In 1976, the voters passed Proposition 7 to provide property tax relief to encourage the preservation of qualifying historical properties. The legislature subsequently passed an enabling statute commonly referred to as the Mills Act, which grants participating local governments, (cities and counties,) the authority to enter into contracts with owners of qualified historic properties who actively participate in the restoration and maintenance of their historic properties in exchange for receiving property tax relief.
The amount you save will depend on your property's location, size, and comparable rents in the area. The savings vary from property to property, and have ranged from 20% to 70% based on age, condition, and local market value factors in accordance with the formula set by state law. In general, properties that have been under the same ownership for a long time (e.g., pre-Prop. 13,) where the property taxes are already low compared to more recently sold homes, will derive less benefit from the Mills Act. The amount of the reduction in assessed value is determined by the Assessor's Office based on statutory guidelines. To learn more, go to the County Planning Department website or the California Office of Historic Preservation website.
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