For more than 35 years property owners in California have been subject to parcel taxes – special taxes imposed by local governments that go above and beyond traditional property tax based on the property’s value.
The rates, definitions and structures of parcel taxes can vary dramatically from area to area, creating a system with no consistency and little transparency.
To help shed light on this issue, the California Tax Foundation, the research and education arm of the California Taxpayers Association, recently conducted the first comprehensive study of California parcel taxes. The report, “Piecing Together California’s Parcel Taxes,” found that property owners in California pay more than $1.9 billion in parcel taxes each year.
Robert Gutierrez, director of the California Tax Foundation explained, “We surveyed every local government in the state, and filed hundreds of Public Records Act requests, to collect more than 11,500 files relating to parcel taxes. This first-of-its-kind study sheds light on a complicated, expensive tax that many property owners know very little about.”
In addition to the study, the California Tax Foundation launched the Center for Special Taxes, an online county-by-county resource that contains the more than 11,500 files they received relating to parcel taxes, including in some cases information on available parcel tax exemptions for senior citizens and others.
I commend the California Tax Foundation for providing this valuable new tool to California property owners.