How Property Taxes are Determined


Property taxes are governed by California State law and collected by the county. The County Assessor must first assess the value of your property to determine the amount of property tax based on the assessed value (cash or market value) at the time of purchase. This value increases not more that 2% per year until the property is sold or new construction is completed. The appropriate tax rates, including the general tax levy, locally voted special taxes and any city or district assessments, are applied by the Auditor-Controller. Based on the Auditor-Controller’s calculations, the tax collector prepares and distributes tax bills and collects the taxes.


On January 1, taxes become a lien at 12:01 a.m. not yet due and payable for the Fiscal Tax Year starting July 1. Thereafter, title evidence must show taxes as a lien for the coming Fiscal Tax Year.

To be eligible for applicable exemptions, you must own and occupy property on March 1.

On December 10, a 10% penalty is added to taxes due. If December 10th  falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are not delinquent until 5 p.m. the next business day.

On April 10, a 10% penalty plus administrative charge attaches. If April 10 falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are not delinquent until 5 p.m. the next business day.

On June 30, if you fail to pay either or both installments by 5 p.m., property tax becomes defaulted and additional costs and penalties accrue.

If June 30 falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes must be paid by 5 p.m. of the preceding business day.

Property may be sold at public auction after five years of delinquency.

(from Title360 Home Seller’s Guide)

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