Following the devastating wildfires and mudslides in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, many wineries and other property owners will be eligible for property tax relief with California’s Revenue and Taxation Code 170.

California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 170 provides for property tax relief due to a major calamity. A calamity includes earthquake, fire and flooding which destroys or damages real and personal property. All counties in California, with the exception of Fresno County, have created the required ordinances to allow for reassessment of property due to a major calamity where the Governor has declared a state of disaster.

The relief ordinance is administered through an application process in the county where the disaster occurs. The application has specific deadlines and threshold amounts for qualification of a calamity loss. The county is required to immediately reappraise the property to reflect the damage.

Affected taxpayers can file a request for a property tax deferral that will allow for the deferred payment of tax until the next installment with a penalty being assessed until the adjustment has been computed. If the real estate; and personal property taxes were already paid, the reappraisal will result in a refund.

Once the damaged real property is repaired, the adjusted value reverts to the value prior to the disaster. It is important to note that the repair or replacement of the real property does not add additional value and is not considered new construction.

As the cleanup continues after the mudslides and fires, property owners should take advantage of tax relief in place for those affected by the disasters. Please contact GHJ tax professionals for more information and to help see if you qualify for this tax relief.