Any Taxpayer may request cancellation of a penalty assessed on a secured or unsecured property, either in writing, or by submitting a completed and signed Penalty Cancellation Request Form. California Revenue & Taxation Code 4985.2 and 2509 provide a very limited basis for cancellation of penalties. The Office of the Treasurer-Tax Collector (TTC) attempts to respond to all requests within 4-6 weeks.
If you have been directly impacted by COVID-19 during fiscal years 2019/20 and 2020/21 and unable to deliver payment by April 10, 2020, December 10, 2020 or April 12, 2021, we may be able to help. Under the Governor’s Executive Order, certain taxpayers have until May 6, 2021 to file a special COVID-19 penalty cancellation request form. To qualify , the property must either be residential and occupied by the homeowner as evidenced by a Homeowner’s Exemption on the property or owned and operated by a taxpayer that qualifies as a small business in accordance with the SBA Guidelines. To submit a COVID-19 penalty cancellation request, you must:
Complete the COVID-19 penalty cancellation request form describing in detail how you were impacted by COVID-19 and unable to deliver your payment for property taxes and check which of the two criteria you qualify under. Please specify the appropriate due date – April 10, 2020, December 10, 2020 or April 12, 2021.
Include all documents that support your request for the direct impact and the criteria for qualification, then date and sign the form. For small businesses, please click on link to the SBA Guidelines, scroll down to the chart of Small Business Size Standards by NAICS Industry, provide your industry code and include documentation showing either the number of employees or annual receipts as evidence that it meets the criteria to be considered a small business.
Mail the form with your payment of the base taxes due along with all documentation to the address on the form, drop the completed form in our outside payment depository box on Ross Street or deliver in-person to the County Service Center as soon as you can pay. Please note that payment must be received on or before May 6, 2021. You may also email the form to firstname.lastname@example.org and pay the total amount due online (if approved, you will receive a refund for the penalties).
All submissions will be reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis. If approved, we will notify you by mail or by email within 4-6 weeks. If not approved, you will need to pay all remaining balances due, late penalties and any additional penalties of 1.5 percent per month that have accrued (18 percent annually). Note that for FY 2020/21 secured property taxes, the 18 percent penalty starts accruing on July 1, 2021.
Examples of direct impacts due to COVID-19 include: COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, loss of employment or business closures. Examples of documentation include hospitalization documents, employment notifications such as business closure, layoff notice, CA EDD Unemployment Insurance claim letter, etc. See COVID-19 FAQs at the top of this page for more information.
If you were not directly impacted by COVID-19, but were unable to deliver payment by April 10, 2020 or cannot pay by December 10, 2020 or April 12, 2021, we still may be able to help. We encourage you to review the limited exceptions where cancellation of penalties may be granted and if you believe that you qualify, complete the penalty cancellation form and mail in the request with the base tax amount. Some examples include payment of the wrong parcel and hospitalization on April 10, 2020, December 10, 2020 or April 12, 2021. See Penalty Cancellation Request Examples at the top of this page along with information on the cancellation form.
If you are not able to request a penalty cancellation, then we encourage you to pay the full amount as soon as you can (interest accrues at 18 percent) or apply for a five-year payment plan (processing fee of $25 plus interest at 18 percent annually) after July 1, 2021 for FY 2020/21 secured property taxes. You can pay online by eCheck (no cost), online by credit/debit card (2.29 percent service fee applies), mail your payment, drop off your payment in our depository payment box at 601 N. Ross St. or pay in-person at the County Service Center.
HOW TO AVOID PENALTIES
Sign up for our secured and unsecured property tax reminder by text or email
Make sure you receive bills for all property that you own. Keep track of all parcel numbers and check off the bills as you receive them and e-mail or call our office if you are missing any bills.
Remember: Under California Law, it is the responsibility of the taxpayer to obtain all tax bill(s) and to make timely payment.
On the secured tax roll, the first installment is due November 1st and delinquent on December 10th, and the second installment is due on February 1st and delinquent on April 10th. Taxpayers have the option of paying both installments when the first installment is due. However, you may not pay the second installment if the first installment has not been paid. Penalties will not be waived due to not receiving a bill.
Make sure that you note December 10th and April 10th as payment deadlines for Secured Property Taxes as opposed to the April 15th deadline for federal taxes imposed by the I.R.S.
Mail your property tax payments early to make sure that the envelope is postmarked on or before December 10th or April 10th! According to California law, the postmark date is used to determine if payment was mailed on or before the deadline. If you are waiting until the last day to mail your payment, it is recommended that you personally witness the postmark being affixed to your envelope and obtain a receipt as evidence of the mailing.
The California Revenue and Taxation code does not provide a legal basis for the Treasurer-Tax Collector to waive the late penalties when the postmark is after the delinquent date. By paying your taxes on time, you save the following penalties required by California law:
A 10% penalty added 5:00 p.m. on December 10.*
A 10% penalty and $23.00 cost added after 5:00 p.m. on April 10.*
After the end of the fiscal year (June 30th), a $15.00 redemption fee and additional penalty of 1-½% per month (18% per annum) is added on the unpaid tax amount. Check your tax bill for a notation stating that "you may have unpaid taxes for prior years." If you see this and are not aware of unpaid taxes, call our office immediately. Substantial savings in penalties can be achieved by paying any prior year taxes or by initiating a Five-Year Installment Plan of Redemption.
Keep the County Assessor’s office informed of any change in mailing address so that future tax bills will be mailed to the correct address. You may contact the Assessor at (714) 834-2727.
*If a delinquent date falls on a weekend or holiday, the delinquent date is the next business day.
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