Is a Parent to Child Transfer Still Relevant for CA Beneficiaries & Homeowners?

Parent to Child Property Tax Transfer

Parent to Child Property Tax Transfer

In a Pandemic depressed economy, with a tsunami of unemployed and under-employed workers floating around in every state… it’s obvious that middle class working  families need to save more… and spend less – on items not classified as necessary for survival.  Property taxes being one of those sort of artificial expenses imposed on citizens by the government.

One solution for this dilemma is property tax relief, which we talk about at length on this blog.  Why not institute genuine property tax relief, not tax deferment as the state government has suggested, moving payment dates around.  Clearly ineffective in a crisis like the one we’re in right now.  California needs expanded property tax relief that’s even more wide reaching than  what we have now.  

We should be building on what we already have – not watering it down!  Despite property tax breaks that no other state has, California could use expanded tax breaks from Proposition 19, to help homeowners establish an even lower property  tax base, saving residents even more during  a crisis like the pandemic we’re in right now.  With an even greater ability to resolve inherited property conflicts between beneficiaries as well. 

In other words, a beneficiary buyout of co-beneficiary property shares, while avoiding property tax reassessment, can be re-drawn so there is no 12-month deadline for beneficiaries to follow… Plus the ability to avoid property tax reassessment on certain investment properties that have revenue potential. 

Residents need more opportunities in a depressed economy like we’re in now to drive revenue, not less.  Solutions like inheriting property taxes in California 2021 need to be expanded statewide, and legally strengthened. Solutions and firms like that will help beneficiaries & homeowners buyout a sibling’s share of an inherited home as an investment property to rent out, not just to live in as a primary residence.

Every property owner should understand the details underlying Prop 19, and know what’s involved with a beneficiary buyout of sibling property shares, or “transfer of property between siblings”, and “lending money to an irrevocable trust“ – from an irrevocable trust lender.  Every California homeowner and beneficiary inheriting property should know how a sibling to sibling property transfer works; keeping yearly taxes on property at parents low rates; and inheriting property taxes in California 2021.

Only California allows this, so it’s worth taking a closer look, and taking full advantage of.  Take a look at the site managed by CA State Board of Equalization, at and research property tax breaks  and Proposition 19 property tax relief revisions at Loan to a Trust  and read up on updates to Proposition 19 at this blog, Property Tax News.    There are also property tax consultants to learn from  such as  property tax specialist Michael Wyatt Consulting who are experts at property tax breaks that save homeowners, commercial property owners, and beneficiaries inheriting property thousands of dollars if not tens of thousands of dollars every year.   

The well known president of Commercial Loan Corp, Kerry Smith is another expert to learn from, or to receive a trust loan from, if the need is there.  Trust and Estate Loans is another source of excellent material, if you want to learn more about establishing a low base property tax rate through a trust loan, and Californians ability to execute a transfer of parents’ property and transfer of parents property taxes when inheriting parents property and inheriting property taxes during a property tax transfer with your parents’ low property tax base. If you’re going to own property in California, it’s worth it to know about your ability to avoid property tax reassessment, and to keep parents property taxes.  Well worth it!  

The California Proposition 19 Newspaper Debate

California Proposition 19

California Proposition 19


The official California  “Voter Guide” (Official Voter Information Guide) tells us CA Proposition 19 actually protects Proposition 13 property tax savings; and “closes unfair tax loopholes used by wealthy out-of-state investors” — a subtle reference to East Coast investors, of which in reality there are relatively few families like this actually coming to California to inherit property from parents, under Proposition 13, and rent out to wealthy tourists. 

This exaggerated claim has already been dis-proven, yet folks that support Prop 19  and continuously question property tax relief and Proposition 13, continue to repeat this false claim in the media — even though most CA property owners back Prop 13 and Proposition 58.

Newspapers have weighed in recently on Proposition 19: in terms of support…  

• San Mateo Daily Journal: “This would enable people in high cost areas to move more easily, opening up room for new residents to the area.”

• The San Diego Union-Tribune: “While critics see this as a gift to the wealthy elderly, the great majority of older homeowners are middle-income, not rich. Allowing them (as well as disabled homeowners and wildfire or disaster victims) to downsize without suffering a huge property tax hit is a humane policy that helps people retire with much less financial stress. It would also promote fluidity in home sales, increasing the availability of larger homes for families with children and easing the phenomenon of Proposition 13 depressing the real estate free market by trapping empty-nesters in homes bigger than they need.”

And in opposition…

• Tahoe Daily Tribune: “It’s no secret that ballot initiatives can be confusing, but Proposition 19 takes obfuscation to a whole new level.  Voters can’t be blamed if they can’t remember whether Prop. 19 is the initiative that is a massive property tax hike or the measure that actually has something good for homeowners or the initiative that has something to do with firefighting. The fact is, all three are at least somewhat true — especially the part about the big tax increase.”

• Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards: “Prop. 19 merely plugs one hole in the state’s porous property tax laws while creating another. It’s time for holistic reform that simplifies the system and makes it more equitable. This isn’t it. The longer a person had owned their current home, and already benefited from inordinately low tax bills due to Prop. 13, the greater the tax break on the new property. And those who downsize would often be competing with first-time buyers for more-affordable smaller homes. The real reform would be to abolish the tax-transfer program, not expand it.”

• The Bakersfield Californian Editorial Board: “Proposition 19 is another do-over on the ballot. Two years ago, the real estate industry spent $13 million on a similar initiative campaign to expand the program statewide and enhance the benefit for eligible homeowners. Sixty percent of voters rejected the initiative.”

• Los Angeles Times Editorial Board: “But Proposition 19 would just expand the inequities in California’s property tax system. It would grossly benefit those who were lucky enough to buy a home years ago and hold onto it as values skyrocketed. It would give them a huge tax break and greater buying power in an already expensive real estate market. It would skew tax breaks further away from people who don’t own a home or who may be struggling to buy one.”

• San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board: “[Proposition 19] is still a flawed package, designed to rev up home sales that benefit real estate agents who could reap more in commissions. It favors one narrow segment of the tax-paying public but does nothing for the rest of the state’s home buyers. The measure shows the convoluted extremes that California’s tangled property tax system produces.”

Whichever way you see it, it’s fairly clear that Proposition 19 is a billion-dollar tax increase on families. It limits one of the best tools parents have to help their children — the right, enshrined in California’s Constitution since 1986, to pass their home and other property on without any increase in property taxes, as a Proposition 19 parent to child transfer.

On the other hand, Proposition 19 still allows residents to avoid property tax reassessment, as long as families move into inherited property inside 12 months, and only as a primary residence. 

California beneficiaries inheriting property from parents can still work with trust lenders to get a loan to a trust you can also get a trust loan to buyout co-beneficiaries, while locking in a low property tax base… You can still easily buyout co-beneficiaries with a transfer of property between siblings.  Beneficiaries can always take advantage of a property tax transfer — in other words, transfer parents’  property taxes to themselves under Prop 19, what used to be Prop 58… and keep parents property taxes after inheriting property, and inheriting property taxes,  for as long as they live in their inherited home… as a standard Proposition 19 parent to child transfer or parent to child exclusion from current property tax rates. 

Moreover, Prop 19 will in fact generate additional property tax revenue, that will supposedly be put to good use in the state of California. So, it cuts both ways.

The Affect of Prop 19 on the Housing Market & Working Families in California

California Proposition 19 Property Tax Assistance

California Proposition 19 Property Tax Assistance

Jeanne Radsick, president of The Realtors Group, said recently:  “it’s vital  for homeowners who may be empty-nesters or who are looking to move for health reasons to have more options.  And if they can maintain  stable tax basis, they can live a similar life.  There’s not enough senior housing to accommodate older folks otherwise.”

Still, beneficiaries of Proposition 19 are those who already benefited the most under the state’s existing property tax laws.  Homeowners 55 and older in California are more likely to be older and not poor.  Although, an analysis of Proposition 19 by the California Budget and Policy Center, has some interesting things to say. They are a non-profit that is an advocate for working families and lower-income Californians…. 

At any rate,  their analysis tells us that homeowners in California tend to be more white and wealthier and older.  They seem to be forgetting that homeowners  also happen to be middle class and blue collar; but the study ignores the fact that middle class and working families are the principle users of Proposition 13, Proposition 58 and now of course Prop 19 exclusion for reassessment of property taxes.  Although, the real estate industry does i fact stand to benefit from the increase in home sales that is expected as a result of the Prop 19 measure.  But there’s nothing we can do about it, so we may as well focus on what we can do to lower property taxes.

However. Property tax relief is not chiefly for wealthy Californians nor was it meant for them.  In fact if you crunch the numbers without bias, the high volume of beneficiaries using trust loans to buyout siblings, establishing a low property tax base; while using the parent to child exclusion to avoid property tax reassessment… are mostly middle class.  Not millionaires. We don’t quite follow why they keep making that argument.  Millionaires surely aren’t the only folks interested in Proposition 13 and Prop 58, property tax transfer, or rather the ability to  transfer parents property taxes, to keep parents property taxes while inheriting property taxes during a parent to child transfer, or parent to child exclusion. 

We certainly see more working families and upper middle class families buying out a siblings’ share of a mutually inherited home, than we do corporate CEOs. Another key Proposition 58 benefit… allowing for the exclusion for reassessment of property taxes on transfers between parents and children. Not just for rich people!

Ms. Radsick said that protecting Realtors’ interests was not a driving force behind the push for Proposition 19.  “It is not about making money for the Realtors, for crying out loud,” she said. “It’s about tax fairness for people who need help.”  We need to sit back and really ponder that statement.

Liam Dillon at the Los Angeles Times had some interesting views on the   evolving property tax breaks available to Californians.  He writes:  “The biggest winners under Proposition 19 would be homeowners 55 and older who would pay lower property taxes when moving to a new, more expensive residence.  Currently, homeowners who are 55 or older have a one-time opportunity to retain their existing tax benefits if they move to a home of equal or lesser value within the same county. They can do the same when moving between Los Angeles and nine other counties.

Mr. Dillon goes on to say:  “Proposition 19 would further ease the tax burden by allowing the same group of senior homeowners to blend the taxable value of their old house with the purchase price of a new, more expensive home, reducing the property tax payment they’d otherwise face.   Disabled homeowners would receive the benefit as well. The rules under Proposition 19 would extend to every county in the state, and homeowners could take advantage of the break as many as three times when they decide to move.”

The downside, from our viewpoint, is the fact that given higher property taxes, using  inherited homes as rental properties may soon become unprofitable, without raising rents significantly… and that is not likely to be an effective long-terms solution. The fact of the matter is, these new property tax laws may encourage a lot of residents to sell properties they own, that they intended to leave to their heirs. Hence, realtors and brokers make more money, and that was one intention right from the beginning for Prop 19.

The concern surfacing among analysts revolves around the possibility of important companies leaving California for more business-friendly, lower-taxed states, taking their jobs with them.  As well as young white collar folks in their 20s and 30s, seeking more affordable property to settle into in nearby states; with a new job; focused on raising a family where they won’t get blasted every year with super high property taxes and income taxes, along with a high cost of living.

But, on the other hand… Higher property taxes or not, California will always be an attractive place to live.  There is still exclusion for reassessment of property taxes; there is still sunshine 12 months per year, an ocean nearby, convenient cities and beautiful rural areas 30 minutes away. And you can always find a good deal on most things, if you look for it.  People are always going to want to live in California.

Are Trusts Mainly for Wealthy Folks?

Are Trusts Only for the Wealthy

Are Trusts Only for the Wealthy?

Gifting property to adult children is a great thing to do, no matter the tax breaks – and thankfully, if you live in California and inherit property in that state, you do not need to be mega wealthy with $1,200 per hour tax lawyers to be able to avoid property tax reassessment, or to learn how to use a trust to save on taxes or to buy out siblings’ shares in your inherited real estate… with a trust loan.

Putting it bluntly, it doesn’t hurt to live in a state like California, where you get to save tens of thousands in tax breaks every year, compared to other states…. or compared to California the way it was pre-1978 before Proposition 13, and later in 1986 with Proposition 58, when you started to be able to keep parents property taxes when you’ve inherited property and are able to transfer parents property taxes, inheriting property taxes on a property tax transfer with a simple parent to child transfer or as lawyers call it, parent to child exclusion. Or perhaps lucky to be anywhere, if you can keep that house you inherited in your name, and you have a very good accountant! Another point – why trusts aren’t just for wealthy folks to save on income tax. 

There are trust lenders providing trust loans in California to cure family estate problems, with some beneficiaries insisting on selling inherited property – and no one can agree what the property value is, whether the local tax assessor is right or wrong;  or whether to sell or not to sell.  This is most likely one reason, besides saving on property taxes, that many property tax consultants and tax attorneys firmly believe that lawmakers in every state should pass property tax relief bills that make sense.

It would be advisable for homeowners and beneficiaries inheriting property to go to websites focused on CA Proposition 19, Prop 13, Prop 58, and Proposition 60… such as Michael Wyatt Consulting   and Trust and Estate Loans info-sites  or irrevocable trust lenders, or perhaps niche California focused property tax relief blogs like this one, Property Tax News.  Which is simply to straighten up and learn more about why property tax relief is crucial to California, and would be an economic life-saver to other states, if they were to surprise everyone and gain some genuine leadership, along the lines of what New York has.  So the middle class (not just the millionaires) can live in comfort and security.

As every state in America is now in the throes of a relentless pandemic, with a disastrous affect on businesses and unemployment within local and state economies…  lawmakers in every state would be wise to look at passing a property tax relief bill that would give consumers some financial relief, for example as CA Proposition 13 did in beginning in 1978 and Proposition 58 did in the beginning of that Amendment in 1986, giving Californians the ability to transfer parents property taxes.   

It seemed like a miracle for middle class homeowners in California… and beneficiaries to trusts inheriting a home from parents.  Enabling a property tax transfer solution from parents and grandparents when inheriting a home, and likewise inheriting property taxes – with a parent to child transfer or parent to child exclusion… the urgent need to keep parents property taxes was all of a sudden a reality, thanks to Howard Jarvis and colleagues, regardless of their deeper motivations – and of course the ability to transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property; avoiding property tax reassessment to keep property taxes low, and to have the ability to utilize trusts for a lower tax base – for all Americans; not just for corporate CEOs, VIPs and wealthy families in Beverly Hills, in Santa Barbara, the Marina in San Francisco, or similar locales. 

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.

Part Two: Proposition 19 Forces Changes to Prop 58 While Proposition 13 Remains Intact

A certain Proposition 15 was promoted with millions of dollars behind it, yet it didn’t pass. However, the fact that the California Legislature was in favor of it is still troubling to many California homeowners. 

Proposition 15 would have removed commercial properties like office buildings and industrial parks from Proposition 13 protections, mainly the ability to avoid property tax reassessment from current tax rates… Inheriting business properties from a parent would, under Prop 15, no longer have provided  business property heirs with Proposition 13 tax breaks – so heirs can avoid property tax reassessment for inherited commercial properties. 

Inheriting property taxes at a low Proposition 13 base would no longer apply to beneficiaries inheriting commercial property.  Beneficiaries inheriting office buildings and other business facilities would no longer have been able to transfer parents property taxes.

It would have raised the rents on apt. buildings and office buildings, on all commercial tenants, affecting stores and malls, supermarkets, car dealers, pharmacies and you name it. Effectively raising the prices of all goods and services in California. An economic disaster in the making. Fortunately, it did not pass.

As a well known realtor in Santa Barbara pointed out recently in an interview, Estate-planning attorneys are going to be very busy now, as Proposition 19 may cause many family members to decide to sell property they had intended to pass on to their heirs. Although other siblings will decide to keep and move into a home inherited from parents – as a primary residence – so heirs can avoid property tax reassessment  It’s a game-changer….

In terms of properties being sold that would have been passed on through a family trust, or to beneficiaries who simply cannot afford to pay property taxes that are reassessed are current rates… or folks that just object to paying higher property taxes on principle. Realtors are going to make a lot of money like this. And that’s good for them and possibly good for California. The problem is, a lot of those folks selling their home in response to high income tax exacerbated by    inflated living expenses, are also moving out of the state permanently – if they are also unable to save thousands of dollars every year for emergencies or their retirement account – by avoiding property tax reassessment.  And that’s not good for California!”    

Higher property taxes or not, California will always be an attractive place to live, to start a family, or just because the weather and the sights are pleasant.  People are always going to want to live in California, but long-term residents see life getting more expensive in that state – more rapidly than anyone anticipated.

Moreover, the prospect of getting more and more squeezed by taxes is forcing both large and mid-sized companies, as well as a surprising number of people approaching retirement, soon to be on a fixed income, to move to other states that are far more income-tax, corporate-tax and property tax friendly – and the companies take their jobs with them!

A good number of residents in their 20s (just out of college) are choosing to leave the state, with no intention to return.  In contrast to recent years, when California was an extremely popular state for young homeowners… and people in their 30s and even 40s, looking to start a family. Now, many young adults and families are seeking the most affordable place to live following college, or just as their careers are taking off – frequently with very young children to think about.

And this is where the CA Legislature’s short-sightedness really becomes obvious… Point being,  what else leaves the state with all those young residents and tax conscious companies? The large amount of taxes they pay to California every year!

Part One: Proposition 19 Forces Changes to Prop 58 While Proposition 13 Remains Intact

California Proposition 19

California Proposition 19

What does the passage of Proposition 19 mean for the general housing market in California, one of the nation’s most expensive states to live in?  Although the state will run into an increase in revenue due to a property tax hike, some residents who reside in inherited properties might discover that living in California is becoming more and more difficult  and unaffordable.

Nick Solis, a well known real estate professional, and president of One80 Reality said recently in an interview, “California is a state where blue collar working class folks generally pass down their home to their children or other family members.”

Of course this is where trust lenders, for example like Commercial Loan Corp, are going to get busier, helping beneficiaries to get approved for Proposition 58 and California Proposition 19.  Naturally, Prop 58, Prop 19 & a trust loan lets us buyout siblings, or co-beneficiaries.  Trust lenders are going to become more popular as this type of transaction becomes even more in demand than it already is now.  Siblings who are looking to sell out, and often leave the state, will actually walk off with more money from a trust loan than they would if they sold out to a third party that is not a family member.

Mr. Solis explained, “Not everyone who inherits a home form their parents is wealthy.  Many blue collar workers and working class families bought property in previous decades when homes were affordable, and are passing them down to their kids…”

It took a quasi civil war to get property taxes to this point. The overzealous, fanatical opponents of property tax relief in California never gave up, despite 42 years of trying and failing to remove property tax relief from the California tax system. They gritted their teeth and attempted to push through proposition after tax measure after tax bill to accomplish that. For 42 years, Proposition 13, which successfully limited property tax increases, helping beneficiaries, homeowners and commercial property owners avoid property tax reassessment. Hence, Prop 13 remained untouchable. A political third rail.

Proposition 13 weathered and rebuffed numerous legislative and legal attacks… Even including one at the Supreme Court.  And nothing stuck. Prop 13, and subsequently the 1986 Amendment, Prop 58 & a trust loan lets us buyout siblings, with it’s sacrosanct Parent–to-Child Exclusion (or Parent-to-Child Exemption), this all seemed to be more or less indestructible. 

As far as Proposition 19  is concerned, the forces behind it steered clear of  disabling the right to transfer parents property taxes or inheriting property taxes from parents with the ability to keep parents property taxes. Beneficiaries still had confidence in the fact that Prop 58 & a trust loan lets us buyout siblings and lock in a low Proposition 13 tax base.  Property tax transfer, parent to child transfer, parent to child exclusion and  the transfer of property between siblings all remained safe…     

>> Click Here to Continue to Part Two…

Will California Prop 58 Tax Breaks Survive Proposition 19?

Will CA Prop 58 Trust Loans and Tax Breaks Survive Proposition 19?

Will CA Prop 58 Trust Loans and Tax Breaks Survive Proposition 19?

California can thank her lucky stars that Proposition 15 was defeated by a thin margin of “No!” votes… But these motivated opponents of property tax relief in California managed to raise  and spend, thanks to the CA Realtor’s Association and others, $47,568,642.14 to push  through a certain cleverly worded, deceptive little tax measure called Proposition 19; as the state’s first serious property tax in 43 years. 

Opponents to the Prop 19 tax measure  managed to raise a paltry $238,521. Had they been able to raise equivalent amounts of cash for PR and promotional efforts, to properly inform voters as to what Proposition 19 was actually looking to accomplish — it is unlikely that the tax measure would have passed.  As it is, the winning margin was only a few hundred thousand votes. 

Proposition 19 was a Christmas present in 2020 for certain special interests  in California, supported by the CA Legislature – the  CA Association of Realtors PAC, the National Association of Realtors,  the California Democratic Party,  California Professional Firefighters Ballot Issues Committee, and others…  designed to be presented as a pro middle class, pro-senior, pro-firefighter, pro-education property tax relief package – when in fact no one really knows how much all of that anticipated extra property tax revenue is actually going to seniors and the California school system, and firefighters. 

Certainly, the folks behind Prop 19, the California Legislature will  throw a few dollars at the Firefighters’ Union… and make things, at least on the surface, appear to be easier for homeowners over 55, for awhile…. and the schools system will receive some of that revenue no doubt.  However, according to well connected real estate lawyers,  as well as the folks at the Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association,  most of the extra revenue will be used to pay for massive, unfunded government employee pensions and related items.  How this unfolds remains to be seen.

What also remains to be seen is the next Proposition 15 type of anti property tax relief tax measure, that will be looking to strip away certain established Proposition 13 tax breaks.  And no doubt with a more clever and convincing marketing effort next time around.  And   having learned a thing or two from their success with Proposition 19, how to sell new property taxes to residential and commercial property owners in California. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association and others will simply have to learn how to debunk and expose new property tax hikes, of any kind, more rapidly and more convincingly.  

In the meantime, California still has some effective property tax relief options left, thanks to Proposition 13 still being in one piece.  If we’re about to inherit property, from a trust or an estate, we can still look at getting a trust loan while establishing a low Proposition 13 property tax base… even without all of the property tax transfer options that heirs and beneficiaries are accustomed to passing on to their children as well… allowing their children to benefit from standard Proposition 13 tax breaks for California trust beneficiaries  to avoid property tax reassessment.

Families inheriting real property can still transfer parents property taxes upon inheriting property taxes; plus utilize their ability to safely keep parents property taxes during a parent to child transfer, or Parent to Child Exclusion; as well as during the transfer of property between siblings,  during a co-beneficiary buyout of inherited property shares through a loan to an irrevocable trust in conjunction with Proposition 58, and the help of a reliable trust lender who knows how to make full use of the  now-revised Parent to Child Exclusion… now restricted to a 12-month time-frame after a parent passes away; as opposed to no restrictive  time-frame, such as prior to Proposition 19.  
If California can’t take advantage of property tax relief one way – they’ll have to go down another avenue to get it done!  Inheriting parents property taxes, maintaining the right to avoid property tax reassessment, is still in place; it’s just not as simple as it once was. Thankfully, Proposition 13 still protects our right to avoid property tax reassessment, due to the fact that Proposition 13 is still intact, for the most part. But for how long? That’s the big question… before those tricky folks who gave us Proposition 15 and Prop 19 decide to try again, having learned from their “mistakes”, and come back in the near future with even more deceptive marketing capabilities.

Of course, in the bulk of the states in America, most tax breaks of any kind go the wealthiest residents who actually need tax reduction the least. However, in California the middle class, nor just the one-percenters, continues to enjoy these unique Proposition 13 and Proposition 58 or Prop 193 tax breaks.  Even after Proposition 19 imposed limitations on the right to avoid property tax reassessment. 

The longer middle class homeowners in California have lived in their house – factoring in their neighborhood, in terms of appreciation in value – the larger the tax break from Proposition 13 still is, as it always has been. And Proposition 58 remains about the same, allowing beneficiaries to get a large six or seven-figure loan to an irrevocable trust… establish a permanent low property tax base, plus buyout co-beneficiaries who have inherited the same property.

Despite Proposition 19, all property owners are protected from property tax increases, regardless of when their buildings were built or whether the owner even lives in them. Unfortunately for renters, rent control in Los Angeles and other urban areas only applies to multi-family apt. buildings that were constructed prior to 1979 — the rest of renters cannot partake, however can usually find reasonable rentals, where say in many other cities in the US this is often not possible. But it is in California.

Now, if we could get other taxation down, and make living easier for Californians in general, and stop companies from leaving the state due to high corporate tax… keeping jobs here in the state – California would be in better shape all around.  But that’s something we’ll need to take up with the Legislature!

With Prop 19, Can we Still Inherit A Home And Retain the Property Tax Base?

With Prop 19, Can we Still Inherit A Home And Retain the Property Tax Base?

With Prop 19, Can we Still Inherit A Home And Retain the Property Tax Base?

In opposition to what some California newspaper editorial writers,  ill-informed politicos, or ambitious realtors might tell you, California Proposition 13 is not broken.  In fact it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing.  As they say, “If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it!”

Voters in California, in 2020,  fell victim to a great deal of deceptive public relations and marketing, painting Proposition 19  as a “friendly” property tax… versus “unfriendly” property tax relief.  Always avoiding property tax reassessment  was framed as mainly benefiting wealthy families so they could rent out secondary, non-primary, properties to supposedly get even wealthier by renting these properties out – “starving” the state of much-needed revenue for schools, firefighters, and the Legislature in general.

The fact that Proposition  58 and Prop 13 property tax breaks have been allowing middle class homeowners to basically survive, saving Californians from losing their home; or being able to keep inherited property without going broke… apparently was not  important to the politicos in the capital.

Avoiding property tax reassessment at high current rates, and enabling beneficiaries to avoid having to sell their inherited property, plus being able to lock down a low Prop 13 property tax base and buyout siblings who urgently needed to sell their inherited property shares, through a trust loan working in concert with Prop 58’s Parent to Child Exclusion or Parent to Child Exemption – didn’t seem to matter at all to the folks running the state.  Tax relief like this for the middle class, as opposed to being available only to wealthy Californians, didn’t, and doesn’t, seem to be a priority, interestingly enough.

Opponents to property tax breaks for middle income residents  loaded up their promotional advertising with deceptive language and confusing explanations… Avoiding property tax reassessment was characterized as something you shouldn’t want to do; and voters were convinced they were not harming  themselves financially, as homeowners, or as trust beneficiaries and heirs to estates; and should be delighted that they were now helping seniors and firemen and schools.

In fact, they were actually helping the Legislature pay for unfunded government pensions with a rather vague financial support system for the firefighter’s union and educational system throughout the state.  The benefits were left open as to the “how” and “how much”, and written that way intentionally.

However it worked.  Proposition 19 passed… but just barely.  If it had been presented clearly,  in a straight-forward fashion – it would never have passed.  Many people voted for Proposition 19 without realizing its full implications.  In fact there  is a 160-plus page Assessor’s Handbook “AH401” that has literally been deleted from the Board of Equalization’s website because of changes brought about by Proposition 19; hence California property laws are being rewritten as we speak.

If you look at all this in depth, you can clearly see that if  Prop 19,  had been allowed to go all the way, in terms of completely stripping out homeowners’ and beneficiaries’  right to be always avoiding property tax reassessment…  this would have crippled the  middle class in California.  And it certainly will present some economic challenges to the middle class… however it stops short at being a complete disaster.

Property owners can still take the right steps for avoiding property tax reassessment, can still buyout co-beneficiaries, can still establish and maintain a low property tax base. With a few limitations.  Let’s just say it could have been a lot worse for middle class families.   And that is where these critics of property tax relief are probably heading – so Californians have to keep their eyes open.  But at least now, as many California homeowners and even renters  nurse their buyer’s remorse – they will be prepared if these incessant opponents to property tax relief come back around again to “finish the job”.

A lot of Californians don’t understand how complicated property tax relief is going to be going forward.  Every homeowner is going to need a Proposition 13, Proposition 58 and Proposition 193  expert to address these changes – to take full advantage of the Parent to Child Transfer, or Parent to Child Exclusion, and to analyze their property tax situation realistically;  with the help of a property tax expert.  To see if they are going to have to move into an inherited property within 12-months, and use it only as a primary residence,  to evaluate if that’s even going to be possible after the parent leaving them a home passes away.

All these property tax relief matters that were once so simple, that were implemented simply by habit before Proposition 19 came about, are now going to need expert input from well known property tax specialists like Prop 13/Prop 58 Consultant Michael Wyatt, or property tax relief real estate attorney Devin Lucas… Or trust loan and Parent to Child Transfer experts at a firm like  Commercial Loan Corp who fully understand how to make use of the exclusion for reassessment of property taxes on transfers between parents and children.

Professionals like that will be needed to side-step  mistakes and not miss out on always avoiding property tax reassessment – ending up paying property taxes at current high rates;  hopefully inheriting property taxes form parents.

Beneficiaries and homeowners are going to have to be incredibly careful when looking to  transfer parents property taxes, with the goal being  to keep parents property taxes on a property tax transfer, using the time honored Parent to Child Transfer,  or Parent to Child Exclusion.  The same applies to going to a trust lender, for example, to get a loan to an irrevocable trust to be able to get approved for Proposition 58 for the transfer of property between siblings – commonly known as buying out a siblings’ share of house – buying out siblings’ property shares,   Or the buyout of co-beneficiaries’ property shares.  Now not as simple as it once was.  But still do-able, working with the right firm who will lead you in the right direction and evaluate your property correctly.

For instance, without expert assistance it’s very easy to accidentally trigger a property reassessment under Proposition 13 that might very well increase your property taxes 10 or 20 times, for yourself or for your heirs or beneficiaries.  It’s so easy to handle a transfer of property incorrectly, without a specialist helping you, meaning a property tax consultant, or trust lender if you want to buyout annoying or dishonest siblings…Or a real estate attorney familiar with Prop 13 and Proposition 58.  It is easy to make an error in a Trust that kills your tax cap that would have saved you thousands of dollars.  Doing these things on your own is terribly risky.

When Prop 19 does into affect  on Feb. 16, 2021, California Prop 19 will change a parent’s ability to leave their children or grandchildren their Proposition 13 protected tax base.  Property will be reassessed at its current fair market value, unless you get expert help to identify a work-around or property tax reduction solution.  Challenges will exist where there were none before… so finding some experts you can trust will become an essential step going forward.   

Proposition 19 Tax Hike Versus Proposition 58 Property Tax Breaks

Proposition 19 Tax Hike Versus Proposition 58 Property Tax Breaks

Proposition 19 Tax Hike Versus Proposition 58 Property Tax Breaks

The slim-margin success of California property tax hike Proposition 19 has been due to an odd combination of elements. Not held up by a great deal of media support – yet enjoying all the benefits of a massive promotional budget, with first-rate brand awareness and PR; etc. – allocated by several established high-profile organizations lending a great deal of credibility to the Proposition 19 campaign.

Proposition 19 concentrated on the (supposed) well-being of seniors; on the enhanced profitability of the California realtor community, and on the escalated financial health of the state educational system.  Although  all the Proposition 19 public relations language supported all those focus points… how sincere it was remains to be seen.  Oddly enough, press and media support never mirrored the robust financial support that Proposition 19 enjoyed.

Only a handful of organizations such as ACLU of Southern California, the Family Business Association of California,  the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and League of Women Voters of California supported the effort to defeat Prop 19 – coming up with a mere $58,000 to support and protect Proposition 58, Proposition 13, and the right to continue transferring property taxes…

Meanwhile, a  tremendous parade of well heeled organizations backed the Proposition 19 tax initiative, and fought hard to get it passed, donating  some  $46,458,168.88… The astounding amount of capital raised to get the proposition passed was led by the California Association of Realtors, donating a stunning $35,710,000;  National Association of Realtors, with $4,823,500; California Professional Firefighters Ballot Issues Committee with $100,454; and the Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 Issues Advocacy/Ballot Initiative PAC with $10,000.

Other supporters were California Senior Advocates League, California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, Californians for Disability Rights, Congress of California Seniors, California State Federation of Labor, CalAsian Chamber of Commerce, California Black Chamber of Commerce, California Business Roundtable,  California Forestry Association, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce,  and  the California NAACP State Conference – just to name a few.  The full list of supporters is extraordinary. 

The California Legislature boldly claims that local governments and schools could “gain tens of millions of dollars of additional property tax revenue every year…” These extra revenue gains, they anticipate,  “might grow over time… to a few hundred million dollars per year.” “Might” and “could”…  But no one knows for sure.  Many feel these numbers are exaggerated.

Did those politicos running California, along with the real estate  organizations who had enough in their war-chest to throw $40,000,000 at this tax bill – ever consider that a large number of family farms and other companies will go under, as they have said they are in danger of doing due to overly high taxation, Covid, and poor sales… and will stop paying taxes altogether at that point. 

Did they ever consider that  if you topple over or mess with California’s right to transfer property taxes when inheriting property taxes from parents… or limit beneficiaries’ ability to keep parents property taxes for as long as needed; in fact to tamper at all with the legal right to take advantage of property tax transfer benefits, or the transfer of parents property taxes upon inheriting property taxes in general… or limiting a families’ ability to get a trust loan to buyout a co-beneficiary’s inherited property, to take advantage of Proposition 58 to avoid property tax reassessment… Or utilize property tax transfer, namely the right to transfer property taxes, parent to child transfers and parent to child exclusion, is always dangerous to tamper with or to try to  “fix”  a system that has been in place for decades  and that is working well, requiring no actual need of fixing.  

Many who are not in danger of going under have claimed they are fed up with  the high cost of doing business in California — and tax hikes of any kind would push them over the line, forcing them to leave California for more corporate-friendly states, with lower taxes in general.  They may not have the right to transfer property taxes in a new state, however their income tax and living expenses in general are likely to be far less expensive than in California.

Did any of the short-sighted folks pushing property tax increases like Prop 19, limiting and even removing the right to transfer property taxes as well as high income tax, ever stop to consider that in the final analysis California loses out on a lot more tax revenue going down this avenue.  In fact, if you examine the ten highest income tax states (or legal jurisdictions) you see right away how high taxation already is in California, even  before property tax increases…

  1. California 13.3%
  2. Hawaii 11%
  3. New Jersey 10.75%
  4. Oregon 9.9%
  5. Minnesota 9.85%
  6. District of Columbia 8.95%
  7. New York 8.82%
  8. Vermont 8.75%
  9. Iowa 8.53%
  10. Wisconsin 7.65%

Not only that, if you factor in the thousands of good white collar and  blue collar jobs that exit with those companies when they leave the state, take note of the fact that those jobs are gone forever!  Moreover, all those workers put an additional strain on the system, collecting   unemployment checks plus no longer themselves paying out taxes on the level they were before… Many of them in fact leaving the state to find work in nearby states with lower taxes and lower living expenses. Again, less tax revenue going to the California.  Did this not occur to anyone in the State Government, smart folks with PHDs and MBAs and law degrees…? You would think it would have.

Opposition in the Press

Yet with all that financial support – press and media support was stunningly low, in terms of support for Proposition 19.  Editorial Boards opposing this property tax ballot looked something like this:   

• The Orange County Register Editorial Board: “But Prop. 19 is best understood for what it is: an attempt by real estate interests to accomplish what they couldn’t accomplish two years ago by pandering to the state’s firefighters union. This is a special-interest measure that seeks to raise hundreds of millions of new tax revenues to appease yet another special interest. Prop. 19 has one good feature — portability. Counties ought to enable it forthwith, as a few already have done. But Prop. 19 is a cash grab, not tax reform; it’s not fair to property heirs, and it buys off a union so it has a better chance of passing. Vote it down.”

• Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards: “Prop. 19 merely plugs one hole in the state’s porous property tax laws while creating another. It’s time for holistic reform that simplifies the system and makes it more equitable. This isn’t it.  The longer a person had owned their current home, and already benefited from inordinately low tax bills due to Prop. 13, the greater the tax break on the new property. And those who downsize would often be competing with first-time buyers for more-affordable smaller homes. The real reform would be to abolish the tax-transfer program, not expand it. Vote no on Prop. 19.”

• The Bakersfield Californian Editorial Board: “Proposition 19 is another do-over on the ballot. Two years ago, the real estate industry spent $13 million on a similar initiative campaign to expand the program statewide and enhance the benefit for eligible homeowners. Sixty percent of voters rejected the initiative. They should do the same this year.”

• Los Angeles Times Editorial Board: “But Proposition 19 would just expand the inequities in California’s property tax system. It would grossly benefit those who were lucky enough to buy a home years ago and hold onto it as values skyrocketed. It would give them a huge tax break and greater buying power in an already expensive real estate market. It would skew tax breaks further away from people who don’t own a home or who may be struggling to buy one.”

• San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board: “But it’s still a flawed package, designed to rev up home sales that benefit real estate agents who could reap more in commissions. It favors one narrow segment of the tax-paying public but does nothing for the rest of the state’s home buyers. The measure shows the convoluted extremes that California’s tangled property tax system produces.”

• The Desert Sun Editorial Board: “What seems clear is that the main backers of this measure — Realtors and the firefighters union — stand to gain greatly in the forms of expected increased home sales and related sales commissions and the measure’s dedication of some of the state’s ultimate new tax proceeds specifically to firefighting efforts. Firefighting must be a priority of state and local governments. Budgeting for anything so vital by this type of special interest ballot measure is the worst way to do so. Lawmakers should be making such key spending decisions in their regular budget work.”

• The Press Democrat Editorial Board: “Proposition 19 would allow people to buy more expensive homes anywhere in the state, while capping their property taxes. Moreover, they could repeat the maneuver three times. That might provide lots of business for real estate agents, but it would undercut school districts and local governments, the beneficiaries of property taxes. […] California’s tax system is overdue for an overhaul, but these measures make piecemeal changes that are as likely to create new problems as solve old ones. The Press Democrat recommends no votes on Propositions 15 and 19.”

Editorial Boards supporting this property tax ballot was slim, and looked something like this: 

• San Mateo Daily Journal Editorial Board: “This would enable people in high cost areas to move more easily, opening up room for new residents to the area.”

• The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board: “While critics see this as a gift to the wealthy elderly, the great majority of older homeowners are middle-income, not rich. Allowing them (as well as disabled homeowners and wildfire or disaster victims) to downsize without suffering a huge property tax hit is a humane policy that helps people retire with much less financial stress. It would also promote fluidity in home sales, increasing the availability of larger homes for families with children.”

The logic surfaced in these two supportive editorials, frankly, make no sense at all; and do not line up with the data points in the actual tax measure.

As Californians gear up to repeal this tax measure, it is important to remember that Proposition 19 changed the rules for tax assessment transfers. Homeowners used to be able to transfer their tax assessments to a different home of the same or lesser market value, which allowed them to move without paying higher taxes.  Homeowners who were eligible for tax assessment transfers were  over 55 years old, frequently with moderate disabilities, often becoming more severe as they grow older.   Revised property tax relief now looks something like this: 

The ballot measure allowed eligible homeowners to transfer their tax assessments anywhere within the state and allow tax assessments to be transferred to a more expensive home with an upward adjustment. The number of times that a tax assessment can be transferred increased from one to three for persons over 55 years old or with severe disabilities (disaster and contamination victims would continue to be allowed one transfer).

Parents and grandparents used to be able to transfer primary residential properties to their children or grandchildren without the property’s tax assessment resetting to market value. Other types of properties, such as vacation homes and business properties, could also be transferred from parent to child or grandparent to grandchild with the first $1 million exempt from re-assessment when transferred.

Now… the right to transfer property taxes is limited in certain circumstances. The Parent-to-Child Exclusion and grandparent-to-grandchild exemption is eliminated in cases where the beneficiary does not use the inherited property as a primary residence, such as using inherited property as a rental property or vacation home. When the inherited property is used as a primary residence but is sold for $1 million more than the property’s taxable value, an upward adjustment in assessed value would occur. The ballot measure also applied these rules to certain farms. Beginning Feb. 16, 2023, the first $1 million is adjusted each year at a rate equal to the change in the California House Price Index.

Beyond the sizzle that the California Legislature and the Realtors sold us on – it’s important, in fact crucial, that Californians remember the steak… and not continue to be fooled by the sizzle in he future; looking towards the collective fed up mood in the state, regarding this tax measure… as support slowly gathers across the state to repeal Proposition 19.