Please Review The Following Information Before Applying For Tax Penalty Relief!
Step 1: Read and identify the California Revenue and Taxation Code (R&TC) Section (below) you believe allows the Tax Collector to cancel the penalties imposed.
Step 2: Complete the information section at the top of the Application for Tax Penalty Relief.
Step 3: Identify the type of bill and year for which you are requesting tax penalty relief.
Step 4: Indicate the R&TC code you believe allows the Tax Collector to cancel penalties and provide a brief explanation.
Step 5: If impacted by COVID-19, please describe specifically how COVID-19 prevented you from paying your property taxes timely. Sign and date the completed application.
Step 6: Payment of the property tax, cost and penalties must be made before your application for relief will be considered. You may pay online through e-PropTax, by telephone at (844) 430-2823 or by mailed in check.
If paying by check, write two checks, one for the property taxes due, and the second check for the penalties and costs; write your Parcel Number on the checks. Mail the checks along with a copy your confirmation page to:
Sacramento County Tax Collector
Attention: Penalty Cancellation
P.O. Box 508
Sacramento, CA 95812-0508
Applications are reviewed and relief granted on a case by case basis. Note that a claim based on financial difficulties by itself is not a sufficient basis under the Revenue and Taxation Code to cancel penalties. If your request is approved, a refund for the cost and penalties, or the check for costs and penalties will be mailed to you.
California Revenue and Taxation Code Sections (R&TC) that grant authority to the Tax collector to cancel penalties:
R&TC, Section 2512 - Proof via a stamped cancellation mark the United States Postal Service took custody of the payment on or before the delinquency date.
R&TC, Section 2610.5 - The Tax Collector failed to mail or electronically transmit the tax bill to the address provided on the tax roll or electronic address provided and authorized by the taxpayer to the Tax Collector.
R&TC, Section 4911 - Proof by substantial evidence the tax payment was mistakenly made on a property other than the property intended.
R&TC, Section 4985 - The penalty was added as a result of an error by the Tax Collector, the Auditor, or the Assessor.
R&TC, Section 4985.2 - Circumstances beyond the taxpayer's control, and occurred notwithstanding the exercise of ordinary care in the absence of willful neglect. Examples that may qualify:
- Specific medical conditions causing unexpected hospitalization on the delinquency date.
- Death of the Property Owner of Record on or before the delinquency date.
R&TC, Section 4986 - Penalty cancellation is to correct a specific Sacramento County error.
- California Governor’s Executive Order N-61-20 – Taxpayers and property that meets all of the requirement of the governor’s executive order:
- The property either is a residential real property occupied by the taxpayer or real property owned and operated by a taxpayer that qualifies as a small business.
- The first installment must not have been delinquent as of March 4, 2020 to be considered for the penalty waiver on the second installment.
- Tax payments are due now; if payment can’t be made at this time the claim for penalty waiver and payment must be received no later than May 6, 2021.
- The taxpayer must show proof of suffering economic hardship or why unable to make a payment due to local, state or federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The California Revenue and Taxation Code (R&TC) grants the Treasurer and Tax Collector the authority to cancel penalties in limited circumstances. Below are examples of requests that the Tax Collector
will deny if submitted for penalty cancellation review.
Requests that the Tax Collector consider the taxpayer's payment history. The R&TC does not grant the Tax Collector the authority to consider a taxpayer's payment history, whether positive or negative, in determining whether or not to cancel a penalty.
Requests related to home banking or online bill payments. The Tax Collector will deny a request to cancel a penalty related to a home banking or online bill payment that a taxpayer initiated prior to the delinquency date, which the Tax Collector received after the delinquency date. The reason for this is that the United States Postal Service does not postmark the envelopes used to remit payments from home banking and online bill payment services. In the absence of a postmark, the Tax Collector only considers the received date in determining if the payment is late and if the penalty applies. As stated in Bill insert home banking online payment is considered received on the date appearing on the check received from the Payment Processing Center. Be sure you are familiar with your bank’s rules.
Requests related to use of a postage meter date on a payment envelope. The R&TC states that the remittance (payment) will be deemed received on the date shown by the United States Postal Service (USPS) cancellation mark stamped on the envelope. A postage meter is a mailing system, distinct from the mailing systems of the USPS, typically used by private businesses that prints postage directly on the envelope. A postage meter date is not a cancellation postmark the USPS stamps on an envelope. A postage meter date only indicates that the proper postage was paid; it is not evidence when someone deposits an item for mailing with the USPS.
Requests related to a taxpayer assertion that the taxpayer mailed the payment prior to the delinquency date with sufficient time for the United States Postal Service to deliver the payment prior to the delinquency date. The Tax Collector will deny a request to cancel a penalty based on an assertion that the taxpayer mailed the payment “early enough” to allow the United States Postal Service sufficient time to deliver the payment prior to the delinquency date. The reason for this is that the R&TC states that the remittance will be deemed received on the date shown by the post office cancellation mark stamped on the envelope.
Requests related to the financial circumstances of the taxpayer, which prevented the taxpayer from paying the amount due prior to the delinquency date. The Tax Collector will deny a request to cancel a penalty based on the financial circumstances of a taxpayer, which prevented the taxpayer from paying the amount due prior to the delinquency date. Under the R&TC, there is no provision to cancel penalties due to financial circumstances that prevented a timely payment.
Requests related to the non-receipt of property tax bill. Under the R&TC, other than instances where the Tax Collector failed to mail a tax bill to the address provided on the tax roll, there is no provision to cancel penalties imposed for failure to receive a tax bill.
Requests related to new home ownership and not understanding the property tax process. The Tax Collector will deny a request to cancel a penalty based on a taxpayer not understanding the property tax process. The reason for this is that most real estate transactions occur through an escrow process where property tax information is provided.
Request for penalty relief under Executive Order N-61-20. The taxpayer must provide supporting documentation. Examples of supporting documentation include, but are not limited to the following:
- COVID-19 doctor note (isolation, quarantine, hospitalization)
- Your employment notification letters related to COVID-19
- CA EDD Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claim Letter
- Three months Financial or bank statements (for this COVID-19 event, February, March, and April 2020).