Property Taxes in California Are Subject to Change
We all know that nothing stays the same in life. We know that everything, ever single advantage, and every fortunate upper hand or financial improvement given to us in life eventually changes.
Naturally, we hope for the better… although it doesn’t always turn out that way. When it comes to taxes, lucky breaks, in a fluid state like California, coming from tax breaks or property tax relief laws… may come around once in awhile – but it doesn’t always stay the same.
For example, what was once the wildly popular parent-to-child property tax break in California called CA Proposition 58 – has now morphed into a property tax relief measure, with some nice advantages for a wider selection of people to avoid property tax reassessment, such as those over age 55, the elderly, folks who are disabled, and homeowners whose home has been damaged or even destroyed by a natural disaster – known to us as “Proposition 19”… active as of Feb 16, 2021.
Experts and Solutions That Can Help
Fortunately, there are professionals around, such as trust lenders, attorneys that specialize in trusts and taxes, specialized CPAs, and property tax consultants… that can help homeowners like this, as well as beneficiaries inheriting property from parents, all who need help avoiding mistakes or missteps may trigger property tax assessment – which can be financially crippling for middle class and even upper middle class families.
One category of solution providers worth mentioning are property tax specialists that help buyout inherited property from sibling beneficiaries, frequently through an irrevocable trust loan – allowing beneficiaries to retain sole ownership of inherited property that would now cost ten times what it cost 2, 3 or 4 generations ago – plus cutting costs by avoiding property tax reassessment at current, or “fair market” rates.
These property tax experts can show beneficiaries how to keep parents’ property taxes on a property tax transfer; How to take advantage of a parent-child transfer or parent-to-child exclusion (from current tax rates). This helps families inheriting a home to transfer parents’ property taxes along with the home they are receiving… So they also end up inheriting property taxes, not just a home with four walls, a ceiling, maybe a pool, and some furniture.
Guidance From Property Tax Relief Specialists
Some California firms with property tax relief expertise have been encouraged to get creative, to meet new property tax challenges and obstacles with some effective new ideas and solutions. Firms that specialize in base year value transfers and parent-child transfers.
This type of trust lender now offers beneficiaries inheriting a home from parents the ability to keep their parents’ low Proposition 13 property tax base; while also taking advantage of Proposition 19 inherited property transfer tax breaks, lowering or pausing CA property taxes… for example transferring your mom’s low property tax base via Prop 19
A Trust Loan / Prop 19 Funding Expert Weighs In
One of only a handful of experts in California, in this area, is irrevocable trust loan and Proposition 19 specialist Tanis Kluever – Senior Proposition 19 Property Tax Specialist at Commercial Loan Corporation (877) 464-1066 https://cloanc.com, who shares her views on these matters…
Tanis tells us: “Many older homes being inherited by beneficiaries in these scenarios are not carrying any debt. Which is fortunate. So let’s say in many of these middle class or even upper middle class families there is a house, maybe some land, and possibly a few valuables…
Here is a typical middle class inherited real estate scenario – let’s say, for example, there are three beneficiaries and no other assets being inherited except an older home. One beneficiary wants to keep the house, to keep parents property taxes; while the other two siblings prefer to get cash from an immediate house sale, probably through a nearby realtor. But – instead of selling to a buyer, here is where Proposition 19 and a trust loan comes into play, providing liquidity and compliance with the Proposition 19 tax system – furnishing the two siblings who prefer to sell, with enough cash liquidity as if they had sold their shares in the inherited property to a buyer…
With a loan to a trust there is the upside of less expense. Frequently, we’re talking about ten times less of an expense than would normally be involved in a house sale. Again, a process compensating beneficiaries through a trust loan, instead of a house sale or coming up with the cash yourself… versus a formal house sale through a realtor that would cost approximately ten times the amount to process the entire scenario, a house sale, with realtor commission and fees, taxes, ancillary costs, etc… “
Transferring A Parents Property Tax Value In California
2022 Tax Relief: Inherited Properties & Replacement Homes
The 2021 CA constitutional amendment, Proposition 19, otherwise known as the “Home Protection for Seniors, Severely Disabled, Families and Victims of Wildfire or Natural Disasters Act”, expands a surprising number of tax breaks (with respect to “replacement residence” tax relief benefits) mainly for homeowners over age 55 or suffering from a severe disability… making it possible to transfer a low property tax base from an original home to a new residence, or “replacement home”.
Californians also able to take advantage of expanded property tax breaks are homeowners with a damaged or completely destroyed home, caused by a natural disaster such as a flood, earthquake, or wildfire, can now move to a replacement residence, up to three time – in any of California’s 58 counties, expanded from previous limits of only ten counties allowing the transfer of a low property tax base to a new residence. This is actually quite ironic, as senior and elderly Americans, and folks with disabilities, generally find themselves either ignored or on the short end of the stick, so to speak. So this represents a societal shift, for the better.
However, it is important to point out that Proposition 19 also imposes new limits on property tax benefits for inherited family property, limiting uses of the popular 1986 Proposition 58 “parent-to-child exclusion” from reassessed (i.e., increased) property taxes; limiting parent-to-child transfers of property by narrowing usage in various ways.
This necessitates primary or principal residence (as opposed to owning and renting out investment properties) for both parents and beneficiaries, along with some other, minor, limitations. On the other hand, beneficiaries do have a full year to move into an inherited primary home, only requiring a minimum of one heir to move in.
Buying Out Siblings & Keeping a Low Property Tax Base
Moreover, beneficiaries still have the ability to keep their parents’ family home, with their parents’ low property tax base, while taking advantage of Prop 19’s parent-to-child exclusion; always staying focused on inheriting property taxes from parents during a typical property tax transfer. Avoiding property tax reassessment being a top priority at all times. For many beneficiaries getting a loan to a trust is critical, generally to buyout problematic co-beneficiaries insisting on selling their inherited property shares.
This typically involves a 6-figure or 7-figure loan to an irrevocable trust from a trust & estate lender, for example like industry leader Commercial Loan Corp, working in conjunction with Proposition 19 – supplying beneficiaries who are selling their inherited property shares with more money than a conventional buyer is likely to offer.
Avoiding a realtor, bypassing their standard 6% commission, and side-stepping the usual legal fees and transaction charges, leaves a good deal more cash, from a trust loan, to equalize beneficiaries selling their share of inherited property. Basically, a win-win transaction all the way around.
Base Year Value Transfers for Homeowners 55+ or Disabled
Proposition 60/90 and 110 allowed persons over 55 or severely and permanently disabled persons to transfer the taxable value of their existing home to their new replacement home, so long as the market value of the new home is equal to or less than the existing home’s value and located in one of ten tax relief portability approved counties in California.
That left 48 counties not participating with tax breaks allowing the transfer of a low property tax base from an original home to a new replacement residence. When dealing with damage from a natural disaster like the wildfires California has been contending with lately… Or simply because you’re over the age of 55, or suffering from a serious physical disability.
Of course the good news is that Proposition 19 now allows eligible homeowners to transfer the taxable value of their existing home to their new replace, and wish to move to a replacement home, or to new residence – of any value, anywhere within the state, up to three times (rather than once, with limited county choices and limited assessed dollar values – as it used to be until 2021).
Proposition 50 stipulated that a base year value of a home or property that is legitimately destroyed, or damaged beyond the point of residing there, by a disaster or wildfire verified as legitimate by the Governor may be transferred to comparable property within the same county.
Proposition 171 stated that the transfer of the base year value of a principal residence to one of 10 counties that has adopted these tax breaks. However, Proposition 19 now permits homeowners to move to a “replacement home” of higher assessed value than a previous primary residence – and transfer the lower tax base with an adjustment for the value difference when a home is damaged or destroyed by a wildfire or some other natural disaster.
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.
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.
With “tax basis portability”, you can transfer the old assessed value of your previous home, to your next home. For instance, if you own a house with an assessed value of, say, $400,000. You sell it for $600,000, and purchase a house for, let’s say, $550,000. So rather than a new reassessed value of $550,000, you can apply to reverse the value of the property back to the previous assessed value of $400,000. Therefore, the lower value can shave roughly $1,800 off your property taxes every year. OK, it’s not a million dollars, but it adds up…
As long as you can verify that you are –
age 55 or older;
or severely disabled;
or own a home that has been significantly damaged by forest-fire or wildfire, or a natural disaster, such as a flood.or severely disabled;
plus, are inheriting a home that was a principle residence; and are moving into the property only as a principle residence.
“Portability” is language used to define estate tax law that enables a surviving spouse to use an estate tax exemption left by a deceased spouse to protect valuable assets during the surviving spouse’s life, or at the surviving spouse’s death.
Potential Issues with a Replacement Property
A “replacement property” can be purchased prior to the sale of home you are currently living in. Of course there may be some problems property tax relief critics, realtors, politicians, and the Legislature doesn’t like to acknowledge – such as the size of an inherited home, your family may be way too large for it. Or the inherited home may be in an undesirable area.
If you have children in school, the school in the new school district you may find yourself in might be completely inferior to the previous school, upsetting your children. Or your commute to work may end up being an extra 4 hours on the freeway, getting to and from your new inherited home!
These issues can be exhausting and debilitating in the long run. Certainly something to consider. In a perfect world, these issues would not surface and become a big problem when you inherit a home from a parent. However, it’s generally not a perfect world.
Improvements to Propositions 60, Prop 90 & 110
Revisiting several of the new property tax relief options… One can safely say, despite components that are perhaps not so helpful – that Proposition 19 is, in some ways, less restrictive than the old Proposition 60, Prop 90, and Prop 110. There are no more county or sales price restrictions, and people can use the Proposition 19 property tax benefit more than once in a lifetime.
Proposition 19 Benefits
a) County restrictions are eliminated… The older rules limited the location of the properties in question. Proposition 60 restricted the tax basis portability within one county. Proposition 90 expanded that to a certain list of counties, so you could sell in one county and buy in another, but only if they were on that list.
b) Under Proposition 19… instead of limiting the counties of transfer, you can use this benefit anywhere in California.
c) No more sales price restrictions… Under Propositions 60 and 90, only transfers of “equal or lesser value” were eligible for tax basis portability.
d) A transfer of low tax basis… is now enabled by Proposition 19, regardless of value. However, certain adjustments to the tax basis are required if the purchase price of the replacement property is higher than the sale price of the previous home.
New Proposition 19 Restrictions for Inherited Properties
On the other hand, under Proposition 19, beneficiaries could see a substantial increase in their property taxes for inherited property. While property tax relief in California had no exclusion or exemption limitations under Proposition 58, current property tax law exclusions under Proposition 19 apply strictly to the first $1,000,000 of inherited property value.
For instance, should your inherited property (i.e., primary residence) be assessed with a market value of $2,000,000 upon transfer to you as the official beneficiary, newly assessed value will be $1,000,000. In other words, $2,000,000 minus $1,000,000 (i.e., the first $1,000,000 of property value) – will equal a $1,000,000 limited exclusion.
Although you are most likely aware of other changes and limitations imposed on California property tax relief, it bears repeating. As a beneficiary inheriting CA property taxes from a dad or mom, you now have to reside in a home only as a primary residence, if you are to take advantage of the Proposition 19 tax break, providing an exclusion from property tax reassessment at current market rates. You can no longer receive an exclusion from reassessment for an investment property.
Some say the underside to this reveals a change that mainly benefits the realtor community in California – using the Bridges family as their one and only singular example of inheriting CA property taxes from a wealthy parent, in this case a luxury beach- front property being used as a lucrative investment property; saving a great deal in taxes – while renting out to wealthy vacationers for $15,000 per month.
For whatever reason, critics of property tax relief have as yet produced very few specific examples of this type of inherited property used for “rental revenue” purposes, as opposed to “primary residential” purposes. Incredibly, the property tax law removing Prop 13 and Prop 58 property tax breaks from investment properties is apparently based on this one oft-told, tired tale of the Bridges family!
As you probably also know – as an inheritor, you have only 12-months in order to establish your inherited property as a principal or primary residence, to avoid property tax reassessment. However, if your inherited property value is more than $1,000,000 over the original tax basis, you are most likely still facing property tax reassessment – and this can hit the pocketbook hard. This may encourage you to sell out, if that’s the case.
Help From Property Tax Specialists
If you don’t want to sell your inherited home, you may be inclined to enlist the help of a property tax consultants for example (great proponents of property tax breaks, and supporters of Propositions 13 and 58); or a trust lender like Commercial Loan Corp, with a loan to an irrevocable trust – and buyout your siblings, if you have siblings, who prefer to sell their property shares from the same inherited property you have received from your parents.
You can establish a permanent, low Proposition 13 tax base this way, and take over 100% of the inherited property equity, with the trust loan paying off anything owed on the inherited home. Plus, your siblings will end up with a good deal more cash from the trust loan than if they had sold out to an outside buyer.
Proposition 19 Changes to the CA Parent-Child Exclusion
Let’s say a parent owns a home that is his or her primary residence plus a rental property (such as an apartment building or commercial building) in California. The home has an assessed value of $500,000 and a fair market value of $3,000,000. The rental property also has an assessed value of $500,000 and a fair market value of $2,000,000. Even though these properties have different current market values, their property tax liability is similar because they have the same assessed value. The combined annual property tax of both properties with a property tax rate of 1.25% is $12,500.
Prior to Proposition 19: Let’s say the parent in this example wanted to transfer both properties to his son. There was no reassessment on the transfer of either the home or the rental property from father to son. The home before Proposition 19, under Proposition 58, could be transferred to the son irrespective of its’ value, since it was the father’s primary residence, and the assessed value of the rental property falls below the $1,000,000 threshold.
Therefore the combined annual property tax stays at $12,500. Moreover, there were no restrictions on the son’s usage of either property – therefore the son might have used both properties as investment properties if that is what he wished to do.
Outcomes Under Proposition 19: Let’s say new assessed value of a house is $2,000,000 since the current market value is larger than the assessed value by more than $1,000,000 (i.e., the new assessed value has a current market value of $3,000,000 minus $1,000,000). The new assessed value for the rental property is its fair market value of $2,000,000 because no exclusion or exemption from reassessment at current market rates applies to transfers of property from parent-to-child other than a primary residence.
Yet if it is indeed a principle residence that beneficiary or heirs are moving into, in keeping with the 12-month inherited property move-in deadline – all the bells and whistles really are still there to be taken advantage of – such as inheriting CA property taxes from parents, having the right to continue transferring property taxes while avoiding property tax reassessment, while being able to use a Proposition 19 loan to an irrevocable trust to keep a parents low property tax base as well as buying out siblings’ inherited property shares – formerly a Proposition 58 transfer of property between siblings…
By the same token, heirs or beneficiaries of inherited property can make full use of any property tax transfer as long as these new restrictive requirements are met… an inheritor can transfer parents property taxes and likewise keep parents property taxes thereafter upon inheriting CA property taxes from ones’ father or mother – and complete the process with a parent-to-child transfer and parent-child exclusion. Californians are still able to successfully avoid property tax reassessment by inheriting CA property taxes from parents, in the final analysis, keeping a low property tax base when inheriting a home. The key to property tax relief in all 58 counties in California.
The new combined annual property tax will be $50,000. In addition, the son has to use the inherited family house as his primary residence or that property is sure to be reassessed at the current market value of $3,000,000, which will increase the combined annual property tax for both properties to $62,500.
You see the difference? This accounts for the growing push-back on Proposition 19…despite all the positive elements that come with this property tax measure.