Property taxes are collected by the County, but governed by California state law. Personal property taxes are an ad-valorem (value based) property tax that is the liability of the person or entity assessed for the tax. Property that is not real property (such as land) is considered personal property and therefore is issued as an unsecured tax bill.
There are several types of unsecured assessments including: personal property (business fixtures, business personal property, boats, aircrafts), certain improvements (to real property), supplemental, escaped assessment and pro-rated escaped assessment taxes on real property that has changed ownership prior to issuance of the tax bill, possessory interest, and delinquent taxes for manufactured housing (mobile homes).
Annual Personal Property Tax Bills
Annually during July, personal property tax bills are mailed, and are due and payable upon receipt. The last day to pay an annual personal property tax bill is August 31. If August 31, falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday, you have until the next business day to remit your payment. Tax bills unpaid by the due date are subject to a delinquent penalty of 10% and collection costs.
A personal property tax bill is mailed to a person (or business) that owned, possessed or controlled taxable property as of the lien date of January 1. The responsibility for payment of a tax bill is determined by the lien date. The personal property owner on January 1, must ensure that the taxes are paid by the due date specified. If you sold the personal property after lien date, you are still responsible for payment of the tax bill issued the following July.
The sale or purchase of a vessel (boat), aircraft or business should be reported to the Assessor to ensure that the next year's tax bill will be issued to the buyer. Failure to receive a tax bill is not justification to cancel any of the delinquent penalties, costs, or interest penalties that may accrue. If a property owner does not receive a tax bill, they should request a duplicate tax bill.
Sellers of vessels should also report ownership transfers to the Department of Motor Vehicles to insure removal of liability for registration.
Personal Property Tax Bill Penalties
If you do not pay the tax bill, a penalty of 10 percent and collection cost will be charge on the date of the delinquency. Additionally, interest will be charged if the tax remains unpaid two months or more after the penalty is added. Upon delinquency, the following collection methods may be used to collect the tax:
- Filing of Liens
- Filing of Summary Judgments
- Seizure and Sale of Personal Property
- Seizure of California State Tax Refunds and/or Lottery winnings.