Sunday, July 22, 2018
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Access to disaster relief for property taxes in San Francisco

As we come into the holiday season, it is time to reflect on the major events that happened this year, which most certainly includes the North Bay Fires. As impacted communities begin the difficult process of recovery, it is important to know that property tax relief programs are available for areas experiencing disaster.

As one of your elected Assessors in the state of California, I would like to share several tax relief efforts that will be helpful for you to know.

Under California’s property tax laws, property owners who have suffered a calamity may qualify for immediate property tax relief in the form of reduced assessments.


San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu

In other words, if your property was damaged in a calamity such as fire, flood, or earthquake, you may receive temporary property tax deduction by applying for disaster relief.

It is important to remember that the application for disaster relief must be filed within 12 months of the calamity, and damage to the property must be at least $10,000.

After receiving the application, the local County Assessor’s office will review the case and assign a temporary value to the property reflecting the damage reported.

Property owners should apply disaster relief through their County Assessor’s office. In San Francisco, our disaster relief form is available in multiple languages, including Filipino, Spanish and Chinese. You can find them at

In addition to the disaster relief outlined above, if the property is substantially damaged or completely destroyed in a Governor-declared disaster or state of emergency, owners may be eligible for a property tax installment deferral, allowing owners more time to manage their finances.

However, some owners may decide to move away or rebuild their new homes in another neighborhood or another county; they may be able to transfer their Prop 13 base year value to a similar replacement property.

In other words, they can transfer their existing assessed value to a new replacement home without reassessment to market value, so they can continue to pay at the same level as if they have never moved. To learn more on property tax deferrals and base year transfers, please contact your local County Assessor.

Moreover, public marriage licenses are typically recorded at the County Recorder’s office. Couples who were married in San Francisco can obtain certified copies of their marriage licenses by visiting our office. Please contact us at or call 415-701-2311.


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TAGS: Carmen Chu, disaster relief for property taxes, property tax deferral, property taxes, property taxes San Francisco, San Francisco Assessor
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