Affect of Disaster Relief on CA Property Taxes

Revenue and Taxation rules and regulations in the state of California now stipulates that homeowners and business property owners can claim a property tax exemption if property is destroyed or significantly damaged by a natural disaster such as a winter storm, drought, earthquake, windstorm, flooding or forest fire –  verified by the CA Governor. You may be eligible if you’re the owner of property impacted by any of these natural disasters.

The CA County Assessors Office in your county will appraise your property to determine how severe the damage is if, when it’s re-built in a similar fashion, the affected property has kept its’ previous value in terms of property assessment.  As of 2021,  under Proposition 19, every county in California has an ordinance for disaster relief, making a property tax exemption possible.  As we all know, it used to be only a few counties that allowed this type of exemption or exclusion.

Revised property tax relief is now accessible to owners of real estate, farms, business equipment and fixtures, orchards and  farms or other agricultural entities, as well as aircraft, boat, and certain manufactured home owners. Tax relief is not available to property owners of state licensed manufactured homes, or household furnishings.

The CA State Board of Equalization now tells us, “To qualify for property tax relief, you must file a claim with the county assessor within the time specified in your county ordinance, or 12 months from the date of damage or destruction, whichever is later. The loss estimate must be at least $10,000 of current market value to qualify the property for this relief. The property will be reassessed according to its damaged state and property taxes will be adjusted accordingly.”

After an application is processed by the county assessor’s office, a “Notice of Proposed New Assessment” will be sent to your address. A supplemental refund will be made based on the amount of reduction. The refund will be prorated from the month  in which the disaster occurred to the end of the fiscal year or completion of new construction, whichever is first. You do not have to file a separate claim for a refund, but you do have to pay your standard tax bill.

The form and its title differ from county to county; therefore, you must contact your county assessor for an application for reassessment for property damaged or destroyed by a specific disaster. Some forms can be downloaded off the county’s website.

You can locate find your County Tax Assessor’s contact info through this list of County Assessors: