One of the expenses associated with owning a home is property taxes. If you have owned your home for more than a year or two, you are probably familiar with your property taxes, including how much you owe each year and how they are collected. For those who have never owned a home before, property taxes can be a little confusing or maybe even not considered when purchasing a home. If not taken into account, a new homeowner can be unpleasantly surprised when their tax bills show up. In today’s post, we will look at the basics of the Ventura County property tax and how they affect county residents.
What is the Ventura County Property Tax?
The Ventura County property tax is governed by the State of California, but is collected by the County. The Tax Collector collects the taxes on behalf of the County, most of the incorporated cities, school districts, and other taxing agencies located in Ventura County. Once the taxes are collected, the Tax Collector distributes the money among all of the taxing agencies.
In order to determine the amount of your Ventura County property tax, the County Assessor assesses the value of your home. This is usually done by determining the cash or market value at the time your home was purchased. Upon the purchase of your home, California Proposition 13 states that future increases on your home’s assessed value cannot increase any more than 2% on a yearly basis. Once your home has been assessed, the County Auditor-Controller applies a tax rate to your home, which includes the general levy tax, any voter approved special taxes, and any city/district assessments. The general tax is governed by state law and cannot exceed 1% of the assessed value of the home.
If you recently bought a home, you are responsible for paying any of the Ventura County property tax that was not paid at the closing of escrow. Make sure to read all of the paperwork given to you during your escrow process to help you determine if and what portion of the annual taxes were paid by the seller and what you will be responsible for, as the Ventura County property tax is usually prorated between the buyer and seller. Unless you specifically request a bill from the tax collector, you will not be sent one for the remainder of the year in which you purchased the property. The annual tax bill is mailed once a year by November 1st and can be paid in two installments. The first installment is due on November 1st and becomes delinquent on December 10th. The second installment is due February 1st and becomes delinquent on April 10th. The bill that is mailed to you in November will contain payment stubs for both of these payments. You can also choose to make a one-time payment for the full amount at the time the first payment is due. If you do not receive your bill by November 10th, the Ventura County Tax Collector recommends that you request one through the Tax Collector’s Public Service Department.
Ventura County Impound Accounts
If you have an impound account with your lender (also known as an escrow account), you can elect to have your Ventura County property tax paid out of this account. If this is the case, your lender will receive the annual tax bill and you will receive an information copy. Homeowners who elect to use an impound account must be aware that any supplemental tax bills will not be sent to the lender and that you are responsible for making any arrangements to ensure that the supplemental tax bill will be paid.
Failure to Pay the Ventura County Property Tax
If you do not make your tax payment (or your payment is not postmarked) by the delinquent dates listed above, the Tax Collector will add a 10% delinquent penalty to the unpaid balance. If someone is already delinquent on their first installment, they may try to pay off the second installment in an attempt to avoid having two delinquent payments. If you attempt to pay the second installment without having fully paid the first installment, your payment will be applied to the unpaid balance of the first installment. This could leave your second installment unpaid and therefore possibly delinquent. If you fail to pay one or both of the installments by June 30th, your home becomes tax defaulted and you may incur additional penalties. Ventura County property tax installments must be paid in full. If you attempt to make a partial payment, the payment will be put into a Tax Collector Trust. If you do not pay the full amount by the installment date, your partial payment will be refunded to you and you will then have to pay any delinquent payments.
Ventura County Property Tax Assistance Programs
There are various programs available that can offer either assistance or exemptions to Ventura County homeowners that qualify. Some of these programs include the homeowner’s property tax exemption, veteran’s exemption, or welfare exemption. There are also programs to assist residents who are blind, disabled, or 62 years and older. For more information about the various programs, you should visit the Ventura County Assessor’s Office Property Tax Savings page.
Ventura County Supplemental Tax
You may have noticed that we briefly mentioned the supplemental tax but did not go into any details. When a property is reassessed, a supplemental tax bill may be sent to the new owner based off the new reassessed value of the home. This tax bill is in addition to the annual tax bill that you receive. In our next post, we will look deeper into the supplemental tax and what you should know when you purchase your next home.