Tax Collection

The San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office collects more than $6 billion in County, city, school, and special district taxes. We maintain files on the tax payment status of nearly 1 million parcels, and we help taxpayers find information quickly and courteously. 

Our office notifies taxpayers when their property goes into tax default, and we calculate the penalties incurred when payments are late. If a taxpayer is eligible, we help him or her sign up for an installment plan. 

Once a year, we hold an online property tax sale auction in order to sell any property on our tax roll that has been in default for five or more years. 

In addition to secured property taxes, our office collects about $150 million in unsecured personal property taxes, which are taxes on things like business property, boats and airplanes. We collect mobile home fees before issuing tax clearance certificates, and we collect transient occupancy tax and racehorse tax. 

Important Dates to Remember:

August 31 - Unsecured tax deadline, 10% penalty added on September 1
September - Secured property tax bills mailed late in the month
November 1 - First installment of secured property taxes due; delinquent unsecured accounts are charged additional penalties of 1.5% until paid
December 10 - First installment is delinquent after close of business; 10% penalty added to payments made after this date.*
January 1 - Unsecured bills mailed out; lien date for unsecured taxes and current secured taxes
February 1 - Second installment of secured property taxes due 
April 10 - Second installment payment deadline; 10% penalty plus $10 cost added to payments made after this date.*
May - Delinquent notices for any unpaid current taxes mailed
June 30 - End of fiscal year
July 1 - Beginning of the fiscal year; delinquent secured accounts are transferred to the defaulted tax roll and additional penalties added at 1.5% per month on any unpaid tax amounts, plus a $33 redemption fee. These bills are also referred to as prior year secured taxes or defaulted taxes. 
* If a delinquent date falls on a weekend or holiday, the delinquent date is the next business day.

Avoid Penalties to Save Money on Your Property Taxes

Make sure you receive bills for all property that you own. Keep track of all parcel numbers, i.e.,147-240-03-01. Check off the bills as you receive them and email or call the Tax Collection Division of our office toll free at 877.829.4732 if you are missing any bills. Please allow 15 days for mailing.
For secured property taxes, the first installment is due November 1 and delinquent after December 10, and the second installment is due on February 1 and delinquent after April 10. Taxpayers have the option of paying both installments when the first installment is due. Penalties will not be waived due to not receiving a bill.
Remember, December 10 and April 10 are the payment deadlines for property taxes, not to be confused with the I.R.S. April 15th deadline for federal taxes. For payment reminders, sign up for our e-notifications.
The fastest, easiest way to pay your bills is through e-check using our online payment system. E-check is a free service that allows you to enter your account and routing number on your check, and payment is received on the date of successful submission. 
If you are mailing in your payments, do it early and make sure the envelope is postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service on or before December 10 and April 10. According to California law, we must review the postmark date to determine if payment was mailed before the deadline. 
By paying your taxes on time, you save the following penalties required by California law:

  • A 10% penalty added after close of business on December 10.*
  • A 10% penalty and $10 cost added after close of business on April 10.*

After the end of the fiscal year (June 30), a $33 redemption fee and a 1.5% per month (18% per year) penalty is added to the total due. If a "tax defaulted" notation appears on your tax bill, you may have unpaid taxes for prior years. You can save money by paying any prior-year back taxes or by initiating a five-year installment plan of redemption.

*If a delinquent date falls on a weekend or holiday, the delinquent date is the next business day.

Keep the Assessor, Recorder, County Clerk (ARCC) informed of any change in address so that future tax bills will be mailed to the correct address. You may contact the department at 619-531-5556 or on the ARCC's website.

Why Was My e-Check Payment Returned? 

There may be a number of reasons your e-check payment was not completed. Visit our e-check frequently-asked-questions page to find an answer.  

Important Information for New Homebuyers

You can possibly save costly penalties if, before you purchase a property and close escrow, you make sure there are no prior delinquent taxes owed on the property, and pre-arrange who pays the current installment due.
If property is purchased in November, determine who is to pay the first installment due on or before December 10 for the period of July 1 through December 31.
Keep in mind that as a new property owner, California law states  you are responsible for the timely payment of taxes on your property. DO NOT WAIT TO BE NOTIFIED or expect receipt of a tax bill. None may be forthcoming. Make it a matter of your personal responsibility to find out what taxes are due by you, as required by law.
In a normal escrow, current year taxes are usually pro-rated at the time of closing or escrow between the interested parties, based on the number of calendar days each party held ownership during the fiscal year which extends from July 1 through June 30. Pro-ration is a matter strictly between the parties involved. The Treasurer-Tax Collector cannot adjust the taxes. The installment amount as shown on the tax bill is the amount due by the party determined at the close of escrow. Check your title papers to see if you were credited or debited an amount for the time in the fiscal year you owned the property.
For more information for homebuyers, visit our supplemental tax bill page.