Parcel Tax:
Silicon Valley Schools Make it Difficult for Seniors to Claim Parcel Tax Exemptions

After evaluating 22 school districts that levy parcel taxes with exemptions for seniors and disabled property owners, the Santa Clara County Grand Jury found major inconsistencies exist among school districts and reported that complex application requirements make it very difficult for taxpayers to claim an exemption.

However, the grand jury found that there was no intentional attempt to prevent taxpayers from claiming an exemption.

School districts are not required to offer exemptions for their parcel taxes, but many do, for certain types of property owners. The most common exemptions are for properties owned and occupied as a principal residence by taxpayers age 65 or older, taxpayers who are disabled, taxpayers who receive Supplemental Security Income or State Disability Income, and taxpayers whose household income is below federal poverty standards.

(CalTax: The Internal Revenue Service has advised taxpayers that parcel taxes may be deducted from federal income taxes, but only if the tax is imposed at a “like rate against all real property.” Some questions remain as to whether an exemption violates this uniformity requirement. Exemptions often are touted to older voters in the political campaigns urging them to approve parcel taxes.)

Under a new state law supported by CalTax (AB 1891, Dababneh, Chapter 450 of the Statutes of 2016), any exemption that is granted must remain in effect until the taxpayer becomes ineligible, and would allow a new exemption to be granted in the same manner if the taxpayer becomes ineligible for the exemption for any reason.

The grand jury examined the availability of exemption applications, eligibility rules and the application process, as well as each district’s exemption renewal process.
Among the grand jury’s findings:

Website Information

Exemption Applications

Renewing an Exemption

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