If your property was damaged or destroyed, without any fault by the owner, by a misfortune or calamity (e.g. fire), you may be eligible for temporary property tax relief.
Upon receiving your application, the Assessor’s Office may issue a temporary reassessment that reflects its damaged condition. The temporary reduction of the assessment will continue until you repair or rebuild the property, and then the property will retain its previous taxable value. To qualify, you must file a calamity claim with the Assessor's Office within twelve months of the occurrence of the damage, and the loss must exceed $10,000 in value, not including non-taxable items such as household and personal effects.
However, if no application has been filed and the Assessor later determines that a property suffered a calamity within the preceding twelve months, then the Assessor must send an application to the last known owner of the property. The owner must then return the completed application to the Assessor within 60 days of the Assessor's notification but in no case may the application be filed later than twelve months after the date of calamity.
To be eligible for the temporary reduction, the damage must be valued at $10,000 or more of full cash value, and occur to taxable property. Non-taxable items such as household and personal effects are not eligible. The Assessor must receive your application within 12 months of the misfortune or calamity.
This relief is available to owners of real property, business equipment and fixtures, orchards or other agricultural groves, and to owners of aircraft, boats, and mobile homes that are assessed on the local tax roll. The reduction of assessed value will not be of the full amount of the value of the damage, but of an equal percentage of the assessed value to the full market value. For example, if your property has a fair market value, immediately prior to the misfortune or calamity of $300,000 and the value of the damage is $30,000, then the assessed value will be reduced by 10% ($30,000 is 10% of $300,000).
Questions and Answers
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How does someone apply for property tax relief due to a calamity?
To qualify for property tax relief, you must file a calamity claim form with the Assessor's Office within one year from the date the property was damaged or destroyed.
Please contact the Marin County Assessor’s Office at (415) 473-7215 to request a calamity application or you download the Calamity Form and return the completed application to the Marin County Assessor’s Office.
After the property is rebuilt or repaired, will the property tax be increased?
Yes, but only to the same level the property was assessed at before the damage occurred, plus the appropriate inflation factor. This is true if the improvements are rebuilt in a like or similar manner, regardless of the actual cost of rebuilding. However, if additional living space or other significant improvements are made in addition to the repair, additional taxes may result. Also, if construction is not complete by the following January 1 (lien date), the value will be restored reflective of the percent complete of the construction.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, pursuant to Section 2 of Article XIII A of the Constitution, the base year value of property which is substantially damaged or destroyed by a disaster, as declared by the Governor, may be transferred to comparable property within the same county if the replacement property is comparable to the original property and is acquired or newly constructed within three (3) years after the disaster.
If you need additional information or have more questions, please contact the Marin County Assessor. The phone number is (415) 473-7215 or contact us using email.
The office of the Marin County Assessor is located at Marin Civic Center Room 208, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA. Office hours are 9:00 AM-4:00 PM Monday through Friday.