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Unexpected Property Taxes in California

By Pen | May 5, 2023

Unexpected Property Taxes in California

Posted by Pen on Sep 1, 2014 3:00:18 PM

Paramount Property Tax Appeal specializes in real estate and personal property tax filings. With a thorough understanding of how to file and effectively win an appeal in any county, we advocate for our clients throughout the entire filing and appeals process.

Mello-Roos Taxes Explained

Because Proposition 13 (passed in 1978) restricted the ability of local governments to raise property taxes by more than an inflation factor, the budget for services and for the construction of public facilities became limited. The Community Facilities Act, commonly known as Mello-Roos, was enacted in 1982 to allow government agencies to form Community Facilities Districts as a means to generate funds for public works and facilities. Mello-Roos taxes are generally collected in newer California communities that require new schools and infrastructure, such as public parks and roads. Unlike Proposition 13 restrictions, property tax can be assessed as a percentage of the home's value.

Personal Property Tax

Personal property tax is typically collected on high-priced possessions, such as yachts and airplanes, primarily from California businesses. Business owners must annually detail the cost of their supplies, equipment, and fixtures in a 571-L form. The tax applies to property that is not land or attached to land, such as machinery, fixtures, office furniture, and equipment, depending on the county where the property is located. Business inventory is exempt, and while computers are taxable, most application software is exempt, but operating systems are taxable.

Navigating Property Tax Complications


For real property, tax is calculated for the time it is used during the year, so a property that is sold in June pays 6 months’ worth of tax. However, for personal property this rule does not apply. Personal property is a single annual rate so something sold in January costs as much as if it sold in December.


Businesses located in multiple places must pay taxes to each county in which they have property. For personal property the filing of multiple 571-Ls can be time consuming and complex. Although the California Board of Equalization gives out an Assessor’s Handbook to all assessors, rules and procedures can vary by county.Even deadlines for filing taxes can differ by county.

The Appeals Process

The Morgan Property Taxpayers' Bill of Rights allows property owners to inspect and copy documents related to their property's assessment. If the property owner disagrees with the assessment, they can request an interview to discuss the basis of the assessment and inform the assessor of any facts affecting the property's value. Most disagreements are resolved in this manner; however, if an agreement cannot be reached, an appeal should be considered.

In most counties, an appeal is heard at an administrative hearing before the Board of Equalization. The property owner bears the burden of proving that the assessor has improperly valued the property and can have representation at the hearing.

Topics: California Property Tax Appeal

We specialize in reducing your property tax expenses through appeals. Our services are free until we deliver a refund or tax savings – No Savings = No Fee. Committed to defending your rights, we take pride in the trust our clients place in us.

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