What are Secured taxes?
Secured taxes are real estate taxes. These taxes are a lien on a real property.
What period does the secured tax bill cover and how does tax prorating occur if I buy or sell the parcel during the period?
The tax bill covers the period from July 1 to June 30 of each year. The property tax bill for property purchased after January 1 may still reflect the previous owner’s name and assessed property value; however, it is still a valid property tax bill for the tax year. Any proration of property taxes between a seller and buyer during this period is usually handled through the escrow process. You should check with your real estate agent or escrow officer to determine whether property taxes were paid. It is the responsibility of the new owner to make sure the property tax installments are paid timely.
I received a property tax bill, but it has the old owner’s name and assessed value. When will I receive a tax bill with my information on it?
Property tax bills are mailed once a year to the owner of record provided by the Office of the Assessor. The bill you received is the legal tax bill for the tax year and is the amount required to be paid. Once the Assessor completes the supplemental tax roll process, the ownership and adjusted assessment values will be reflected. You will receive a supplemental tax bill (if your purchase price is higher than the assessed value on the bill) or a supplemental tax refund (if your purchase price is lower than the assessed value on the bill ) for each tax fiscal year between the time of your purchase and the tax bill date. Please note that this process may take up to a year following your purchase. For further information regarding the supplemental valuations, please contact the Office of the Assessor at (714) 834-2727.
I received a Secured Tax Bill for a home (or property) I no longer own. Do I still have to pay the taxes?
If sold or transferred the home or property during the year, you should forward the bill to the new owner. Otherwise, you may note “sold to” with the new owner’s name on the envelope and return it to the Tax Collector’s office. The new owner is responsible for paying secured property taxes.
I recently purchased a house and received my property tax bill, but I also received two supplemental tax bills. What’s going on?
The first year of owning a new home can be confusing because of the government cycle for assessing property and sending out tax bills. Property tax bills are sent every September or October and are based on the property’s assessed value on January 1st of that year. The first installment payment is due no later than December 10th, and the second installment payment is due no later than April 10th.
Supplemental tax bills are sent out separately from the regular bills and cover the difference between the previous owner’s assessed value and the new purchase price. Because the County operates on a July-June fiscal year, some people will receive more than one supplemental tax bills depending on when the property was purchased or new construction was completed.
For example, if you bought your house on August 31st for $500,000 and the house was previously assessed for $200,000, the regular tax bill will be based on the previous owner’s lower value as of January 1st. The seller should have paid part of the taxes (from July 1 to Aug 31) covering their ownership period up until escrow closed. A supplemental tax bill, usually sent three to six months after the purchase, will cover taxes for the additional $300,000 in value for the current fiscal year.
If you bought your house on May 31st, your tax bill would straddle two fiscal years. You would receive a supplemental tax bill for the pro-rated difference in value between April 1st and June 30th, and a second bill for the period July 1st to June 30th of the following year.
PLEASE NOTE: If your taxes are impounded by your mortgage company, the supplemental taxes are generally not covered and the taxpayer must pay them separately! Please call our office if you have any questions.
This is how secured property taxes are handled under Proposition 13 for the taxes incurred during transitions between sellers and buyers. Property taxes under Prop. 13 are based on 1% of the purchase price of your home. The bills may be higher than 1% due to special assessments in your taxing district for sanitation, water districts, vector control, bond issuances and Mello-Roos charges.
My tax bill was mailed to the wrong address and I never received it. If I pay my taxes immediately, will you remove the penalties?
Pursuant to the Revenue and Taxation Code Section 2610.5, failure to receive a tax bill does not relieve the taxpayer of responsibility for payment, nor does it constitute cause for cancellation or waiver of penalties or costs should the bill become delinquent.
When will you waive a penalty?
California Revenue and Taxation code 4985 allows for cancellation of penalties, costs or other charges associated with a tax delinquency if failure to make timely payment is due to “reasonable cause and circumstances beyond the taxpayer’s control.” We understand that sometimes mail does go astray, sometimes credit card transactions fail to transfer, and sometimes electronic checks fail to be processed. In these cases we require valid documentation which provides evidence that your payment was made timely. In essence, it’s a judgment call of the Tax Collector’s office, and we require supporting documentation that would satisfy a Grand Jury investigation! Of course, you may disagree with the Tax Collector’s decision. If you would like to appeal that decision, you may submit a “Claim for Refund” to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors available at https://ptms.ocgov.com/eClaimForRefund/CFRWebFormInstructions.aspx. If your claim is also denied, you may then litigate the matter in Superior Court. What is NOT “beyond the taxpayer’s control”? A. An example would be placing the tax payment into a US Postal Service drop box on the due date and the payment is subsequently postmarked with the next day’s postmark date. If you wait until the last day to mail your payment, please make sure you witness the postal employee hand-stamping the postmark on your mailing envelope. Otherwise, if we receive payment with a postmark after the due date it will be considered late and penalties will apply.
Other examples of unacceptable reasons include but are not limited to:
• you were confused about when property taxes were due
• you recently experienced financial hardship and could not pay on time
• you always pay your taxes on time
• you were on vacation and forgot to pay
• The mailman didn’t come…
What IS “beyond the taxpayer’s control”?
An example would be a medical emergency involving YOU on the last day to pay the taxes. Or, the death of an immediate family member occurs on the last day to pay the taxes. Or, theft of mail within the U.S. Postal Service’s control. And yes, we require documented proof to substantiate these claims!
Each request must stand on its own merit. The key is that the Tax Collector’s office must be convinced beyond doubt that the late payment was beyond the taxpayer’s control.
When are the annual tax bills mailed?
Annual tax bills are mailed once a year by November 1st, and can be paid in two installments. Every effort is made to get a copy of the tax bill to each property owner. To avoid penalties, you should check the status of your property taxes and/or request a duplicate bill at ocgov.com/octaxbill by entering your parcel number or by calling our office at (714) 834-3411. Don’t wait until it’s too late and you are required to pay penalties. To request a change to the mailing address on your tax bill, contact the Office of the Assessor at (714) 834-2939 or complete the attached Change of Address form and mail it to the Assessor at the location provided on the form.
You may also be responsible for payment of supplemental property taxes. When property changes ownership or new construction occurs, the property is reassessed. If the property has been reassessed at a higher value, you will receive one or more supplemental tax bills in addition to the annual tax bill. If the property has been reassessed at a lower value, you may be due a refund. The annual property tax bill must be paid in order to receive a supplemental tax refund.
I recently refinanced my house and I am not sure whether my new lender will pay my property taxes. What should I do?
Please contact your new lender for this information or call our office. If you are not sure, we recommend that you pay the property taxes yourself to avoid late penalties. Duplicate payments will be refunded within 6 weeks of receipt.
How may I obtain a copy of the current year Secured Property Tax bill?
To view and print a copy of the current year secured property tax bill, select the following link ocgov.com/octaxbill/. Please note property addresses and assessee names are not displayed on this version for privacy purposes in compliance with California Government Code section 6254.21.
How may I obtain a duplicate copy of a current year Secured Property Tax bill which includes the property address and assessee names?
To request a duplicate copy of a current year Secured Property Tax bill, please send an e-mail to email@example.com and include “Duplicate Tax Bill Request” in the subject line. The email should include the parcel number (APN) you are requesting and the name and mailing address you would like it to be sent.
How may I obtain a copy of Previous Year tax bills?
To view and print a copy of the previous year tax bills, select the following link ocgov.com/octaxbill/. Please note that previous year tax bills will display the amounts due at the time the tax bill was originally issued. Any subsequent corrections or adjustments will not be included. If a payment deadline was missed, the amount due will be different then that which is reflected on the bill copy. Please note that property addresses and assessee names are not displayed on this version for privacy purposes in compliance with California Government Code section 6254.21.
The total value shown for my property on your web page seems high. How can I get this reduced?
You should direct your questions concerning property valuation to the County Assessor’s Office at (714) 834-2727 or go to www.oc.ca.gov/assessor.
I have a question on the assessed value of my property and the exemptions I may be entitled to. Who do I call?
For general information on assessed values and exemptions, you may go to the Assessor Department website at www.oc.ca.gov/assessor, or you may call the Assessor at (714)834-2941. For specific information on exemptions, call: Homeowners’ Exemptions at (714)834-3821, Veterans’ Exemptions at (714)834-7689, Institutional Exemptions at (714) 834-2779.
Where can I get more details to thoroughly understand the real estate tax deduction?
For the exact details you may contact a certified tax preparer or visit the California Franchise Tax Board.
I recently purchased a home in a new development in Orange County. I have not received a tax bill and cannot locate my parcel on your website. What should I do?
The process of segregating the larger development into individually owned parcels may not yet been completed by the Office of the Assessor. You can call them directly at 714-834-5031 to verify. Once this process is completed, a property tax bill will be prepared, be available online by searching by your address, and then be mailed to the new property owner. In addition, you may receive a supplemental property tax bill that represents the property tax due because of the difference between the prior owner’s value and your assessed value. These property tax bills will clearly state the payment due dates.
My lender already paid my property taxes. Why doesn’t your website show the taxes being paid?
Lenders and financial institutions usually pay by wire in bulk just days prior to the payment due date even though your account may reflect the payment being made up to a month earlier. We process multiple lender bulk payments received by wire, and it can take up to two weeks to reconcile and post to your account. Our website has the same up-to-date information that our customer service representatives are able to provide. Please allow two weeks for processing to occur. Your parcel will be considered paid as of the date we received your lender’s payment.
What should I do if I don’t receive a Secured Property Tax bill?
For properties that have been sold after the January 1st lien date, the new owner’s property tax bill may be sent to the previous owner if our office is unaware the property has been sold. If you do not receive a secured property tax bill by November 1, contact our office at (714) 834-3411 and our taxpayer services representatives can send you a duplicate copy. You can also print a copy of a duplicate bill at ocgov.com/octaxbill.
How do I know if my property taxes were paid through escrow when I purchased my home?
As the owner of property in Orange County, you are responsible for the payment of property taxes. If you are a new owner, taxes may have been prorated between the buyer and seller in escrow. However, depending on when the escrow was completed, funds may not have been withheld for payment to the Treasurer-Tax Collector. If you are uncertain whether the taxes were paid, you should check with your escrow officer or real estate advisor. You may also contact our office at (714) 834-3411 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a Homeowners’ Exemption?
If you own and occupy your principal place of residence on January 1, you may apply for a Homeowners’ Exemption that will exempt $7,000 of your home’s assessed value from taxation. For further information on Homeowner’s Exemptions, please visit the Assessor’s website at http://ocgov.com/gov/assessor/faq/exempt or contact their Exemptions Unit at (714) 834-3821.
I’m a homeowner and occupy my residence, how do I enroll in the homeowner exemption on my property taxes?
Homeowners’ Exemption applications are not available on-line. This form is automatically mailed to new owners of single-family residential property by the Office of the Assessor. If you did not receive an application within 90 days of recording your deed, please call the Assessor’s Exemptions Unit at (714) 834-3821.
When do the Mello Roos (CFD) bonds on my tax bill mature?
For detailed information regarding the Mello Roos bond assessment on your tax bill, you can contact the number provided on the tax bill next to the assessment. In addition, the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission (“CDIAC”) of the State Treasurer’s Office publishes a list of all Community Facilities Districts (“CFD”) in the state that includes detailed information about each bond issue, including the maturity date. Click here to view the entire report at Mello Roos CFD 2012_Orange County Excerpt.pdf. If the bond information on your tax bill does not match the description in the report, you can contact the number on your tax bill, and they can provide you with the issue name that is included in the CDIAC report. Please keep in mind that the bonds could remain outstanding after the maturity date on the schedule under certain circumstances. If a district has not yet issued up to the maximum authorized amount of bonds, they could issue more bonds if there is a need in the community, and the Mello-Roos assessments will remain on your property tax bill until all authorized bonds are issued and paid off.
Can I pre-pay my property taxes in advance for a future fiscal year?
Our office has received numerous questions asking if taxpayers can prepay property taxes for fiscal year 2018-19. We are not able to accept any payments for property taxes that have not yet been billed and, at this time, can only accept payments for the second installment of property taxes or any supplemental property taxes already billed.