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California Property Tax Laws and Regulations

California Property Tax Laws and Regulations


Proposition 13 (passed 1978) limits the property tax rate to 1% of assessed value plus amounts required to repay any assessment bonds approved by the voters. Annual increases to the assessed value are limited to the inflation rate or 2%, whichever is less. There have been numerous propositions refining the details of Proposition 13.

California Property Tax Laws and Regulations

Proposition 8:

If the tax assessment is reduced because of a decline in value, the property assessment can climb as quickly as the assessed value in the future until it reaches the Proposition 13 value.



Proposition 60:

This applies to transfers within one county.



Proposition 90:

This applies to transfers between two different counties, both of which must have ordinances allowing the transfer.



Proposition 110:

If a person has transferred their tax assessment based on age, they may later do a second transfer based on disability. If a transfer has been done based on disability, age can not be used as the basis for a later transfer.



Additional California Property Tax Information


Please see the California State Board of Equalization website for more details.



Santa Clara County Property Taxes


The property tax for a home in Santa Clara County can be estimated by multiplying the purchase price by 1.25%. The property tax is 1% but there are typically 0.25% special assessments added.


To find which special assessments a property is currently subject to, go to:


Find the property you are interested in, then click the link under the column heading APN Suffix.

Santa Clara County publishes the special assessment tax rates at: (see pg A4)



San Mateo County Property Taxes


Please check one of the best summaries about San Mateo’s County property tax programs HERE.

Other California Property Tax Programs


California Williamson Act Program


The Williamson Act, aka the California Land Conservation Act of 1965, enables local governments to enter into contracts with private landowners for the purpose of restricting specific parcels of land to agricultural or related open space use. Though this does not affect most Silicon Valley home purchasers, it may be of significant value to people wanting to have a significant vineyard, orchard, or garden to provide income as they approach or enter retirement. By entering a contract with local governments specifying they will not convert their land to development for housing or commercial buildings, significant property tax reductions might be achieved.

California Property Tax
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