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Property Tax – California

4 min read

4 min read

In addition to state income taxes, any individual who owns real property is subject to state real property taxes.

Real property tax systems require owners of land and buildings to pay an amount of money based on the value of their land and buildings.

Within the U.S., state real property taxes vary, for instance, California real property taxes will likely differ from Wisconsin, or any other state.

Who Owes California Real Property Taxes?

If you own real property in California, you will be required to pay real property taxes. So, if you own any real property as an individual or business, you pay real property tax on it. Even if the real property was gifted to you through an estate or you own a rental real property, you are still required to pay it.

property taxThere is no minimum or maximum amount to pay on your real property in California to pay real property taxes. Whether you have a $50,000 or $5,000,000 house, you will owe real property taxes in California

If your real property was purchased mid-year, there is a chance your realtor will work it out that you and the seller split the cost of real property taxes within the calendar year. Your mortgage interest statement provides documentation if this is the case or not.

What are the California Property Tax Rates?

California real property taxes are based on a real property’s purchase price. For instance, if you buy a real property in California, the assessed value is equal to the purchase price. The assessed value of the real property can rise with inflation every year, which is the change in the California Consumer Price Index. There’s a 2% cap on this.

California real property owners can claim a $7,000 exemption on their primary residence. This reduces the assessed value by $7,000, saving you up to $70 per year. You should claim the exemption after you buy a real property, as you do not have to reapply each year.

Here are the California real property tax rates, by county:

County Median Annual Real Property Tax Payment Average Effective Real Property Tax Rate
Alameda $5,097 0.79%
Alpine $2,898 0.84%
Amador $2,072 0.74%
Butte $1,745 0.73%
Calaveras $2,302 0.84%
Colusa $1,532 0.69%
Contra Costa $4,548 0.87%
Del Norte $1,489 0.80%
El Dorado $3,145 0.77%
Fresno $1,852 0.84%
Glenn $1,604 0.75%
Humboldt $1,914 0.67%
Imperial $1,532 0.91%
Inyo $1,771 0.73%
Kern $1,934 1.01%
Kings $1,448 0.78%
Lake $1,625 0.89%
Lassen $1,388 0.78%
Los Angeles $3,741 0.75%
Madera $1,679 0.76%
Marin $7,063 0.78%
Mariposa $1,813 0.70%
Mendocino $2,313 0.68%
Merced $1,597 0.81%
Modoc $1,021 0.71%
Mono $2,323 0.75%
Monterey $3,162 0.72%
Napa $3,900 0.70%
Nevada $3,031 0.80%
Orange $4,247 0.68%
Placer $3,849 0.93%
Plumas $1,656 0.72%
Riverside $2,949 0.97%
Sacramento $2,517 0.84%
San Benito $3,762 0.82%
San Bernardino $2,315 0.83%
San Diego $3,672 0.76%
San Francisco $6,019 0.65%
San Joaquin $2,498 0.89%
San Luis Obispo $3,628 0.73%
San Mateo $6,043 0.66%
Santa Barbara $3,462 0.68%
Santa Clara $6,183 0.75%
Santa Cruz $4,349 0.66%
Shasta $1,781 0.76%
Sierra $1,496 0.95%
Siskiyou $1,402 0.79%
Solano $2,807 0.82%
Sonoma $3,704 0.72%
Stanislaus $1,920 0.79%
Sutter $2,074 0.88%
Tehama $1,343 0.70%
Trinity $1,452 0.51%
Tulare $1,432 0.79%
Tuolumne $2,005 0.73%
Ventura $3,859 0.74%
Yolo $3,264 0.88%
Yuba $1,815 0.88%

Source: SmartAsset

What are Property Taxes Used For?

The money collected by California is used for multiple public services throughout the state. It could be used for:

  • First responders and other law enforcement
  • General government services
  • Local levies
  • Municipal infrastructure and land construction or improvements
  • Municipal employees’ pay
  • Resident services like garbage pickup
  • Recreational services
  • Protective services

How Do You Pay California Real Property Tax?

If you pay your mortgage, it’s likely you are already paying your California real property taxes. (It would be taken out of escrow.) A standard mortgage payment includes:

  • Principal
  • Interest
  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • California real property taxes

Look at your current mortgage statement and determine if your California real property taxes are paid as part of your monthly mortgage. It will likely be listed as a line item on the statement.

View more information on California real property tax rates.

When Do You Have to Pay California Property Taxes?

Real property taxes in California are due on Nov. 1 each year, if you do not pay it as part of your mortgage. If your California real property taxes are drawn monthly from your mortgage, you should have no remaining balance at this deadline.

Where to Go for State Real Property Tax Help

Real property taxes can be confusing. Determining how the real property tax is calculated and the proper amount is important, otherwise, you may be paying too much, too little, or not at all. Beyond this, there are federal real estate tax deductions you can take. But to determine how much the deduction is, who gets it, and when can be tricky.

If you’re looking for additional support with your California real property tax questions or general California state tax information, look no further than H&R Block Virtual. We’ll pair you with a tax pro with state-specific expertise. You can have your taxes done by a real tax pro without visiting an office.

Prefer a different way to file? No problem – you can find California state tax expertise with all of our ways to file taxes.

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