California property tax laws provide for three exemptions that may be claimed on church property:
- The church exemption, for property that is owned, leased, or rented by a religious organization and used exclusively for religious worship services. Church Exemption Claim Form BOE -262-AH
- The religious exemption, for property owned by a religious organization and used exclusively for religious worship services, or religious worship services and certain school activities. Religious Exemption Claim Form BOE-267-S
- The welfare exemption, for property owned by a religious organization and used exclusively for one or more of the above activities, or any other religious activities. Welfare Exemption Claim Form BOE-267
The Assessor can grant a full exemption only if you file the property claim form on time and show that the use of the property, (or intended use, if the property is under construction or newly acquired,) qualifies it for the exemption. The exemptions apply to property taxes, but not to special assessments, such as district taxes.
Most Exemptions claims must be filed with the Assessor between the January 1 lien date and 5 p.m. on February 15 to receive a full exemption for the upcoming fiscal year. For some claims, a partial exemption is available for late filings.
BOE Publication: Property Tax Exemptions for Religious Organizations