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As a new owner, you are responsible for any taxes that were not paid as of the time escrow closed. Even though taxes are prorated between the buyer and seller during escrow and proper credit is given to each, the actual taxes may not have been paid to the Tax Collector by that time. You should read your escrow papers and/or title report to determine if any portion of the annual taxes were paid by the previous owner before the close of escrow.
Annual tax bills, which can be paid in two installments, are mailed once a year by the first of November. Since the bill contains payment stubs for both installments, this is the only bill regularly mailed each year by the Tax Collector. Depending on when the ownership change is placed on the tax roll, the annual tax bill could be sent either to the previous owner or directly to you. If there are any remaining unpaid taxes, and if you did not receive an annual tax bill from either the previous owner or the Tax Collector, you should contact the Tax Collector immediately and request one. It is your responsibility to obtain the bill. State law stipulates that failure to receive a bill does not permit the Tax Collector to excuse penalties on late payments.
In addition to annual taxes, you will probably be responsible for paying Supplemental Property Taxes. Any time property is sold or improved, the value of the property is reassessed. If the property has been reassessed at a higher value, you will receive one or more supplemental tax bills in addition to the annual bill mentioned above. (For more information on supplemental tax bills, please read our section on Supplemental Property Taxes.) If the property has been reassessed at a lower value, you will receive a refund.
The Secured tax bill is for taxes on the ad valorem (value based) of the real estate property being assessed and for special assessments charged against the property.
Through the Assessor’s Office you can apply for the homeowner’s property tax exemption, veteran’s exemption, or church and welfare exemption. These programs allow for assessment exemptions that result in tax savings. For further information, contact the Assessor’s Office at (925) 313-7400.
You may discuss the value with the Assessor if you feel a change is in order and request a review of your current assessed value versus the current market value (based on comparable sales). This process is commonly referred to as a Proposition 8 review.
Yes. You may take the matter up with the Assessor to see if that office will change the valuation. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors has established an Assessment Appeals Board for the purpose of resolving valuation problems in connection with Secured tax bills.
Applications for appeal must be filed within sixty days of the mailing date shown on the assessment notice. If you choose to appeal your assessment, you should still pay your tax installments in full by the appropriate deadlines; otherwise, you may incur penalties while the case is in appeals. If your appeal is granted, a refund will be issued to you.
Further information about the appeals process can be obtained by calling (925) 655-2008 or writing to: Clerk of the Assessment Appeals Board, 1025 Escobar Street, 1st Floor, Martinez, CA 94553.
Print and complete the Assessor’s Change of Address Form. Then sign and mail it to: Gus S. Kramer, Contra Costa County Assessor, Attn: Standards, 2530 Arnold Drive, Suite 100 Martinez, CA 94553-4359
A new property owner’s regular secured tax bill is sent to the previous owner because the Tax Collector’s Office is unaware the property has been sold. Regardless of the reason, if you do not receive a secured property tax bill by November 10th, contact this office at (925) 608-9500 or go on to our website to Pay Online to enter your Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) and view a pdf copy of the tax bill.
Current secured tax bill:
Paying on time will avoid penalties!
If your bill says you have prior taxes owing, you should contact the Tax Collector’s Office at (925) 608-9500 to get the current amount due. Please note that these taxes are not included in the total amount due on the Secured bill, and additional penalty on the prior taxes accrues monthly at a rate of 18% per annum.
The State Controller’s Office (SCO) administers the Property Tax Postponement (PTP) Program, which allows eligible homeowners to postpone payment of current year property taxes on their primary residence. A postponement of property taxes is a deferment of current year property taxes that must eventually be repaid. Repayment is secured by a lien against the real property or a security agreement with the Department of Housing and Community Development for manufactured homes. Funding is limited and distributed on a first come, first served basis. Due to funding limitations, all who qualify may not be approved.
If you do not pay the first installment of your annual tax bill at the Tax Collector’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on December 10 (if December 10 falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are not delinquent until 5:00 p.m. the next business day), or payment is not U.S.P.S. postmarked by that time and date, then the taxes become delinquent and a 10% delinquent penalty is added to any unpaid balance.
If you do not pay the second installment at the Tax Collector’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on April 10 (if April 10 falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are not delinquent until 5:00 p.m. the next business day.), or payment is not U.S.P.S. postmarked by that time and date, it becomes delinquent and a 10% penalty plus an administrative charge of $20.00 is added to the unpaid balance.
If you do not pay the installments of your supplemental tax bill by the applicable delinquency dates, the same penalties accrue as for delinquent annual taxes.
If you pay your second installment without having paid the first, your payment will be applied to the unpaid taxes and penalties on the first installment and will leave your second installment unpaid and possibly delinquent.
If you do not pay either or both installments at the Tax Collector’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on June 30 (if June 30 falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes must be paid by 5:00 p.m. on the preceding business day), or payment is not U.S.P.S. postmarked by that time and date, then the property becomes tax-defaulted and additional penalties and costs accrue.
Once the property has become tax defaulted, a redemption fee of $15 and additional penalties begin to accrue at the rate of 1 1/2% per month of the unpaid taxes. This monthly penalty is added at 5:00 p.m. on the last day of each month (or the following business day if the last day of the month falls on a weekend or holiday).
Your taxes can remain unpaid for a maximum of five years following their tax default, after which time your property becomes subject to the power of sale. This means that your property will be sold at a public auction or acquired by a public agency if you do not pay the taxes before the date on which the property is offered for sale or acquisition.
The amount needed to redeem tax-defaulted property in full is the sum of the following:
To obtain an estimate of the amount required to redeem your property, you should contact the Tax Collector’s Office at (925) 608-9500. When making your request, you will need to provide the Parcel Number, which you can find on any previous tax bill, the Sale ID (SID) found on your Redemption Tax Notice, or the address of the property. Also, be sure to specify the date on which you wish to redeem so that the penalty can be calculated properly. One year’s delinquent taxes may not be redeemed separately from other years delinquent taxes. When the redemption amount is calculated, the total taxes owed for all delinquent years are combined together.
NO. Our office does NOT accept partial payments for current tax bills. Any payment less than the amount due at the time of receipt will be returned to the payer.
Please be aware that a 10% late-payment penalty will be assessed on the unpaid balance on the first installment. The penalty will also attach to the unpaid portion of the second installment plus a $20 cost.
Do you have an impound account with your lender? If so, you should receive a tax bill in your name with the word "INFORMATION COPY" appearing on the top right-hand corner of the front of the form.
If not, call your lender immediately to find out! If you have refinanced your house since the original billing and either your new lender or you is responsible for paying the bill, you must notify our office immediately of the change and request another bill be sent. The bill must still be paid in full by the due date regardless of the circumstance.
Special assessments are a charge on a tax bill for a service or benefit provided directly to a property. They are collected at the same time and in the same manner property taxes are collected.
Examples of these types of assessments are garbage collection, sewer, lights and landscaping maintenance, mosquito abatement, fire protection, water, sanitation and other such services.
A special district is formed in order to provide property specific services or benefits. These districts are permitted to charge an assessment for the services rendered under the applicable state law that allowed their creation. In accordance with state law, each fiscal year the special district provides the county Auditor-Controller with a listing of the parcels and the amounts to be charged to each parcel on the property tax roll. The district also provides the Auditor-Controller with a resolution authorizing the placement of the charge on specific parcels. Provided the legal requirements are met by special district, the county Auditor must place the special assessment charge on a property tax bill.
State law requires the immediate reassessment of property (for tax purposes) whenever a change of ownership or completion of construction occurs. If applicable, you will receive a supplemental tax bill reflecting the change in value for the balance of the tax year. Due dates for a supplemental tax bill depends on when the bill is mailed.
A decrease in value will result in a negative supplemental tax bill being issued. These negative bills or refunds do not cause a change to your current annual tax bill which must be paid timely to avoid penalty.
Supplemental tax bills do not replace the regular tax bill. Supplemental tax bills are not mailed to your mortgage company. They are not paid by funds in your impound account. If you receive a supplemental tax bill and have any questions about payment responsibility, please contact your mortgage company.
Any taxpayer may apply for Installment Plan for Redemption taxes as long the property in question has been in tax-default for less than five years.
Yes, but not until the delinquent or "defaulted" taxes have been transferred to the Redemption roll, which occurs approximately mid-July following the fiscal year in which the taxes were due.
An Redemption Installment Plan allows a taxpayer the ability to pay Redemption taxes in multiple installments. It is strongly recommended that prior to applying for the Redemption Installment Plan, you contact your lender/mortgage company to ensure they allow a Tax Collector’s payment plan to pay the defaulted taxes. Please be aware that an Redemption Installment Plan cannot be started (or restarted) after the property becomes Subject To Power To Sell. This occurs when the property has been on Redemption roll for more than five years.
To start an installment plan, you must:
To maintain the installment plan in good standing, you must:
Failure to make the required minimum payment and/or to pay the annual Secured taxes or any supplemental taxes that are due on or before April 10 of each year will result in a termination of the Redemption Installment Plan. Another Plan may be started only after the beginning of the next fiscal year as long as the property has not been in tax-default for more than five years.
NOTE: You may pay the total unpaid balance plus accrued interest any time before final payment is due. If you wish detailed information about a Redemption Installment Plan, contact the Tax Collector’s Office at (925) 608-9500, or click HERE.
No, currently there is no fee for applying.
Yes. Interest continues to accrue at a rate 1.5% per month (18% APR) on the unpaid balance.
If the installment plan defaults, a new plan may not be started until July 1 of the following fiscal year. Additional penalties at an annual rate of 18% will continue to be computed on the unpaid balance each time a plan is restarted. Please be aware that an Redemption Installment Plan cannot be started after the property becomes Subject To Power To Sell. This occurs when the property has been delinquent for more than five years.
Example: If you have delinquent taxes from the 1997-98 tax year, as of July 1, 2003, you CANNOT participate in the installment plan. You must pay in full the amount of outstanding taxes to keep the property from being sold at the Public Auction that is scheduled for early 2004.
Five years after the first year of nonpayment, your property becomes Subject to Power to Sell and may be offered at the next scheduled annual public auction.
Don’t panic! Prior to the end of the fifth year of default, we may have options available for you to bring your taxes current. Give us a call at (925) 608-9500 or e-mail us at [email protected].