SonomaCountyRecovers: Official recovery information for Sonoma County fires

Property Taxes

Reassessment of Property Damaged by Calamity

Revenue and Taxation Code section 170 provides that if a calamity such as fire, earthquake, or flooding damages or destroys your property, you may be eligible for property tax relief. The loss estimate must be at least $10,000 of current market value to qualify the property for this relief. The property will be reassessed according to its damaged state and property taxes will be adjusted accordingly.

This property tax relief is available to owners of real property, business equipment and fixtures, orchards or other agricultural groves, and to owners of aircraft, boats, and certain mobilehomes – it is not available to property that is not assessable, such as state licensed mobilehomes or household furnishings.

Tax Payment and Adjustment for Fire-Damaged Properties

The Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector and Clerk-Recorder-Assessor Offices are working to adjust tax bills for properties destroyed by the recent fires.

Visit Sonoma County Recovers for forms and FAQs about this process.

Intercepting Payments

If you sent a tax payment by mail and your property was damaged or destroyed by fire, please send an email to taxcollector@sonoma-county.org and include the following information:

  • Owner Name
  • Assessor Parcel Number (APN) and Property Address
  • Check number, amount, and date payment was mailed
  • If you want your check held for pick-up or destroyed

The Tax Collector will make every effort intercept payments, but cannot guarantee it in all cases. Payments intercepted will be held for pick up for 45 days and then destroyed.

Forms and Resources

Forms
Change of Mailing Address (PDF)
Authorization to Access Confidential Files  (PDF)
Governor Declared Disaster (BOE-65-P)
Intercounty Transfer of Base Year Value Principal Residence in Governor-Declared Disaster (BOE-65-PT)
Transfer of Base Year Value Replacement Dwelling (55 or older – BOE-60-AH)

Resources
Assessor Parcel Number Lookup
Calamity Damage Provision
Disaster Relief
List of Counties Accepting Section 69 and Proposition 90 Transfers

Property Reassessment

What is the process for having my property reassessed after the fire?
The Assessor is working with Cal Fire and other county departments to identify all properties with over $10,000 in structure damage. The information we obtain from other agencies will aid us in applying large scale property tax reductions without taxpayers needing to file paperwork with our offices. However, if you prefer, you may choose to complete a “Calamity Damage Reassessment” application and submit it to the County Assessor.

How long will it take to have my property reassessed?
The County Assessor will process Calamity Damage Reassessments as quickly as possible. Please be patient with the process. Once we have determined your new assessed value you will receive a “Notice of Correction to the 601 Assessment Roll” informing you of the new assessment. If you do not receive this notice by December 31, 2017, please contact the Sonoma County Assessor’s office.

New Tax Bills

When will new tax bills be issued that reflect the loss in value of my property?
After you receive the “Notice of Correction to the 601 Assessment Roll” from the County Assessor informing you of the proposed reassessment, a new tax bill reflecting the reduction in value will be issued by the County Tax Collector within approximately 45 days of that notice.

If my property was affected by the fire, how will the assessor and tax collector know where to send the new tax bill and other correspondence?
Please fill out a Change of Mailing Address form. You can also download one on the assessor’s website.

Current Property Taxes

Should I pay the 2017/18 property tax bill dated 9/15/2017, if my house or business was destroyed or incurred more than $10,000 in damage as a result of fire?

No, if you had structural damage to your property, please do not pay the original tax bill.  You will receive a revised bill from the Tax Collector after the Assessor determines your reduction in value.

What if I already paid my 2017/18 property taxes but my property was destroyed?

After the new reassessment is enrolled by the Assessor, a revised bill with a reduced 2nd installment, or a refund will be issued by the County Auditor-Controller for the difference.

Do I need to notify my mortgage company, if my property taxes are paid through an impound account?

Yes. Please contact your mortgage company immediately for guidance on how your lender will handle the payment of your property taxes and the subsequent revision to the balance due. If I paid personal property taxes on a business or vessel that was destroyed in the fire, will I get a refund?

Yes. If your business personal property or vessel suffered damage of $10,000 or more, you are eligible for property tax relief. Please complete a Calamity Damage Reassessment application for the Assessor’s office to review.

If I already mailed my property tax payment but the check has not cleared my account, will the Tax Collector cash my check?

Maybe. The Tax Collector is making every effort to intercept payments on properties that were affected by the fires, but we may not be able to intercept them all. You can help by sending an email to taxcollector@sonoma-county.org, stating that you recently sent a tax payment on a home or structure that was destroyed by fire.  Include the following information in your email:

  • Your name
  • Assessor Parcel Number (APN)
  • Property address
  • Date payment was mailed
  • Check number
  • Amount of payment

You could also a Stop Payment on your check, if it has not yet been cashed.

Will property tax due dates be extended or will penalties be waived for property that is not eligible for Reassessment as a result of the fires?

No. There is not a provision to extend property tax dues dates or waive penalties for property that was not damaged or destroyed by fire. Low income senior citizens, blind or disabled property owners may be eligible for the State Controller’s Property Tax Postponement Program postponement@sco.ca.gov

Future Property Taxes

After my property is rebuilt or repaired following the damage, will my property taxes be increased over what they were before?

No. Property owners will retain their previous factored base year value if the house is rebuilt in a like or similar manner, regardless of the actual cost of construction. However, any new square footage or extras, such as additional baths, will be added to the Proposition 13 factored base year value at its full market value.

Delinquent Property Taxes

What should I do if I have delinquent property taxes and my property was destroyed by fire?

Delinquent property taxes relate to property taxes that were incurred before the fires, therefore they will not change and must be paid. Please contact the Tax Collector’s office for payment plan options.

Sonoma Clean Energy Improvement Program Assessments

If I have a Sonoma Clean Energy Improvement Program (SCEIP) assessment and the improvements were destroyed by the fire do I have to pay the assessment?”

Yes. You should consider paying off the SCEIP lien with proceeds from your insurance claim. Make sure your insurance company itemizes the loss of your SCEIP improvements separately, so you can account for that loss.

State Controller Property Tax Postponement

What if I have a State Controller Property Tax Postponement (PTP) lien on my house that was destroyed by fire?

Please contact the State Controller Property Tax Postponement office at:
(800) 952-5661, or email postponement@sco.ca.gov.

What happens if I applied for a State Controller Property Tax Postponement in 2017/18, but my home was destroyed by fire?

Please contact the State Controller Property Tax Postponement office at:
(800) 952-5661, or email postponement@sco.ca.gov.

Insurance Claims

What information does the Assessor have that can help me with my insurance claim?

The Assessor maintains building sketches for most properties. If you are the property owner, or an authorized agent, who has completed our Authorization to Access Confidential Files form, you may be able to get a copy of that document.

Manufactured Homes

My manufactured home burned down, where do I get a copy of my title certificate?

Please contact Housing and Community Development at (800)-952-8356.

Smoke-Damaged Structures

If my home or building has only smoke damage, will I get a reduced assessment?

No. By law to receive an adjusted value due to a calamity such as fire, the damage to the structure must be at least $10,000. If you have structural damage at or above that amount, please fill out a Calamity Damage Reassessment application.

For all other questions, please contact:

Assessor’s Office

(707)-565-1888
assessor@sonoma-county.org

Tax Collector’s Office

(707)-565-2281
taxcollector@sonoma-county.org

Related Websites:

http://sonomacounty.ca.gov
http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/CRA/Assessor
http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax-Collector/
http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/EOC-and-PIO/Fires-October-2017/Fire-Information/

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