Property taxes, which are also referred to as an ad valorem tax, are taxes based on the value of your real estate property, such as your home. This type of tax is not collected by the federal government. Instead, it is collected by the state, county, city, or other local government, depending on where your home is located. As such, property tax rates vary across states and also within every state, as well as the process of collecting these taxes. However, the general process that involves the assessment of your property and the computation of your property tax based on your area’s current property tax rate is basically the same across the nation.
The state of California has one of the lowest property tax rates in the country. This is primarily due to Proposition 13, a 1978 amendment to California’s Constitution which has set a limit to property taxes to 1% of the property’s cash value, at most. Aside from this, annual increases due to property value appreciation are limited to 2% per year. Your home’s value can only be reassessed for tax purposes if there is a change of ownership or if a construction has been performed to your property. However, Proposition 13 allows local governments to charge additional fixed amount special assessments, so effective property taxes may exceed the 1% limit.
Property Taxes in Solano County, CA
The city of Fairfield is the county seat of Solano County, which has one of the higher property tax rates in California, at an estimated effective property tax rate of around 0.82%. In the state, 53 out of 58 counties have lower property tax rates compared to Solano County. It is important to remember that the actual property tax rates in this location vary slightly from property to property within cities because of special property tax boundaries.
The median property tax in Solano County is $2,807 per year, based on the median home value of $342,000. The county collects 0.69% of a property’s assessed fair market value as property tax on average. Solano County residents pay about 3.19% of their yearly income on property tax.
How the County Assessor Determines Your Tax Bill
In Solano County, CA your property tax due is calculated based on your home’s fair market value, as determined by the Solano County Property Tax Assessor. In determining your tax bill, your local tax assessor’s office takes into consideration several factors, including your property’s assessed value, the county’s present assessment rate, and any tax exemptions or abatements for your property. It is mandated by the California Constitution that all real estate properties be subject to taxation, except for those which are exempted by the state or federal law. Proposition 13, which was enacted in 1978, is the basis for the current property tax laws.
Assessed market value is computed based on market value using a base year value. Your home’s original base value is its 1975-1976 market value. This can be adjusted each year to account for inflation, but the adjustment should not exceed 2%. In case of a change in ownership or completed new construction, the new assessed value of your home will be its market value as of the date when the changed ownership or the new construction occurred.
Your property’s assessed value less any tax deductions that may apply constitute your taxable value. California property tax laws provide two options by which the Homeowners’ Exemption, up to a maximum of $7,000 of assessed value, may be granted. For the first option, the exemption is available to an eligible owner of a property which is occupied as the owner’s principal place of residence as of 12:01 a.m., January 1 each year.
The second option is available to an eligible owner of a property subject to supplemental assessment/s resulting from a change in ownership or completion of new construction on or after January 1, provided that the owner occupies the property as his or her principal place of residence within 90 days after the change in ownership or completion of construction and the property is not already receiving the Homeowners’ Exemption or another property tax exemption of greater value. In case the property has been granted an exemption of lesser value on the current roll, the difference in the amount between the two exemptions shall be applied to the Supplemental Assessment.
Base tax is calculated by getting the property’s assessed value and multiplying this with the corresponding tax rates applicable to it. The tax rates are expressed as dollars per 100 of assessed value. This means that the tax amount is already divided by 100 in order to obtain the correct value.
Your Right to Appeal Your Tax Bill
As a property owner, you have the right to appeal the property tax amount that you are billed and request a reassessment if you believe that the value determined by the Solano County Tax Assessor’s office is not correct. If you would like to file an appeal regarding your property tax bill, you will need to contact the Solano County Tax Assessor’s Office at 707-784-6200 or send them an email at [email protected] or [email protected]
It is important to note that, unlike other taxes which are restricted to the individual, the Solano County Property Tax is levied directly on your property. Given this, if your property tax is not paid, this may lead to a property tax lien. This is the responsibility of the current owner of the property and will remain attached to your home’s title until such time that the due taxes are paid. Tax liens are not affected by transferring or selling the property, or even filing for bankruptcy.
Furthermore, property tax delinquency may result in additional fees and interests, which are also attached to the property title. In cases of extreme property tax delinquency, the Solano County Tax Board may take control of the delinquent property and offer it for sale at a public tax foreclosure auction. The selling price is usually less than its market value. The proceeds of the sale are used to pay the property’s tax lien, then the rest of the proceeds may be remitted to the original owner.
If you need to get more information about your property tax bill, you may visit the Solano County website.