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California Property Tax Updates

UPDATED june 2020

Counties Set-Up Procedures for Canceling COVID-19 Late-Payment Penalties

California law permits county tax collectors to cancel late property tax payment penalties “due to reasonable cause and circumstances beyond the taxpayer’s control.” In May, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-61-20 which extended tax collectors’ authority to cancel the 10% delinquency penalty if the late payment was caused by COVID-19. The Governor’s Order established the following conditions for excusing late-payment penalties: (a) the real property for which the taxes were not paid is the taxpayer’s residence or is owned and operated by a qualifying small business and (b) the taxpayer was unable to tender payment due to the COVID-19 pandemic or any governmental response to the pandemic. While the Governor’s Order applies statewide, county tax collectors have implemented the Order’s requirements in different ways. Most county tax collectors have put COVID-19-specific waiver forms on their websites with instructions for taxpayers to describe on the form how COVID-19 prevented them from paying their property taxes timely (e.g., Los Angeles County, San Diego County). Some tax collectors also require taxpayers to submit documentation of medical conditions that prevented the taxpayer from paying on time, or of economic hardship caused by unemployment, reduced employment, or the closure/non-operation of a business due to COVID-19 (e.g., Alameda County, Riverside County). For more information, consult the website of the California county tax collector in which a property is located.

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Greenberg Traurig, LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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