Home Buying in 94536>Question Details

Fishtail, Home Buyer in California

I am buying a house. Do I still need to pay for the 2008/2009 property tax bill?

Asked by Fishtail, California Sat Feb 21, 2009

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Hi Fishtail,

Prop taxes are pro-rated based on your close of escrow date (which is when you actually go on record as the owner of the property). When you purchase an existing home you actually temporarily inherit the prior owner's tax rate/amount. This happens because it takes the County some time to recognize the change in ownership, which triggers a Supplemental Tax bill (if the purchase amount is higher). The County then levies the new tax based on last sale price on January 1st of the next year.

Because the Fiscal Tax year starts July 1 there is some payment overlap, you can see this here:
http://docs.Steven-Anthony.com/PropTaxGuide&Impounds.pdf The schedule may not be completely clear to you, so if you have more questions do what I do: call your escrow officer – they are explaining this all the time.

Important Note Regarding Your Recent Purchase:

Although this link is specific to one County, be aware of CA's Prop 8, which allows you to petition for lowering your property taxes based on reduce market value. Especially in these times, the prior owner's tax basis may be higher than your purchase price.
http://www.co.alameda.ca.us/assessor/reassessments.htm

Best Regards, Steve

Important Dates for Property Owners:

January 1: The assessment of property applies as of 12:01 a.m. on this day each year. (Effective 1-1-97)
February 15: Legal deadline for filing exemption claims for welfare, cemetery, college and exhibitions. (Effective 1-1-98)
February 15: Legal deadline for filing an exemption claim for homeowners, veterans and disabled veterans. (Effective 1-1-98)
April 1: Due date for filing Business Personal Property statements.
April 10: Last day to pay second installment of property taxes without penalty.
May 7: Legal deadline for filing business personal property statements without penalty. If May 7 falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, a property statement that is mailed and postmarked on the next business day shall be deemed to have been filed between the lien date and 5 p.m. on May 7.
July 1: Assessment roll delivered by Assessor to County Auditor-Controller.
July 2 - September 15: Period during which requests for hearings before the Assessment Appeals Board on regular fiscal year assessments must be filed in writing.
Mid-July: Annual mailing of assessment notices to all County real property owners stating the taxable value of the property.
August 31: Regular roll unsecured taxes due.
December 10: Legal deadline for filing a late exemption claim for homeowners, veterans and disabled veterans.
December 10: Last day to pay first installment of property taxes without penalty.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 21, 2009
Fishtail:

You pay only the exact amount of tax owing for the exact number of days you live in the home. You can expect to pay taxes through the exact day of purchase of purchase until the end of the next tax period (eg. June 30 or Dec. 31), and then will receive a bill from the county for the following tax period once you occupy your home.
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Web Reference: http://www.carlmedford.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 21, 2009
Fishtail,

With our sales, the property tax is prorated. If there is an upcoming bill, the seller will give a credit to the buyer at closing (shows on the HUD) for the time that the seller lived in the house. If you have an agent, they can explain that, if not, you can call your attorney/title company and they should be able to show you, in advance, a sample closing statement and examples of the prorations of taxes, any hoa dues, etc.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 21, 2009
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