JOHN TUTEUR | Property Owner Tips
NAPA COUNTY ASSESSOR
Property owner tips
Sunday, January 7, 2001
Property tax assistance for seniors and the disabled
The state of California offers three programs to assist eligible seniors over
age 62 and disabled individuals of any age in meeting their property tax
obligations. These programs are supported by all residents of the state and do
not impact the Napa County budget. Eligible seniors and disabled individuals are
encouraged to take advantage of the programs described below because only a
small percentage of eligible persons within California apply.
The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) oversees two programs whereby seniors
over 62 and disabled individuals of any age can apply for Homeowner or Renter
Assistance grants to offset property tax obligations. For renters the property
tax obligation is a portion of their monthly rental payment. A homeowner is
someone who owns and occupies their own residential unit. A renter is someone
who rents a home, apartment, board and care home, retirement residence or
If a person owns a manufactured home on rented space within a park they are
eligible for the Homeowner Assistance program. Persons are not eligible who
reside in facilities owned by public agencies or non-profit organizations or
churches because those properties are not subject to property taxes.
The current household income limit for FTB assistance programs is $33,000 per
year which is indexed each year for inflation. The grants are issued on a
sliding scale based on income, the lower the income the greater the grant. The
usual maximum grant for Homeowners is $326.40 and for Renters $240. The filing
dates are July 1 through October 15 of each year and the person must have
resided in the residence on December 31 of the year before the application is
filed. For 2000 the grant has been raised by 150% on a one-time only basis. For
2000 (which means people lived in their home on December 31, 1999 and their 1999
income qualified) the homeowner assistance maximum of $326.40 is now increased
by $489.60 to a total of $816.00. The renter grant maximum of $240 is increased
by $360 to $600. The Franchise Tax Board will accept applications for these
higher assistance grants through June 2001.
The third program is a property tax postponement program for seniors over 62 and
disabled individuals of any age who own their own home administered by the
office of the California State Controller. Eligible homeowners (including
manufactured homes) can apply between May 31 and December 10 of each year to
postpone their entire property tax bill. The annual income limit for
postponement is only $24,000 per year. Legislation to raise the limit failed to
clear the legislature this past session.
The taxes are paid by the State for each year that the homeowner remains in the
program. The postponed taxes become a mini-mortgage against the property with
simple interest accruing. When the home is sold or passes by inheritance, the
accumulated postponed taxes plus interest must be repaid to the state. In most
cases this repayment is not a burden because the home either sells for much more
than the postponed taxes or the heirs are able to pay off the postponed taxes if
they plan to keep the home. The Homeowner Assistance and Tax Postponement
programs can work together so that eligible homeowners can first reduce their
tax bill by the amount of assistance they are entitled to and then postpone only
the balance remaining.
Forms are available from the Napa County Assessor at 1127 First St. Rm. 128, the
Napa County Tax Collector at 1195 Third Street Room 108 and the Napa Valley
Committee on Aging 1500 Jefferson Street (Senior Center). Homeowner and Renter
Assistance forms can also be accessed on the Internet at www.ftb.ca.gov. The
Committee on Aging also offers help to those filling out the applications during
the application period. The Committee can be reached at 707.224.5121.
Should you have any questions please contact Napa County Assessor John Tuteur at
707.253.4459 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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