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.