PART ONE: The Home Protection for Seniors, Severely Disabled, Families & Victims of Wildfire or Natural Disasters Act

California Proposition 19

California Proposition 19

Otherwise known as Proposition 19, the new tax measure, more or less replacing Proposition 58, implemented changes to the parent-to-child and grandparent-to-grandchild exclusion – with the base year value transfer measure going into effect April 1, 2021.

Although we’ve covered these rules and regulations previously in this blog it’s always worthwhile to hear what yet another California property tax specialist has to say, if only to verify what others have described as viable revisions to long standing property tax relief in California – so critically important to middle class and upper middle class residents.

Viewpoint From Los Angeles Tax Assessor Jeff Prang

So let’s take a quick look at what senior Los Angeles Tax Assessor Mr. Jeff Prang has to say about these changes to property tax relief in California, and see if his viewpoint is consistent with, or otherwise deviates from, other noted tax experts and property tax specialists in the state, some that we have reviewed or actually spoken to over the past tumultuous year.

Mr. Prang confirms that Proposition 19 tax base transfers allow seniors, age 55 and up, to transfer the taxable value of their existing home to a new “replacement home of any value” – anywhere in the state of California – up to 3-times, instead of only once, as previous property tax regulations allowed, prior to Feb 2021.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Prang mentions the former Proposition 50 and Proposition 171, and looks at the improvements brought about by Proposition 19 to those tax measures – concerning personal harm and property damage from natural disasters, or wildfire; and the subsequent transfer of base year value of a principal residence to any other county, which was much more limited before Proposition 19 took effect .

Mr. Prang also goes out of his way to point out that Proposition 19 allows homeowners to purchase a replacement home of greater value than their original home and transfer their tax base with an adjustment to account for the value difference in cases of homes destroyed or severely damaged by wildfire, which is ironically running rampant in 2021, or some other natural disaster such as flooding or an earthquake.

Parent-to-Child and Grandparent-Grandchild Property Transfer

As of Feb 2021, most tax experts and property tax consultants agree  that in order to inherit a low assessment of a parent or grandparent’s property, under Prop 19, some new conditions must be met, and estate attorneys must get up to speed with these conditions – such as getting in the habit of informing clients that an inherited home has to be moved into within 12 months, retaining a parent’s low property tax base; as primary residence, plus to qualify for a base year value the inherited home must have been the primary residence of the parent or grandparent leaving the property to heirs.

In fact, there is now so much new information for estate and tax attorneys to get up to speed with notably inheriting property while retaining a parent’s low property tax base, to avoid property tax reassessment that many law firms more frequently,  lately, have  been sending clients who are inheriting real property from parents to a trust lender, as those particular lenders bridge the knowledge gap – and serve a purpose lawyers cannot serve, which is providing funding to irrevocable trusts if you as a beneficiary want to keep your parent’s home and, most importantly, retain their low property tax base – buying out sibling property shares while keeping your inherited home at a low Proposition 13 tax base… Basically, taking advantage of Proposition 19 (previously Proposition 58 benefits) in conjunction with an irrevocable trust to buyout one or more siblings’  property shares.  Sounds simple, however it isn’t.

General consensus of tax experts in California is that the CA State Board of Equalization stipulates a concrete set of property tax rules and regs, despite the fact that there are still areas concerning Proposition 19 that remain vague and oddly non-specific, which is still causing accountants and other tax professionals a good deal of distress; and for their business and high net worth clients even more concern – particularly when there is a great deal of money at stake.

 >> Click Here for Part Two…

How the Role of a Trust Lender Can Impact Beneficiaries in California

Trust Loans in California

How to get a trust loan in California

As most Californians know, property tax measure Proposition 13, voted into law in 1978, capped property tax rates at 1%–2%. Property could now be reassessed on a property transfer from parent to child, with the right to transfer parents property taxes protected by the parent-to-child exclusion which was folded into tax measure Proposition 58, voted into law in 1986, and as you know is now revised, having morphed into 2021 Proposition 19 property tax law, with new rules for property tax transfers in California…

This continued the exemption for property transfers between parent and child, avoiding property tax reassessment with the right to transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property taxes from a parent; with the ability to keep parents property taxes long-term with this type of standard Proposition 19 protected property tax transfer, parent to child transfer and of course parent to child exclusion.

When there is only one heir, child of the parent, property transfer is relatively simple, knowing you have the right to transfer parents property taxes involving only one heir.  Conflict typically surfaces only when there are two or more siblings inheriting property shares… with one heir looking to retain the parent’s home, while the other heir or heirs insist on selling off their inherited property shares; generally calling for a “non-pro-rata” trust distribution, meaning that each heir with an interest in the inherited property receives an equal proportion of the entire estate with the help of a trust lender and a Prop 19 trust loan – however not necessarily of each asset. It’s important to note that non-pro-rata distribution by a trustee can have a major impact on property taxes.

Not using a Prop 19 trust loan solution, the use of personal funds to pay off a sibling co-beneficiary’s interest in a home would be viewed as a “change in ownership” therefore the outcome of this transaction would trigger property reassessment of that beneficiary’s inherited property share. If there are two heirs, each having inherited 50% of the property, the remaining 50% would be open to property tax reassessment. On the other hand, if there were three beneficiaries and only 1/3 of the property were retained, 2/3 beneficiary interest being bought out – 2/3 of the property would be vulnerable to property tax reassessment.

However, with the help of a trust lender funding an irrevocable trust, buying out the beneficiary or beneficiaries looking to sell off inherited shares – the fact that the trust is actually borrowing the funds to equalize distribution to the siblings that are selling out, and funding is not in fact distributed to the sibling or siblings themselves – property tax reassessment is successfully avoided.

For example, let’s examine the Anderson family in North Hollywood, who owns a home valued at $800,000, free and clear of any debt. In other words the family owns the house outright. Assessed value is $100,000. Let’s say, for the sake of argument that sibling Nina insists on selling the home, and wants a cash for her share; while another sibling, Jasper, is determined to keep the home.

(Option A) Jasper cleans out his savings account and pays out $400,000 to buy out Nina’s inherited property shares. This results in a “change of ownership” with respect to Jasper’s 50% property buyout, and the assessed outcome is a 50% property tax reassessment with a significant increase in property taxes.

(Option B) Jasper enlists the help of a trust lender, who provides a $400,000 loan to an irrevocable trust, along with getting approval to allow the trust loan to work in conjunction with Proposition 19; enabling Jasper to keep his parent’s low Proposition 13 protected property tax base. The third-party trust lender also sees to it that that funds are distributed equitably to Nina – in fact with more cash than any outside buyer would be likely, realistically, to offer – with no change in ownership, and no property reassessment; and therefore no property tax hike. The trustee at this point transfers the entire property to Jasper who plans to pay off the $400,000 loan to the irrevocable trust by cashing out a life insurance policy.

Thad Farrell, Proposition 19 / trust loan account manager (Commercial Loan Corporation at 877-756-4454) at the Commercial Loan Corp trust lending firm in Newport Beach, sums up the process as follows:

Usually siblings that want to retain inherited property from parents come to us first, generally after being referred to us by a law firm. Middle class families that can’t afford to pay reassessed taxes on an inherited home… Which pretty much sums up most families these days! Siblings inheriting a home have two options. They can sell or keep their inherited property. In other words, your family has to make up their mind – what they want to do, sell or keep. Selling it is far more expensive. By keeping the home, each beneficiary looking to sell out receives approximately $15,000 extra in a cash trust distribution when compared to selling the home to a regular buyer; because they avoid costly realtor and real estate sale expenses. A realtor typically charges 6%, there can be costs to prepare the home for sale and closing costs such as title, escrow or assistance with buyer closing costs on top of that… Each beneficiary keeping the inherited home winds up saving on average $6,200 (each) in yearly property taxes. So do the math, for starters. Whereas, if the property is reassessed – the cost can be very high.

At the end of the day, there are positive emotional outcomes from this process as well as financial savings and extra funds… However the key result is the fact that when everyone walks away from using a trust loan to take advantage of the proposition 19 parent to child property tax transfer, they all understand that they have just completed a win-win transaction… In other words, unlike most business transactions where there is often a winner and a loser – in this scenario everybody wins and no one loses.

 

New Rules For Property Tax Transfers In California

Rules for California Property Tax Transfer

The new rules for California Property Tax Transfer in 2021

To Transfer Property Taxes: New Rules & Regulations 

When Proposition 19 was voted into law in Nov 2020, taking affect in Feb of 2021 – a learning curve was suddenly in effect for new homeowners and beneficiaries inheriting property from parents. It became essential, especially for middle class and upper middle class families, to quickly learn about changes to tax relief laws that would impact both existing trusts and inherited real estate.

For example, a “qualified personal residence trust” (QPRT), which is a trust that is established with the intent of allowing parents to continue to live in a house; and once that period of time has ended the balance of the interest is transferred to beneficiaries.

Put simply, a QPRT is a special kind of irrevocable trust that allows the person who created it to remove a primary residence from his, or her, estate so gift taxes can be reduced when transferring assets to a beneficiary.

Buying Out Sibling Property Shares While Keeping Your Inherited Home at a Low Proposition 13 Tax Base

As many Californians know, a loan to an irrevocable trust can also be used to buyout siblings’ property shares, inherited from a parent… while allowing beneficiaries who wish to retain that property, to transfer property taxes and keep that home at their parents’ low Proposition 13 protected tax base. It’s essentially a home equity loan on inherited property, made to the trust.

What a lot of people don’t know is the fact that the trustee and beneficiaries who are intent on keeping their inherited property will frequently borrow money to have their trust funded by a qualified trust lender licensed in the state of California so that an equal distribution of the trust can be made in order to meet California Proposition 19 Board of Equalization requirements.

Typically, beneficiaries enlist funding from a trust lender when a trust does not have sufficient cash to make an equal distribution to all the beneficiaries who are looking to sell their inherited property. Hence, the ability to transfer property taxes, mainly to transfer parents’ property taxes; and avoid property tax reassessment of an inherited home. Usually a savings of over $6,200 per year in property taxes. 

Avoiding ‘Fair Market Rates’ with Proposition 19 Trust Loan Exclusion from Property Reassessment

Changes to California property tax relief in 2021 are a challenge to  understand.  Trusts, Californians have discovered, are now used for more purposes than merely deferring property taxes for a few months. Californians have also discovered that they can avoid being reassessed at fair market rates by moving into inherited property as their principle residence  – bearing in mind a $1,000,000 cap on an exclusion from existing property tax rates.

The benefits of making a lifetime transfer of inherited property has to be compared to a transfer at the passing of a parent, which may cause you, as an heir, to inherit a “stepped-up basis” in transferred property. In other words, when you inherit assets that increased in value from when your deceased parent owned it, the asset’s “basis” is increased to the property’s current or “fair market” value on the date of the parent’s passing.  Unless you take steps to avoid this increase, to be able to transfer property taxes successfully, and avoid property tax reassessment altogether!

Saving Money on Property Taxes With Help From Experts!

When purchasing a new home or inheriting your parents’ residence
it makes sense to call a specialist experienced in the use of irrevocable trust loans to maintain your parent’s low property tax base, for example like the Michael Wyatt Consulting firm out in Corona, CA.  If you are inheriting a home, or expect to inherit a home and plan to transfer the low property tax base to a new home down the road, through an irrevocable trust loan in conjunction with Proposition 19, or Prop 58.

If you’re inheriting a home from a parent and wish to avoid property tax reassessment you still have all the tools to do so, as long as all new requirements are met.  If you’re a beneficiary, a brand new homeowners, you can  transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property and thus inheriting property taxes; with the ability  to keep parents low property tax base, as long as you live in your inherited home. 

Michael Wyatt, an Expert on CA Tax Savings for Homeowners Shares His Viewpoint on  Keeping a Low Property Tax Base

As Michael Wyatt of Michael Wyatt Consulting, tells us: 

When it comes to keeping a low property tax base, with Prop 58 [or now Prop 19] and a trust loan, I always bring my clients to Commercial Loan Corp.  Their loans to trusts give my clients several invaluable benefits. Their terms can be a lot more flexible than an institutional lender like Wells Fargo or Bank of America.  They’re self funded, and that’s why they can extend easier terms to clients…

When your parents die, and your trust agreement says ‘equal shares’  –  That means equal shares!  People basically just get the overall concept of getting money from a trust loan even if it doesn’t sell. It makes more sense all around to get a trust loan; and everyone gets more money.

Regarding the ever-present issue concerning families deciding to either sell inherited property; Or opting to keep property inherited from their parents – Mr. Wyatt  weighs in, telling us: 

More heirs and beneficiaries end up not wanting to sell their inherited property. And  if they did want to sell, a lot of people can be easily convinced, with more cash from a trust loan and trust lender than an outside buyer would come up with, ‘equalizing’ things for them…

You have to look at it this way: there are always  one or two, minimum, who  insist on selling their shares in an inherited property. And there is our initial client contact, with those who want to sell.  And that is where these family estate or trust conflicts begin.  If they sell their property, capital gains tax always hits them. That’s where a trust loan comes in, to avoid that.

A trust lender like Commercial Loan Corp, that doesn’t charge any fees up-front, that’s another great benefit.  Plus, they don’t charge interest on their trust loan in advance. Not only that, there is never a “due-on-sale” clause… that requires the mortgage to be repaid in full when sold; or that all or some of the interest owed must be paid up-front to secure the mortgage. No “alienation clause”… in the event of a property transfer, stating the borrower has to pay back the mortgage in full before the borrower can transfer the property to anyone. 

Going with a firm like that – all costs are offset, unless you plan to keep a property for 2, 3 years or less. Then it doesn’t make sense. But generally you’re looking at keeping that property for seven or more years, as a rule...”

To learn more about your options when inheriting a home from parents – transferring a low property tax base to your new primary residence – contact Michael Wyatt  Consulting, or the Commercial Loan Corp, at (877) 756-4454 to speak with a Trust Loan or Property Tax Savings specialist. Chances are the end result will be a much lower property tax bill.

For more information on California Property Tax News, visit the PropertyTaxNews.org website for all of the latest information and updates. 

CA 2021: What’s Involved with Transferring Property Taxes from Parent to Child?

Transferring Property Taxes in California on an Inherited Home

California Property Tax New and Information on Transferring Property Taxes

Prop 19 Parent-Child Exclusion From Property Tax Reassessment

We’re going to take a look at 2021 property tax issues from a high-level overview perspective here – simply to provide a firmer grasp on everything involved going forward, now that changes to California property tax relief are active.

Proposition 13  property tax relief was voted into California law on the June 1978 ballot, with 64.79% of the vote, insuring that, going forward, the taxable value of California properties would be based on their assessed value (i.e., “base year value”) rather than their current, or “fair market”,  value.  Proposition 58 followed in 1986, with its’ wildly popular “parent-child exclusion”… trust loans to allow beneficiaries inheriting property to begin keeping a low property tax base when inheriting a home is another outgrowth of the popular statewide California parent-child transfer tax break exclusion from property tax reassessment. If you need assistance with a trust loan or learning more about a parent to child property tax transfer, you can call 877-756-4454 or complete this form for additional information:

Despite the fact that the new Proposition 19  property tax law has for all intensive purposes replaced Proposition 58, Proposition 13 will remain intact, as is, going forward.  Proposition 58, was passed on the Nov 1986 ballot, with 75.7% of the vote in California created an exclusion from property tax reassessment, or property transfers between parents and children, known as the parent-to-child exclusion.

Property tax transfer benefits to transfer parents’ property taxes, inheriting property taxes, are still intact under Proposition 19. The parent-child transfer tax break still allows new property owners,  i.e., beneficiaries inheriting parental property, to keep parents property taxes – thereby avoiding property tax reassessment and maintaining exclusion from property tax reassessment. These tax breaks under Proposition 19 are most helpful to Californians with real estate that has low assessed values due to still robust Proposition 13 property tax relief.

As most of us know, assessed value usually reflects the purchase price plus added cost of alterations and improvements; plus an increase of 2% per year maximum tax rate – except when there is  a change in property ownership.

Because real property in California tends to appreciate at a higher rate than 2% per year, the longer real estate is held onto the greater the difference between its’ assessed value and its’ fair market value, hence the greater the difference between property taxes a homeowner pays  versus what is paid by the owner of a property just  purchased, both properties being of similar value.

Proposition 19 allows a beneficiary inheriting parental primary  property to move into an inherited primary residence right away, inside 12-months, avoiding property tax reassessment… As long as the fair market (i.e., current) value of the new inherited home doesn’t exceed the parent’s assessed value by more than $1,000,000

Qualified Personal Residence Trusts & Irrevocable Trust Loans

With respect to irrevocable trusts, if you happen to have siblings and are of the mindset to buyout your sibling co-beneficiaries that are intent on selling off their inherited property shares to an outside buyer – plus you want to keep your parent’s low property tax base, a trust loan solution is surely worth exploring.

Moreover, as you are  inheriting property taxes on an inherited home left by your parent,  an irrevocable trust loan from a reliable trust lender, working in conjunction with Proposition 19, is certain to provide those co-beneficiaries of yours with far more cash than any outside buyer would offer…  So all around, this trust loan process is surely worth serious consideration and an in-depth discussion with your trust or estate attorney.

Transferring Your Assessed Value to a New Primary Residence if You’re 55+, Disabled, or a Victim of a Natural Disaster or Wildfire

If you are over age 55 you now have access to special property tax relief privileges, which is ironic as social bias concerning older Americans usually places seniors in a somewhat inferior, less privileged position;  yet in this case seniors are given greater tax privileges than younger residents, which is a  rather  extraordinary turnaround from the usual “ageist” social and work-place dynamic.

Or, if you are what tax assessors refer to as “severely” disabled; or if you are a  victim of a governor-validated “natural disaster”; or an out-of-control  wildfire, such as California has been experiencing on and off for some time – you can transfer  the assessed value of your primary residence in California to a home you recently purchased, or that was constructed recently as a “replacement residence” in any one of the 58 counties in the great state of California.

Let’s step back for a moment, and take a realistic look at this process from a high-level viewpoint…

These days, the transfer of your property’s  assessed value to a primary replacement residence can take place up to 2-years after the completed sale of your original primary residence; and will remain effective even if your replacement primary residence has a higher current, or fair market, value than your original primary residence.

However, if that is indeed the case, the excess fair market value of your new house will be added to the assessed value of your original house, which will result in the new assessed value of  your new primary residence.  Not only that, speaking of special privileges for those over 55… if you are a homeowner over 55, you  can take full advantage of the assessed value transfer up to three (3) times during  your lifetime.

Additionally,  a “primary residence” under Proposition 19 also applies to family farms.  Lastly, in certain situations, when a grandchild’s parents are both deceased, assessed value can also be legally and validly transferred from grandparent to grandchild, through Proposition 193.

Intra-family Loans to Purchase Real Property vs Intra-Family Trusts & Trust Loans

Family Trust Loans

Family Trust Loans

Intra-family loans, to purchase a home or other big ticket items, are sometimes confused with intra-family trusts involved with  buying out a sibling inheriting property, or several beneficiaries who have inherited property from parents yet wish to sell off their property shares to an outside buyer, keeping a low property tax base or a loan to an irrevocable trust that is also associated with exclusion from property reassessment.  

Components of these processes have been discussed on a number of high-end websites at length, such as National Review who informs us in no uncertain terms, that:

“… many clients use intra-family loans to assist a relative with the purchase of a residence, the funding of a business venture or an investment in any other asset. If properly structured, intra-family loans also provide clients with an excellent tax planning strategy. To avoid having any part of an intra-family loan considered a gift for tax purposes, a client should follow specific guidelines, including charging a minimum interest rate, documenting the loan, and requiring payment under the loan terms…”

As well as the ever popular economic bible for serious students of finance, Kiplinger – where they tell us: “Intra-family loans typically use the AFR (Applicable Federal Rate), the lowest interest rate that can be charged on a loan for it not to be considered a gift. The IRS has three rate tiers for the three different “terms” of loans: a short-term loan (0-3 years), a mid-term loan (3-9 years) and a long-term loan (9 years or more).”

If you apply some serious thought to it, you’re bound to come to the conclusion that it makes very little senses to involve the  government in family loan matters.  In fact, it’s not logical to involve the government in any personal matters – financial or otherwise. 

Let’s say you borrow $250,000 from your wealthy Dad – and you pay it back whenever  you pay it back, usually at zero interest, if this even remotely resembles a close family.  If your Dad is going as far as to actually charge you interest it is no ones’ business but your own, between the two of you, as to what the interest might be, or if there even is interest at all, which generally there is not when it concerns internal family lending.   

Although the concept of involving the government in family relationships and intra-family lending is counter intuitive, California intra-family trusts, irrevocable trust loans and exclusion from property reassessment are processes that are unlike any other tax relief or financing anywhere else in the United States – and are extremely useful to both trust lenders and beneficiaries inheriting property from family members, with respect to establishing a low property tax base, as well as buying out co-beneficiaries’ inherited property shares. 

This process moves into some interesting yet often challenging areas when used to resolve inherited beneficiary property disputes and conflicts – typically over retaining versus selling property inherited from parents.… Along with enabling new homeowners and beneficiaries inheriting property to take advantage of  tax breaks under Proposition 19, parent-to-child property tax transfer on an inherited home; and the parent-to-child exclusion from property reassessment on every parental property tax transfer and transfer of property between siblings through trust loan funding; as well as Proposition 19 transfer of property and Proposition 13 to avoid property tax reassessment  when inheriting property taxes, always with the ability to keep your parents’ low tax base for trust beneficiaries,  basically forever. 

Therefore, if you reside in California and are inheriting a home and/or land from a parent who has recently passed – and you prefer to keep your parent’s low  tax rate in addition to claiming an exclusion from property reassessment, along with buying out siblings who insist on selling to an outside buyer – you can always go to a reliable trust lender to accomplish all of the above. 

Moreover, this ensures the siblings you are in conflict with, who are intent on selling out their inherited property shares, that they will  receive a good deal more cash in the transaction that any outside buyer would give them for their property shares… ending as a win-win transaction for all parties concerned.

However, let’s be clear about one thing – it is an intra-family trust that you will be transacting – not an intra-family loan.

Changes to California Property Tax Relief in 2021

Changes to California Property Tax Relief in 2021

Changes to California Property Tax Relief in 2021

The Home Protection for Seniors, Severely Disabled, Families, and Victims of Wildfire or Natural Disasters Act (AKA: Prop 19)

For homeowners in California , it’s important to have a good general understanding of how property tax relief is changing. Fortunately, Californians finally do have a clearer understanding of what property tax measure Proposition 19, passed into law on Nov 3, 2020 by voters in the state of California, is really all about, as well as how Proposition 58 has changed, in terms of property tax reassessment.

A lot of property owners in California aren’t aware of the fact that Proposition 19 was also entitled, “The Home Protection for Seniors, Severely Disabled, Families, and Victims of Wildfire or Natural Disasters Act” – A peculiar, overly wordy title; indicating that seniors, severely disabled people and victims of wildfires or natural disasters will be able to transfer the taxable value of their “original residence” to a “replacement residence” up to three times during their lifetime – anywhere throughout all 58 counties within the state of California.

California State Board of Equalization Chairman Antonio Vazquez said, in regards to the new tax measure, Proposition 19: “Seniors, the severely disabled, and victims of wildfires or natural disasters can now move to a replacement home anywhere in California and avoid significant property tax increases if eligible.  Property tax relief can be beneficial for those especially on limited incomes or who have been affected by wildfires or natural disasters.”

What is the California State Board of Equalization (BOE)?

For all of us who have heard all about BOE for many years, yet have not really understood what the California State Board of Equalization was really all about – it would be a good idea to sit down for a moment and look more closely at the BOE, and see what it is that they do, and how they break down the new Proposition 19 tax measure. 

For starters, the CA State Board of Equalization is literally the only elected tax board in the United States. It contains four Equalization District Members, positioned by locale, plus the State Controller. BOE’s legal responsibilities encompass the management of 58 County Assessors to make sure assessment best practices are in order statewide, without deviating from the set rules and regulations.

Believe it or not, the State Board of Equalization also assesses the property of public utilities along with regulated railroads, and takes in revenue from private railroad car tax. BOE also manages “Alcoholic Beverage Tax” and “Tax on Insurers”; plus property tax administration, promoting “fair and equitable assessments” – protecting tax revenue that school systems, local communities, and the California Legislature depend on, year after year.

Dispelling Confusion Around Proposition 19

The BOE also clarifies some of the confusion surrounding Proposition 19 and its’ ability to help residents avoid property reassessment, in contrast to Proposition 58; confirming that middle class seniors, age 55 and older… often  living on a modest fixed income; or those severely disabled, must meet specific requirements to qualify for new property tax breaks.

Both an “original” and “replacement residence” has to meet special requirements in order to be eligible for the homeowners’ or disabled veterans’ exemption. An application has to be completed and filed with the County Assessor to enable transfer of any taxable value. Finally, a “replacement residence” must be purchased or newly constructed within two years of the sale of an original home. If the market value of a “replacement residence” is greater than the market value of the “original residence”, the difference will be added to the taxable value when transferred.

As far as victims of a wildfire or natural disaster are concerned, similar requirements apply but there are no age restrictions. In order to qualify, a residence has to be seriously damage by a wildfire or a legally verified (frequently “governor verified”) natural disaster.

Parent-Child Exclusion, Originally Under CA Proposition 58

It is true that CA Proposition 19 limits property tax relief under CA Proposition 58, most notably the parent-child exclusion.  This eliminates the $1,000,000 assessed value reassessment exclusion as in a parent-child transfer of residential property that is not a primary residence. This obviously limits the parent-child transfer exclusion from property tax reassessment to primary residences only. 

Yet as long as that criteria is met, Californians can avoid property reassessment, keeping a low property tax base when inheriting a home; as long as the parent leaving the property resided there as a principle residence as well, plus beneficiaries inheriting the property make sure they move in within that 12-month deadline, the California parent to child exclusion from property tax reassessment is protected by Proposition 19, formerly by Prop 58.  As long as this type of property tax transfer, Prop 19 property tax break, is used properly, and the move into an inherited home occurs within one year of inheriting property taxes from a parent.  To reiterate, taken over by the beneficiary, or heirs, as a primary residence; in order to avoid property reassessment.  And according to the new tax laws, as of Feb 2021,  this is the only method left to residents, after Proposition 19 limits are imposed, to be able to  successfully transfer parents property taxes – and keep parents property taxes, basically forever.                     

Transfer of Assessed Value to a New Residence

To review, the other major changes to property tax relief for California property owners, as we touched on a moment ago, is relief for homeowners age 55 and older, folks with a disability, or victims of a wildfire or natural disaster. These residents are now able to transfer assessed value of their primary residence in any county in California – to a home they have just bought, or a newly constructed “replacement residence” used as a primary home.

These new Proposition 19 measures apply to real estate anywhere in California, if you are a resident of the state or not.  Which is a positive change – plus, certain property tax breaks used be accessible only in certain counties.   Californians with vacation homes, residential homes that are for rent, or commercial properties (owned outside any corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, etc.) may not be able to avoid property reassessment, and may have to face property tax reassessment burdens, and may want to seek legal counsel or help from a trust lender or property tax specialist or consultant.

Taking Advantage of Every Key Property Tax Break

Taking Advantage of Every Key Property Tax Break

Taking Advantage of Every Key California Property Tax Break

As a CA homeowner – how do you ensure, as with a parent-child transfer,  that you’re not paying more property tax than you should?

California homeowners are hit with some of the highest property taxes in America.  So the key question we face every year is – how can we legally decrease our property taxes?  As we all know – although it’s worth a second look due to the various confusing changes imposed as of 2020,  2021 – two most popular systems we can utilize to lessen our property tax burden involve tax breaks, contained in the 1978, 1986 and 2021 property tax measures entitled  Proposition 13, Proposition 58 and Proposition 19.

To clear up some of the most confusing issues associated with Prop 19 which now implements the classic parent-child transfer or parent-child exclusion (to avoid paying current property tax reassessment, or “fair market” rates), we’ll have  to examine the updated key tax breaks associated with this type of property tax relief in California, as confirmed by the CA State Board of Equalization (BOE).

To review what most of us probably already know – if you inherit a home to be used as your primary residence from your parents or from your children, who used the property as a primary residence,  you can successfully avoid property tax reassessment at fair market rates. This special treatment also applies if you acquire the home from your grandparents (avoiding property tax reassessment through the Proposition 193 grandparent-to-grandchild exclusion), but only if both of your parents are deceased.  Naturally these processes include any basic property tax transfer designed to avoid property tax reassessment, to transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property taxes from a dad or a mom, or from grandparents.  The point being to keep parents property taxes at all costs, through a parent-child transfer.

As of February 16, 2021, an inherited home must be used as your primary residence if you wish to avoid property tax reassessment upon it. Additionally, if the difference between the property’s assessed value and fair market value is more than $1,000,000 at the time of transfer, the new assessed value will be the fair market value minus $1,000,000.

Irrevocable Trust Loans & Proposition 19 Property Tax Exclusion

Changes to CA Proposition 58 property tax breaks became active Feb 16, 2021 due to Proposition 19 – trust lenders all across Southern and Northern California are busier than ever, helping Californians who are  inheriting a home from parents, as well as beneficiaries inheriting residential property – establishing a low Proposition 13 property tax base for all inherited property going forward.

On top of all that, beneficiaries who are intent on keeping an inherited home are given, through Proposition 19, formerly Proposition 58, the ability to buyout co-beneficiaries, typically siblings, who are looking to sell their shares in the same inherited property… Only with a lot more cash in hand than a non-family outside buyer would pay for the exact same property.  

In fact, the need for middle class families to establish a low property tax base  for newly inherited property has become so urgent that well known estate & trust lender Commercial Loan Corp in Newport Beach is now offering heirs and beneficiaries inheriting a home from parents a free consultation on parent-child transfer preparation, as well as an estimate of property tax savings overall – to keep their parent’s low property tax base.  This Free Consultation for Property Tax Savings helps evaluate the benefit of a loan to an irrevocable trust, specifically for beneficiaries who want to keep inherited property at their parents’ low property tax rate, with the formerly Prop 58 [now Prop 19] parent-child transfer – to avoid current market reassessment.  This often involves an unusually fast and inexpensive buyout of siblings looking to sell their share of the same inherited home and/or land.

So to reiterate – by originating loans to trusts and estates in probate, a trust lender like Commercial Loan Corp helps to maximize the distribution of funds to a trust or estate; allowing beneficiaries to buyout inherited property from co-beneficiaries, while keeping a low property tax base when inheriting a home.  When providing mortgages to trusts or estates in probate, a good trust lender helps clients  avoid the re-evaluation of property at current tax-rates – enabling families to retain a parent’s low Proposition 13 tax base – by obtaining a parent-child exclusion, with a  parent-child transfer… saving on average $6,200+ per year in property taxes. If you need assistance with a trust loan in order to equalize a trust distribution to qualify for Proposition 19 or Proposition 58, we highly recommend you call Commercial Loan Corp at 877-756-4454. 

The Trust Loan Process From the Inside Out

Tanis Alonso, senior account manager at the Newport Beach trust lending firm, offers an experienced inside viewpoint on the trust loan transaction in conjunction with the Proposition 58 and Prop 19 exclusion from paying high current property tax rates:   

Let’s say a property value is currently one million dollars and the current tax base is $1,200. If they were to get reassessed at current value that would be around $11,000 annually.  By someone keeping the property and obtaining a trust loan to properly buy out their siblings that allows the beneficiary that is keeping the property to keep parents property taxes, to retain 100% of the Proposition 13 tax base that was paid by their parents and keep that low property tax base of $1,200.

This of course creates much greater affordability than if they were to improperly buy out their siblings and have that property reassessed. The loan to trust goes hand in hand with the Proposition 58 [now Proposition 19] property tax transfer system, creating enough liquidity to equalize distributions, not sell, and allow a beneficiary to keep their parents property with their low property tax base. It does sound counter intuitive – yet it’s true…

A Property Tax  Appeal Can Lower Taxes on Your Home

County property tax assessors in all 58 California counties assess every homeowner’s property tax by multiplying each home’s taxable value by existing applicable tax rates.  The taxable value is typically based on purchase price, generally referred to as “base-year value”.  However, tax authorities do have the right to increase taxation by up to 2% every year in tandem with inflation, plus reassess the tax value of most real properties under certain specific circumstances. 

For example, if a property owner makes changes to his or her property, such as home renovations, or  adding a large swimming pool, or perhaps building an additional wing or modernizing a kitchen or bathroom, whatever – the county tax assessor who gets a copy of that property’s building permits, might possibly reassess, if a decision to do so is made at that time. And this is when discrepancies or errors sometimes occur, when a tax assessor is also able to initiate a separate base-year value on any new renovations or re-constructed areas attached to a home. Mistakes are often associated with these reassessments.   

Therefore, one effective way to lessen your property tax burden is to reduce the assessed value of your home by filing an appeal stating that  the home’s assessed value is less than the value the tax assessor assigned to it.  

The appeal might prove that the home is in much worse condition than the assessor factored into his or her assessment… or perhaps prove that newly constructed changes to the home were not nearly as extensive as the final property tax assessment showed. Tax reduction firms typically handle county tax assessor challenges of this kind, tax appeals, and this is generally the direction most residents go in, in order to submit a successful appeal, in keeping with the CA State Board of Equalization Property Tax Dept.

California State Board of Equalization County Assessor Directory

The BOE publishes a helpful online guide that explains property tax exclusions in detail. For further information about applying an exclusion to your property inheritance, home or living situation, and any required forms you need to complete the deadline for filing these forms, contact your local tax assessor by consulting the BOE county assessor directory.

Proposition 19 Impact on CA Homeowners

Proposition 19 Impact on Property Taxes in California

Proposition 19 Impact on Property Taxes in California

Proposition 19 Impact on Property Taxes in California

Now that the popular Proposition 58 tax break system has changed into tax measure Proposition 19 – these are some of the key issues specific to modern Proposition 19 property tax relief.

These changes cover real property parent-to-child transfers after Feb 16, 2021. Whether key outcomes are based on the death of a parent before Feb 16, 2021, or based on deeds filed after Feb 16, 2021, is still questionable, whether Proposition 19 would apply, or if California parent to child exclusion from property tax reassessment, derived from Proposition 58, will apply – with respect to parental property tax transfer.

We believe the bottom line is simply to continue applying political pressure on those in power in this state – to make sure the California property tax system continues to provide genuine property tax breaks for residents, with the ability to avoid property tax reassessment via  Proposition 19 (formerly Prop 58 and its’ parent-child exclusion) in concert with a loan to an irrevocable trust – keeping a low property tax base when inheriting a home, when buying out property shares from co-beneficiaries through a trust loan; with the ability to keep parents property taxes, with the right to transfer parents property taxes, getting the most out of Prop 13 and Prop 19 property tax breaks upon the transfer of a home, when inheriting property taxes. 

Positive Changes Affecting Heirs & Homeowners From Prop 19

1. One major change is that Proposition 19 eliminates the parent-child and grandparent-grandchild exclusion from reassessment for properties other than a primary residence.

2. California homeowners over the age of 55 or with severe disabilities (which is still not defined as to what the exact definition of “severe” is) will have the ability to transfer their current property tax assessed value (i.e., “base year value transfer”) of their primary residence to another primary residence anywhere in California.

This change eliminates the problem of not being able to take advantage  of Prop 58 and its’ parent-child exclusion in all 58 counties in California – in terms of being approved, or not approved, for a base year value transfer. 

In other words, Proposition 19 is strictly statewide, without obstacles blocking your ability to avoid property tax reassessment in some counties, while there is no problem avoiding property tax reassessment in other counties!  That type of bias towards homeowners and beneficiaries in some counties caused a lot of problems in California.

This change enables residents to purchase a more expensive home rather than a more inexpensive home to keep tax the relief benefits of the base year transfer.  If a more expensive primary residence is purchased, there is now a rather complex formula to  minimize the increase in base year value.  Moreover, Proposition 19 now increases the number of times the exclusion may be used, up to three times in a lifetime.

Prop 58 Parent-Child Exclusion Has Morphed Into Prop 19 Property Tax Breaks

Prop 19 Property Tax Breaks

Prop 19 Property Tax Breaks

The Proposition 58 parent-child exclusion and other tax  breaks have now  changed into the Proposition 19 Parent to Child Property Tax Transfer

As most Californians are aware, a home undergoes reassessment at “market value” if it’s transferred, inherited, sold or gifted – and, in turn, taxes on the property often increase significantly. Yet, if the sale or gift or transfer is between parent and offspring, in certain situations, the home won’t undergo reassessment once specific requirements are met and the relevant application is filed properly.

California’s unique Proposition 58 tax break enables new homeowners or beneficiaries to avoid property tax reassessment when inheriting real estate and liquid assets; upon receiving a home or other real estate from a parent – or vice versa. When a home, for example, is sold, given as a gift, transferred as an inheritance, or transferred through a trust.  However, the fact remains – inheriting property taxes from Dad or Mom is now more limited than it was before.

As we know, a new homeowner’s property taxes are calculated through the time honored, low Proposition 13 base year value, typically what parents had paid… as opposed to so-called “fair market value” or “current market value” when new property is acquired – gifted, bought, generally inherited… As most homeowners know by now, real estate transfers excluded from property tax reassessment by Proposition 58 or Prop 193 have to be used as a principal residence (with no value limit). 

For those of you who are extra detail oriented – Proposition 58 is established in section 63.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.  It’s also worth mentioning that, with respect to  Proposition 193,  parents of a grandchild do have to be deceased prior to property transfer from grandparent to grandchild.  Alternatively, the grandparent’s child can be deceased, with the surviving parent-in-law being remarried prior to the transfer event.

The below bullet points may untangle some of the confusion that has formed around some of these property  tax breaks.  We need to take note that property tax relief limitations built into Proposition 19 are presently serving as a replacement to the pre-Feb 2021 Proposition 58  parent-to-child exclusion, also referred to as a “parent-child exemption” (from property tax reassessment).

Some of the new Proposition 19 tax breaks are a work in progress,  however most have been given a stamp of approval by the BOE

• Proposition 19 was more or less rushed through the political and electoral process, passed by the CA Legislature in under a week, and placed onto the Nov 2020 ballot, changing the California state constitution without implementing the appropriate statutes. Homeowners’ ability to transfer parents property taxes, in other words the right to keep parents property taxes on any parental property tax transfer, inheriting property taxes from Dad or Mom… and enabling heirs to keep parents property taxes are sill in place as valid tax breaks, allowing beneficiaries or heirs to avoid property tax reassessment – the process is just more limited than it was previously. 

Moreover, establishing a low property tax base along with the transfer of property between siblings, sibling-to-sibling property transfer – buying out a sibling’s share of inherited property through a trust loan, in conjunction with Prop 58, is still firmly in place, however inheriting property taxes from Dad or Mom is now limited somewhat by Proposition 19. Similar limitations are now in place as well concerning the process of inheriting property taxes from a parent, the parent to child transfer and exclusion for reassessment of property taxes, or parent-child exclusion (from property tax reassessment at current market rates).

• Sections of the approved documentation and revisions to various sections are vague at best and often unclear

• To correct these issues, Santa Clara County Tax Assessor Larry Stone was appointed by the California Assessors’ Association (CAA), with four other tax Assessors, to a hastily formed CAA “committee” to try to provide some clarity to the new Proposition 19 implementation process.

• The CAA “committee” has enlisted supposed specialists and tax lawyers throughout California, and is working with the Board of Equalization (BOE) to furnish guidance and where necessary recommend passage, on an urgency basis, towards implementing appropriate statutes.

• Homeowners over the age of 55 (or “who meet other qualifications” which remains vague) would be eligible for property tax savings when they move. To avoid property tax reassessment at current or “fair market” rates, beneficiaries inheriting property from parents must move within 12-months into an inherited home, using this property only as a primary or principle residence.

• Likewise, the parent leaving the home to beneficiaries must have been residing in that home as a principle or primary residence. Apparently, going forward into 2021 and beyond, there will be no exceptions to these new rules and regulations.

• Only inherited properties used as primary homes or farms would be eligible for property tax savings. Those who are “severely disabled”, or whose homes were destroyed by wildfire or a “natural disaster” can now transfer their primary residence’s property tax base value to a replacement residence of any value, anywhere in the state.  This was considerably more limited prior to Feb 2021.

• Eligible homeowners can now take advantage of “special rules” to move to a more expensive home. Their property tax bill would still go up but not by as much as it would be for home buyers that are “not eligible”.

• Eligible homeowners may use these “special rules” three times in a lifetime. (for declared disaster victims, there is no limit on the number of times these benefits can be used.)

Filing Requirements

A claim form must now, as of Feb 2021, be completed and signed by the transferors and transferee and filed with the Assessor. A claim has to be filed  within three years after the date of purchase or transfer, or prior to the transfer of the real estate to a third party, whichever is earlier.

If a claim form has not been filed by the date specified above it will be timely if filed within six months after the date of mailing of the notice of supplemental or escape assessment for this property. If a claim is not timely filed the exclusion will be granted beginning with the calendar year in which you file your claim.

Assembly Member Kiley Introduces Constitutional Amendment 9 to Block CA Property Tax Hikes

Reinstate Propositions 58 Property Tax Transfer In California

Will California Reinstate Propositions 58 Property Tax Transfer Laws?

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 9 (ACA 9) has been introduced by Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, of Granite Bay, CA – to formally reinstate Propositions 58 and 193, and return the parent-child exclusion to full unlimited measure; without imposed limits, to the CA state constitution – restoring the ability of parents and grandparents to pass on property to the next generation without any deceptive obstacles and/or property tax increases.

The CA Legislature Assembly Constitutional Amendment 9 was  introduced by Assembly Member Kiley on May 03, 2021, regarding property taxation & the transfer of an inherited home to a principal residence, for beneficiaries. 

ACA 9 is written into the official California record, as follows:

The California Constitution limits the amount of ad valorem taxes on real property to 1% of the full cash value of that property, defined as the county assessor’s valuation of real property as shown on the 1975–76 tax bill and, thereafter, the appraised value of the real property when purchased, newly constructed, or a change in ownership occurs after the 1975 assessment, subject to an annual inflation adjustment not to exceed 2%…

The California Constitution, until February 15, 2021, excluded from classification as a “purchase” or “change in ownership” requiring reappraisal the purchase or transfer of a principal residence and the first $1,000,000 of other real property of a transferor in the case of a transfer between parents and their children, or between grandparents and their grandchildren if all the parents of those grandchildren are deceased.

On November 3, 2020, the voters approved Proposition 19. Pursuant to Proposition 19, the California Constitution, on and after February 16, 2021, removes the above-described exclusion from classification as a “purchase” and “change in ownership” requiring reappraisal, and instead excludes from classification as a “purchase” and “change in ownership” the purchase or transfer of a family home or family farm, as those terms are defined, of the transferor in the case of a transfer between parents and their children, or between grandparents and their grandchildren if all the parents of those grandchildren are deceased, if the property continues as the family home or family farm of the transferee. In the case of the exclusion so provided to a transfer of a family home, the California Constitution, pursuant to Proposition 19, requires the transferee to claim the homeowner’s or disabled veteran’s exemption within one year of the transfer.

This measure would repeal the above-described provisions of Proposition 19. The measure would reinstate the prior rule excluding from classification as a “purchase” or “change in ownership” requiring reappraisal the purchase or transfer of the principal residence and the first $1,000,000 of other real property of a transferor in the case of a transfer between parents and their children, or between grandparents and their grandchildren if all the parents of those grandchildren are deceased. The measure would apply retroactively to all effected purchases or transfers occurring on or after February 16, 2021.

Prior to 1978 with the advent of Proposition 13 becoming law, capping property tax reassessment at 2% for owned property in California, residents found themselves paying arbitrary property tax hikes more and more often, with elderly homeowners, living on a modest fixed income, being evicted when they couldn’t pay egregious tax hikes, which started to become a frequent event; and began to alienate and anger the middle class public, to an extreme degree.  It wouldn’t be an over-statement to say this widespread displeasure opened up the doors wide for a tax break like the parent-child exclusion!  Property tax breaks that enabled the middle class all across California, when inheriting property from parents, to feel justified, just like the wealthy, to be keeping a low property tax base when inheriting a home.

Middle class residents in Californians, and working families, were frustrated that rapidly rising property values had turned property taxes into what was effectively a “death tax”.  It was this overall response from the public throughout the state that left events wide open, in terms of following and supporting Howard Jarvis and his Taxpayers Association – adopting the property tax relief measure they called Proposition 13.

Under Proposition 13, which passed in a landslide in 1978, property tax assessments could no longer increase more than 2% per year until, or unless a new owner took over the property, which triggered a reassessment at current market rates. Middle class offspring inheriting their parents’ home usually figured out right away that they were going to have a real problem paying reassessed property taxes, as that tax bill was typically more than most middle class families could afford to pay every year. 

So in 1978 Californians happily accepted the ability to keep parents’ property taxes, transfer parents property taxes, and inheriting property taxes instead of paying egregious tax hikes.  The right to finally have access to  a property tax transfer from a parent, a parent-child transfer, or parent-child exclusion, was huge for California property owners… in fact, even for renters.  And certainly for residential and business, or commercial, property owners.

Then, having tasted some of “the good life”, in terms of saving on taxes,  formerly enjoyed only by the nouveau riche and old money, Californians, in 1986, voted in high numbers and passed a  measure called Proposition 58 with the approval of more than 75% of California voters.  This amended the California constitution, to state that the transfer of real estate between a parent and a child, generally property transferred from parent to an heir, would not be considered a “change of ownership” and would fall under a new property tax reassessment exclusion, something they called “a parent-child exclusion”; capping their property tax bill at the same rate their parents paid.

A decade later, voters approved Proposition 193 to apply the same exclusion as the parent-child exclusion, except it covered property transfers between grandparents and grandchildren – as long as the children’s parents were deceased.  California Proposition 193 grants the same rights to a grandchild as Proposition 58 grants to a child.

Under Proposition 58 and Proposition 193, working families could transfer a home of any value plus up to $1,000,000 of assessed value of additional real estate. This protected families that owned a small business, or a condo or duplex that was rented out for income, or a vacation property.  Therefore the death of a parent would not trigger a sudden reassessment of these properties at current high market rates, increasing yearly property taxes to such a degree that middle class beneficiaries would be forced to sell their inherited property shares right away.

Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association, summed up this proposed tax measure in the Daily Breeze on May 9, 2021 in clear fashion, when he said:

…a slick advertising campaign for Proposition 19 tricked voters into repealing Propositions 58 and 193 without realizing the impact it would have on their own families. Prop. 19 replaced the parent-child transfer exclusion from reassessment, which has been in the state constitution for 35 years, with a narrow exclusion that only applies to homes that the heirs move into within a year and make their permanent principal residence.

These harsh provisions took effect with lightning speed in February, at a time when families were prevented by the pandemic from meeting with other family members, attorneys or tax advisers. Many people are just now finding out what happened. Letters are going out from county assessors to grieving families advising them of their new tax obligations.

This must be fixed. And it can be if Californians make their wishes known to elected representatives. ACA 9 would preserve family businesses, affordable rental properties, and home-ownership for families that otherwise would lose the benefit of the hard work their parents put in to secure their futures.

We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.