California Property Tax Assessment Untangled

Reducing Property Taxes California Property Tax Assessment Untangled

California Property Tax Assessment in a Nutshell

If you are a homeowner in California, you know how much of a financial burden property taxes can be. The most important aspect of determining your property tax rate is to get a correct assessment of your home’s value. 

If you are struggling with paying your property taxes each year, you might be wondering what California property tax assessment includes. DoNotPay will explain the assessment process and provide a way to file a past assessment appeal

How Do California Property Tax Assessments Work?

Property tax rates in California are established according to your property’s market value and your county’s current assessment rate. Under Proposition 13 of the California law, your property’s base-year tax rate mustn’t increase by more than 2% each year. If the property changes ownership or the owner performs structural changes, it triggers a property reassessment, which can lead to higher taxes. 

California has established a Board of Equalization (BOE) to ensure fee collection, tax laws implementation, and property tax assessments for each county. If you are dissatisfied with the assessment of your property, you can:

  1. Ask for a property tax exemption 
  2. File a property tax appeal to BOE

What Constitutes California Property Tax Exemptions?

One way to reduce your property taxes is to file for a property tax exemption. California allows property tax relief to some citizens under certain circumstances. Unlike other states, California’s property tax exemptions are established by the State Constitution. Here is an overview of the most common exemptions:

California Property Tax ExemptionDetails

Main residence

The first $7000 in the value of your home is exempt from property taxes


  • War veterans can qualify for up to $4,000 exemption
  • Disabled veterans can be exempt from paying an even bigger sum, depending on age, income, and type of disability

Senior citizens who buy a new home

Citizens older than 55 can transfer the base-year value of their previous home to their new one if:

  • The new home is of equal or lesser value
  • They buy or have the new home constructed within two years of selling the first home

Disaster relief

Individuals whose home has been destroyed or damaged by a natural disaster can have the property tax rate reduced until their home is repaired 

Family transfer

People who obtain their property from parents or children will not face a full home value assessment

Appealing Property Tax Assessment in California

If you don’t qualify for any of the exemptions, you can file an appeal to the Board of Equalization and have your property taxes reduced

Every county in California has either one or more appeals boards or a board of supervisors. Their job is to handle all tax-payers’ complaints regarding their property value assessment. 

After you present the evidence of miscalculation and file an appeal, the appeals board must reassess the value of your home. One of the outcomes is that:

  • The value of your home decreases
  • Your home’s value remains the same
  • The board calculates even higher property taxes for your home

The appeals board will inform you of their decision at the conclusion of the hearing or by mail after some time. Depending on the board’s workload and the complexity of your appeal, the resolution of your case can take several months.

The decision of the appeals board is legally binding. If you are still dissatisfied, your only resort is to appeal to your state’s superior court within six months of the board’s original ruling. 

Appeal the Property Assessment of Your Home With DoNotPay

DoNotPay has created a nifty feature to help you appeal your home’s assessment. The appeal process can be a stressful and lengthy procedure that requires a great deal of research and preparation. Why go through all that trouble when we offer all the information in one place?

DoNotPay will use the necessary info you provide to generate a personalized guide containing:

  • Forms you have to fill out
  • Documents you need to prepare
  • Steps you are required to take before your hearing
  • Instructions on how to negotiate with California county’s appeals board

Your personalized guide will be available after performing a few simple steps:

  1. Open DoNotPay in your web browser
  2. Inform us of your age, income, property location, and other necessary details
  3. Wait for the app to create your customized guide

You can use the guide to check your qualifications for some of California's property tax exemptions as well.

Let DoNotPay Teach You More About California Property Taxes

If you want more information on the states with low property taxes or need help paying your tax bills, stick with DoNotPay! Property taxes in California will be a lot clearer after you learn about:

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