Property Tax News and Resources for Transferring Property Taxes in California

Transfer your property tax base to a child

Your Source for Timely and  Accurate Property Tax News and Information. PropertyTaxNews.org is a top resource for California Proposition 58, Proposition 19 & Proposition 13 property tax information. Learn about Transferring Property Taxes, and obtaining a Parent to Child Property Tax Transfer in inherited homes in California.

Most CA property owners back Prop 13, and Proposition 58.  And it’s worth pointing out that California Proposition 13, also called The People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation, voted into law as an amendment of the Constitution of California – is, after 42 years, even more popular today as it was when Californians voted it into law on June 6, 1978. (Interestingly enough, the same date memorializing the Normandy landings, D-Day on June 6, back in 1944.)

As a matter of fact, CA Proposition 13 was championed early on, and driven successfully through numerous political  obstacles, by the famous Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association… whose  CEO, Mr. Jon Coupal, took over the Chief Executive reigns in 1999, and is largely responsible for leading the charge for accelerated property tax relief in California,  right up to the present.

There are many reasons that most CA property owners back Prop 13,  Proposition 58, and usage of the parent to child transfer of all types of real property in California.  Financial analysts tell us, in no uncertain terms, that Proposition 13 has saved California taxpayers over $528 billion – saving the average middle class California family more than $60,000 to-date… and counting. 

A clear-cut majority of home owners in California still support Proposition 13, and Proposition 58, for parent to child transfer of property, parent to child exclusion from property reassessment,  or Proposition 193 involving grandparent to grandchild property transfers, when inheriting property taxes – which has, after 1986, enabled families with home owners to transfer real property from parent to child, and keep parents property taxes, without being reassessed at present day tax rate increases.

As long as California property owners want to take advantage of property tax relief… with the use of unhampered parent to child transfer of properties; and the ability to avoid property tax reassessment when inheriting property taxes… with the lawful right to keep parents property taxes — the public will find a way to retain these property tax breaks, despite constant efforts to unravel or water-down critical property tax relief elements voted into law in 1978 with Proposition 13, and in 1986 with Proposition 58. 

In other words, Californians will fight hard no matter what, to keep their property tax breaks, to keep parents property taxes; to protect property tax transfer, no matter how many times opposing political parties try to destroy property tax relief in the state of California. 

Transferring Property Taxes is discussed here, in various posts, within this Property Tax News Achieve

Even though most CA property owners support Proposition 13, as well as Proposition 58 and 193 – opponents of Prop 13 and Prop 58 appear to be, when all is said and done, after more cash from tax payers in California.  A stubborn minority that simply opposes property tax relief, such as special interest politicians in the pocket of certain powerful people in select sectors of the real estate business.

Moreover, we shouldn’t forget financially and politically driven local and state government employee union bosses, plus some  poorly informed independent realtors and educational system administrators with tunnel vision… A few mainstream newspapers like the SF Chronicle and LA Times, with an interest in big-bucks real estate advertising – and of course your hard core local government tax collectors –  who are simply after more hard cold cash from tax payers in California… plain and simple. 

The critics of these property tax relief initiatives still seem to be laboring under the long-held misconception that there would be more cash coming into the real estate business, and into state coffers, were it not for the lack of present-day real property value reassessment associated with Proposition 13 and Prop 58… directly affecting California tax revenue. 

Frankly, after examining the facts driving these property tax issues, it is plain to see, for anyone that is really looking… that these long held misconceptions that critics of property tax relief cling to so tightly, and in fact exactly that – nothing but misconceptions.

Please explore our vast archive of information on California Property Tax News located here.

Information on California Property Tax Acts

California Proposition 19 is the Home Protection for Seniors, Severely Disabled, Families, and Victims of Wildfire or Natural Disasters Act. Prop 19 was approved by California voters on November 3, 2020. California Proposition 19 takes effect on February 16, 2021. Proposition 19 modified California Proposition 58 by requiring that the child or children use the residence as their principal residence in order to avoid property tax reassessment. Additionally Prop 19 put a cap of $1,000,000 on the amount of property value that can be excluded from reassessment. (Curtesy of https://cloanc.com/)

California Proposition 58 became effective on November 6, 1986 and with certain limitations allows for the exclusion for reassessment of property taxes on transfers between parents and children. Proposition 193 provides some of the same exclusions as Proposition 58 for Grandparents and Grandchildren when all of the qualifying parents of the Grandchildren are deceased. 

California Proposition 13

 

 

Recent Blog Entries

 

Getting the Most Out Of Prop 13 and Prop 19 Property Tax Breaks

Getting the Most Out Of Prop 13 and Prop 19 Property Tax Breaks

Getting the Most Out Of Prop 13 and Prop 19 Property Tax Breaks

Residents in California that Benefit from Proposition 19

Focusing on senior residents and of course wildfire victims in the promotion of Proposition 19 was an extremely clever move by the CA Legislature. The state has been in the midst of another catastrophic series of natural fire storms  at the same time that voters were being introduced to the Proposition 19 tax measure; and voters certainly were personalizing what it might feel like to lose their home, in a matter of minutes, to fire… and of course this connection did not go unnoticed by the folks promoting Prop 19.  

Proposition 19’s backers ran sentimental, heart-tugging ads and even poured cash into the firefighter’s union.  Nonetheless, Proposition 19 only just passed with a little over half of the vote, 51%.
 
Prop 19 is a positive financial opportunity for seniors, victims of natural disasters and fire storms, and for homeowners with disabilities; or residents that happen to be grandparents that are looking to relocate from one area to another in California, to purchase a house nearer their family, specifically their children. And it’s a positive opportunity for older married couples looking to downsize, or to upgrade to a retirement home. 

On the other hand, it is a challenge for many middle class families, that are trying to avoid property tax reassessment; that are keen on establishing a low property tax base; to take advantage of Proposition 13 transfer of property, that wish to transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property taxes. It’s important to most families when inheriting property taxes from a parent, to keep parents property taxes, on any property tax transfer with a parent to child transfer or parent to child exclusion. 

Moreover, beneficiaries looking to buyout co-beneficiaries, siblings, are always looking for help in the transfer of property between siblings, to make sure nothing goes wrong — that you can keep your parent’s low Proposition 13 tax base and properly establish a low property tax base when buying out a siblings’ share of a house.

Easy Mistakes to Make, and to Avoid, with Proposition 13 & Prop 19

A few mistakes single homeowners, beneficiaries and property owning families  can fall into quite easily:

1) Some families forget to execute a property LLC in order to protect their  property from property tax reassessment when they pass away.

2) Some heirs or beneficiaries are not aware that they must file a claim for a “reassessment exclusion” or “exemption” under Proposition 13 inside of three years after the passing of a decedent, and therefore may lose their exclusion from property reassessment.  This can be an extremely expensive mistake.

3) Some homeowners mistakenly believe that they are passing on a “principal residence” or “primary residence”  but in fact have not resided full time in that home for many years.  This will cause expensive reassessment issues for any beneficiaries.

4) Some families believe they can pass on an exclusion from reassessment regarding a multi-unit residential property, even though they only reside in part  of the property.  This will cause serious issues for any beneficiary or heir.  

5) Some heirs or beneficiaries may not understand that they must reside in an inherited property only as a primary residence, under Proposition 19, in order to take advantage of a “parent-to-child” exclusion from reassessment, establishing a low property tax base; once a parent passes away.  Non primary residence could trigger reassessment at current market rates.

6) Some families revise the title of their home without consulting their tax lawyer or property tax specialist, possibly triggering property tax reassessment.

7) Some families will include numerous beneficiaries in a living trust, along with  listing their home.  If some of the beneficiaries are not offspring and some are, your actual children, i.e., heirs, may lose their ability to avoid property tax reassessment.

8) Some families may shift an industrial facility they have inherited into an LLC for business purposes, while renting it out; triggering a property tax reassessment by not  filing the proper forms in a timely fashion.

9) A property transfer may occur without proper registration paperwork filed   with the state.  Twenty years later the new property owner may owe twenty years worth of back property taxes at vastly increased rates. This can be a devastating event, causing the current owner to lose their home.

These laws are complicated and different scenarios can be confusing. Mistakes with paperwork or filing procedure errors can trigger reassessment at current market rates; even resulting in the loss of a home.  Another reason why estate lawyers have become so important as of late!

Beneficiary Property Disputes Resolved by Loans to Irrevocable Trusts

Loans to Irrevocable Trusts

Loans to Irrevocable Trusts

Over the past several years, since 2016, we have seen a fair amount of estates, or inheritances in trust, that are embroiled in a dispute or infra-family trust battle over who should be receiving the larger share of cash assets or the largest percentage of an old home left a Mom or a Dad. And we see this pattern repeated over and over again; the same words, the same playbook, similar arguments and similar claims.

Several US firms that provide inheritance loans and cash advance assignments for estate heirs and trust beneficiaries receiving inheritance assets and property have all confirmed, when asked, that up to 75% of the families they have provided advance funds to were mired in infra-family squabbles and disputes over inheritance funds or inherited real estate. 

In California a simple trust loan solution involving Proposition 58, as well as specific tax breaks within Proposition 13, resolve certain beneficiary property disputes.  Only in California is it possible for family members to buyout a co-beneficiary, usually a sibling or several siblings, with the help of established property tax breaks…

Therefore, family disputes caused by sibling disagreements over whether or not they should sell or retain shared inherited property; or what that inherited property value should be, if the assigned tax assessor value is mistrusted, can easily be minimized… Generally, these conflicts are resolved rapidly and satisfactorily if a large loan to an irrevocable trust (working in tandem with CA Proposition 58) is implemented effectively through an experienced trust lender.

If this trust loan process is not implemented properly, the wheels trend to come off the estate wagon, so to speak, and these particular estates typically do not end well.  Whereas, if this trust loan & Prop 58 process is executed correctly beneficiaries end up owning their  inherited property securely, while siblings who insist on selling their inherited property shares end up receiving more money through the trust loan process than if they had received a direct non-trust cash payment from an outside buyer.

Residential and commercial property owners in every single state in America need to research benefits provided by trust lenders furnishing loans to trusts, specifically loans to irrevocable trusts and CA Proposition 13 transfer of property establishing a fixed low base rate in conjunction with a Proposition 58 transfer of parents’ property and transfer of parents property taxes. 

All property owners, for their own good, will eventually have to understand what inheriting parents property, inheriting property taxes, property tax transfer and what the ability to  transfer parents property taxes is really all about.  Plus how to keep parents property taxes at the lowest base rate possible.  Moreover, they must understand why a parent to child transfer, or parent to child exclusion, is so profoundly important and creates the core of property tax relief in California… And we can only hope in other states as well.  If homeowners in other states begin calling and sending emails to their often invisible representatives in Washington DC, this might actually become a reality in the near future – and should, given the economic challenges middle class families are facing, and will continue to face for some time to come.

Goods and services as well as real estate can be incredibly pricey in states like Connecticut, Texas, California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts… these are all expensive states, in terms of day to day living… However, decreasing property taxes down to a more manageable level can change people’s entire outlook on their life, helping middle class families to function more effectively with financial struggles, at least to some degree.

Moreover, the concept of paying yearly taxes on something you purchase and then keep for many years, might be flawed to begin with. What other large purchase you may make continues to charge you fees for ownership, for the rest of the time that you own that item?  Other than insurance, do you continue to pay taxes on a boat you own? An airplane? A car? A motorcycle? None. Only real property.  Perhaps the whole concept of taxing real estate after the initial purchase could use some fresh, new examination.

At any rate, California is still the only state in America where you can avoid property tax reassessment at current market rates; capped at 2% taxation,  as long as you own property inherited from parents… thanks to 1978 CA Proposition 13 enabling the ability to  transfer parents property taxes.  These issues are covered in detail on the California State Board of Equalization, that covers Proposition 58 at great length.  Or you can look at business oriented sites that focus on property tax relief,  such as Michael Wyatt Consulting, or trust loans and Proposition 58 at sites like Commercial Loan Corp;  or go take a look at resource info blogs such as Loan to a Trust, or even a blog like this one,  Property Tax News for information on Proposition 19, Proposition 13, and support or opposition to property tax relief in California, in the present as well as in years past for an accurate historical perspective.

PART TWO: California Beneficiaries Learn How to Make Prop 19 Work For Them

How California Prop 19 Works

How California Prop 19 Works

Interestingly enough, even though certain members of the press now oppose Proposition 19 as if they had been defending this position all this time – when in actual fact they had been trying to convince Californians that their Prop 58 parent to child transfer, to avoid property tax reassessment, their parent to child exclusion from being taxed at current rates, or their right to buyout a sibling’s share of their inherited property, was a negative.

When in fact they now admit that for property owners, heirs and beneficiaries inheriting property from parents – all these tax breaks are clearly a positive benefit for California residents. And in the real world, away from ideology, there is no disputing it.

So like many residents, after Proposition 19 was voted into law, the California press also found themselves experiencing “buyer’s remorse” once the dust had settled a bit and Prop 19 actually became a reality, for better or for worse.

Confusing things even more, investigative reporters at the Los Angeles Times created the “Lebowski Loophole” in 2018, named after actor Jeff Bridges. The Times reported that “Jeff Bridges, together with his brother Beau and their sister were paying only $5,700 a year in property taxes on a 4-bedroom Malibu home with access to a semi-private beach and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean; inherited from their parents, who bought it in the 1950’s; but none of the Bridges siblings lived there.

Apparently, the Bridges family was renting out their beachfront property for $15,000 a month. This urban legend is still the only example used by the press, year after year, to support anti property tax relief arguments. They use this one example to represent a supposed army of folks doing the same thing… and yet, surprisingly, have not come up with the name of another family investing in high-end property under Proposition 13, getting off easy on taxes, and renting out their property out for huge financial gain.

In all these years, for whatever reason, the press has never come up with the name of another family as even a second example of this type of supposed “property tax abuse” showing how Proposition 13 is abused by California inheritors.

The truth is, by and large, most middle class families inheriting property are taking advantage of the parent-to-child exclusion tax break merely to survive and to be able to afford to inherit property without getting killed on the tax hit. Middle class folks that are merely trying to live with a degree of comfort and class in a hyper expensive state, where all the good things have been established with the wealthy in mind – the flashy cars, the beachfront properties, the large homes with beautiful lawns and pools, the fancy restaurants, and the red carpets… The fame and success, that everyone stops and stares at, and admires.

Still held over from Prop 58, we now have similar, albeit more limited, Proposition 19 parent-to-child exclusion benefits, for beneficiaries who want to avoid property tax reassessment; who want to keep inherited property from parents and keep parents property taxes.  They support the  transfer of property taxes when inheriting property taxes from a parent.
Property tax transfer, the ability to transfer parents property taxes, keeping property at a low base rate is top of mind for every homeowner and property inheritor in California.

Parent to child transfer – their parent to child exclusion from property reassessment is the only benefit that makes it possible to be able to establish a low Prop 13 property tax base, the same as their parents had… Plus the transfer of property between siblings, to be able to buyout co-beneficiaries who are looking to sell their inherited property shares.

In reality, this type of property tax relief, by being able to transfer parents property taxes, accomplishes exactly what is was set out to do – protect residents’ property tax rates, and give the middle class some sense of property tax stability; to have a sense of pride and security over the years.

Were it not for Prop 13, you can rest assured property taxes would be sky high by now, practically unaffordable for many; and certainly a struggle for most.

PART ONE: California Beneficiaries Learn How to Make Prop 19 Work For Them

California Beneficiaries Learn How to Make Prop 19 Work For You - Part 1

California Beneficiaries Learn How to Make Prop 19 Work For You – Part 1

Representatives of the 2021 California Legislature don’t talk very much about Californians who are on the losing side of Proposition 19. They admit to “sweeping changes” in a generic sense, but rarely how those sweeping changes affect middle class people, not multi-millionaires, in specific actionable ways, such as unique property tax benefits thanks to Proposition 13… avoiding property tax reassessment, much to the benefit of regular working families’ bank accounts

We’re not talking about millionaires or billionaires here, we’re talking about middle class, working families who want their children or grandchildren to be able to inherit their home and be able to take advantage of a low Prop 13 tax base. It is as simple as that.

To take advantage of Proposition 19 or Proposition 58 to avoid property tax reassessment, heirs or  beneficiaries must move into an inherited home as a primary residence, within 12 months after the surviving parent passes away. Thereby avoiding property tax reassessment, as long as the offspring don’t decide to use this inherited property as an investment property… for vacation or rental purposes.   It sounds complicated, but it’s not.

For example, take a house in Santa Barbara bought by your parents in 1975 for $100,000.  By now, it’s valued at $2,000,000, yet the assessed value under Proposition 13 is $200,000. Therefore, your parents pay approximately $2,500 a year in property taxes, after local property tax assessments. Proposition 13, thankfully still hanging in there, allows for an unlimited parent-to-child exclusion, or “principal residence exclusion” as attorneys would call it; permitting offspring to inherit this home plus the $200,000 assessed value and the low $2,500 yearly tax hit. The 2% annual cap protects your property taxes so they can go up only $50 roughly per year.

Prop 19 caps the “principal residence” parent-to-child exclusion is now, since Feb 16, 2021, capped by Proposition 19 at $1,000,000 meaning, if we’re using our example of a $2,000,000 house in Santa Barbara (an admittedly modest home for Santa Barbara)… the additional $1 million in value will result in property taxes of $10,000 plus per year. 

Paying taxes only on 50% of your home’s value does sound like a great way to save on property taxes. However, it this can also be a negative for numerous working families… as there are also other costs, for instance maintenance, utilities, water, air conditioning and/or heat, unexpected repairs, certainly there is insurance and frequently a mortgage.

Factoring all this together, if you inherit a home and decide not to move in as a primary residence – your property taxes will go up abruptly and significantly! Regrettably, your lovely new inherited home will be reassessed at the full market value of $2 million, resulting in an annual tax bill of over $25,000! Not an attractive outcome for a middle class homeowner.

The Los Angeles Times characterized Proposition 19 as a tax law that: “…would just expand the inequities in California’s property tax system.” They claim it is a “…cynical and unwelcomed melding of good and bad tax proposals”.

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “It’s still a flawed package, designed to rev up home sales that benefit real estate agents who could reap more in commissions.”

And Mercury News wrote: “Prop. 19 merely plugs one hole in the state’s porous property tax laws while creating another. It’s time for holistic reform that simplifies the system and makes it more equitable…”

And yet, ironically, many of the same California newspaper editors that now vehemently appose Proposition 19 had formerly been printing articles and editorials that repeatedly indicated that limiting the ability to keep parents property taxes in California or “…limiting or ending the Proposition 58 parent-to-child exclusion was a good thing for California”. 

Oddly enough, these Editorials and Op-Eds were trying to convince CA homeowners that the Proposition 13 enabled process of transferring property taxes, and obtaining a parent to child property tax transfer was not — as the entire state of California has thought since 1978 — actually beneficial to homeowners and beneficiaries inheriting property from parents.

– the ability to transfer parents property taxes and keep parents property taxes in California when inheriting property taxes, were not positive property tax benefits for beneficiaries or homeowners.  Even though now, their official opinion is quite the opposite.

 

How Will Proposition 19 Impact Middle Class Families in California?

How Will Proposition 19 Impact Middle Class Families in California

How Will Proposition 19 Impact Families in California

Before Proposition 19 existed, parents in California could transfer their primary residence and $1,000,000 per parent of other property to their children without triggering a tax reassessment of  those properties. After Feb. 15, 2021 that exemption, the parent-child exclusion,  was watered down, limiting access to this time-honored exclusion from current property tax rates to moving into an inherited home only as a primary residence;  and limiting a beneficiary’s ability to go about avoiding property tax reassessment in CA to a strict 12-month move-in period. 

As long as this deadline is kept, heirs will be avoiding property tax reassessment in CA without issue.  An heir’s ability to transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property taxes, and the right to keep parents property taxes on any property tax transfer from a parent, as Proposition 19 parent to child transfer, or Prop 19 parent to child exclusion, is guaranteed.  As is the right for a beneficiary to get a trust loan from a trust lender to implement a  transfer of property between siblings… In other words, you can lock in a low Prop 13 property tax base plus buyout co- beneficiaries if they want to sell their inherited property.  Amen!  And in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, with rampant unemployment and under-employment… a 6-figure trust loan could be a life-saver.

After Feb. 16, a transfer of a principal residence by a parent to a child (heir) is only exempt if the parent was using the property as their principal, or primary, residence; and the heir is also residing in the inherited home as a primary, principal residence following the parental property transfer.  If that is not a problem, we’ll most likely see an equivalent number of middle class and blue collar families avoiding property tax reassessment in CA as before Prop 19 became law. 

Even if only half as many people as before take advantage of the Prop 19 parent-child exclusion, 50% is still a pretty healthy number.  No other transfers of property between parents and children will be exempt from reassessment, with the exception of a family farm, which is currently defined but as “farmed land” whether the property includes a residence or not. 

Transfers that are excluded from property tax reassessment do have limitations, however.  The exclusion applies only as far as the assessed value at the time of transfer plus $1,000,000. Any property beyond that value would be reassessed at a current market tax value.

Housingwire.com recently wrote: “Prop 19 will deliver needed funding for cities, counties, and school districts when they need it most. It will generate hundreds of millions in annual revenue for fire protection, affordable housing, homeless programs, safe drinking water, and other local services and dedicated revenue for fire districts in rural and urban communities to fix inequities that threaten life-saving response times to wildfires and medical emergencies.”

So how will Proposition 19 impact the middle class, working family  housing market in California, admittedly an expensive state to live in.  Although certain components in California will benefit from a new property tax revenue stream, regular middle class and blue collar families residing in inherited homes may still find it difficult keeping up with the rising costs and expensive lifestyle of California. Yet Prop 58 can still help. Proposition 58 Property Tax Breaks are still in place, despite restrictions.  Providing you intend to occupy an inherited home as your primary residence you can still save as much as $10,000 annually in property tax savings.  

President of One80Reality, Nick Solis, tells us:  ““We are definitely  going to see property taxes rise on inherited homes. California is one of those places where blue collar workers usually pass down homes to kids and other family members. Those homes are now going to be taxed at a much higher rate. It will force their hands to sell, because the properties will be more expensive to retain.”

Mr. Solis said he’s not worried about selling homes, but a new demographic of home buyers is going to emerge. He tells us: “Not     all who receive inherited homes come from money. Many blue collar workers and families bought in previous decades when homes were affordable, and are passing them down to their kids. They will see a tax increase. We’re going to see a different demographic. We were already seeing a major push of middle class and blue collar people,  that could afford a home in places like the Bay area, now moving into the central valley or other more affordable places because they just feel too uncomfortable living in their current homes. And now taxes are going to be even higher on inherited homes.”

A well known California realtor, who preferred to remain anonymous,  recently claimed: “With higher property taxes, keeping inherited homes as rental properties may become unprofitable, estate-planning attorneys are going to be very busy, as this new law may cause many people to decide to sell properties that they intended to pass on to their heirs.” 

Millennials and other younger generations will be impacted as well, avoiding property tax reassessment in CA People in their early twenties might decide to leave California, with no plan to ever return.  This is quite different than recent years, where the state was attracting a lot of young starter-home buyers. The same young adults are now looking carefully for more affordable homes, after graduating from college – even if that means leaving the state completely, with a new job; and perhaps a new family.

Another seasoned California realtor told us, on condition of remaining anonymous:  “It’s a real game-changer.  Both in terms of California properties being sold that would have been passed on through a family trust, or by the beneficiaries who decide they either can’t afford to pay property taxes based on a current assessed value, or just don’t want to pay the higher property taxes. The state’s going to make a lot of money.”

Higher property taxes or not, California will always be an attractive place to live. There is sunshine 12 months per year, an ocean nearby, convenient cities and yet rural areas 30 minutes away… “People are always going to want to live in California, but I can see life getting more expensive here a lot faster than I expected,” Mr. Solis added.

 

 

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