Transferring Your Property Taxes, California Prop. 90

There seem to be many inquiries about property taxes in California, so I hope you find this informative.

California voters approved Proposition 13 in the 1970's. Ordinarily, when the ownership of California real property changes, the property is reassessed at its current fair market value and the new owner pays property tax based on the reassessed value. However, the law provides certain exemptions from reassessment and, in certain instances, allows a taxpayer to transfer the base-year value of the property to a subsequent property without being reassessed. As a result of Proposition 13, a taxpayer's base-year value could be much lower than if based on the fair market value of the property. (Note: California tax code sections are Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 63.1 (dealing with transfers between parents and children, as well as grandparents and grandchildren), 62 (dealing with transfers into revocable trusts), 63 (dealing with interspousal transfers), 69.5 (dealing with transfers by persons over 55 years of age or severely and permanently disabled persons).)

Property which has had major renovations is normally subject to property tax reassessment. However, California law exempts certain property improvements from reassessment. Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 74.3 and 74.6 (dealing with improvements for disabled access), and 74.5 (dealing with seismic retrofitting improvements). Consult your tax advisor for advice.

Proposition 90.

Ordinarily under Proposition 13, the value of a home for property tax purposes is re-assessed to market level whenever a change in ownership takes place, which usually results in higher property taxes for the homebuyer.

In November 1988, the state's voters approved Proposition 90, which is designed to induce greater turnover of homes owned by senior citizens. The measure provides anyone over the age of 55 with relief from Proposition 13 by allowing them to move from one county to another without undergoing a change in their basic property taxes. (Note: there are currently a minority of counties that allow this transfer, Los Angeles and Orange Counties being two of them.)

Proposition 90 is a "local-option" law; each county has the option of participating. If a county has adopted a Proposition 90 ordinance, it accepts transfers of property tax base assessments from other California counties. If the county that the homeowner is moving from does not have a Proposition 90 ordinance, this does not affect the eligibility of the homeowner. Homeowners seeking to transfer their property tax base assessment must verify that the county to which they are moving has a Proposition 90 ordinance. Go to this list of California Counties to find information from your county tax assessor.

Proposition 60

Proposition 60 is a similar law passed by the state's voters two years prior to Proposition 90. It allows seniors to keep their property tax base assessment when they move within the same county. Proposition 60 does not require passage by a local municipality. It is state law.

Courtesy of Pacific West Association of Realtors


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