Skip to main content

Exemptions

A property tax exemption excuses all or a portion of the assessment because the assessee has met some criteria allowed by the State Constitution. There are exemptions for property used by homeowners, veterans, disabled veterans, churches, religious organizations, welfare organizations and others. A property cannot receive more than one type of exemption. The county is reimbursed by the state for property tax revenue lost by the homeowner's exemption, but not for other types.

Specific Categories of Exemptions

Exemptions:
  • Aircraft of Historical Significance

    This exemption is available to aircraft meeting the following criteria:

    • The aircraft must be an original, a restoration, or a replica of a heavier than air powered aircraft that is 35 years or older or any aircraft of a type or model of which there are fewer than five in number known to exist worldwide.
    • The aircraft must be owned by an individual rather than a corporation or other legal entity.
    • The aircraft is not held primarily for sale, and not used for commercial purposes or general transportation.
    • The aircraft must be available for display to the public at least 12 days during the 12 month period immediately preceding the lien date. Documentation must be provided that the aircraft was displayed in such a manner that the general public was aware that they were invited for public viewing and reasonable accommodations were provided to allow for that.


    A certificate of attendance from the event coordinator of each event at which the aircraft was displayed must be submitted with the exemption claim by February 15th. Claims filed February 16 – August 1 will receive a partial exemption for that year. There is a $35 non-refundable application fee.

    Click here to access this claim form online

     

  • Cemetery Exemption

    This exemption is available to property used or held exclusively for the permanent deposit of human dead or for the care and maintenance of the property of the dead, except when used or held for profit.

  • Church Exemption

    This exemption is available for buildings, land on which they are situated, and equipment used exclusively for religious worship as of 12:01 a.m. January 1 (lien date). It is also available for property owned or used by the church for parking.

    A claim form must be properly completed and filed annually by February 15th with the Assessor. Claims filed February 16 - December 31 will receive a partial exemption for that year.

  • College Exemption

    This applies to buildings, land and equipment used exclusively for educational purposes by a nonprofit institution of higher education, as defined.

    Click here to access this claim form online

  • Disabled Veteran's Exemption

    This exemption applies to a principal residence. It is available to a veteran or the veteran's unmarried surviving spouse if the veteran, because of injury or disease incurred in military service, is blind in both eyes, has lost the use of two or more limbs, or is otherwise classified as totally disabled by the Veteran’s Administration.

    Currently, for households with total annual income above $56,751, the exemption amount is a maximum of $126,380. For households with total annual income at or below $56,751, the exemption amount is a maximum of $189,571. The exemption amounts and the income limit are compounded annually by an inflation factor.

    For the regular tax roll, a claim form must be properly completed and filed by February 15th with the Assessor. Claims filed after February 16 will receive a partial exemption for that year. For supplemental assessments, the full exemption is available if the filing is made by the 30th day following the mailing of Notice of Supplemental Assessment. Claims filed after that date, but on or before the date on which the first supplemental tax installment is due, will receive a partial exemption. Only those receiving the $189,571 exemption must file annually.

    Click here to access this claim form online

  • Exhibits

    This exemption is available to property brought into California exclusively for purposes of use or exhibition at any exposition, fair, or public exhibit as defined and will be removed from the State following this use.

  • Free Museum

    This applies to museums that are free and open to the public.

  • Free Public Library

    This applies to libraries that are free and open to the public.

  • Homeowner's Exemption

    Residential property owned and owner-occupied as of 12:01 a.m. on January 1 (lien date) is eligible for a $7,000 exemption of the assessed value for the upcoming tax year. This equates to a $70 reduction on your property tax bill. A claim form must be properly completed and filed by February 15th with the Assessor. Claims filed February 16 - December 10 will receive a partial exemption for that year. Once the claim form is filed, the exemption continues until the property is no longer the principal residence of that owner. It is the homeowner's responsibility to notify the Assessor when the property is no longer eligible for the exemption.

    If a residence was acquired or completed after lien date and the property did not receive an exemption on the current roll, the exemption may be applied to the supplemental assessment. The claim must be filed within 30 days of the date of notice of the supplemental assessment to be considered timely filed. Claims filed after that date, but on or before the date on which the first supplemental tax installment is due, will receive a partial exemption.

    Eligible property for this exemption includes a single-family residence, multi-unit dwelling, boat, condominium, or other shelter constituting a place of abode and the land on which it is situated.

  • Public Schools

    Property used exclusively for public schools is exempt.

  • Religious Exemption

    This exemption is available for a church that owns its own property and conducts worship services on the property and operates its own school (as defined). It is also available for property owned or used by the church for parking.

    A claim form must be properly completed and filed by February 15th with the Assessor. Claims filed February 16 - December 31 will receive a partial exemption for that year. Annual filing is not necessary for this exemption; however, failure to timely notify the Assessor when the property is no longer eligible will result in a penalty of up to $250.

    Click here to access this claim form online

  • Veteran's Exemption

    This allows for an exemption of $4,000 for qualifying claimants. A claim form must be properly completed and filed annually by February 15th with the Assessor. Claims filed February 16 - December 10 will receive a partial exemption for that year.

    Qualifying claimants include, in addition to the veteran, parents and the unmarried surviving spouse of a deceased veteran. The maximum value of property that can be owned to receive this exemption is $5,000 for an unmarried veteran or parent of a deceased veteran, or $10,000 for a married veteran, parents of a deceased veteran, or unmarried spouse of a deceased veteran.

    This exemption may be claimed in addition to the Homeowner's Exemption, but must be for a different property.

  • Welfare Exemption

    This exemption is available to the following property if owned and operated by nonprofit religious, hospital, scientific, or charitable entities operating for those purposes:

    • Property used exclusively for religious, hospital, scientific or charitable purposes
    • Property used exclusively for schools of less than collegiate grade
    • Property used exclusively for nursery school purposes
    • Property used exclusively for noncommercial educational FM stations or educational TV station
    • Property used exclusively for housing and related facilities for low/moderate income elderly or handicapped families, and is financed by HUD
    • Property used exclusively for rental housing for lower income households
    • Property used exclusively for emergency or temporary shelter for homeless people
    • Property used exclusively for housing and related facilities for employees of religious, hospital, scientific or charitable organizations if the use is necessary for the operation of the organization
    • Charitable purposes include educational purposes, which mean those purposes and activities for the benefit of the community as a whole

    A claim form must be properly completed and filed annually by February 15th with the Assessor. Claims filed February 16 - December 31 will receive a partial exemption for that year.

    Click here to access this claim form online

     

  • Homeowners’ Exemption Questions & Answers


    Q: How do I qualify for the Homeowners’ Exemption?
    A: To obtain the exemption for a property, you must be its owner or co-owner (or a purchaser named in a contract of sale), and you must live in the property as your principal place of residence. You must also file the appropriate exemption claim form with the Assessor.

    Q: What sorts of properties can qualify for the Homeowners’ Exemption?
    A: A single family residence, a duplex, a condominium or planned unit development, a unit of any multi-unit property, a mobile home, a houseboat or floating home that is subject to property tax, a living unit in a commercial or industrial property, a motor home or other temporary structure used as a principal residence on otherwise vacant property owned by the claimant.

    Q: I also have a vacation home in the mountains. Can I get the exemption on it as well as my regular home?
    A: No. You are only entitled to one Homeowners’ Exemption.

    Q: Once I have been granted the exemption, do I need to re-file a claim every year?
    A: No. Once you have been granted the exemption and you continue to own and occupy the residence on a continuing basis, there is no need to re-file a claim. However, if you vacate on a long-term basis (such that you are not residing there on January 1, the lien date), or rent or lease the property, you must notify the Assessor that you are no longer eligible for the exemption. If at a later date you then reoccupy the property, you must then file a new claim in order to receive the exemption.

    Q: I just moved away from a home where I was receiving the Homeowners’ Exemption, but still own it. Do I need to notify the Assessor of that circumstance?
    A: Yes. You must notify the Assessor immediately whenever a property you own is no longer eligible for the homeowners’ Exemption. Failure to notify the Assessor will result in escape assessments and penalties if an unauthorized exemption is discovered.

    Q: Would an extended stay in a convalescent hospital jeopardize eligibility for the Homeowners’ Exemption?
    A: No. The exemption is allowed if the owner is expected to return. However, according to the State Board of Equalization, an absence of more than one year raises considerable doubt that the owner is expected to return, and in that case the eligibility may be terminated.

    Q: Why do I need to supply Social Security Numbers?
    A: Social Security Numbers are used to verify the eligibility of persons claiming the exemption and to prevent multiple claims. Claim forms and Social Security Numbers are kept confidential.

ASK SJC