For Immediate Release
December 3, 2020
Contact: Peter Kim
California State Board of Equalization Reminds Californians Affected by Wildfires of Available Property Tax Relief
Sacramento – The California State Board of Equalization (BOE), which serves a critical role in the assessment practices and administration of property taxes statewide, reminds Californians affected by this year's wildfires that they may be eligible for property tax relief.
“In 2020, we have witnessed an unprecedented number of devastating wildfires throughout California,” said BOE Chairman Antonio Vazquez. “It is important that we provide the resources and information for relief to those families and small businesses impacted by the wildfires so they can begin to rebuild their lives.”
In August 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a Statewide Emergency Declaration due to the fires across California. Subsequently, Governor Newsom proclaimed five additional states of emergency in response to the fires occurring within specific counties during September and November 2020. Affected properties in Governor-proclaimed disasters areas may qualify for property tax relief so long as the loss estimate is at least $10,000 of the current market value of the property. In many cases, the damaged property can be reappraised in its current condition, with some taxes refunded to the property owner. Once rebuilt, the property's pre-damaged value will be restored.
To qualify for property tax relief, property tax owners must file a claim with their County Assessor's Office within 12 months from the date of damage or destruction or the time specified in their county's ordinance, whichever is later.
Owners of eligible property may also apply for deferral of their next property tax installment, without penalties or interest. Affected property owners are strongly encouraged to contact their County Assessor's Office to begin their claim for property tax relief.
Please visit the BOE's Disaster Relief page for more information, additional resources, and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).
The California State Board of Equalization (BOE) is the only elected tax board in the country, and it is comprised of four Equalization District Members and the State Controller. Since 1879, the BOE's constitutional and statutory duties include the oversight of the 58 County Assessors' assessment practices to ensure statewide uniformity and consistency. In addition, the BOE directly assesses the property of regulated railroads and certain public utilities, collects the private railroad car tax, and is responsible for the Alcoholic Beverage Tax and Tax on Insurers. BOE's critical role in property tax administration by promoting fair and equitable assessments protects the tax dollars that schools, local communities, and the State of California depend on every day.