Secured Property Tax FAQs
Still have questions about secured property taxes? Browse our most frequently asked questions below.
What is a “secured” property tax and how is it determined?
"Secured" property refers to any property that cannot be moved like homes or land. Proposition 13 limits the tax rate to 1% of a property's current assessed value, plus any voter-approved bonds and assessments. The proposition also states that property values cannot increase more than 2% annually, based on the California Consumer Price Index. However, property is reassessed whenever it changes owners or undergoes new construction.
Who must pay property taxes?
All owners of business, industrial, agricultural and residential properties must pay property taxes unless exempted by state law. Lessees must pay property taxes if they are leasing real estate from an owner whose property is exempt.
When are annual property taxes due?
The first installment of secured property tax is due on November 1 and becomes delinquent after December 10. The second installment is due February 1 and becomes delinquent after April 10. If the delinquent date falls on a weekend or holiday, you have until the close of the next business day to pay your tax bill.
What if I don't receive my bill?
The annual secured property tax bills are mailed in late September/ early October each year. It is your responsibility to obtain your tax bill. Failure to receive a bill will not prevent penalties. If you have not received your tax bill by November 1, you can print a copy by finding it on our bill search system.
How much will I be charged for making a payment using my credit card?
We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover credit cards, and all American Express cards via online payment or phone payment. All other debit cards, dual-use cards, gift cards and prepaid cards are NOT accepted. A convenience fee of 2.19% will be charged for credit card payments, regardless of the card brand used for payment. This fee is made up of transaction costs imposed by the credit card associations and is passed through to the cardholder.
Why is there a convenience charge fee for credit card payments?
Although the convenience fee is collected by the County, the fees are paid to the credit card associations. All merchants that accept credit cards must pay these fees, but commercial merchants will set the price of goods and services high enough to absorb the fees. Commercial merchants typically charge the same price for credit card, check, and cash payments, despite the higher transactional cost of credit card payments. The County cannot raise prices to cover these fees and cannot absorb the cost. The County must collect 100% of the taxes due.
Therefore, in order to offer taxpayers the option of paying by credit card, a convenience fee must be charged to cover the additional transaction cost. If you have questions regarding credit card interchange fees, please contact your issuing bank or the card brand directly.
What is the difference between paying by e-check vs. online banking?
An e-check payment is an electronic check payment you can make in our payment system. Paying by e-check is free, and there are no service charges. Your payment is credited the day you submit it. If for any reason your e-check payment is returned unpaid by the bank, your record of payment will be canceled, and you will be charged a returned check fee of $25. If your e-check payment is returned by the bank after the delinquent date, you will face late penalties.
An online banking payment is different because it is made through your bank's online system. When you pay this way, your bank sends us a paper check, and that payment may take more than 5-10 business days to reach our office. We will not credit the payment until it is received by our office, which may be days after you first submitted it. We must receive your payment before 5 p.m. on the delinquent date to avoid penalties. If you decide to use your bank's online system, be sure to schedule the payment well in advance of the delinquent date.