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.

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.

 

Propositions 58 & Proposition 19 Trust Loan

Proposition 19 Trust Loans How To Keep a Parents Low Property Tax Base On An Inherited Home In California

Proposition 19 Trust Loans
How To Keep a Parents Low Property Tax Base On An Inherited Home In California

Trust Loans: Keeping a Low Property Tax Base

California trust loans are commonly used to establish a low property tax base for beneficiaries inheriting a parent’s home, working in conjunction with California tax break Proposition 58 and California Proposition 19. 

This process, often involving a loan to an irrevocable trust, also sometimes resolves inherited property conflicts between siblings by providing needed cash for a trust distribution. In case you didn’t know, after Feb 2021 the popular Proposition 58 parent to child exclusion (from property tax reassessment at high, current market tax rates) is now essentially the Proposition 19 parent to child exclusion. It has basically morphed into the new  Proposition 19 property tax measure – yet still enabling most  beneficiaries to buyout their co-beneficiaries’ shares of inherited property and avoiding property tax reassessment for themselves, retaining a parents low property tax base going forward.

In other words, it’s still possible to buyout  a siblings portion of an inherited home and keep a parents low property tax base using California Proposition 19.  The process is sometimes refer to as “a transfer of property between siblings” or “sibling to sibling property transfer” – funded by an irrevocable trust loan – from a trust lender specializing in the trust loan and CA Proposition 58, Prop 19, and Prop 13, process. 

Moreover, it’s still possible, thankfully, to transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property.  The ability to continue inheriting property taxes, to keep parents property taxes basically forever on any property tax transfer through the parent to child transfer and parent-child exclusion, is still intact and protected by Proposition 13 and to a more limited degree by Proposition 58  and now Proposition 19.  Exactly for how long, we’re not sure — which is why voters must keep a close watch on critics of property tax relief in California, on the realtor community, and on the CA Legislature.

If you are interested in taking advantage of your California Proposition 19 property tax benefit and avoiding property tax reassessment on an inherited home, we suggest calling Commercial Loan Corporation at 877-756-4454 when a third party loan might be needed to provide the funds needed to equalize a trust distribution and buyout siblings. You may also complete the online California Proposition 19 Parent to Child information request form located here.

When a child is inheriting a home from a parent and would like to use Prop 58, or Prop 19 to keep a parents low property tax base it is still entirely possible to do so!  You may be inheriting a home from a parent, in trust, yet if there are not sufficient cash assets in the trust to make an equal distribution, then a loan against real estate in the trust will be needed to qualify for the parent to child transfer to avoid property tax reassessment – and this can still easily be done, with the right property consultant or trust lender, such as Commercial Loan Corp in Newport Beach, CA or Michael Wyatt Consulting in Corona, CA; despite some imposed limitations from California Proposition 19.

Does the 1978 Proposition 13 & 1986 Prop 58 still Work for Californians?

Does the 1978 Proposition 13 and 1986 Prop 58 still Work for Californians

Does the 1978 Proposition 13 and 1986 Prop 58 still Work for Californians

History Lesson on Property Tax Relief: Support & Opposition

2020 was an extremely motivated time for pent up anti property tax relief movement in California.  The deceptively entitled “2020 Proposition 13” went to voters on March 3, 2020. This tax hike would have increased California’s overall debt; compelling the state’s school districts to issue more debt, raising property tax bills all across the state. It did not pass, and to put it bluntly, was an utter waste of time and taxpayer’s money.

Unlike Proposition 13 passed by voters in 1978, this 2020 version of Proposition 13 would have doubled the debt caps that currently limit how much bond debt local school districts can acquire. The 2020 Proposition 13 caps on local bond debt would have been increased from 1.25% of assessed property value to 2% for elementary and high school districts, and from 2.5% to 4% for school and community college districts.

The extra property tax revenue from 2020 Prop 13 would have gone into pockets not into roads.  The  2020 Proposition 13 tax hike would have cost taxpayers $740 million per year for 35 years. The cash mainly going to construction-worker unions and contractors that hire everyone, with priority spending going to people working on projects in districts that have signed labor agreements that those in  power prefer.  As we know, the so-called 2020 Proposition 13 failed.

Prop 15 and the Near End of Commercial Property Tax Relief     

Even more dangerous for California, the 2020 Proposition 15 tax hike that was proposed to voters across all 58 counties would have removed the right for commercial property owners to avoid property tax reassessment.  This would have raised property taxes on all commercial and business property owners, which would have raised commercial store rents, office and apt. rentals, rentals on all business tenants would have gone up.  This would in turn have increased prices on all goods and services throughout the state of California.   Considering the outcome on middle class residents and working families, it would not have been a pretty picture.

Supporters of the Proposition 15 campaign raised over $67.6 million mostly from foundations and public service unions. The top three contributors were the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative, California Teachers Association, and SEIU California. Supporters say Prop 15 is a broad coalition of 1600 organizations launched by civil rights organizations, housing groups, parents, teachers, nurses, firefighters and community-based organizations who advocate for equality and justice for communities of color

Opposition to Proposition 15 Campaign has raised over $73.1 million mostly from land developers, agricultural interests and golf and country clubs. The largest donor is the California Business Roundtable Issues PAC that has contributed more than $38 million to the No on 15 Campaign.  The Business Roundtable’s biggest donors are New York-based Blackstone Property Partners who gave $7 million and Michael Hayde, CEO of the Irvine real estate investment firm Western National Group, who gave $4.5 million.

Despite the massive effort towards promoting and passing this tax hike, voters were not sufficiently confused or conned into backing the bill en mass… and they rejected this tax increase on commercial properties, supposedly depriving the California school system of what allegedly could be a significant source of consistent revenue.  Although the true intended recipients of this extra commercial property tax revenue remained under questions… and backers of Proposition 15 – the first major effort to cut into beloved property tax relief afforded by Proposition 13 since it was voted into law in 1978 – finally conceded defeat, and California heaved a statewide sigh of unified relief. 

The question remains – would economic collapse of the statewide   consumer base and working family structure in California have been worth a few extra dollars for the educational system, which is doing relatively well as is?

Last Minute Promotion of Snake Oil Sales to California Voters

Motivated, determined and relentless opponents to property tax relief in California came up with a last minute tax hike measure, Proposition 19 – and the CA Association of Realtors shoved $35 Million at the CA Legislature to promote this unusually deceptive bill, after suffering significant tax hike losses.  They managed to confuse enough voters with disingenuous and deceptive public relations to get Proposition 19 passed – by a hair – and watered down the critical Proposition 58 “parent-to-child exclusion” tax break for middle class beneficiaries and new homeowners. 

This weakened California homeowners’ ability to avoid property tax reassessment without obstacles. So Proposition 19 managed to limit parent to child transfer rights to a one-year window, and only as a primary residence.  No longer could investment properties avoid property tax reassessment.

So the ability to transfer parents property taxes, when inheriting property taxes from a parent, is now on a tighter path. We can still keep parents property taxes but they made it more challenging, in the midst of a Pandemic no less.  Avoiding property tax reassessment and establishing a low property tax base; as well as buying out a sibling’s share of inherited property, meaning the transfer of property between siblings or sibling-to-sibling property transfer – still exists, yet with a few more obstacles to remain aware of. 

We can still transfer parents property taxes in California when  inheriting property and inheriting property taxes from a parent, and remain able to keep parents property taxes on any property tax transfer, such as the parent to child transfer or parent to child exclusion.  It’s just not quite as simple or easy as it was prior to advent of Proposition 19.

Thankfully, enough property tax breaks survived in California to enable property owners to still save significantly on property taxes. Californians can still get a trust loan from a trust lender, working alongside Proposition 58, to buyout a co-beneficiary when inheriting property taxes from a parent – and, most importantly, to establish a low Proposition 13 level property tax base, basically forever for an inherited home, for example from a niche firm like Commercial Loan Corp.  

Most Californians struggling financially from Pandemic shutdowns and health outcomes should research niche blogs like this one, or   info sites like EdSource.org who looks  at both sides of Proposition 15 for example, or SiliconValleyandBeyond.com who examines property taxes and Proposition 19, among other related issues. As well as state government websites such as the  California State Board of Equalization.  The more we know about how to use trust loans and these unique tax breaks, plus other property tax reduction solutions we have access to, the better off we’ll all be going forward.

CA Proposition 58 and Prop 193 Exclusions

Parent to Child Property Tax Transfer in California

Parent to Child Property Tax Transfer in California

Based on their recent efforts, how do the folks running the state of California, in the Legislature, think that adding property taxes will affect all these working families? Do they even consider how further unraveling property tax relief would affect the California economy as a whole? Does it ever occur to the politicos in the Legislature that going further in the direction of eliminating property tax breaks would literally be a social and financial disaster for the state as a whole?

Since Proposition 58 (as well as Proposition 193 concerning the “Grandparent to Grandchild Exclusion”) is such a critical element holding up property tax relief in the state of California, we might as well take a quick, very simple high-level look at how this all works. To take advantage of Prop 58, certain eligibility requirements must be met. For example, eligible children under this proposition include:

a) Children born of the parents in question
b) Stepchildren
c) Sons-in-law and daughters-in-law
d) Children adopted under the age of 18
e) Children of a child of grandparents (regarding Proposition 193)

Propositions 58 and 193 exclude three types of property transfers, avoiding property tax reassessment at current high market rates:

1. Transfer of a primary residence: The assessed value of a primary residence is eligible for reassessment exclusion, or exemption.

2. Transfer of property through gift, sale, or inheritance: Parent-to-child transfer through a trust will qualify for an exclusion of property tax reassessment.

3. The parent-child exclusion can only be used if the “transferee child” uses the home as the child’s primary residence, and files for the homeowner’s exemption for the property. The parent-child exclusion will not be available if the home is used as a vacation home or is rented out by the children. If the home is transferred to more than one child, they would all have to live together in the home as their primary.

4. A parent can only shelter $1 million of increased value from reassessment. Any appreciation above that will be added to the property tax assessed For instance, if the primary residence is currently assessed at $500,000 but is worth $1,500,000, the child receiving the home and using it as the child’s primary residence will keep the same property tax assessed value of $500,000. However, if the home is worth $3,000,000 and not $1,500,000, the $2,500,000 appreciation will result in an added $1,500,000 assessment; the child’s new property tax assessed value will be $2,000,000 ($500,000 current property tax assessed value + $1,500,000 of “excess appreciation”). This new limitation also applies to a family farm.

Proposition 19 eliminates the second current alternative completely. As of Feb 15, 2021, there will no longer be a Parent to Child exclusion for a transfer of any property other than the parent’s primary residence and a family farm. Although you can still get the benefit of Prop 58 and an irrevocable trust loan if you require that type of financing.

Proposition 58 does not automatically apply to each parent-to-child transfer. To receive the full benefit of Proposition 58, you are required to file within 3-years of the transfer of property ownership.

There are several forms you must file to take advantage of property tax reassessment exclusion. They are Proposition 58 Form BOE-58-AH: Claim for Reassessment Exclusion for Transfer Between Parent and Child; or Proposition 193. Form BOE-58-G: Claim for Reassessment Exclusion for Transfer Between Grandparent and Grandchild.

This completes a very simple, high-level view of what Proposition 58 is all about. Once you understand all that, the next step is to enlist the help of a trust lender to get approved to be able to take advantage of Prop 58 and an irrevocable trust loan for funding to equalize the finances between beneficiaries if some wish to hold on to inherited property while others are looking to sell out to outside buyers.

From that point onward, the next step is to make use of the trust fund loan process, if you wish to equalize financing between you and your siblings or co-beneficiaries, to retain inherited property from your parents and buyout property shares inherited by a sibling, or several co-beneficiaries. You can then own your inherited home without the encumbrances of co-beneficiaries to be concerned with.

PART TWO: Parent to Child Exclusion From Reassessment

California Parent to Child Exclusion From Property Tax Reassessment

California Parent to Child Exclusion
From Property Tax Reassessment

And yet, until these changes to property tax relief are repealed, let’s be thankful at least that, going forward, beneficiaries inheriting property directly from parents will still be able to retain Proposition 58’s parent to child exclusion from property tax reassessment (at full or current market value), as long as those direct beneficiaries move into an inherited property as a primary residence, within 12-moinths after the passing of the parent leaving  that property as a gift, a sale, or an inheritance.  

This is a difficult matter to overcome without some careful planning… and this is certainly one component of Prop 19 that was, shall we say, “under-played”, or actually hidden from voters, prior to Nov. 2020.  The prevailing thought is that this will perhaps be repealed in the near future once voters actually experience the reality of these changes to Proposition 58, whether they voted for change or not.

Yet, whether we like it or not, all of these revisions do unravel long-standing tax benefits protected by Proposition 58 concerning the parent to child exclusion as well as trust loan enabled sibling to sibling property transfer, buying out property inherited by siblings; or Proposition 193, with regards to the grandparent to grandchild exemption; passed overwhelmingly by voters in California in Nov. of 1986 and March 1996, respectively, allowing parents to transfer their property tax basis of a primary residence ) to their children; plus up to $1 million of assessed value of other property – namely $1million of the Proposition 13 values on rental properties or other investment properties passed to heirs, not based on fair market value; and effectively allowing far more than $1million of property value to transfer while retaining the lower tax bill.

Even though the California Legislature and California Association of Realtors may be more interested in funding unfunded local government pensions, footing the bill for a few school programs, and getting some more homes into the market for sale – it’s not in question to any reasonable person, without a financial or political axe to grind, that Proposition 13, Proposition 58 and Prop 193 have saved heirs thousands upon thousands of dollars every year, that they would have otherwise been spending needlessly on vastly over-priced property taxes.

Not to mention the truly  excellent sibling to sibling property transfer benefit, buying out inherited sibling property – which is always Proposition 58 & trust loan enabled, to buyout property inherited by co-beneficiaries.  Noted attorney Devin Lucas, one of the most knowledgeable proponents of Prop 13, Prop 58 and 193, and California property tax relief in general, which he summed up brilliantly in Oct. of 2020.  Mr. Lucas offered some real-world examples to illustrate the practical importance of these tax breaks for families, as follows:

“Due to the tremendous benefits of Proposition 13, many long term owners continue to pay property taxes based upon their original purchase price (or price as determined when the proposition was enacted), with annual increases not to exceed two percent, regardless of current value. This can be especially beneficial in areas such as Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Orange County and other coastal communities that have seen incredible growth in property values.

For example, assume a parent’s home in Newport Beach is currently worth $2,500,000. They purchased the home long ago for low a low six-figure amount and due to the enormous benefits of Proposition 13 are paying about $3,500 a year in property taxes. If the child were to purchase a home for $2,500,000 today, that would equate to a $25,000 annual property tax bill (assuming one percent, not including various municipal bonds and other taxes commonly found on property tax bills). Transferring the property tax basis of the parent’s home, and therefore that $3,500 a year bill, just saved this hypothetical child $21,500 a year in property taxes. $21,500 a year, for as long as they own the home.

Principal residences have no cap in value, all other property, such as investment properties or second homes, have a benefit cap of $1 million, in which case a mother / grandmother and father / grandfather can combine their exclusions for a limit of $2 million. If the property is worth more than said caps, then a new blended property tax basis will be configured by the county…”  

Other property tax breaks, Propositions 60 and Prop 90 (allowing homeowners over the age of 55 to sell their home and purchase a replacement home of equal or lesser value and maintain the property tax basis of their original home) cannot be combined with a gift or sale of the original home to a child under Proposition 58, which thankfully still works well in concert with a trust loan, buying out inherited sibling property.

Fortunately, Proposition 193 is also intact, allowing grandparents to transfer their current tax-basis to grandchildren. The wonderful thing, still, is that these property tax benefits can always apply to a gift, sale or hybrid of the two and can amount to enormous property tax savings.  And that is truly  what this is all about.

Inherit A Home And Keep The Property Tax Base

Inherit Property and The Property Tax base

Inherit Property and The Property Tax base

The Los Angeles Times, in their inimitable fashion, put it like this on Oct. 19, 2020:   

About 650,000 California homeowners over the last decade received a tax break that allows them to maintain their parents’ low property tax payments when they inherit their homes…

The provision has since been dubbed “the Lebowski loophole” after The Times found that “The Big Lebowski” actor Jeff Bridges and his siblings had advertised a beachfront home in Malibu inherited from their parents for nearly $16,000 a month in rent despite an annual property tax bill that’s a fraction of that amount.

Proposition 19 would eliminate this property tax break for investment homes and commercial properties, meaning that heirs who inherit their parents’ properties would pay taxes based on market value. With some limitations, children who move into homes inherited from their parents would be able to retain the tax break.

Interesting how the Times gives credence to deceptive wording, while confusing the so-called benefits of Proposition 19.  They parse the actual Prop 19 rules and regs, and purpose in fact…twisting the facts to read, “Proposition 19 would eliminate this property tax break for investment homes and commercial properties…”  Prop 19 does not now exist to eliminate investment homes and commercial properties.  It exists to eliminate the parent to child exclusion, or parent to child exemption… unless you change your life  and move into a new inherited home within a year. 

Interesting that The Times chooses to leave out the fact that inherited property  will be sold off at a loss by inheritors who may not be able to move into inherited property within a year… because middle class homeowners, 95% of the folks affected by this new tax law, won’t be able to afford the new property taxes without the parent to child exemption being utilized within that year one after mom or dad dies.

Instead of telling it like it is The Times tells us, “With some limitations, children who move into homes inherited from their parents would be able to retain the tax break.”  Sure, “some limitations” meaning those folks inheriting property must uproot themselves and set up a  new life within 12 months, plus sell the home they are living in, or give up their inherited home at a financial loss. And maybe they can’t just up and leave their current residence, sell it, and move to a new home that was owned by their parents, that perhaps does not suit them and their family. For a number of reasons. 

Proposition 19 doesn’t exist to eliminate greedy real estate investors… It exists to push middle class home owners out of the way, to force them to sell inherited property if they can’t uproot themselves and move into their inherited home within a year while figuring out a way to sell their own home. In a market hampered by Covid, where maybe it’s not so easy to sell that home they’ve been living in.  These are not investment sharks and real estate hustlers, as the Los Angeles Times is falsely hinting at.  These are regular middle class home owners.

This new tax law affecting property tax relief in California was put in place to generate more money for realtors and the CA Legislature.  Directly impacting consumers.  Regular folks, like you and I.  Not to eliminate “property tax breaks for investment homes and commercial properties”.   That is, we’re sorry to say,  a false characterization.

Abruptly, the entire state found out at the last moment, prior to the November vote, that C.A.R. had launched Proposition 19, along with the California Legislature, which passed by a few votes; due mainly to an extremely clever, albeit a bit deceptive, marketing campaign – confusing voters while hiding the fact that Prop 19 exists to kill parent to child exclusion benefits, bit by deceptive bit.  Don’t be fooled, completely unraveling the parent-to-child exemption is their eventual goal.  Not giving residential and commercial property owners the ability to avoid property tax reassessment every year.

This type of tax break frees property owners from chronic stress based on unpredictable property taxation that is typically high for middle class incomes. This form of property tax relief makes life in general more secure and more affordable for middle class and even upper middle class residents. Rich folks we don’t really need to worry about. They’ll be fine either way. This type of tax relief allows beneficiaries to keep parents property taxes, and of course gives them the ability to transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property; avoiding property tax reassessment, keeping their tax base low through CA Proposition 13.

What is truly incredible to many of us is the ability for a beneficiary in California to use Proposition 58 to get a special loan providing cash to co-beneficiaries through an irrevocable trust, for middle class beneficiaries who want to smooth out cash obstacles (often referred to as “equalizing liquidation”) when it comes to conflicts between siblings who want to sell property versus family members who prefer to keep inherited real property… an invaluable property tax benefit.  Which is exactly why it’s so important to understand how and why Prop 19 exists to kill parent to child exclusion benefits at some point in the future… This is the C.A.R. and CA Legislature’s first baby step in that direction.

All states, forever grappling with this Covid crisis, should be heading towards tax breaks for regular middle class people, and not wasting the country’s time with absurd tax law benefiting a few wealthy corporations, a couple of hundred billionaires and multi-millionaires, with huge tax cuts they do not really need; and corporate welfare for immense companies that would be just fine without it. While a couple of hundred million Americans struggle by generally without tax breaks or tax loopholes of any kind to help them put away some extra cash in the bank every year.

In fact, all states need a Proposition 13 and Proposition 58, to help middle class families get by every year. That’s why beneficiaries or heirs in every state who are expecting real property, or are leaving real property to their own heirs, should conduct some careful research on blogs and Websites that focus on inheritance matters, to get more familiar with Proposition 58 and trust loans, on beneficiary issues and CA Proposition 13.  They should study informative niche blogs like this one…  as well as other niche  Websites that cover property taxes in depth… that delve into California Proposition 13, 58 and 193, as well as how trust loans can help beneficiaries.

All resident should learn more about why Prop 19 exists to kill parent to child exclusion benefits, bit by bit; how to keep parents property taxes and how to transfer parents property taxes, inheriting property taxes, or property tax transfer, parent to child transfer and parent to child exclusion – for residential properties of course; however, also for business oriented sites and commercial properties… that take full advantage of Proposition 58 — making use of trust loans to buyout inherited property from siblings, such as simply to get the facts straight on the transfer of property between siblings, how to buy out siblings share of a house; what makes sibling to sibling property transfer work; and how loans to irrevocable trusts help co-beneficiaries get cash while avoiding the necessity to sell their share of the inherited property.

Then, once they get your pitch together, folks in all states can tell their congressional representatives to get moving on passing property tax law for middle class home owners, not just rich folks that live in lovely upscale neighborhoods!

Many of us wonder when it got to this point in this country, when virtually the only way you can have a genuinely comfortable, safe, secure life is if you are fabulously wealthy – and nothing below that or in between.

PART THREE: Property Tax Relief Fights for Its’ Life in California…

As we all know, the Coronavirus crisis is not abating in many states – causing severe and consistent unemployment, and overall economic uncertainly.   Certain states are floundering more than others, without any federal support of any kind, even PPE – thereby costing tens of thousands of families the lives of loved ones. 

With millions of jobs initially put on hold – jobs that were placed on  “furloughed”  status or were standard “lay-offs”… are still in question, as far as resurgence is concerned.  Regrettably, it’s impossible to determine the exact number of jobs lost, as some return: whereas others do not.  Therefore, constant fluctuations make permanent calculations difficult to nail down. 

Making matters even more challenging, the federal government historically calculates “unemployment rates” by adding up the number of workers signing up for unemployment checks;  and deduce an unemployment rate in this fashion. However, once workers stop getting  unemployment checks they somehow magically disappear off the grid.  As if they somehow were never in the system.

It would be safe to say that unemployment, nationally and statewide, remains at critical levels.   And yet California is still the only state in the union that provides middle class residential and commercial property owners with genuine property tax breaks.  

And this is exactly what every state in America needs right now, with unemployment and Covid still spiraling out of control.  Lowering property taxes would surely loosen up some cash to help working families buy food and maintain some decent health coverage, plus put some money away for emergencies. 

If we were able to get property tax measures passed in most states, similar to the mega-popular tax breaks California home owners and commercial property owners enjoy, the overall positive cumulative affect on American tax payers would be significant. Folks would be able to easily transfer parents property taxes, and keep transfer parents property taxes, or buyout while inheriting property taxes at a low base rate. 

Especially in times like this – shouldn’t we all have access to property tax relief like this?  An intra-family loan to a trust, using Proposition 13 and Proposition 58 type of property tax transfer benefits and tax breaks, with parent to child transfer or as law firms refer to it – parent to child exclusion, or exemptions.

Do some research and push your Beltway representatives in Congress to put together some bills like California has passed to help home owners and commercial property owners.  And you can use the Covid crisis for added motivation.  This is covered on  informative, accurate niche Websites such as Commercial Loan Corp.  

An intra-family loan to a trust in conjunction with Proposition 58, or Prop 193, makes it possible to maintain a low property tax base basically forever upon a beneficiary buyout of sibling property shares, or as realtors call it, “the transfer of property between siblings”, and “lending money to an irrevocable trust“ – typically from an irrevocable trust loan lender.

While you’re at it, take a look at the CA State Board of Equalization to find out how all this works, or research niche info blogs such as  this one, Property Tax Transfer…  Plus other sites focused on property tax breaks for Californians. And let’s be frank… Living in that state, although there are great benefits, is admittedly expensive – in relation to many other states. 

States like New York, Texas, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts… are all expensive states to reside in.  With zero property tax relief or significant tax breaks of any kind – unless you’re a multi-millionaire or billionaire.  Then you get nothing but legislated V.I.P. tax cuts. However,  firms like Commercial Loan Corp, or Paramount Property Tax Appeal,  provide V.I.P. property tax breaks or V.I.P. personal business and  property tax reduction to everyone…. regardless or income or overall net worth. 



PART TWO: Surviving CA Proposition 19 – Losing The Parent to Child Exemption

Surviving California Prop 19

California Prop 19


Let’s be clear.  Critics of property tax relief in California are typically well educated, bright, and articulate… and write awfully convincing Op-Ed’s in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times. 

Yet, for whatever reason, these critics of property tax relief never produce  examples of how or why Proposition 13 is “so unfair” – with the exception of shifting sand anecdotal evidence, without genuine case study data or specific historical events to point to.  Other than the rather deceptive Lloyd and Jeff Bridges family tale of their one beach- front property used as a secondary property to rent out to wealthy tenants.

In fact it’s almost laughable that the Bridges family story is approved by supposedly responsible editors repeatedly, in numerous high-profile California newspapers. Always without backup evidence or case study data pointing to other examples of this type of usage of Proposition 13 and Proposition 58, by other wealthy or middle class Californians.  They can’t seem to come up with a credible follow up example, or any example, of this  sort of rental activity. 

Yet critics of property tax relief did manage to come up with Proposition 19, to take down the parent to child exclusion, associated with the parent to child transfer, that is the foundation of property tax relief for home owners in this state.  Those same home owners, and  beneficiaries inheriting property from parents are wondering how this Proposition 19 measure will affect Proposition 58, in terms of establishing a low property tax base, as well as getting a trust loan to buyout siblings inheriting the same property. 

There is a great deal of anxiety in California in terms of how Proposition 58 will stand if Proposition 19  is voted into law, with respect to locking down a long-term, even lifetime, low property tax base when receiving an intra-family trust loan associated with the transfer of property between siblings or  sibling to sibling property transfer.  If Proposition 19 does pass, most current beneficiaries want to know if getting a trust loan to buyout siblings will be the same, in terms of process; or will the process be different, more difficult, or perhaps even easier.  Buying out a siblings’ share of a house, getting a trust loan to buyout siblings post Proposition 19, is an important issue for most residents of  California.

Meanwhile, despite these nuts and bolts details, we’re still forced to listen to these relentless critics of Proposition 13 and Proposition 58, dispensing non fact-based anecdotal narratives to convince the public how “one-sided” and “massively abused” property tax relief is in California. How it’s only for rich, mainly elderly, home owners.  Or for the rich and famous… like the Bridges. 

Yet we still don’t hear any actual names attached to this supposed “long list of abusers of Proposition 13” to back up these claims behind the push to pass Proposition 19.     Obviously, this is a false representation of a proven property tax relief system that benefits more middle class home owners than anyone else in California.  Which makes perfect sense, if you think about it, as there are so many more middle class people in California, and elsewhere, than rich people! 

Although lately, to backup Proposition 15, to take away property tax breaks from business and commercial property owners, we are occasionally hearing about corporations, not people, always trotted out as, “…companies like Chevron and Disneyland…” (never mentioning any other company) “…that sit on valuable property, generating a huge profit every year – yet never paying taxes on their land in terms of present day reassessment”.  OK, we’re willing to listen.  But never with any actual figures or data to backup the claims. 

So even if a few corporations take advantage of Prop 13 tax relief measures that have  been in place in all 58 counties in  California since 1978, millions of middle class home owners will see their rents sky-rocket if Prop 15 passes… and commercial property owners, and apt. landlords just getting by, as well as family-run industrial businesses that own modest income bearing facilities – all use Proposition 13 fairly and properly, and benefit greatly from it.  Just as it should be.  So we’re going to punish these few perhaps greedy companies by crippling all business property owners in California? 

Without these tax breaks from Proposition 13 and Prop 58, without people like Howard Jarvis and Jon Coupal; Kerry Smith and Michael Wyatt who have fought for these tax breaks for California residential and business property owners…  very few middle class Californians, which is most of the state, would have been able to keep inherited property.  Landlords have been able to keep rents at moderately reasonable rates due to low commercial property taxes. So on and so forth. And this business about schools desperately needing funding – is yet again another half-truth.

Sure, some of the revenue from new, accelerated property taxes will go to schools… but nowhere near what is being promised, or rather vaguely indicated. The lion’s share we are told would go to pay for unfunded state-govt. pensions. And probably other state government purposes such as pay raises, generous benefits and vacations, and so on… plus special interest public works and building projects, no doubt.  And schools will pick up what’s left on the table after all that. 

Intended… and unintended… consequences.

>> Click Here to go to Part Three…