State Board of Equalization

Local Property Tax Revenue Grew 6.5 Percent in 2019-20

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There was a 6.5 percent increase in property tax revenue received by local governments in the 2019-20 fiscal year, according to the State Board of Equalization 2019-2020 Annual Report presented to the board during its April 27 teleconference meeting.

Chief Deputy Director Lisa Renati presented the report and noted that in 2020, the value of locally assessed property was $6.8 trillion. This is up from $6.4 trillion in 2019.

The report states that the $75.4 billion in property tax levies provided $40.5 billion to schools (up from $38.1 billion the prior year) and $34.9 billion to local government (up from $32.7 billion).

In other action from the meeting:

Proposition 19 Guidance Advances. The board voted unanimously to grant authority to staff to publish Property Tax Rule 462.520, “Exclusion From Change in Ownership – Intergenerational Transfers,” to implement provisions of Proposition 19.

BOE attorney Richard Moon noted that the rule is going through the regular rulemaking process, since legislation granting emergency rulemaking authority has not been approved. Moon said the rule was drafted to be consistent with what is in the implementation bill that is pending in the Legislature. If changes are made to the bill, the rule will be amended.

BOE Chair Antonio Vazquez asked if there is any guidance specific to auxiliary dwelling units that are part of a primary residence. Staff said they have had questions about such units, and are researching the issue and working to develop guidance.

Early in the year, the BOE pushed for the Legislature and governor to approve implementation language before Proposition 19’s effective dates, but the Legislature has not moved quickly on the bill (SB 539, Hertzberg). The legislation was introduced after one of the major effective dates in Proposition 19 already had passed, and has been awaiting a vote on the Senate floor since the first week of March.

Deputy State Controller Yvette Stowers, representing Controller Betty Yee, asked about the ramifications if the bill doesn’t move.

“Quite frankly, we just have to hold,” Executive Director Brenda Fleming responded. She said Proposition 19 is the law, so staff is doing all it can to implement the measure based on staff’s interpretation of the provisions. Since there are vague sections that might be interpreted differently by the Legislature, staff will go back after legislation passes to resolve any discrepancies.

Tracking Transfers. David Yeung, deputy director of the BOE’s Property Tax Department, said staff is working with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to develop a way to track property transfers to administer the Proposition 19 provisions that are limited to three base-year value transfers per person. Yeung said the process is going well and staff hopes to have it up and running very soon.

Property Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights Hearing Scheduled for August. Lisa Thompon, the BOE’s taxpayer advocate, said the annual Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights hearing will be held August 24. The hearing provides taxpayers an opportunity to address the board about any issue within the board’s purview.

Two Assessors Get More Time to Prepare Rolls. Staff reported that 30-day time extensions have been granted for the assessors in El Dorado and Trinity counties to complete and submit their 2021 local assessment rolls. Absent extensions, the deadline is July 1.