As many Californians are aware, a home undergoes reassessment at “ current market value” if it’s transferred, inherited, sold or gifted from one party to another – and, in turn, taxes on the property often increase significantly providing additional revenue to the city and county they are located in. If the sale or transfer is between parent and child, in certain situations, the home won’t undergo reassessment once specific requirements are met and the application to avoid reassessment is filed properly. It is highly recommended that a trust and estate attorney or California property tax consultant are used to advise you in this situation.
California Proposition 58 is established in section 63.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code and has been modified by California Proposition 19 in 2021. The below bullet points may untangle some of the confusion that has formed around some of the Prop 19 property tax breaks. We need to take note that property tax relief limitations built into Proposition 19 are presently serving as a replacement to the pre-Feb 2021 Proposition 58 parent-to-child exclusion, also referred to as a “parent-child exemption” which protect the child inheriting a home from a parent from property tax reassessment.
• Proposition 19 was more or less rushed through the political and electoral process, passed by the CA Legislature and placed onto the November 2020 ballot. Homeowners’ ability to transfer parents property taxes, in other words the right to keep parents property taxes on any parental property tax transfer, inheriting property taxes from Dad or Mom and enabling heirs to keep parents property taxes are sill in place as valid tax breaks, allowing beneficiaries or heirs to avoid property tax reassessment – the process is just more limited than it was previously.
• Establishing a low property tax base along with the transfer of property between siblings, sibling-to-sibling property transfer – buying out a sibling’s share of inherited property through a trust loan, in conjunction with Prop 58, is still in place, however inheriting property taxes from a parent has been limited in some circumstances by Proposition 19. Still the majority of children can receive a full property tax transfer from a parent on an inherited home.
• Sections of the approved California Proposition 19 documentation and revisions to various sections are vague. To correct these issues, Santa Clara County Tax Assessor Larry Stone was appointed by the California Assessors’ Association (CAA), with four other tax Assessors, to a CAA “committee” to provide clarity to the new Proposition 19 implementation process. The CAA committee has enlisted specialists and tax lawyers throughout California, and is working with the Board of Equalization (BOE) to furnish guidance and where necessary recommend passage, on an urgency basis, towards implementing appropriate statutes.
• Only inherited properties used as primary homes or farms would be eligible for the property tax transfer. Those who are “severely disabled”, or whose homes were destroyed by wildfire or a “natural disaster” can now transfer their primary residence’s property tax base value to a replacement residence of any value, anywhere in the state.
• Eligible homeowners can now take advantage of “special rules” to move to a more expensive home. Their property tax bill would still go up but not by as much as it would be for home buyers that are “not eligible”.
A claim form must now, as of Feb 2021, be completed and signed by the transferors and transferee and filed with the Assessor. A claim has to be filed within three years after the date of purchase or transfer, or prior to the transfer of the real estate to a third party, whichever is earlier.
If a claim form has not been filed by the date specified above it will be timely if filed within six months after the date of mailing of the notice of supplemental or escape assessment for this property. If a claim is not timely filed the exclusion will be granted beginning with the calendar year in which you file your claim.
If you have questions regarding California Proposition 19, Prop 58 and the benefit that you may be entitled to, please call us at 877-464-1066. We can help you determine if a loan to a trust is needed for you to receive your benefit and how much you might be able to save in property taxes by keeping a parents low property tax base on an inherited home.