If your property has been substantially damaged or destroyed in a Governor-proclaimed disaster, you may be eligible for a reinstatement of your home’s previous base year value. To be eligible, you must file a disaster relief claim with the county assessor to reduce your taxes and rebuild the property in a like or similar manner. Alternatively, you may choose to buy another comparable property and transfer your base year value to the new property. You will not be able to do both.
Can I buy another house in the same county and transfer the base year value of my damaged house to my new house?
Yes, section 69 provides for this relief to you under certain circumstances:
The damaged property must amount to more than 50 percent of its full cash value immediately prior to the disaster. This applies to any type of real property, not just residences.
The property must be transferred to a comparable replacement property, acquired or newly constructed, within the same county and within five years after the disaster.
Comparability is crucial – the replacement property must be similar in size, utility, and function to the property which it replaces.
The replacement property must not exceed 120 percent of the full cash value of the property damaged or destroyed. Any amount of the full cash value of the replacement property that exceeds 120 percent of the full cash value of the damaged property (immediately prior to the damage) shall be added to the adjusted base year value of the damaged property. The sum of these amounts shall become the replacement property's replacement base year value.
Please contact your county assessor's office for an application.
Can I buy another house in a different county and transfer the base year value of my damaged house to my new house?
Under section 69.3, a principal residence that was damaged in an area that was a Governor-proclaimed disaster that occurred on or after October 20, 1991 may have its base year value transferred to a replacement residence in a different county only if the county has adopted an ordinance that allows such taxable value transfers. At this time, there are 11 counties that have such an ordinance: Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Modoc, Orange, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, and Ventura. The replacement residence must meet the following criteria:
- It must be purchased within three years of the disaster.
- Its market value must be of equal or lesser value than the market value of the damaged property immediately prior to the date of the disaster. Depending upon the year in which the replacement property is purchased, the market value of the damaged property is adjusted up to 115 percent when comparing with the replacement property.
- It must be eligible for the homeowners' or disabled veterans' exemption (your principal place of residence).
- Claims for this exclusion must be filed with the county assessor within three years of the purchase of the replacement property.