By: Quinci LeGardye, California Black Media
Although the state has not officially moved the state property tax deadline from April 10, homeowners, small businesses and other property owners across California might be able to get a break.
On Saturday, the the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) and the California Association of County Treasurers and Tax Collectors (CACTTC), groups that represent county tax collectors, all agreed to to ease the pain of the COVID-19 pandemic by offering taxpayers some flexibility.
Board of Equalization (BOE) Chairman Antonio Vazquez says property owners may be eligible for cancellation of penalties and other tax charges, but the breaks will not be automatic. Taxpayers will have to prove “on a case-by-case basis” that they are experiencing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“This is much-needed good news for many California property taxpayers, and I thank and commend CSAC and CACTTC for offering their help to those struggling to pay their property tax obligations,” Vazquez stated.
At a news conference April 2, Gov. Newsom said his office was considering options regarding the property tax. “We are seeing if there are ways to soften this,” he said. “Millions of homeowners in the state are feeling that anxiety about April 10. We are going to see what the options are and what we can do to help.”
Gov. Newsom also addressed the concern of county tax collectors, as much of the counties’ revenues come from the property taxes. The California State Association of Counties has requested that the state covers lost revenue if the payment date is delayed.
While counties each collect their own property taxes, any change in deadlines would have to come down from the state, and the only way to alter them is by legislative act or executive order.
There is another balm for payees: many counties have closed their Tax Collectors offices. According to the California Revenue and Taxation Code, if the office is closed the day of the deadline, the deadline becomes the next business day that the office is open.
Some counties have already taken measures to alleviate the tax. For multiple counties, including Los Angeles and Alameda counties, residents can apply for a late penalty cancellation beginning April 11, if they can not pay on time for reasons related to COVID-19.
In a press release issued Monday afternoon, both CSAC and CACTTC encouraged property owners that can afford their taxes to submit payments on time.
“Schools and local governments depend heavily on spring property tax payment revenue to continue funding much-needed services, including their crucial response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement read.