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If your property has been damaged by a calamity, you need to file a disaster relief claim with the county assessor. This will allow your current property taxes to be reduced for that portion of the property damaged or destroyed. This reduction will be from the first of the month in which the damage occurred, and will remain in effect until the property is rebuilt or repaired. Some county assessors have the authority to reduce a property’s value for damage without a disaster relief claim. Please check with your county assessor’s office to verify whether a claim is required.
In addition, if your property has been substantially damaged or destroyed in a Governor-proclaimed disaster and you have either filed a disaster relief claim with the county assessor to reduce your taxes or have been granted disaster relief by the assessor, you may file a claim to postpone the next installment of property taxes that occurs immediately after the disaster. If you file a "property tax deferral claim" with the county assessor before the next property tax installment payment date, that payment will be postponed without penalty or interest until the county assessor has reassessed the property and you receive a corrected tax bill.
To qualify for deferral, for property receiving a homeowners’ exemption, "substantial disaster damage" means damage amounting to at least 10 percent of its fair market value or $10,000 whichever is less. For all other property, the damage must be at least 20 percent of value. However, tax deferral is not available where property taxes are paid through impound accounts.
If your property has been substantially damaged or destroyed in a Governor-proclaimed disaster, you may be eligible for a reinstatement of your home’s previous base year value. To be eligible, you must file a disaster relief claim with the county assessor to reduce your taxes and rebuild the property in a like or similar manner. Alternatively, you may choose to buy another comparable property and transfer your base year value to the new property. You will not be able to do both.
Can I buy another house in the same county and transfer the base year value of my damaged house to my new house?
Yes, section 69 provides for this relief to you under certain circumstances:
The damaged property must amount to more than 50 percent of its full cash value immediately prior to the disaster. This applies to any type of real property, not just residences.
The property must be transferred to a comparable replacement property, acquired or newly constructed, within the same county and within five years after the disaster.
Comparability is crucial – the replacement property must be similar in size, utility, and function to the property which it replaces.
The replacement property must not exceed 120 percent of the full cash value of the property damaged or destroyed. Any amount of the full cash value of the replacement property that exceeds 120 percent of the full cash value of the damaged property (immediately prior to the damage) shall be added to the adjusted base year value of the damaged property. The sum of these amounts shall become the replacement property’s replacement base year value.
Please contact your county assessor’s office for an application.
Can I buy another house in a different county and transfer the base year value of my damaged house to my new house?
Under section 69.3, a principal residence that was damaged in an area that was a Governor-proclaimed disaster that occurred on or after October 20, 1991 may have its base year value transferred to a replacement residence in a different county only if the county has adopted an ordinance that allows such taxable value transfers. As of June 7, 2018, there are 11 counties that have such an ordinance: Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Modoc, Orange, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, and Ventura. The replacement residence must meet the following criteria:
No. Property owners will retain their previous factored base year 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.
Yes. Temporary absence from a dwelling for repairs made necessary by a natural disaster will not result in the loss of your homeowner’s exemption as long as you have not established permanent housing elsewhere.
As of January 16, 2020, the following 13 counties have enacted ordinances that allow a base year value transfer for a principal residence that was substantially damaged or destroyed by a Governor-declared disaster:
No. Property owners will retain their previous factored base year 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 Prop. 13 factored base year value at its full market value.
Property owners will retain their factored base year value as long as the structure is rebuilt in a like or similar manner to bring it up to current building codes, regardless of the actual cost of construction. However, any new square footage or extras such as additional baths, accessory dwelling units, etc., will be added to the Proposition 13 factored base year value at its full market value. The original property will not be reassessed unless there is a new construction event or a change of ownership on the property.
We cannot give you a value estimate prior to completion of construction. You will keep your Proposition 13 basis on structures of record prior to the addition. The costs and market approaches will be evaluated for the added square footage portion, and then reconciled by our appraiser for a reasonable fair market value conclusion. A specific notice will be sent out prior to any tax bill.