Property owners who suffer damage to their property as the result of a calamity such as fire, earthquake, or flood may be eligible for certain limited forms of property tax relief under Revenue and Taxation (R&T) Code Section 170. To qualify for relief under Section 170, damage to the taxable property must be $10,000 or more, and a Disaster Relief form must be filed with the Assessor within one year from the date of loss. The property will be reassessed according to its damaged state, and property taxes will be adjusted accordingly. When it is rebuilt or restored in a like or similar manner, the property will retain its prior value for tax purposes. All California counties have adopted an ordinance for disaster relief.
This property tax relief is available to owners of real property, business equipment and fixtures, orchards or other agricultural groves, and to owners of aircraft, boats, and certain manufactured homes. It is unavailable to properties that are exempt from assessment, such as state-licensed manufactured homes or household furnishings.
In addition to the disaster relief information outlined above, if the property is substantially damaged or destroyed in a Governor-declared disaster or state of emergency, owners may be eligible for a property tax installment deferral under R&T 194 - R&T 194.5. You may also be able to transfer your Prop 13 base year value to a similar replacement property under R&T 69.
For each type of relief, certain requirements must be met. Information and FAQs about Disaster Relief are available online. With the passage of Proposition 19 in November 2020, changes have been made to the process of transferring base year values from one property to another, and from one county to another. Before Prop 19, the law allowed for the base year values of all property types to be transferred to a replacement property when a property was destroyed during a Governor-proclaimed state of emergency. Under Proposition 19, only a principal residence qualifies for this transfer.
These comparison charts * prepared by the California Board of Equalization summarize the differences between the former laws and Proposition 19.
* Note: The Intracounty Disaster Relief and Intercounty Disaster Relief comparison charts are at the bottom of the page.