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California Considers Changes on Parcel Taxes

by Scott Donald, Irvine, May 2015


California law authorizes cities, counties, school districts, and other special districts to charge a "parcel tax" or property-related fee for specified purposes. These specified purposes have not been clarified intentionally but are assumed to cover creation of additional or new direct assessments issued by local jurisdictions. New legislation gives taxpayers shorter notice when these fees are proposed.


Assembly Bill 237 states that before the adoption of any new parcel tax, property owners must be informed a week following the local agency's vote to place the tax on the ballot. Previously, agencies were required to give taxpayers at least 90 days notice.


The parcel tax notice must include:


  • The amount of the proposed tax

  • The method, duration, and frequency for collecting the tax

  • The date on which the proposed tax bill be voted upon

  • The telephone number and address to contact for additional information


The notices will still be sent through the U.S. mail to property owners listed on the county assessment roll.


With the shorter notification period, taxpayers must constantly be on watch for any information in the mail that can raise their property tax bill.