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Property Tax - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

faqGroupLookupString: Partial Payments
Partial Payments
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Will a partial payment create a balance due statement?
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Yes, in most cases. Secured, Supplemental, and Unsecured partial payments will generate a Balance Due Statement. There is no Balance Due Statement for Redemption yet, however, you will receive a letter from the department.
How will I know if I have a balance due on my bill?
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If your payment is less than the amount due on the installment, a Balance Due Statement will be available online at https://taxpayment.sccdtac.org.
Will a subtotal of all payments to date be reflected on the payment website?
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On the payment website, there is a field displayed as "Amount Paid to Date" that will show the total payments made to date.​​
If I only partially paid my bill and it becomes delinquent how are penalties calculated?
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The unpaid balance on any existing installment will be treated as a delinquent tax. The County will still assess a 10% penalty plus $20.00 cost for unpaid taxes beyond the property tax delinquency date. However, this penalty will apply only to the balance due.
For example, let's say your first property tax installment is $5,000 and by December 10th you elect to pay $3,000 of it. This leaves an unpaid balance of $2,000. You will only incur a 10% penalty plus $20.00 cost on the unpaid balance of $2,000.

Is there a minimum partial payment amount?
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There is no minimum payment restriction.​
Who can make partial payments?
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We accept payments from anyone.
Can you pay a partial on the 1st installment and the 2nd installment at the same time?
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The first installment must be paid in full before any payment can be applied to the second installment.

Both installments must be paid in full by June 30th.​

How often should I make a payment?
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The new partial payment feature allows you to make smaller payments on your installments when it is most convenient for you.  Please keep in mind that the full amount of the installment must be paid before the installment delinquency date to avoid delinquent penalties, which will be assessed on the remaining balance.

This means that only the unpaid balance on any existing installment will be treated as a delinquent tax.  The County will still assess a 10% penalty plus cost for unpaid taxes beyond the property tax delinquency dates.  This penalty will only apply to the balance due.

If you are making partial payments on a Redemption  (prior year tax) balance, interest is still accrued on the first day of every month until the redemption balance has been paid off.

Can a partial payment be made through the website?
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Yes.  Go to taxpayment.sccdtac.org.
Once you have viewed your parcel information, look for "Click here to enter an amount less than the balance due".
Do I have to sign a contract before sending partial payment(s)?
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No, you do not need to sign a contract to make partial payments.
If an overpayment is made to the first installment, will the balance be applied to the second installment?
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Overpayments to the first installment will automatically be applied to the second installment IF the overpayment is equal to the amount due on the second installment.
Otherwise any overpayment to the first installment will be refunded to the payer.
On Installment Plans of Redemption (IR Plans) and Escape Payment Plans (4Y), if I don't pay the April 10th contract amount but I make a partial payment, will that default these plans?
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Yes. You must pay your contractual amount of 20% plus the interest (if any) by the April 10th delinquency date to avoid defaulting your payment plan.
When a partial payment is made to a (prior year) redemption bill, how is the interest calculated?
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The redemption interest is calculated against the principal tax balance owed. A State Redemption Fee is also added to redemption accounts.
Can partial payments be applied to an Installment Plan of Redemption (IR Plan)?
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​When on an installment plan of redemption, a payment of 20% (determined at the time of set-up) plus total accrued interest since the last payment made is required to be paid each fiscal year by April 10. Partial payments can be applied to these installments. The payments will be applied towards any accrued interest first and then applied towards the 20% until the 20% amount has been paid in full. ​
How is interest calculated on an IR Plan if partial payments have been made?
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​Interest is always calculated at 1.5% of the total remaining balance as of the last date of payment.​
Does making a partial payment on a redemption bill affect the monthly penalty?
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​A redemption bill has a monthly penalty of 1.5% calculated on the total base tax of the redemption bill. When a partial payment is made, it must first be applied towards all penalties before the base tax. Once payment can be applied towards the base tax of the bill, the monthly penalty will be adjusted to calculate on the remaining base tax amount. ​
faqGroupLookupString: Secured Taxes
Secured Taxes
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Request for Change of Address
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All Request for Change of Address are handled by the Santa Clara County Assessor's Office.

If you wish your Tax Bills and Assessor/Tax Collector correspondence to be mailed to an address other than the property address, you must fill out a Request for Change of Address.
The Request for Change of Address form is mailed together with your annual Tax Bill.
 
An on-line copy of the Request for Change of Address form can be accessed through the Assessor's Office web site. Please note that by navigating to the link, you will be leaving the Office of the Tax Collector site and going to the Assessor's Office site. Please  click here for the Assessor's Office Request for Change of Address. 
What happens if I don't pay my taxes?
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​Any unpaid current secured property taxes as of 5:00 p.m. June 30 will be enrolled on the Defaulted Master Tax File. A $30.00 redemption fee is immediately added and the delinquent bill accrues penalties of 1.5% per month until paid. These tax bills are also referred to as "prior year secured taxes" or "redemptions.
 
When are secured property taxes due?
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The secured property tax bill is payable in two installments: The first installment is due and payable on November 1. However, you have until 5 p.m. on December 10 to make your payment before a 10% penalty and $20.00 cost is added to your bill. The second installment is due and payable on February 1. The grace period on the second installment expires at 5 p.m. on April 10. If the installment remains unpaid as of April 10, a 10% penalty and $20.00 cost is imposed.
 
On-line payments can be made at payments.scctax.org prior to midnight Pacific Time on the respective delinquent dates.
  
Can I pay my Secured Property tax bill with my credit card or e-check?
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The Office of the Tax Collector provides a web site, where Credit Card and e-check payments can be made. Credit Cards accepted are: Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover.

Please note that additional credit card processing fees will be charged in addition to your payment.

The County of Santa Clara uses Official Payments Corporation to
process credit card and e-check payments.
 
Since the County is by law not allowed to collect less than the actual tax amount, any fees for processing this credit card payment must be paid by you.
 
To pay your tax bill by credit card, please go to the following web site: http://payments.scctax.org/payment/jsp/startup.jsp
Are there any programs to assist me with paying my secured tax bill?
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​There are two programs administered by the state that may assist you:

​Property Tax Assistance for Senior Citizens, Blind, or Disabled Persons

The state budget did not include funding for the Gonsalves-Deukmejian-Petris Senior Citizens Property Tax Assistance law, which provides direct cash assistance. The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) will not issue Homeowner and Renter Assistance (HRA) Program instruction booklets and will not accept HRA claims for the 2015 claim year. For the most current information on the HRA program, go to the state's Franchise Tax Board and search for HRA.

Property Tax Postponement for Senior Citizens, Blind, or Disabled Persons

In September 2014, Assembly Bill AB 2231 Chapter 703, Statutes of 2014, reinstated a modified Property Tax Postponement (PTP) program. The State Controller’s Office (SCO) will begin accepting new PTP applications beginning October 1, 2016.

Go to the SCO's Property Tax Postponement for more information. If you have any questions, call 1.800.952.5661 or email postponement@sco.ca.gov.

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My tax bill was mailed to the wrong address and I never received it. If I pay the tax bill immediately, will you remove the penalties?
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Pursuant to the Revenue and Taxation Code Section 2610.5, failure to receive a tax bill does not excuse penalties.
  
What are "secured" property taxes?
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​The term "secured" simply means taxes that are assessed against real property (e.g., land or structures). The tax is a lien that is "secured" by the land/structure even though no document was officially recorded. This means that if the taxes remain unpaid after a period of five (5) years, the property may be sold to cover the taxes owed.
  
When is the secured tax assessed?
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​The County Assessor establishes the value of property on January 1. This date is often referred to as the Tax Lien date. The secured property tax bill, issued months later, uses the value established on the Tax Lien date.
  
How are tax amounts determined?
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​In order for the amount of your taxes to be determined, the County Assessor must first assess the value of your property as of January 1. Generally, the assessed value is the cash or market value at the time of purchase. This value increases not more than 2% per year until the property is sold or any new construction is completed, at which time it must be reassessed. For more information on how the assessed value is determined, see the County Assessor's website. After the Assessor has determined the property value, the County Controller applies the appropriate tax rates, which include the general tax levy, voter approved special taxes, and any city or district direct assessments. The general tax levy is determined in accordance with State Law and is limited to 1% assessed value of your property. After applying tax rates, the County Controller calculates the total tax amount. Finally, the Tax Collector prepares property tax bills based on the County Controller's calculations, distributes the bills, and then collects the taxes. Neither the County Board of Supervisors nor the Tax Collector determines the amount of taxes.
  
What period of time does a secured property tax bill cover?
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​A secured tax bill covers a fiscal year. The fiscal year begins July 1 and ends on June 30 of the following calendar year.
 
When should I expect my secured property tax bill?
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​Annual tax bills are mailed once a year no later than November 1, and can be paid in two installments. Every effort is made to get a copy of the tax bill to each new property owner. To avoid penalties, you should check the status of your property taxes and/or request a duplicate bill by calling our office. Our Interactive Voice Response System allows you to obtain information from the computer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Don't wait until it's too late and you are required to pay penalties.) If you did not receive a bill, or if you recently purchased a property, you may obtain a duplicate tax bill by calling (408) 808-7900 or visiting our office.
  
What information is included with my tax bill?
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​The annual tax bill identifies the following: The owner of record as of the legal lien date. The property location, when available. The assessed value of the property. The amount and type of exemption, if applicable. The amount of taxes due on the first and second installments, as well as the total of taxes due. A breakdown of the types of taxes being collected, including the general tax levy (the constitutional 1% levy), locally voted special taxes, and city or district special assessments. If your bill bears the statement "Prior Years Taxes Unpaid," this is an indication that there are delinquent taxes from prior years, which are not included in your bill. Please call (408) 808-7900 for more information.
When should I mail my payment to avoid penalties?
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​You can mail your payment, but in order to avoid the delinquent penalty, your payment envelope must possess a United States Postal Service postmark on or before the tax delinquent date. Remember, the delinquent dates are as follows: First installment delinquent at 5 p.m., December 10. Second installment delinquent at 5 p.m., April 10. If the delinquent date falls on a weekend or holiday, the penalty is not imposed until 5 p.m. on the next business day.
  
Is a private postage meter date the same as the United States Postal Service postmark?
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​No. California law requires the Tax Collector to accept the U.S. postmark, not a private meter date, as the date of payment.​​
I placed my payment in the mailbox at the post office on the day my payment was due. Why was a late charge assessed?
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Placing the envelope in the post office box does not guarantee that the mail will be processed the same day/evening. State law requires that a payment be treated as if it had been received on the date shown by the post office cancellation mark on the envelope. Only U.S. Postal Service postmarks will be accepted. To avoid penalties, ask to have the envelope hand canceled by the post office. Metered mail is not accepted as a valid cancellation.
  
Can I make partial payments on my current secured property taxes?
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​No, California law does not permit the Tax Collector to accept partial payments on current year taxes.
  
I recently refinanced my house and I am not sure whether my new lender will pay my property taxes. What should I do?
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Please contact your new lender for this information. If you are not sure, we recommend that you pay the property taxes yourself. Duplicate payments will be refunded to the last person to pay.
  
faqGroupLookupString: Supplemental Taxes
Supplemental Taxes
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Can I pay my supplemental property tax bill with my credit card or e-check?
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​The Office of the Tax Collector provides a web site, where Credit Card and e-check payments can be made. Credit Cards accepted are: Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover.

Please note that additional credit card processing fees will be charged in addition to your payment.

The County of Santa Clara uses Official Payments Corporation to process credit card and e-check payments.
 
Since the County is by law not allowed to collect less than the actual tax amount, any fees for processing this credit card payment must be paid by you.
 
To pay your tax bill by credit card, please go to the following web site: http://payments.scctax.org/payment/jsp/startup.jsp
  
Why did I receive more than one supplemental tax bill?
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​You may receive more than one supplemental tax bill, depending on when you purchased your property or completed new construction. Because the secured property taxes are based on the January 1 value and cover a fiscal year, your purchase/construction date may effect the calculation of the taxes for two (2) fiscal years. For example, if you purchased property in February 2003, your purchase would effect the 2002/2003 fiscal year taxes (February 2003 through June 2003) and the 2003/2004 fiscal year taxes (July 2003 through June 2004). The latter fiscal year is effected because the value would have already been established by the County Assessor on January 1, 2003, prior to the purchase/construction. Therefore, the taxes calculated for 2003/2004 would also have to be adjusted by a supplemental bill to reflect the increased value.
 
What are "supplemental" property taxes?
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​"Supplemental" taxes are additional secured taxes that are due when property undergoes a change in ownership or new construction. The additional tax is owed because the County Assessor is required to immediately adjust the January 1 value to reflect the new value of the property (see Secured Tax definition). Adjusted for the number of months left in the fiscal year, the supplemental tax bill represents the tax due on the difference between the old and new values.
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How are the supplemental tax amounts determined?
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​The difference between the new value and the old January 1 value is multiplied by a proration factor. The proration factor is the percentage of months remaining in the fiscal year. This result is then multiplied by the tax rate (usually 1% plus voter approved indebtedness) to determine the supplemental tax amount due.
  
What does the supplemental tax bill tell me?
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​The supplemental tax bill provides the following information:
  • The owner.
  • The fiscal year for which the taxes are assessed.
  • The location of the property.
  • The old and the new assessed value and the difference (net supplemental assessment) upon which the tax is computed.
  • The type and amount of exemptions (e.g., homeowner's).
  • The total of taxes due based on the net increase in value.
  • The date of the ownership change or completion of new construction. This date is used to prorate the tax for the period remaining in the current fiscal year for which the bill is issued.

The bill may be paid in two installments and provides payment stubs for each installment, which show the amount due and the date that the amount must be paid to avoid penalties for late payment.
  

What if I purchase a piece of property and then sell it again after a few months?
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​If you purchase and then sell property within a short period of time, the supplemental tax bill you receive should cover only those months during which you owned the property, and the new owner should receive a separate supplemental tax bill. Because of the large number of parcels and frequency of property changing hands in Santa Clara County, there are often delays in placing new assessments on the tax roll. Be sure to check the dates used to prorate the bill to ensure that the period covered is the period during which you actually owned the property. If you receive an incorrect tax bill, visit the County Assessor’s website or call our office at (408) 808 - 7900.
  
If I receive a supplemental tax bill, will I also receive an annual tax bill in November of each year?
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​Yes. The supplemental tax bill is sent in addition to the annual tax bill and both must be paid as specified on the bill. For information on the annual tax bill, see our information about Secured Property Taxes.
  
When is the supplemental tax due?
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​The supplemental tax is due upon the mailing of the bill. It is payable in two installments.
  
When does the supplemental tax bill become delinquent?
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​The supplemental tax bill is payable in two installments, like the secured bill. The delinquent dates of the installments depend on when the bill is mailed. A supplemental tax bill mailed between July and October carries a first installment delinquent date of December 10 and a second installment delinquent date of April 10. Supplemental bills mailed between November and June carry a delinquent date based on the month in which the bill was mailed—the first installment is delinquent the last day of the following month in which the bill was mailed. The second installment is delinquent four (4) months later. For example, if a supplemental tax bill is mailed in February, the first installment delinquent date would be March 31 and the second installment delinquent date would be July 31.
 
If I pay property taxes through an impound account (i.e., with my mortgage payment), will my lender get my supplemental tax bill?
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​No. Unlike the annual tax bill, lending agencies do not receive a copy of the supplemental tax bill. When you receive a supplemental tax bill, you must contact your lender to determine who will pay the bill. Furthermore, if the tax payment is not made before the delinquency date due to a misunderstanding between yourself and your lender, the penalties cannot be excused. State law stipulates that this is not an acceptable reason for excusing penalties.
 
When should I expect my supplemental tax bill(s)?
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Most supplemental bills are mailed within nine (9) months after a change in ownership or new construction. You should receive a Notification of Supplemental Assessment approximately sixty (60) days before the bill is mailed.
 
To avoid penalties, you should check the status of your property taxes and/or request a duplicate bill by contacting our office. Do not wait until it is too late as penalties will be added.
Our contact information is located at www.scctax.org.
If I don't pay on time, will I be charged a penalty?
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​Yes. If your payment is not received or postmarked by the delinquent dates, the penalty amounts are the same as secured taxes: First installment penalty = 10% of the first installment amount plus $20.00 cost. Second installment penalty = 10% of the second installment amount, plus $20 cost.
  
When should I expect my supplemental tax bill(s)?
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​Most supplemental bills are mailed within nine (9) months after a change in ownership or new construction. You should receive a Notification of Supplemental Assessment approximately sixty (60) days before the bill is mailed.
  
When should I mail my payment to avoid penalties?
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​When you mail your payment, your payment envelope must possess a United States Postal Service postmark on or before the tax delinquent date in order to avoid the delinquent penalties.
  
Is a private postage meter date the same as the United States Postal Service postmark?
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​No. California law requires the Tax Collector to accept the U.S. postmark, not a private meter date, as the date of payment.
  
faqGroupLookupString: Tax Exemption
Tax Exemption
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Homeowners' Exemption
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​If you own a home and occupy it as your principal place of residence as of January 1, you may apply for an exemption of $7,000 of your assessed value. New property owners should automatically receive an exemption application in the mail. A Homeowners' Exemption also may apply to a supplemental assessment if the property was not previously receiving a Homeowners' Exemption on the regular Assessment Roll.
  
Other Exemptions
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Santa Clara County residents who own and occupy their single family home, condominium or town home, are 65 years of age or older, and have a total household income less than 75% of the state median income are eligible to receive an exemption from the water district's special tax. Call (408) 265-2607 ext. 2810.
 
For more information on these and other exemptions, go to the County Assessor’s Office website.
  
faqGroupLookupString: Unsecured Taxes
Unsecured Taxes
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Can I pay my unsecured property tax bill with my credit card or e-check?
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The Office of the Tax Collector provides a web site, where Credit Card and e-check payments can be made. Credit Cards accepted are: Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover.
Please note that additional credit card processing fees will be charged in addition to your payment.
 
The County of Santa Clara uses Official Payments Corporation to process credit card and e-check payments.
 
Since the County is by law not allowed to collect less than the actual tax amount, any fees for processing this credit card payment must be paid by you.
 
To pay your tax bill by credit card, please go to the following web site: http://payments.scctax.org/payment/jsp/startup.jsp
If I don't pay my Unsecured Taxes on time, will I be charged a penalty?
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Yes. If your payment is not received or postmarked by the delinquent date, a 10% penalty and a $50.00 collection fee is added to your bill. If your bill remains unpaid for two additional months, a monthly penalty of 1½% begins to accrue. In addition, if a Certificate of Tax Lien is recorded, an additional fee of $8.00 will be required to release the lien.​​
What are "unsecured" property taxes?
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​The term "unsecured" simply refers to property that can be relocated and is not real estate. The tax is assessed against such things as business equipment, fixtures, boats and airplanes. If the unsecured tax is not paid, a personal lien is filed against the owner, not the property.
  
The value of my business property is over-assessed by the County Assessor
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May I pay taxes on the estimated worth of my business property while I work with the Assessor to correct the over-assessment?
 
No. The Revenue and Taxation Code requires you to pay the full amount of the current tax bill. You will receive a refund with interest (if interest is greater than $10.00) upon a correction issued by the County Assessor's office.
  
When is the unsecured tax assessed?
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​The County Assessor establishes the value of the unsecured property on January 1. This date is often referred to as the Tax Lien date.
  
How are the unsecured tax amounts determined?
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​The January 1 value is multiplied by the tax rate (usually 1% plus voter approved indebtedness). The unsecured tax rate is the prior year's secured rate.
  
What period of time does an unsecured tax bill cover?
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​An unsecured tax bill covers a fiscal year. The fiscal year begins July 1 and ends on June 30 of the following calendar year.
  
If I sell my unsecured property before the fiscal year begins, am I still responsible for the unsecured tax?
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​Yes. Disposal of the property after the January 1 lien date does not eliminate your tax liability. If you sell the property before the unsecured tax bill is issued, make sure you collect an estimated amount for the unsecured tax from the buyer.
  
When should I expect my unsecured tax bill?
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​Most unsecured bills are mailed June 30. These bills must be paid on or before 5 p.m. on August 31. If the bill is mailed after July 31, the delinquent date is extended to the end of the month following the bill’s issuance. In other words, if your bill is mailed in September, the delinquent date would be October 31.
When should I mail my tax payment to avoid penalties?
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​You can mail your payment, but in order to avoid the delinquent penalties, your payment envelope must possess a United States Postal Service postmark on or before the tax delinquent date.
 
Is a private postage meter date the same as the United States Postal Service postmark?
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​No. California law requires the Tax Collector to accept the U.S. postmark, not a private meter date, as the date of payment.
 
If I don't pay my unsecured tax bill, can the Tax Collector take my property?
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​Yes. California law allows the Tax Collector to seize and sell the unsecured property or any other personal property owned by the assessee including bank accounts.
 
My business was sold in January and I still received a tax bill. Why do I have to pay taxes on a business I no longer own?
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​The owner of personal property as of January 1st is responsible for the unsecured tax bill.  Disposal, removal, or sale of the property after the January 1st lien date will not affect the tax bill.  Taxes will not be prorated due to the sale or disposal of taxable personal property after the lien date.  Any proration of the tax is strictly a private matter between the seller and buyer.
The Tax Collector placed a lien on my name which appears on my credit report. How do I get it corrected?
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​A lien is placed against the individual for delinquent unpaid taxes. In order to clear the delinquency, all taxes, costs, and penalties must be paid. Upon payment in full, the Office of the Tax Collector will prepare a "Release of Lien" and forward it to the payor.  The release must be recorder at the County Clerk-Recorder's office. This information is then obtained by the credit bureaus and they update their records to show that the lien has been satisfied. Taxpayers must be aware that neither the Tax Collector nor the County Clerk-Recorder forward cleared delinquencies to credit agencies.
 
Last updated: 10/26/2017 10:33 AM