California Property Taxes: A Guide for Homeowners

In California, property taxes are an important source of revenue for local governments, which use the funds to provide essential services such as schools, roads, and public safety. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to California property taxes, including how they are calculated, when they are due, and what to do if you disagree with your assessment.

Calculating Property Taxes

Property taxes in California are calculated by multiplying the assessed value of the property by the local tax rate. The assessed value is determined by the local property tax assessor and is usually based on the market value of the property.

The local tax rate is set by the local government and is used to determine the amount of revenue needed to fund government services. This rate is then applied to the assessed value of each property to calculate the property tax bill.

Paying Property Taxes

Property taxes in California are typically due on November 1st of each year. The taxes can be paid by mail, online, or in person at the local government office. It is important to pay the taxes on time to avoid late fees and potential penalties.

If you are unable to pay your property taxes in full, you may be able to set up a payment plan with the local government. Contact your local government office to discuss your options.

Proposition 13

In 1978, California voters passed Proposition 13, which limited the amount by which property taxes could increase each year. Under Proposition 13, property taxes can only increase by 2% annually or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.

This law helps protect homeowners from significant increases in their property taxes, but it also means that the assessed value of a property may not reflect its current market value.

Disputing Your Assessment

If you believe that your property has been assessed at a value that is too high, you can dispute the assessment with the local property tax assessor. To do this, you will need to provide evidence to support your claim, such as recent sales of similar properties in the area.

If the assessor does not agree with your dispute, you can file an appeal with the local Board of Equalization. This board will hear your case and make a final determination on the value of your property.


In conclusion, property taxes play an important role in funding essential services in California. Understanding how they are calculated, when they are due, and what to do if you disagree with your assessment is important for homeowners. Additionally, it is important to be aware of Proposition 13 and how it affects property taxes in the state. By staying informed and taking the necessary steps, you can ensure that your property taxes are fair and accurate.