Frequently Asked Questions
GENERAL TAX INFORMATION
Where can I check my current taxes?
Options available to view your current taxes:
A public terminal is available in the Tax Collector lobby where you can view current and past years tax information
Visit us on-line and view your current tax information
Come into the office and receive a copy of the bill – copy fee $1
When are property taxes due?
Secured taxes, the annual bill you receive for real property, are due in two installments.
The first installment is due November 1st and is delinquent after December 10th.
The second installment is due February 1st and is delinquent after April 10th.
Unsecured taxes are delinquent if unpaid by 5:00 pm on August 31st.
Supplemental taxes have unique due dates, and are due 30 days (or more) from date mailed.
I did not receive my tax bill until penalties had occurred. Do I still need to pay the penalty?
Yes. Failure to receive a tax bill shall not relieve the lien of taxes, nor shall it prevent penalties. Mailing of the tax bill is a service extended to those taxpayers who have provided the County Assessor with the proper mailing address. Secured property tax bills not received by November 15th must be obtained by contacting the Tax Collector’s office in writing, over the phone or online.
It is the responsibility of the property owner to inform the County Assessor, in writing, of any change in mailing address.
Is it possible to have delinquent property tax penalties cancelled or waived?
Yes. A Claim for Cancellation and Refund of Delinquent Property Tax Penalty is available for current year taxes. No application will be accepted or considered unless the tax payment and penalty amount is paid in full. Any penalty, costs or other charges shall be cancelled and refunded if a justifiable reason exists. The applicant shall have the burden of proving the existence of a justifiable reason for cancellation and refund of penalties.
Conditions Which May be Considered Justification for Cancellation and Refund of Penalty:
Taxpayer suffers a severe disability due to injury or illness which prevents taxpayer from making a timely payment
A calamity, not caused by the taxpayer, that is severe enough to prevent the taxpayer from making timely payment. A calamity shall include, without limitations, fire, flood, earthquake, war or civil insurrection
Conditions Which Will Not be Considered Excusable:
Lack of funds
Loss or delay of payment because of the mail or other common carrier
Failure to receive the tax bill
Taxpayer is out of the country
One joint owner relies on another joint owner to make payment
How do I obtain a receipt?
At the time of payment bring the original tax bill with you and it will be stamped “PAID”. The original tax bill is the only form the Tax Office can stamp “PAID”.
If you need a receipt showing a past payment a duplicate receipt can be issued. There is a $1 fee for duplicate receipts.
If you mail in a payment your cancelled check is proof of payment. A printed receipt from the Tax office will not be mailed.
What exemptions are available?
There are several exemptions available:
Homeowner’s Property Tax exemption
How do I find out if I am entitled to the homeowner’s exemption?
Information regarding homeowner’s and other exemptions can be obtained by calling the San Benito County Assessor at (831) 636-4030 or writing to:
San Benito County Assessor
440 Fifth St., Room 108
Hollister, CA 95023
SUPPLEMENTAL TAX INFORMATION
If I receive a Supplemental tax bill, will I also receive an annual Secured tax bill in October?
Yes. The Supplemental tax bill is sent in addition to the annual Secured tax bill and both must be paid by the specified dates on the bills.
If I pay my property taxes through an impound account (i.e., with my mortgage payment), will my lender get my Supplemental tax bill?
No. Unlike the annual Secured tax bill, lending agencies do not receive a copy of the Supplemental tax bill. You must provide a copy to your lender to determine who will pay the bill.
Is it possible to get more than one Supplemental tax bill?
Yes. It is possible to receive two Supplemental tax bills, depending on when the ownership change or completion of new construction occurred and when the Assessor recorded the new value on the tax roll. If the event occurred after January 1st and prior to June 1st you can usually expect to receive two supplemental tax bills representing two separate fiscal years.
If the payment of the Supplemental tax bill is not made before the delinquency date because of a misunderstanding between my lender and myself, may I have the penalties waived?
No. State law stipulates this is not an acceptable reason for waiving penalties.
What happens if I fail to pay my Supplemental tax bill?
The same penalties apply as for unpaid Secured taxes. If your Supplemental tax bill is not paid by May 31st after the second installment becomes delinquent, the property becomes tax defaulted (regardless of whether you paid your annual Secured tax bill). At the end of the fifth year of delinquency the property becomes subject to the Tax Collector’s Power to Sell.
What is a mobile home?
A mobile home is a structure, transportable in one or more sections, designed and equipped to contain one or more dwelling units, and to be used with or without a foundation system. Specifically any trailer coach that is more than eight feet wide or forty feet long, or one that requires a permit to move on the highway is considered a mobile home.
I have a recreational vehicle (RV); is it considered a mobile home?
No. Recreational vehicles, as well as buses and prefabricated housing units, are not considered mobile homes.
My mobile home is sitting on a permanent foundation on my property. How will it be taxed?
For purposes of taxation, mobile homes affixed to the land on a permanent foundation are not considered “mobile” homes, but are viewed instead as modular housing, and have always been taxed in the same way as conventional homes.
Are there any advantages to changing from in-lieu license fees to local property taxation?
There may be advantages, but each case must be evaluated individually.
One possible advantage is that property taxes are payable in two annual installments. You also may be entitled to the $7,000 homeowner’s exemption or other exemptions administered by the County Assessor. In addition to County exemptions, you may be eligible for the tax assistance and postponement program offered by the State of California.
Finally, it is important to note that mobile homes subject to local property taxation are exempt from any sales or use tax. Therefore, you may enhance the marketability of your mobile home by voluntarily converting it to local property taxation prior to selling it.
Once you convert to local property taxation, however, you cannot revert back to vehicle license fees.
If my mobile home is currently subject to local property taxation, can I request reinstatement of vehicle license fees?
No. Once mobile homes have been changed to local property taxation, it is not possible to reinstate vehicle in-lieu license fees.
If I buy a used mobile home subject to local property taxes, how do I get the title transferred to my name?
Mobile home title issuance is administered by the State’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). That department cannot transfer title of a used mobile home subject to local property taxes or direct charges by fire districts or other fees without a tax clearance from the county tax collector of the county in which the mobile home is situated. If there are any taxes or other fees owing, they must be paid before a Tax Clearance Certificate can be issued by the Tax Collector.
NOTE: Remember that this type of title transfer applies only to mobile homes not on permanent foundations. If your mobile home is attached to a permanent foundation, title transfers are handled by the County Recorder in the same manner as for conventional homes.
If I purchase a used mobile home or modify my mobile home by construction, will I have to pay supplemental taxes?
It depends on what type of taxes you currently are paying. Mobile homes that are subject to local property taxation are subject to supplemental taxes. Mobile homes that are subject to vehicle license fees are not subject to supplemental taxes thru HCD, however; they may be subject to supplemental and annual taxes for the addition. Contact the County Assessor for additional information by calling (831) 636-4030 or writing to:
San Benito County Assessor
440 Fifth St., Room 108
Hollister, CA 95023
IMPORTANT: The state budget approved for the 2008/2009 fiscal year deleted funding for the Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program. Since there is no funding in the state budget for this program, 2008 claims cannot be paid or processed. For further information on the State’s Homeowner or Renter Assistance Program, call the Franchise Tax Board at (800) 868-4171.
In addition, funding has been reduced for all existing HRA workloads. As a result, you may experience delays with phone calls or HRA claims and correspondence for 2007 and prior years.
On February 20, 2009 the the state passed legislation to suspend the Property Tax Postponement Program. This legislation is effective immediately and prohibits the filing of claims for Senior Citizens’ Property Tax Deferral Program.
What tax assistance programs are offered by the state?
The State of California administers programs that provide property tax assistance and postponement of property taxes to qualified homeowners and renters who are 62 or older, blind, or disabled. For information on the State’s Homeowner or Renter Assistance Program, call the Franchise Tax Board at (800) 868-4171. For information on the Property Tax Postponement Program, call the State Controller at (800) 952-5661.
Who qualifies for assistance?
The Gonsalves-Deukmejian-Petris Senior Citizens Property Tax Assistance Law provides direct cash assistance to qualified individuals with total household incomes of $ 44,096 a year or less who are either: 62 or older, blind, or disabled; and a U.S. citizen or a designated alien, when you file a claim.
Claim for assistance is based on the net value of your property as shown in your previous year’s secured tax bill.
When do I file?
The filing period runs from July 1st through October 15th. A claim must be filed each year in order to be considered for assistance.
Where can I get a the application forms?
You can get claim forms or further information on Property Tax Assistance/Postponement by contacting the Franchise Tax Board at (800) 868-4171.
PROPOSITIONS THAT AFFECT PROPERTY TAXES
There are several propositions that may affect your tax bill.
Proposition 13 – sets the maximum general property tax rate
Proposition 3 – base year value transfer for property taken by government action
Proposition 8 – reduction in assessed value due to market decline
Proposition 58 – property transfers between parents and children
Proposition 60/90 – senior citizen’s replacement dwelling benefit
Proposition 110 – disabled resident exclusion
Proposition 193 – property transfers between grandparents and grandchildren
To see a detailed listing please visit the California State Board of Equalization. Following are brief descriptions of Proposition 13 and Proposition 8.
What is Proposition 13?
Proposition 13 established limitations on increases in assessed value and set the maximum general property tax rate at one percent. Under Prop 13 the property tax rate is fixed at one percent of assessed value plus amounts required to repay any assessment bonds approved by the voters.
If Prop 13 limits taxes why are my taxes over one percent?
The first line in the description of your tax bill indicates the property tax rate, or ad valoreum tax, the additional taxes listed are special assessment taxes and bonds that have been voted through your district. Special assessment taxes are in addition to your property tax rate and are limited to the special assessment district where your property is located.
What is a special assessment tax?
A special assessment tax is levied against property for certain public projects. These may include water districts, street lighting, installation of sewer lines, street paving, parking structures, or other purposes including police or fire protection. If you have a question regarding a special assessment, please direct inquiries to the appropriate office. Phone numbers are located on the back of your tax bill under item #14. The phone numbers for assessment inquiries are also located under Contacts for Additional Information.
What is Proposition 8?
Proposition 8 is the reduction in assessed value due to a decline in value. Prop 8 requires the county assessor to annually enroll a property’s adjusted base year value or its current market value, whichever is less. When the current market value replaces the higher Prop 13 value on the assessor’s roll, that lower value is commonly referred to as a “Prop 8″ value.
With the housing market so low how do I receive the Prop 8 value?
The assessed value of your property is determined by the Assessor’s office. To find out if your home qualifies for Prop 8 you will need to discuss it with the County Assessor’s office (831) 636-4030.
What is a tax search?
An examination of the public records of taxing authorities to determine the tax status of a parcel of real property. A title company or mortgage lender may have a tax search done when transfer of title or refinancing of real property takes place. A tax search will investigate the tax history of a parcel to find out if any taxes are due or outstanding.
Does the Tax Collector’s Office provide a tax search service?
No. The Tax Collector’s Office no longer provides tax search service for property tax information. You are able to use the public terminal in the lobby to look up tax history or you can hire an independent contractor. To view information from 2008 to the current year you can use the Tax Inquiry available on-line through this website.
The following is a list of independent contractors you can contact in our area.
NOTE: the persons listed are not employees of the Tax Collector’s Office.
Patty Cauntay, Researcher
(831) 663-0488 FAX (831) 663-1703
17640 Orchard Lane, Prunedale CA 93907
Meghan Hebard, Researcher
Phone and Fax (831) 335-4049
Doug Addison, Researcher
(831) 758-3124 FAX (831) 758-0655
If I cannot pay my current secured taxes in full can I make a partial payment?
No. Partial payments are not accepted.
Can I pay my delinquent taxes in payments?
Yes. The Installment Plan of Redemption allows a taxpayer the ability to pay delinquent taxes in five (5) installments over five fiscal years.
Who may apply for the Installment Plan?
Any taxpayer that does not have defaulted taxes for more than five (5) years.
How do I apply for the Installment Plan of Redemption?
Contact the Tax Collector’s office and request an application for the Secured Installment Plan of Redemption. Contact: Tax Collector, 440 Fifth St., Room 107, Hollister, CA 95023 or call (831) 636-4034.
Is there a fee?
Yes. There is a $75 non-refundable application fee, charged each time you start a plan.
How do I start a plan?
To start a plan, the taxpayer must:
Provide a signed agreement
Pay a non-refundable $75.00 application fee
Make the first of five payments equal to not less than 20% of the outstanding redemption amount
How do you figure the redemption amount?
The redemption amount includes base tax, 10% penalty, $10 cost, $15 redemption fee, and 1.5% interest per month. The redemption fee is applied once per parcel, regardless of delinquent years or tax type.
Is there a minimum payment amount?
Yes. Each of the five payment amounts must be equal to or greater than 20% of the redemption amount plus accrued interest. After the first 20% or more incremental payment is deducted from the redemption amount, interest at the rate of 1.5% of the remaining balance will be calculated beginning the following month after the payment is received and shall be included with each incremental payment thereafter.
Are there any additional requirements?
Yes. Payment plans have strict requirements that must be adhered to or the plan will default.
Payment must be by Cashiers Check or Cash. No personal checks accepted.
The property must not be subject to the Tax Collector’s Power to Sell. Taxes can not be unpaid beyond five fiscal years.
All current and future secured and supplemental taxes must be paid on time.
You are allowed two opportunities to complete the redemption plan. If the second plan of redemption defaults, the entire redemption amount becomes due. Any prior payments made are not refundable and shall only be used to satisfy the delinquent tax.
TAX AUCTION INFORMATION
Can I obtain a property available at the tax sale by paying the delinquent taxes prior to the tax sale date?
No. Legal title to a tax-defaulted property subject to the Tax Collector’s power to sell is obtained by becoming the successful bidder at the tax sale. Paying taxes on such property will only cause its redemption to the assessed owner. You may purchase the property from the owner and then pay all the taxes prior to the tax sale.
How do I find or see a property I would like to bid on at the sale?
Vacant land often has no address. The approximate geographic location can be determined by the county assessor’s maps. Exact boundary lines can only be determined by a survey of the property initiated at the purchasers’ expense. Improved properties may bear a situs (street) address, however bidders should verify independently the accuracy of the address.
How do I become a bidder?
All sales are handled on-line through www.bid4assets.com. You must be a registered user before you can bid.
What are the conditions of payment for a property at the tax sale?
All successful bidders must pay in full by the end of the sale.
Do liens or encumbrances on a tax-defaulted property transfer to the new owner after purchase of the property at tax sale?
Section 3712 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code states: “The tax deed conveys title to the purchaser free of all encumbrances of any kind existing before the sale, except:
Any lien for installments of taxes and special assessments, which installments will become payable upon the secured roll after the time of the sale.
The lien for taxes or assessments or other rights of any taxing agency which does not consent to the sale under this chapter.
Liens for special assessments levied upon the property conveyed which were, at the time of the sale under this chapter, not included in the amount necessary to redeem the tax-defaulted property, and, where a taxing agency which collects its own taxes has consented to the sale under this chapter, not included in the amount required to redeem from sale to the taxing agency.
Easements, constituting servitude upon or burdens to the property; water rights, the record title to which is held separately from the title to the property; and restrictions of record.
Unaccepted, recorded, irrevocable offers of dedication of the property to the public or a public entity for a public purpose, and recorded options of any taxing agency to purchase the property or any interest therein for a public purpose.
Unpaid assessments under the Improvement Bond Act of 1915 (Division 10 [commencing with Section 8500] of the Streets and Highways Code) which are not satisfied as a result of the sale proceeds being applied pursuant to Chapter 1.3 (commencing with Section 4671) of Part 8.
Any federal Internal Revenue Service liens which, pursuant to provisions of federal law, are not discharged by the sale, even though the tax collector has provided proper notice to the Internal Revenue Service before that date.
Unpaid special taxes under the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982 (Chapter 2.5, commencing with Section 53311, of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code) that are not satisfied as a result of the sale proceeds being applied pursuant to Chapter 1.3 (commencing with Section 4671) of Part 8.”
When does the right to redeem a tax-defaulted property subject to the power to sell cease?
The right to redeem a tax-defaulted parcel subject to the power to sell ceases at the close of business on the last business day prior to the sale.
How can I determine what use I can make of a tax sale property before I purchase it?
Consult the zoning department of any city within which a property lies or the zoning section of the county department of planning and land use for a parcel in an unincorporated area regarding the use of the parcel. Examine the county recorder’s records for any recorded easement on a property.
How soon can I take possession of a property after my purchase at the tax sale?
The successful bidder may take possession of a property after the following: payment in full, complying with any conditions set forth between the tax collector and the successful bidder, and recordation of the deed. This process usually takes approximately fifteen business days.
How soon may I begin improvement of the property after my purchase?
There is a one (1) year period of time, after the date the tax deed is executed that a proceeding based on alleged invalidity or irregularity of auction procedures can be commenced, pursuant to Section 3725 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code.
If there is a Mobile Home on the parcel being sold, am I bidding on the Mobile Home also?
Unless the mobile home has a permanent foundation, you are bidding only on the land. Mobile homes are considered personal property unless they have a permanent foundation.
Is a tax sale publicly advertised?
Yes. State law dictates that notice of a tax sale must be published. San Benito County advertises tax notices and upcoming auctions in The Pinnacle newspaper, at www.Bid4Assets.com and on this website.
CONTACTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
City of Hollister-Finance Dept. (831) 636-4301
Special assessments for the city
County Assessor (831) 636-4030
Change of address, exemptions, value, or ownership
County Auditor (831) 636-4090
County Recorder (831) 636-4046
Recorded documents (deeds, liens)
Public Works (831) 636-4170
Special assessments for the county
County Water District (831) 637-8218
San Felipe Water assessment
Veterans Services Officer (831) 637-4846