At a recent Silicon Valley Association of Realtors meeting, Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone enlisted the help of realtors to remind new homebuyers about the supplemental property tax.
Stone said that while he is aware realtors mention the tax when explaining the real estate transaction process, he indicated that often new homebuyers are so excited about purchasing a home, they don’t remember that they will be receiving the supplemental property tax bill months after they move in.
“It’s very frustrating for new homeowners,” he said. “You buy a home, think your property taxes were taken care of during escrow or as part of the monthly mortgage payments, only to receive a supplemental assessment followed by a supplemental tax bill. The first call they make is to our office.”
In addition to annual taxes, new homeowners are responsible for paying supplemental property taxes. The supplemental assessment is the difference between the new assessed value and the old or prior assessed value under the former owner. The amount is prorated for the number of months remaining in the fiscal year’s regular tax bill. It is usually not prorated in escrow, nor is it paid by the lender through an impound account.
The Assessor’s Office has produced a video informing consumers about the supplemental property tax. The video, “Property Tax Avenger,” is available on the front page of the assessor’s website at sccassessor.org.
According to Stone, the Supplemental Tax Estimator, a new online tool for prospective homeowners, can be accessed via the assessor’s website. The tax estimator is designed to help homeowners reduce confusion concerning the amount of property taxes they can expect to pay following their purchase.
“This tool will help taxpayers estimate their supplemental taxes before they complete the purchase transaction and help them prepare for the supplemental tax bill before it arrives in the mail,” said Stone, emphasizing that it is only an estimate.
The property owner must wait for the supplemental tax bill and pay the actual taxes by the due dates. A more detailed explanation of supplemental assessments is available on the county assessor’s website.