Much to the relief of Californians who own property and/or are in the process of inheriting a home from a parent, for example, in any of the 58 county across the state, the parent-to-child exclusion from property tax reassessment is still alive and well in all 58 counties, in 2022.
However, quite often, new homeowners and beneficiaries trigger a property tax hike strictly by accident, and end up facing thousands upon thousands of dollars in property taxes from property tax reassessment – that could and should have been avoided, had the right advice and tax plan been in focus.
High property values in California highlight the need for careful property tax planning. If you have owned your property for many years Generally, in terms of property taxes, homeowners who have owned their home for a long time typically have a lower assessed value than current or “fair market” property value tends to be.
As far as parent to child transfers are concerned, when one beneficiary who is inheriting a home decides to buyout property shares inherited by co-beneficiaries (siblings) – to have complete ownership of said property – it’s easy to misstep and mistakenly trigger property tax reassessment.
A parent to child property tax transfer in is line with the effort to avoid property tax reassessment under Proposition 19’s parent-child exclusion, retaining a parent’s Proposition 13 low property tax base. Therefore a loan to an irrevocable trust working in conjunction with Proposition 19 allows us to transfer property between siblings – buying out property from siblings.
Likewise, beneficiaries, upon inheriting property from parents, still have a property tax transfer at their disposal to transfer parents property taxes and keep parents property taxes when inheriting a parental home, and thus inheriting property taxes, but at a low base rate. Hence, the use of a parent-child transfer… enabling the use of the invaluable parent-to-child exclusion – bottom line, helping us avoid any possibility of triggering property tax reassessment!
Choosing the Right Trust Lender, to Keep a Low Property Tax Base While Buying Out Inherited Property From Siblings
We prefer a trust lender who can formulate and deliver the more reliable, simple Proposition 19 rules & regs, in conjunction with an irrevocable trust loan to equalize beneficiary buyouts of inherited property shares.
We have found that any type of unconventional property financing other than irrevocable trust loan funding may run into unpleasant surprises such as property tax reassessment – due to an abrupt change in control, or revised ownership!
LLCs, Corporations, or various Partnership entities owning real estate are subject to a myriad of property tax rules & regs that can change on a dime, often disqualifying beneficiaries from taking full advantage of the parent-to-child exclusion, to maintain a low property tax base, and perhaps buying out inherited property shares from co-beneficiaries – avoiding property tax reassessment and running headlong into pricey financial surprises.
Transferring Your Base Year Value Under Proposition 19
Given new changes to Proposition 19, if you happen to be over age 55, or are severely disabled, you may be able to transfer your home’s current base year value to the purchase of a different home, thereby keeping your property tax payments low. To qualify, you must acquire your new home through a sale transaction. If you acquire any portion of the new property by gift or inheritance, you will not be able to transfer your base year value.
Establishing and locking in a low property tax base helps you as a new homeowner, or beneficiary inheriting parental property, to minimize your property tax burden over the long-term. As most Californians know, to save on taxes it’s essential to utilize existing property tax relief tools to reduce taxes on inherited real estate… Tools that support property tax transfer and property tax breaks;, the ability to transfer parents property taxes and keep parents property taxes as long as an inherited home remains a primary residence; inheriting property taxes.
Most residents believe expert help is essential, from a property tax consultant, a tax attorney, or a trust lender; and feel it would make very little sense to ignore this.
What we should find in an experienced California trust lender, along with providing a loan to an irrevocable trust, is expertise guiding new homeowners, or beneficiaries inheriting a home, through the inheritance process – able to establish the low property tax base still possible under Proposition 13 – in conjunction with Proposition 19…
Proposition 19 is still clinging to the frayed edges of Proposition 58, as homeowners and renters alike show signs of buyers remorse, all across California, having voted for Proposition 19, thinking that their ability to avoid a property tax reassessment was the key ingredient… amidst confusion over the fine print concerning property tax transfers – hidden behind sentimental window dressing claiming to be tax revenue going mainly to firefighters, the elderly, and folks hindered by wildfires or other natural disasters and disabilities.
Californians are sentimental Westerners by nature, and what Westerners could possibly vote against the elderly and homeowners with severe disabilities!
At any rate, a loan to an irrevocable trust from a trust lender, working in concert with Proposition 19, in conjunction with a parent to child property tax transfer — better known as a parent-child transfer and parent-to-child exclusion, allows heirs and beneficiaries to avoid a property tax reassessment – while also being able to buyout inherited property shares from siblings, for more cash than an outside buyer would offer.
Essential Trust Lender Tasks
Meanwhile, California real estate taxes are maintained at a reasonable level by Proposition 13, which limits real estate tax increases to 2% maximum per year. Proposition 58, Proposition 193, and Proposition 19 allow for this low tax basis to continue if real property is transferred to heirs from a parent or grandparent.
At any rate, a good trust lender should be able to complete the following tasks flawlessly and without issue:
1. Deciding which beneficiary will own the inherited property in question.
2. Determining how much money is needed for an irrevocable trust loan.
3. Funding a high six-figure or low seven-figure trust loan.
4. Distribution of an irrevocable trust loan, equalizing the amount of cash going to each beneficiary that is looking to sell off their inherited property shares.
5. Filing change-of-ownership, while keeping a legacy tax basis.
6. Mapping out how beneficiaries will repay a trust loan.
Finally, a relationship with a trust lender is based on belief, and good faith, as all relationships are. Plus results, which surface soon enough.
As most of us know by now, yet it does merit repeating – a parent-child exclusion is not the only key tax break offered by Proposition 19. California homeowners age 55 plus, or who are victims of a validated natural disaster such as an earthquake or heavy flooding, or who are extremely disabled – who are looking to transfer their property taxes to a new home now have direct access to additional tax relief options.
Proposition 19 Popular Property Tax Relief Expansion
Some previous tax benefits are now expanded. A transfer by homeowners when purchasing a new, higher priced primary residence, with adjusted numbers to update values, no longer has to be a home of equal or lower value; and a property transfer like this can be implemented up to three times, not merely once as with previous limitations.
Victims of natural disasters verified by the Governor of California no longer have any limits, as far as counties are concerned. There tax breaks can now be used in any of California’s 58 counties, no longer limited to ordinance approved counties as before – and may be utilized between any two counties, from original home to new property.
New Proposition 19 Property Tax Relief Opportunities
As long as Californians qualify for, and file, their Homeowner’s Exemption or Disabled Veterans’ Exemption inside 12 months of transfer of ownership; plus make an inherited home their principal residence, as opposed to an investment property – they can avoid property tax reassessment.
Moreover, they have plenty of time – 12 months, to move in. Also, family farm transfers are permissible under this exclusion – without having to move in as a primary residence.
However, due to the possibility of triggering reassessment and being hit with current tax rates, it’s critical to enlist the assistance of a trust lender like the Commercial Loan Corp in Newport Beach for instance, to determine if a loan to an irrevocable trust, in conjunction with Proposition 19 tax breaks, will serve as a reliable means to keep an inherited home from parents with a low Proposition 13 protected property tax base.
There is also a superior financing solution available to buyout siblings who wish to sell their inherited property shares… at a much higher price than an outside buyer would offer, thanks to the elimination of a realtor managing the process, and their 6% fee, plus pricey legal costs; etc.
Keeping a Low Property Tax Base With an Irrevocable Trust
It’s crucial to enlist the help of a tax attorney, or a property tax consultant, or a trust lender, to find an alternative tax avenue – to avoid egregious tax hikes at current reassessed rates. For example, a CA family home assessed today at $50,000 – with a yearly property tax of $600 – could actually be re-assessed today at $750,000 – with an annual tax burden of $9,000!
An experienced trust lender can help middle class families with an irrevocable trust, working in conjunction with Proposition 19 and Prop 13, to establish a low property tax base, and even buyout property shares from co-beneficiaries. We’re talking about homeowners that have on average less than $700 in the bank at any given time; who don’t have deep pockets… who need to avoid severe property tax increases, with the danger of possibly losing a beloved house due to an inability to pay for such yearly taxes.
Even a regular trust, like a Qualified Personal Residence Trust, permits a parent to transfer a primary residence to a trust that allows that residence to be occupied by that parent for a set amount of years. At the close of that set number of years, the residence transfers back to the heir and when that heir becomes the sole owner, they qualify for a parent-to-child exclusion, as a primary home owner.
CA Property Tax Relief Options With Trust Lenders
Besides assisting beneficiaries with a parent-child exclusion and a low parental property tax base, a trust lender will help sibling co-beneficiaries looking to sell inherited property with trust loan funding that will provide them with far more cash than an outside buyer would offer – otherwise known to realtors and attorneys as “buying out a sibling’s share of inherited property” or a “sibling to sibling property transfer” as well as a “transfer of property between siblings”.
A seasoned property tax consultant or a trust lender specializing In loans to trusts and estates such as Commercial Loan Corp, for example, can help families inheriting real estate in California to fully understand how to safely avoid property tax reassessment, plus how to transfer parents property taxes on a standard Proposition 19 property tax transfer when inheriting property taxes. Likewise, how to keep parents property taxes basically forever, utilizing a parent-to-child transfer and a parent-child exclusion under Prop 19. Prior to 2021, a parent-child exclusion was strictly under the auspices of the wildly popular Proposition 58.
Again, this is where a trust lender comes in very handy (frequently referred by a property tax consultant or an estate lawyer – to insure that each critical step along the way is taken correctly, keeping a low property tax base; avoiding property reassessment.
Due to various changes right now in California’s property tax relief laws, Proposition 19 is expanding certain tax breaks while limiting others; creating new issues involving homeowners; often bringing their attorney or trust lender into the mix, for example utilizing Prop 19 and funding to a trust loan; as well as newer tax breaks, verified through direct communication with the California State Board of Equalization (BOE).
CA State Board of Equalization Aiding Homeowners
Right now, as 2021 moves into 2022, if problems with property owners deepen, Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate – Lisa Thompson gets involved. The Advocate was appointed by the CA State Board of Equalization Executive Director Brenda Fleming, to work independently of the BOE, to help taxpayers resolve problems that cannot be resolved through conventional channels – making sure homeowners understand every avenue designed to help them avoid property tax reassessment as far as property tax breaks are concerned…
It’s important for the Advocate to help homeowners understand how to use the BOE to confirm and use every possible tool at their disposal when transferring property taxes from parent to child is critical in order to keep parents property taxes after a property tax transfer, upon inheriting property taxes from a parent-to-child property tax transfer – and understanding how to work with a trust lender to take advantage of a parent-to-child exclusion from current tax rates… Often working in conjunction with Prop 19 and funding to a trust loan, when homeowners (i.e., beneficiaries) buyout inherited property from co-beneficiaries, while keeping a parents low property tax base.
The CA Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate
The Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate is allowed to involve the Morgan PropertyTaxpayers’ Bill of Rights, which allows the property owner to inspect and copy documents related to their property’s assessment. The Bill of Rights furnishes measures to encourage and verify fair administration of property tax laws in California.
The Advocate reviews how fair and effective the BOE and any given County Assessor is in terms of providing understandable information in printed and Website form to property owners; making sure the BOE is doing their job properly; resolving complaints, taxpayer problems and general inquiries from the public such as how to use a parent-to-child exclusion, Prop 19 and funding to a trust loan.
The Advocate also looks for underlying causes of conflict between taxpayers and property tax assessors. The Advocate is responsible for creating and distributing a yearly report concerning property tax issues and property tax hikes affecting taxpayers’ rights. To support this, the BOE has public hearings to review this report and related property tax matters, opening up these meetings for questions and opinions from business property owners and homeowners.
The Property Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights provides ways to encourage and verify fair administration of property taxes. Miss Thompson tells us:
“We can help if you have a question regarding your rights or if you have a disagreement with the programs administered by the State Board of Equalization, or county agencies involved in California’s property tax system. Some taxpayers contact us to communicate their frustration with aspects of the property taxation system or seeking confirmation that they have been treated lawfully and fairly by a county or state office…
In cases where the law, policy, or procedure does not allow any change to the staff action, but a change appears justified, the Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate Office is alerted to a potential area that may need clarification or modification. Several past recommendations for policy, procedural, and legislative changes have resulted from these types of contacts with taxpayers…
Our office facilitates communication between taxpayers, the State Board of Equalization, and county staff to eliminate potential misunderstandings. Taxpayers are provided information on policies and procedures so they can be better prepared to discuss their issues with the appropriate staff and increase the opportunity to affect a resolution which will satisfy them.”
As you can imagine, Advocate Lisa Thompson bolsters public confidence in the BOE and the office of The Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate.
California Prop 19 Rules for Transferring Property Taxes
As an updated review of sorts, we would like to revisit certain Proposition 19 issues governing California property taxes. These issues have become particularly important to beneficiaries and new homeowners in particular throughout the state. The following updates address measures that are especially popular with homeowners…
In terms of basics, it’s important to reiterate that under Proposition 19 an inherited home can be transferred from a parent to their child/heir without triggering property tax reassessment, with the right to keep parents CA property taxes. However it’s essential these days to pay more attention to deadlines and filing stipulations — whereas previously this was not as necessary.
Beneficiaries frequently want to know if a parent died prior to Feb 16, 2021, but the change in ownership forms were not filed with the assessor until after Feb 16, 2021 — if the parent-to-child exclusion (from current property tax rates) is applied under former Proposition 58 measures, or if it is applied under current Proposition 19 tax measures, with the ability to keep parents CA property taxes…. The confirmed answer is that an inherited property transfer is calculated by date-of-death to determine the official date of change of ownership.
A good number of trust beneficiaries inheriting real property from a parent, considering their option to buyout siblings’ inherited property shares, often ask trust lenders if a parent is leaving a family home to three siblings/heirs, will that family home be the primary family home of all three heirs — or just the one heir. And it turns out that only one sibling/heir is expected, under California tax law, to take over that family home as a primary residence. Yet all three siblings still have to be valid heirs.
Beneficiaries and heirs of an active estate, inheriting assets, often ask their attorney about the correct time-frame to establish an inherited family property as their “primary family home”… Estate attorneys typically confirm that beneficiaries inheriting a house from a parent who wish to keep parents CA property taxes on a property tax transfer, when inheriting property taxes, are expected to establish that house as their “principle family residence” within 12-months of the purchase or transfer of that inherited property, if they want to avoid property tax reassessment using their existing ability to transfer parents property taxes, when inheriting property taxes from a parent.
If beneficiaries or heirs are inheriting a family farm, they often look to their estate lawyer, or trust lender, for answers… if they are looking to buyout co-beneficiaries to retain the inherited property for themselves – at their parent’s low property tax base – to find out if the Proposition 19 parent-to-child exclusion (from current tax rates) also applies to family farms.
In other words, does a family farm also have to be a principal or primary residence of the inheriting beneficiaries or heirs… And the answer is no, the family farm does not have to be the principal residence of the inheriting parties in order to qualify for the parent-to-child exclusion. A family farm is viewed as any real property which is under cultivation or which is being used for pasture or grazing, or that is used to produce an agricultural product.
Many Californians want to know if Proposition 19 is retroactive; if property transfers that have already benefited from Proposition 58 parent-to-child exclusion benefits are going to be reassessed… And they are informed that Proposition 58 applies to transfers that were implemented on or prior to Feb 15, 2021. The current Proposition 19 ability to keep parents CA property taxes applies only to transfers that take place happen after Feb 16, 2021.
An inherited house, when transferred from a parent to their child/heir – is expected to be the “primary family home” of an heir. Beneficiaries or heirs frequently ask their property tax consultant or attorney how long they need to reside in or maintain their inherited property as “a primary family home” to be able to retain the parent-child exclusion. The answer is unequivocally that the Prop 19 exclusion applies only as long as the heir, or beneficiaries, reside in inherited property as their “principle family home”.
In the event that a family home is no longer used as the primary residence of a beneficiary inheriting a home, that property should receive the factored base year that applies, had the family home not qualified for exclusion at the time of purchase or transfer. The new taxable value will be the fair market value of the home on the date of inheritance, adjusted yearly for inflation.
Hence, an updated look at certain new parent-child and grandparent-grandchild property transfer rules and regulations under Proposition 19.
How Will Proposition 19 Impact Families in California
Before Proposition 19 existed, parents in California could transfer their primary residence and $1,000,000 per parent of other property to their children without triggering a tax reassessment of those properties. After Feb. 15, 2021 that exemption, the parent-child exclusion, was watered down, limiting access to this time-honored exclusion from current property tax rates to moving into an inherited home only as a primary residence; and limiting a beneficiary’s ability to go about avoiding property tax reassessment in CA to a strict 12-month move-in period.
As long as this deadline is kept, heirs will be avoiding property tax reassessment in CA without issue. An heir’s ability to transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property taxes, and the right to keep parents property taxes on any property tax transfer from a parent, as Proposition 19 parent to child transfer, or Prop 19 parent to child exclusion, is guaranteed. As is the right for a beneficiary to get a trust loan from a trust lender to implement a transfer of property between siblings… In other words, you can lock in a low Prop 13 property tax base plus buyout co- beneficiaries if they want to sell their inherited property. Amen! And in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, with rampant unemployment and under-employment… a 6-figure trust loan could be a life-saver.
After Feb. 16, a transfer of a principal residence by a parent to a child (heir) is only exempt if the parent was using the property as their principal, or primary, residence; and the heir is also residing in the inherited home as a primary, principal residence following the parental property transfer. If that is not a problem, we’ll most likely see an equivalent number of middle class and blue collar families avoiding property tax reassessment in CA as before Prop 19 became law.
Even if only half as many people as before take advantage of the Prop 19 parent-child exclusion, 50% is still a pretty healthy number. No other transfers of property between parents and children will be exempt from reassessment, with the exception of a family farm, which is currently defined but as “farmed land” whether the property includes a residence or not.
Transfers that are excluded from property tax reassessment do have limitations, however. The exclusion applies only as far as the assessed value at the time of transfer plus $1,000,000. Any property beyond that value would be reassessed at a current market tax value.
Housingwire.com recently wrote: “Prop 19 will deliver needed funding for cities, counties, and school districts when they need it most. It will generate hundreds of millions in annual revenue for fire protection, affordable housing, homeless programs, safe drinking water, and other local services and dedicated revenue for fire districts in rural and urban communities to fix inequities that threaten life-saving response times to wildfires and medical emergencies.”
So how will Proposition 19 impact the middle class, working family housing market in California, admittedly an expensive state to live in. Although certain components in California will benefit from a new property tax revenue stream, regular middle class and blue collar families residing in inherited homes may still find it difficult keeping up with the rising costs and expensive lifestyle of California. Yet Prop 58 can still help. Proposition 58 Property Tax Breaks are still in place, despite restrictions. Providing you intend to occupy an inherited home as your primary residence you can still save as much as $10,000 annually in property tax savings.
President of One80Reality, Nick Solis, tells us: ““We are definitely going to see property taxes rise on inherited homes. California is one of those places where blue collar workers usually pass down homes to kids and other family members. Those homes are now going to be taxed at a much higher rate. It will force their hands to sell, because the properties will be more expensive to retain.”
Mr. Solis said he’s not worried about selling homes, but a new demographic of home buyers is going to emerge. He tells us: “Not all who receive inherited homes come from money. Many blue collar workers and families bought in previous decades when homes were affordable, and are passing them down to their kids. They will see a tax increase. We’re going to see a different demographic. We were already seeing a major push of middle class and blue collar people, that could afford a home in places like the Bay area, now moving into the central valley or other more affordable places because they just feel too uncomfortable living in their current homes. And now taxes are going to be even higher on inherited homes.”
A well known California realtor, who preferred to remain anonymous, recently claimed: “With higher property taxes, keeping inherited homes as rental properties may become unprofitable, estate-planning attorneys are going to be very busy, as this new law may cause many people to decide to sell properties that they intended to pass on to their heirs.”
Millennials and other younger generations will be impacted as well, avoiding property tax reassessment in CA People in their early twenties might decide to leave California, with no plan to ever return. This is quite different than recent years, where the state was attracting a lot of young starter-home buyers. The same young adults are now looking carefully for more affordable homes, after graduating from college – even if that means leaving the state completely, with a new job; and perhaps a new family.
Another seasoned California realtor told us, on condition of remaining anonymous: “It’s a real game-changer. Both in terms of California properties being sold that would have been passed on through a family trust, or by the beneficiaries who decide they either can’t afford to pay property taxes based on a current assessed value, or just don’t want to pay the higher property taxes. The state’s going to make a lot of money.”
Higher property taxes or not, California will always be an attractive place to live. There is sunshine 12 months per year, an ocean nearby, convenient cities and yet rural areas 30 minutes away… “People are always going to want to live in California, but I can see life getting more expensive here a lot faster than I expected,” Mr. Solis added.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.