Typical misfortunes or calamities which may qualify for reduced assessment include fire, flood or earthquake damage. Damage to personal property, such as household furnishings, or to growing crops is not eligible since it is not assessed for property tax purposes. Other personal property such as boats and airplanes that are assessed do qualify.
- $10,000 or more in property damage
- Not the fault of the property owner or the party responsible for the taxes eligible
- Within twelve months of the date of the disaster, the assessee or party responsible for the taxes must submit an application for reduced assessment
This program requires reassessment of the property to reflect its damaged condition, and the subsequent reduction or partial refund of the current year's taxes. After the property is fully repaired, owners will retain their previous base year value if the property is rebuilt in a like or similar manner. Property suffering a gradual deterioration over a long period of time does not qualify.
Note: Special provisions apply if the calamity is subsequently proclaimed a state of disaster by the Governor. These provisions allow the purchase of replacement property in Santa Clara County within five years of the disaster and the transfer of the base year value of the damaged property to the replacement property even if the disaster occurred in another county in California. There are numerous requirements that must be met in order to transfer the base year value of a property damaged in a Governor declared state of disaster to a replacement property. Contact the Assessor’s Office if you are considering such a transfer to ensure a complete understanding of the requirements and options.
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