California Proposition 19
What It Is and How It Works
Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment (2020)
- Permits homeowners who are over 55, severely disabled, or whose homes were destroyed by wildfire or disaster, to transfer their primary residence’s property tax base value to a replacement residence of any value, anywhere in the state.
- Limits tax benefits for certain transfers of real property between family members.
- Expands tax benefits for transfers of family farms.
- Allocates most resulting state revenues and savings (if any) to fire protection services and reimbursing local governments for taxation–related changes.
How does Prop 19 change the rules governing tax assessment transfers?
Proposition 19 is a constitutional initiative passed by California voters (pending certification on 12/11/2020) that changes the rules for tax assessment transfers. In California, eligible homeowners can transfer their tax assessments to a different home of the same or lesser market value, which allows them to move without paying higher taxes. Homeowners who are eligible for tax assessment transfers are persons over 55 years old, persons with severe disabilities, and victims of natural disasters and hazardous waste contamination.
It allows eligible homeowners to transfer their tax assessments anywhere within the state and allows tax assessments to be transferred to a more expensive home with an upward adjustment. The number of times that a tax assessment can be transferred would increase from one to three for persons over 55 years old or with severe disabilities (disaster and contamination victims would continue to be allowed one transfer). These expanded special rules will become effective as of April 1, 2021.
How does Prop 19 affect inherited properties?
In California, parents or grandparents can transfer primary residential properties to their children or grandchildren without the property’s tax assessment resetting to market value. Other types of properties, such as vacation homes and business properties, can also be transferred from parent to child or grandparent to grandchild with the first $1 million exempt from re–assessment when transferred. Prop 19 eliminates the parent–to–child and grandparent–to–grandchild exemption in cases where the child or grandchild does not use the inherited property as their principal residence, such as using a property as a rental house or a second home. The property tax bill for an inherited home or farm would go up if the price the property could be sold for exceeds the property’s taxable value by more than $1 million (adjusted for inflation every two years).
These special rules regarding inherited properties will become effective as of February 16, 2021.
What does Prop 19 do with changes in revenue?
Prop 19 creates the California Fire Response Fund (CFRF) and County Revenue Protection Fund (CRPF). It requires the California Director of Finance to calculate additional revenues and net savings resulting from the ballot measure. The California State Controller would be required to deposit 75% of the calculated revenue to the Fire Response Fund and 15% to the County Revenue Protection Fund. The County Revenue Protection Fund would be used to reimburse counties for revenue losses related to the measure’s property tax changes. The Fire Response Fund would be used to fund fire suppression staffing and full–time station–based personnel.
Visit the California Secretary of State website for more details:
For more details on Prop 19, please check out the helpful weblinks below:
- Full text on ACA–11:
- Frequently Asked Questions:
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