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.