The Calamity Adjustment
"When Disaster Strikes"
This pamphlet, produced by the Santa Cruz County Assessor, explains how taxpayers may acquire property tax relief when their property is damaged.
Who is eligible for calamity relief?
Anyone who pays property tax on property that has been damaged or destroyed without his or her fault.
Does this apply to a loss in value as a result of restricted access?
Yes, as long as the damages can be quantified in some way.
How much damage is necessary before relief is granted?
There must be a loss of at least $10,000 full cash value.
When do I apply for relief?
Section 170 of California's Revenue and Taxation Code says that the "application for reassessment may be filed within...12 months of the misfortune or calamity, by delivering to the assessor a written application requesting reassessment showing the condition and value, if any, of the property immediately after the damage or destruction, and the dollar amount of the damage.”
The Calamity Claim Form is available online at https://www.santacruzcounty.us/Departments/AssessorsOffice/AllAssessorForms.aspx.
How is the relief applied to my property taxes?
There is a formula which is used so that the appropriate amount of assessed value (the value which determines the amount of your property tax payment) is removed. A representative from the Assessor's Office will determine the market value (the current full cash value) of the damage and then calculate how much this represents in assessed value on the subject property. The reduction in assessed value will generate a "negative supplemental". The reduction is prorated from the date of the event.
What happens when I repair the damage?
When the property is restored the assessed value is also restored. This adjustment will generate a "positive supplemental" prorated from the month after restoration.
Is there any way my taxes can go higher than they were?
Yes. The Prop 13 base is subject to a Consumer Price Index every year and so the restored value will reflect this increase. In addition, if any new square footage is added at the time of restoration this will be assessed as new construction and the value will be added to the assessment at the time of completion.