Real Property Questions:
When is Real Estate reappraised?
Under State law (Proposition 13), real property is reappraised only when a change-in-ownership occurs, or upon completion of new construction. Except for these two instances, property assessments cannot be increased by more than 2% annually, based on the California Consumer Price Index. The property tax rate is 1% plus any bonds, fees, or special charges.
When a sale or transfer occurs, the Assessor's Office receives a copy of the deed and determines if a reappraisal is required under State law. If it is required, an appraisal is made to determine current market value of the property. The owner is then notified of the new assessment. The owner has the right to appeal the value.
The transfer of property between husband and wife does not require a reappraisal for property tax purposes. This includes transfers resulting from divorce or death of a spouse or domestic partner. In addition, a refinancing will not cause a reappraisal. There are other exclusions for senior citizens, the disabled, and those involving parent/child transfers which are discussed later. For more information, see the following questions and answers.
When is New Construction Reappraised?
When the homeowner/taxpayer applies for a building construction permit with the Department of Building Inspection, the Assessor's Office receives a copy of the permit. If the construction is new (such as a room addition), a reappraisal is required. If the construction is for replacement, repair, or maintenance, a reappraisal is not required. In appraising new construction, the market value of the addition is determined and added to the value of the existing property. The existing property, however, is not reappraised. As with a change-in-ownership, the owner is notified of the new assessment and can appeal the value. Click here for a list of general guidelines of what type of new construction is assessable and to download exclusion claim forms. For further information, call 415-554-5596.
What is a Supplemental Assessment?
State law requires the Assessor to reappraise property, immediately upon change-in-ownership or completion of new construction. The Assessor's Office must issue a supplemental assessment that reflects the difference between the prior assessed value and the new assessment. This value is then prorated based on the number of months remaining in the fiscal year ending June 30. This supplemental is in addition to the regular tax bill. For information regarding the value of your property, call (415) 554-5596. To appeal a supplemental assessment, an application must be filed with the Clerk of the Board within 60 days from the mailing of notice of the supplemental assessment. For more information, call (415) 554-6778.
What is a Preliminary Change-in-Ownership Report?
This report is required by State law to be filed with all property sales and transfers at the time of recording. If it is not filed, a $20 fee must be charged and the Assessor's Office will send out a Change-in-Ownership statement to obtain the required information. This report/statement is used solely for appraisal purposes, and is confidential. For more information, call (415) 554-5596.
How can I apply for reducing my taxes as a homeowner?
If you own a home and occupy it as your principal place of residence on January 1, you may apply for an exemption of $7,000 from your assessed value. New property owners will automatically receive an exemption application in the mail. Homeowner's exemptions may also apply to a supplemental assessment if the property was not previously receiving a Homeowners' Exemption. There is no charge for filing for the Homeowner's Exemption. For more information call (415) 554-5574.
Market Value Decline/Property Tax Relief
If you disagree with the value of your property, you should first contact our Valuation Division at (415) 554-5596. If a reduction in value is justified, we can adjust the value or if not, aid you in applying to the Assessment Appeals Board for relief. If you file an assessment appeal on an existing value, such appeal must be filed with the County Assessment Appeals Board (City Hall, Room 405). For more information, call (415) 554-6778.
If a major calamity such as a fire, earthquake or flooding damages or destroys your property, you may be eligible for property tax relief. In such cases, the Assessor's Office will reappraise the property to reflect its damaged condition. In addition, when you rebuild it in a like or similar manner, the property will retain its previous value for tax purposes. To qualify for property tax relief, you must file a calamity claim form with the Assessor's Office within 60 days from the date the property was damaged or destroyed and the loss must exceed $5,000. For more information call (415)554-4877.
There is a builder's exclusion from the supplemental assessment for new construction built specifically for sale. The builder must file the necessary claim form with the Assessor prior to or within 30 days from the start of construction. If the form is not filed, a supplemental assessment for the value of the new construction is assessed to the builder upon the completion of the construction. If the exclusion is granted, a supplemental assessment is not created until the property is sold to the new owner. For more information call (415) 554-5596.
Properties Acquired by the Governmental (Eminent Domain)
If a government agency acquires your property, you may have the right to retain its existing value and transfer it to a replacement property. The replacement property must be comparable to the property acquired, and an application form must be filed with the Assessor within four (4) years from the date of acquisition.
Certain exemptions are available for veterans. A Veterans Homeowner's Exemption is available for the home of a disabled veteran or a disabled veteran's spouse, if the veteran, because of an injury incurred in military service, is blind in both eyes, has lost the use of two or more limbs, or is totally disabled. If qualified, veterans are provided exemptions up to $150,000 of taxable value. An unmarried surviving spouse may also be eligible if the service person died as the result of a service-connected injury or disease while on active duty in the military. For more information contact our Exemptions Division at 554-5658.
Reappraisal Exclusion for Seniors or Disabled
Disabled property owners or senior citizens over 55 years of age can buy a replacement residence of equal or lesser value than their existing home and transfer their current tax value to the new home. The purpose of this is to provide tax relief for disabled persons and seniors by preventing a property tax increase if they sell their existing home and buy another one. For more information call (415) 554-4052.
Will my property be reassessed if I give it to my children?
Reappraisal Exclusion from Parent to Child
The transfer of real property between parents and children can be excluded from reappraisal for property tax purposes. The principal place of residence and up to a maximum of $1,000,000 in assessed value of any additional property may be transferred without a tax increase. An application must be filed with the Assessor's Office to determine eligibility for this exclusion. For more information, call (415) 554-5596.