Understanding California Property Taxes and Key Dates for Filing an Appeal

May 3, 2019

California Property Taxes at a Glance: Here are some interesting facts and figures about property taxes in California:

  • The median property tax in California is $2,839.00 per year for a home with a median value of $384,200.00. Counties in California collect an average of 0.74% of a property’s assessed fair market value as property tax per year.
  • California has one of the highest average property tax rates in the country, with only nine states levying higher property taxes.
  • California’s median income is $78,973 per year, so the median yearly property tax paid by California residents amounts to approximately 3.6% of their yearly income. California is ranked 15th of the 50 states for property taxes as a percentage of median income.
  • The exact property tax levied depends on which county the property is located in. Marin County collects the highest property tax in California, levying an average of $5,500.00 (0.63% of median home value) yearly in property taxes, while Modoc County has the lowest property tax in the state, collecting an average tax of $953.00 (0.6% of median home value) per year. (Source:

How Property Taxes are Assessed in California

In California, property taxes are assessed based on the purchase price of the home. On the purchase date, the assessed value equals the purchase price. Thereafter, the assessed value will increase annually according to the rate of inflation (a.k.a., the change in the California Consumer Price Index). Property tax increases are capped at 2% per year.

If you are a longtime homeowner, the assessed value of your property may be lower than its market value. This is also true if you have purchased a home in an area that has seen rapid price growth in recent years.

As a California homeowner, you are are permitted to claim a $7,000 exemption on your primary residence, thus decreasing the assessed value by $7,000 and yielding a savings of at least $70 annually. New homebuyers need only claim this exemption once, and it is recommended that you do so as soon as possible after you buy (the annual due date, Feb. 15).

Appealing a Property Tax Assessment

If you believe the assessed value of your home is inaccurate, you are permitted to appeal the assessment. To do so, you must file your appeal on or before your county’s filing deadline.

The last day of the assessment appeals filing period for most California counties is November 30, 2018. However, 10 counties have an appeals filing deadline of September 17, 2018. If you reside in any of the following counties, please note the earlier filing deadline.

CA Counties with an Appeals Filing Deadline of September 17, 2018: Alameda, Alpine, Inyo, Kings, Placer, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara, Sierra, Ventura

Home Tax Saving Can Help: If you believe you have cause to appeal your home’s assessed value or believe your property taxes are unduly high due to an assessment error, Home Tax Savings can help.

Home Tax Savings will provide you with a COST FREE assessment to help you determine whether your property has been overvalued, and whether your appeal is worth pursuing. We base our assessment on a careful analysis of property sales in your neighborhood to see how your home compares. If we find that an appeal would not be in your best interests, you pay nothing.

If we find that an appeal is warranted and would prove beneficial to you, Home Tax Savings can provide the expert guidance, documentation, and e-filing tools you need to file your appeal. Our services cost between $59 and $99, depending on the value of your home.

Sure you can gather all the information yourself, but it will take you hours and hours of time to travel, research and compile the information. Spending a little today can result in big savings this year and in the years to come.

Contact Home Tax Savings today and learn what how much we can save for you.