisdictions to limit the use of their land for a minimum of 10 years in exchange for reduced taxes.
The property will be assessed only on the basis of the income produced from the land. This generally creates a smaller assessment than if the land were not under contract.
A minimum of 10 acres in groves or crops, 80 acres in grazing or 40 acres in mixed use.
Yes. All of the property remains under contract, and there will be no reappraisal for property tax purposes except for the dwelling unit and the accompanying lot.
Only the dwelling unit and the accompanying lot will be reappraised. The land used for agriculture will not be reappraised.
The Zoning Section of the County Department of Planning and Land Use is responsible for administering the agricultural preserve program in San Diego County. Call them at (858) 565- 5981.
The Disabled Veterans’ Exemption is available for qualified veterans or the unmarried surviving spouse of the veteran to reduce their property taxes. The exemption amount is adjusted annually due to inflation.
Veterans of the United States military who are rated 100% disabled as result of a service-connected disability, or who are compensated at 100% due to unemployability
Yes. The two levels are basic and low-income. The basic exemption is available to a qualified veteran or the unmarried surviving spouse regardless of income.
The exemption depends on the assessed value of the property, percentage of ownership, timeliness of filing a claim for the exemption and household income of the veteran or the unmarried surviving spouse.
To qualify for the low-income exemption, the household income of the qualifying veteran or the unmarried surviving spouse must not exceed the state’s annual income limit. Low-income exemptions require an annual filing.
You must submit the following information:
A qualified applicant must file by the end of the calendar year for the tax year in which they wish to seek relief. For example, an applicant acquiring property in March 2009 must file an exemption claim by December 31, 2009 in order to be considered timely.
Claims for the basic exemption require a one-time filing. The exemption will then be applied automatically every year thereafter until no longer eligible.
Claims for the low-income exemption require an annual filing. The annual filing deadline is February 15.
Yes. California State law allows retroactive filings in some cases, subject to late-filing penalties.
Historical buildings might qualify for a property tax reduction. State law provides for an alternative method of calculating property taxes for qualified historical buildings whose owners have entered into an agreement with their city or the County for unincorporated areas. If your questions are about the valuation of these historic properties, call the Assessor’s Office at (619) 531-5002. If your questions are about applying and qualifying for these historic landmark preservation agreements, contact your local jurisdiction.
Historical properties are usually examples of recognized architecture or skilled craftsmanship that have been designated by local, state or Federal governments to be of historic importance.
The property owner must enter into a binding 10 year agreement with the city or the County to restore, maintain and preserve the historic landmark property in its historic form.
Upon notice from the city or County, the Assessor’s Office will revalue the historic property beginning the next full tax year, taking into consideration the restriction in the historic landmark agreement.
This program may provide property tax reductions to owners of properties designated as historical landmarks, who have entered into historical landmark property preservation agreements.
This historic landmark preservation program provides a way to save buildings that are historically significant.
No. Recent state law does not require public access: however, the individual contract will specify the property owners’ requirements.
A homeowner’s exemption is a free service that homeowners can apply for themselves throughthe Assessor’s Office.
The Homeowner’s Exemption provides for a reduction of $7,000 off the assessed value of your residence. This results in an annual property tax savings of approximately $70.
Property owners who occupy their homes as their principal place of residence on January 1, and each year thereafter, are eligible for the exemption.
Whenever there is a purchase or transfer of residential property, the Assessor’s Office automatically mails a Homeowner’s Exemption claim form. You may also download the application from our web site by
CLICKING HERE, or request that one be mailed to you by calling our office at (619) 531-5772.
No. This is a free service provided by the Assessor’s Office.
To verify that you are receiving your Homeowner’s Exemption, review your latest property tax bill. The exemption is shown on the upper right section of your bill.
The regular filing deadline is February 15 to receive the full exemption of $70. Late filing is from February 16 to December 10 to receive 80% of the exemption ($56). Late-filed exemptions will receive the full $70 exemption after the first year.
No. According to California State law, Homeowner’s Exemptions cannot be granted for prior years.
No. Once you have filed and been granted the Homeowner’s Exemption and you continue to own and occupy the same residence, you will automatically receive the exemption in future years.
If you pay property taxes on your manufactured home and it does not have State license tags, you may be eligible for the Homeowner’s Exemption. For more information, please call the Assessor’s Office at (619) 531-5772.
No. The Disabled Veteran’s Exemption results in a substantially higher savings than a Homeowner’s Exemption.
No. California State law permits only one Homeowner’s Exemption per resident.
State law requires Social Security numbers in order to ensure that homeowners receive only one exemption.
Property Tax Assistance
If you are blind, disabled, or 62 years of age or older and on limited income, you may be eligible for one of the following programs:
(1) Property Tax PostponementIf have a limited annual income, you may defer the property taxes on your house, condo, or manufactured home. This deferred payment is a lien on the property and generally becomes due upon sale, change of residence, or death. For more information and the necessary application, call the State Controller's Office (toll free) at 1-800-952-5661 or visit them on the web at www.sco.ca.gov.
This program has been suspended by the State Controllers’ Office.
(2)Homeowner’s AssistanceIf you have limited annual income, the State provides for partial reimbursement on the property taxes on your home. Filing for this program will not result in a lien being placed on your property. For more information and the necessary application, call the State Franchise Tax Board (toll free) at 1-800-868-4171 or visit them on the web at www.ftb.ca.gov.
This program has been suspended by the State Franchise Tax Board.
Real property is frequently placed into a trust for income tax or inheritance purposes. Generally,the creation of a trust does not cause a reassessment for property tax purposes. For more informationconcerning the possible property tax consequences of a trust, please call the Assessor’s Office at (858) 505-6262.
A trust is a legal arrangement whereby property is held by one party for the benefit of another (beneficiary) for a specific length of time.
Generally, placing real property into a trust is not a change in ownership that causes a reassessment as long as you are the sole owners, the trust is revocable or the beneficial interest is not transferred.
A transfer of beneficial interest occurs immediately whenever the use or the benefit of the property is transferred to someone else.
A revocable trust is one that can be withdrawn, changed or canceled during the term of the trust agreement. These are often called "living trusts".
For property tax purposes, an irrevocable trust is one that cannot be canceled, changed or withdrawn for a period of 12 years or more.
No. Interspousal transfers of property are exempt from reappraisal regardless of whether or not it is in a trust. However, a reappraisal may be required upon the death of the last surviving spouse unless it is transferred to the children and the necessary parent/child exclusion application is filed and approved with the Assessor’s Office.
The property will be reappraised when the ownership transfers to your daughter unless she applies for and receives a Parent/Child Exclusion from reappraisal at that time. No reappraisal will occur so long as you continue to receive the benefit of the property.
For questions concerning the income tax provisions or legal ramifications of a particular trust arrangement, you should discuss this with your legal representative and financial adviser.
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This exemption may be used by religious organizations for either owned or leased real or personal property. The exemption applies only to areas used exclusively for worship or parking. The exemption does not apply to areas used for fellowship or other non-worship activities. The Church Exemption is most often used for leased real property. Religious organizations that own real property most commonly file the Religious or Welfare Exemption claims because of their broader scope of exemption.
This exemption is available to religious organizations for real property they own, as well as owned or leased personal property. The exemption extends to property used for worship, fellowship, religious counseling, offices, parking, and schools grades 12 and under. Once claimed, the exemption remains on the property until the status of the organization or use of the property changes. The Assessor’s Office annually sends an exemption renewal statement which the organization returns verifying that the use and ownership of the property have not changed.
The Assessor and State Board of Equalization jointly administer this exemption and both parties must grant the exemption.
Housing for religious personnel may be exempt if the housing is owned by the religious organization. Only housing incidental to the primary exempt activity of the organization is eligible. Housing for religious personnel requires filing the Welfare Exemption.
This exemption is used by public schools, including charter schools. Public schools most often use the exemption for leased real and personal property. The property may be used for a variety of purposes, including education, administration, and administrative support functions. Charter schools must submit a copy of the charter when applying for this exemption.
The College Exemption is available to private four-year colleges and may be used for owned or leased real and personal property.
The Cemetery Exemption is available to both non-profit and for-profit cemeteries. Restrictions exist regarding the exemption of for-profit cemetery property. For further information, please contact the Assessor’s Office at (619) 531-5763.
The Lessor’s Exemption is available to property owners who lease real property to free public libraries, free museums, public schools, community colleges, State colleges, State universities, University of California, Churches, and non-profit colleges. Both the owner of the property and the exempt organization are required to sign the claim. The benefit of the exemption must go to the exempt organization in the form of a rent reduction or direct refund, unless otherwise stated in the lease. A copy of the lease is required to be submitted with the first claim.
Claim forms are available on the Assessor’s web site, or by calling the Exemption Section at (619) 531-5763.
Children can inherit their parent’s property without a property tax increase. The executor ofthe estate should notify the assessor’s office promptly to ensure timely processing of a parent/child exclusion from reappraisal.
Yes. The administrator or executor of the estate is required by state law to notify the assessor’s office of a death of a property owner.
Yes, according to state law, death is considered a change of ownership, and the property can be reassessed as of the date of death for property tax purposes.
No. If the property is transferred to the surviving spouse, there is no reassessment of the property. In addition, if the property is inherited by the children, a reappraisal may not be required.
The Parent-Child Exclusion applies to any real property purchases or transfers between parents and children, which occurred on or after November 6, 1986.
This exclusion prevents an increase in property taxes when real property is transferred between parents and their children.
Natural children, children adopted before the age of 18, stepchildren (as long as the parents are still married), foster children and sons- and daughters-in-law are considered children under this exclusion program.
A parent may transfer their principal residence and any other property valued up to $1,000,000 to their children. The properties will not be reappraised providing that the proper Claim for Exclusion from Reappraisal form is filed and approved by the Assessor’s Office.
California State law allows property to be excluded from reappraisal when transferred between grandparent and grandchild, providing that a Claim for Exclusion from Reappraisal form is filed and approved by the Assessor’s Office. This exclusion is available only when both parents of the eligible grandchildren are deceased.
No. The parent must actually be deceased prior to the transfer to the grandchildren.
No. A Claim for Exclusion from Reappraisal form must be completed and filed with the Assessor’s Office. Failure to file a claim will result in a reassessment of the property. You will receive the exclusion after your claim is approved.
To prevent a supplemental tax bill from being issued, a claim must be filed as soon as possible after the transfer or date of death.
A claim must be filed within three years of the date of transfer or death, or prior to the sale or transfer to a third party. In addition, a claim may be filed within six months after the mailing date of the supplemental notice or escape assessment.
If a claim is filed after the legal deadline, the exclusion may be granted but no refunds will be issued for prior years. It will be granted for the year the claim is filed as long as the property has not been sold to a third party.
Yes. A reappraisal will occur for the period between the date of the death and the sale to the third party. A supplemental bill will be issued unless the heirs or beneficiaries apply and qualify for this exclusion.
State law allows a property owner to transfer their Proposition 13 base-year value to a comparable replacement property when the original property is acquired by a governmental agency through eminent domain, purchase, or inverse condemnation. The program can result in significant property tax savings when the owner purchases the replacement property.
The property owner can transfer the taxable value from their former property to their replacement property with no increase in their property taxes.
Yes. The replacement property must be similar in size and use of the property taken. Also, the market value of the new property may not exceed 120% of the government’s purchase price of the original property.
Yes. You will receive your prior taxable value on the amount up to 120% of the purchase price, and will be reassessed on only the amount exceeding the 120%.
The replacement property can be purchased any time after you receive notice from the governmental agency that your property has been approved for acquisition.
You should apply immediately after you acquire your replacement property, and no later than four years from the date the original property was acquired by the governmental agency.
No. The exclusion from reappraisal applies to any property taken by a public agency as long as the replacement property is similar in size and use.
No. You must own the property being taken by a governmental agency in order to be eligible for the program.
Yes. The program applies throughout the State so long as both the original and replacement property are within California.
Only the portion of the replacement property that is similar to the original property will qualify for the exclusion. The remainder of the property will be assessed at the current market value.
No. You cannot purchase the replacement property before the date of a written offer or the date a court declares that the property was taken.
No. The property must actually be acquired by a public entity in order to qualify. The threat of condemnation is not enough to qualify for the exclusion.
No. The new construction will not increase your assessed value as long as the value does not exceed 120% of the value of the property taken. You must complete the new construction within four years from the date the property was taken as well as file the necessary application.
Your relief under the exclusion is limited to 120% of the one-half of the purchase price of the property taken.
Although the relief granted under the program is similar to the relief granted by the Internal Revenue Service, there are important differences. The requirements for property tax relief are generally much more restrictive.
State law provides property tax savings for those 55 years or older who sell their home and purchase another one of equal or lesser value. There are many other property tax reliefprograms available to help senior citizens on limited income, legally blind and disabled.
This program provides one-time property-tax relief for seniors over 55 by preventing a property valuation increase when they sell a home and purchase another home of equal or lesser value.
Generally, the value of the replacement property must be equal to or less than the market value of the original property.
No. Partial exclusions are not allowed under this program: it is either all or nothing.
The property owner must be 55 or older at the time the original property is sold in order to qualify. For married couples, only one spouse must be 55 or older.
No. You are not eligible if you have been previously granted this benefit.
You must buy your replacement home within two years of selling your original property in order to qualify.
Both properties must qualify for a homeowner’s exemption, which requires that a property be the owner’s principal place of residence.
You can move from any county in California to San Diego County and qualify.
New construction qualifies for this program, but there are specific requirements that must be met. It is recommended that anyone wanting to pursue this option contact the assessor’s office first to go over these requirements at (619) 531-5481.
In order to qualify, you must complete and submit the necessary application form within three years of the date you buy your replacement property. You may request an application by calling (619) 531-5481 or Click here for
REAPPRAISAL EXCLUSION FOR SENIORS APPLICATION, PROP60/90 or the
REAPPRAISAL EXCLUSION FOR DISABLED APPLICATION, PROP110 and
CERTIFICATE OF DISABILITY. These documents are in Acrobat PDF format.
A qualified homeowner can defer payment of all or part of his or her property taxes on your house, condo, or manufactured home. This deferred payment is a lien on the property and becomes due upon sale, change of residence, or death.
This state program is a once a year cash reimbursement for a portion of the property taxes paid. This amount will not have to be repaid and will not result in a lien being placed on your home.
State law allows the Assessor’s Office to temporarily reduce the assessed value of a property that was damaged or destroyed through no fault of the property owner. The damage must exceed $10,000 and an application must be filed within 12 months from the date the damage occurred.
The current property taxes will be reduced for that portion of the property damaged or destroyed. This reduction will be from the date of the damage, and will remain in effect until the property is rebuilt or repaired.
No. Property owners will retain their previous taxable value if the house is rebuilt in a like or similar manner, regardless of the actual cost of construction. However, any new square footage or extras, such as additional baths, will be added to the base-year value at its full market value.
In order to qualify, the damage must be in excess of $10,000 in value, and a claim should be filed with the Assessor’s Office within 12 months from the date the damage occurred.
Yes. You qualify for this property tax relief if your mobilehome was assessed for property taxes and is not on State license fees.
No. Household furnishings are not assessed for property taxes and, therefore, do not qualify for property tax relief.
Yes. Tax relief is available for all taxable property, including boats, aircraft, and business personal property.
Yes. Tax relief is available if the damage to your grove exceeds $10,000. The fruit, however, is not assessed for property tax purposes and, therefore, is not available for property tax relief.
Although the Assessor’s Office values the trees and irrigation system for property tax purposes, the actual fruit is not assessed. Therefore, there can be no reduction in property taxes.
No. Although any construction defect will adversely affect the value of the property, it does not qualify for relief under this program. A court decision has determined that since the damage occurred over time and not as a sudden event, an exact date cannot be established. Therefore, there can be no reduction under this provision.
The appraiser determines the market value of the house before and after the damage. The percentage of the loss is then applied to the assessed value of the house and a refund is issued. The land value will remain unchanged.
After the application is processed by the Assessor’s Office, a notice of proposed new assessment will be sent to the taxpayer. After the owner returns this notice to our office, a separate supplemental refund will be made based on the amount of reduction. The refund will be prorated from the date of destruction to the end of the fiscal year. You must still pay your regular tax bill.
If you disagree with the value established by the Assessor’s Office, you must file an appeal within six months from the date on the notification of proposed values. A hearing will be scheduled by the Assessment Appeals Board.
In order to qualify for this property tax relief, you must file a claim form with the Assessor’s Office.