Home and Property Tax Bills - What are property taxes in San Luis Obispo?

Autumn is in the Air and Property Tax bills are in the Mail!  To provide basic services like police, fire and road maintenance, most counties annually tax all real estate contained within its borders. Then the county pays for these services from the taxes collected. Each county collects a general property tax equal to 1% of assessed value (the exact rate varies by city and district determined by local assessments or fees for that tax year. Research San Luis Obispo County’s tax rates at http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Page967.aspx

The tax collector of the county where the house is located calculates the tax bill using the information from the assessor. Annual property tax bills are mailed in early October of each year. The bill is payable in two installments. The 1st installment is due on November 1st and the second is due February 1st.

In order to know how much to tax each property owner, the county has to assess, or value, each property individually. In California, the county tax assessor, an elected official, sets the value of each house on January 1. To determine the market value of the property, the assessor considers the value of the house, other buildings and structures on the property, fences, landscaping and the land. Assessors look at sales of comparable property, the house location, the amount of land in the parcel, the square footage of the structures, the quality of construction and other factors.

Change in ownership of a property automatically triggers a reassessment of the property. If this transfer of title occurs on a date other than Jan. 1, supplemental assessments are conducted that reflect an increase or decrease in the market value of the house. Any new construction that adds value to the property, for example, when a homeowner adds square footage or makes an improvement that requires a building permit, also generates a one-time supplemental assessment that represents the market value of the new improvements at the completion of construction. The supplemental accounts for the difference between the value existing on the assessment roll as of the most recent January 1 lien date and the new value after completion.  A property owner can specifically request a reassessment if, for instance, property values are down and the homeowner wants a lower annual tax. You may request an informal review of the assessment from the assessor's office. If the review does not result in a satisfactory conclusion, you may pursue an assessment appeal. (www.boe.ca.gov)