Unsecured Taxes

What are UNSECURED taxes?
UNSECURED taxes cover all business and personal property, such as aircraft, mobile homes and boats. These taxes are a lien on the assessed owner of the property.
My bill says that it is based on ownership of “the property” on January 1st but I don’t own the property so why am I being taxed?
The Unsecured tax bill is for the business personal property which includes tangible property owned, claimed, possessed or controlled in the conduct of a business, profession or trade. Business personal property includes, but is not limited to:

  • Machinery
  • Equipment
  • Furniture
  • Fax Machines
  • Photocopiers
  • Computers
  • Telephones
  • Desks and Chairs
  • Bookcases
  • Supplies
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.
My business was sold in January and I still received a tax bill. Why do I have to pay taxes on a business I no longer own?
The tax liability (lien) date is January 1 at 12:01 a.m. This date determines the liability for the current year (July 1 to June 30). In this instance, the tax bill would have been issued in your business name and the liability is your responsibility. A recommendation is for the sale agreement to provide that the purchaser pays an estimated tax at the time of business transfer.
The Tax Collector placed a lien on my name, which appears on my credit report. How do I get it changed?
A lien is placed against the individual for delinquent unpaid taxes. In order to clear the delinquency, all taxes, costs, and penalties must be paid. Upon payment in full, the Treasurer-Tax Collector's office advises the County Recorder's office of the payment. This information is then obtained by the credit bureaus and they update their records to show that the lien had been satisfied. Taxpayers must be aware that neither the Treasurer-Tax Collector nor the County Recorder are responsible for clearing up delinquencies with credit agencies.
My business is being billed by Orange County and another County and I would like to know why?
In this situation, the Treasurer-Tax Collector's office must refer you to the County Assessor's office. The County Assessor is the only Department that can determine tax liability. If you were not in business in Orange County on January 1 (lien date), then you may want to provide the Assessor some type of proof, such as a copy of the tax bill from the other county, cancellation of a lease agreement and/or the closing electric or telephone bill. You can reach the Assessor's office at (714) 834-2727 or view the Assessor's website.
The value of my business property is over-assessed by the Assessor's office. May I pay taxes on the estimated worth of my business property while I work with the Assessor to correct the over-assessment?
The Revenue and Taxation Code requires you to pay the full amount of the current tax bill. You will receive a refund with interest (if interest is greater than $10.00) upon a correction issued by the Assessor's office.
How do I obtain a request for Payoff Demand for a lien filed by the Office of the Treasurer-Tax Collector?
The payoff information is available on our self-service website at ocgov.com/octaxbill. You can search by Tax Year and Assessment Number provided on the lien document (e.g. 2018 153306) for Unsecured Property Tax Bills or by entering the parcel number for Secured or Supplemental property tax bills. For further assistance, please email us at ttcinfo@ttc.ocgov.com.
Why is a copy of the lien necessary?
To prevent misidentification, we want to make sure that we provide you with accurate payoff information for the correct individual on which the lien was recorded. 
How can the Escrow or Title Companies avoid delays at the close of escrow, when they discover their client has a lien filed by the Treasurer-Tax Collector?

Typically the lien search is done by the title company on the property at the beginning of the escrow, and one of the last things that is completed is a name search on the person(s) involved in the transaction. Because the liens do not attach to a particular piece of property, they are typically discovered at this later stage of the process. The escrow process may be delayed because a payoff amount is needed from our office to determine how much is owed to satisfy the outstanding taxes due.

The payoff information is available on our self-service website at ocgov.com/octaxbill. You can search by Tax Year and Assessment Number provided on the lien document (e.g. 2018 153306) for Unsecured Property Tax Bills or by entering the parcel number for Secured or Supplemental property tax bills. For further assistance, please email us at ttcinfo@ttc.ocgov.com.

What happens after a demand for payment is received by the Escrow Company?

If the obligor is selling or refinancing and there is sufficient money to pay the full amount of the outstanding taxes due against the lien, the Treasurer-Tax Collector will record a "Release of Lien" document once the arrears have been paid in full.  This document will be recorded with the Office of the Clerk-Recorder and a copy will be sent to the taxpayer.   

To what address should the payments to be sent?

Please make all checks payable to the County of Orange. For proper identification, include the name and Tax Collector Reference Number or Assessment Number on the check.  All mailed payments should be sent to:

County of Orange
Attn: Treasurer-Tax Collector
P.O. Box 1438
Santa Ana, CA 92702-1438

Why are boats and vessels assessed for property taxes?
The California Constitution (Section XIII, Article 1) provides that all tangible property is taxable unless it is otherwise exempted by the Constitution or by the legislature. Privately-owned boats are subject to Unsecured property taxes.
I received an Unsecured Property tax bill for a boat that we no longer own. Shouldn't the new owner pay this bill?

The bill is based on the ownership of the property on January 1.  If you owned the boat on January 1, then you are responsible for the bill.  If you have further questions regarding transfer of ownership of the bill for next year, please contact the Office of the Assessor’s Marine Division at (714) 834-2772.


My boat is registered with the DMV and I pay a registration fee. Why must I also pay property taxes?
Property taxes for boats are not collected through the registration fee, as they are with motor vehicles. DMV registration fees do not include what is known as an “in-lieu fee” for property taxes that is returned to local government. The Unsecured assessment is collected for the “in-lieu fee” for property taxes.
I sold my boat, so do I still have to pay the property taxes?
If you owned the boat on January 1, you are required to pay the property taxes. Taxes are not prorated between the seller and buyer. Any arrangement regarding the property tax liability must be worked out between the buyer and seller.
My boat is kept in another County. Why did Orange County assess it?
If the boat is registered to you in Orange County and the registration does not specify that it is kept in another County, then Orange County will assess it. If your boat is habitually kept in another County, you need to discuss the issue with the Marine unit at the Office of the Assessor at (714) 834-2772.
I sold my boat months ago, so why am I getting a tax bill for it?
Liability for vessel property taxes attaches to its owner as of 12:01 a.m. on January 1 each year (the lien date). The bill for the coming tax year is then issued to the owner of record at that time, and that individual is liable for the taxes even if the boat was sold soon after that date. If you were not the owner on January 1, but the bill was issued in your name, then you need to contact the Office of the Assessor’s Marine unit to resolve the issue at (714) 834-2772.
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