Imperial County Assessor's Office

940 W. Main Street Suite 115

El Centro CA 92243

Main Ph:(442) 265-1300

Email: assessor@co.imperial.ca.us

Frequently Asked Homeowner's Exemption Questions

REMINDER: Once you have an approved claim on file, you must notify the Assessor’s Office in writing if you move from the property, rent it, move ‘permanently’ to an extended care facility or rest home, or occupy your property only as a secondary home (refer to questions 8, 9, 10 and 11 for more detail). Your notice to the Assessor should include the following:

Questions and Answers:

  • 1. What is the Homeowners’ Exemption?
  • 2. How do I qualify for the Homeowners’ Exemption?
  • 3. What types of properties can qualify for the Homeowners’ Exemption?
  • 4. What is the normal filing period for a Homeowners’ Exemption claim, and are there any provisions for late filing?
  • 5. I also have a vacation home in the mountains. Can I get the exemption on it as well as my regular home?
  • 6. Once I have been granted the exemption, do I need to re-file a claim every year?
  • 7. If I already have an exemption on file but recently changed title on the deed to my property (by addition/deletion of names to/from the deed, such as that of my children or a spouse or some other person, for example), do I need to re-file for the exemption?
  • 8. I just acquired my home and its prior owner already had a Homeowners’ Exemption on the property. Do I still need to file a new Homeowners’ Exemption claim?
  • 9. I just sold my home and it was receiving the Homeowners’ Exemption. Do I need to notify the Assessor that it may no longer be eligible for the exemption?
  • 10. I just moved away from a home where I was receiving the Homeowners’ Exemption but still own it. Do I need to notify the Assessor of that circumstance?
  • 11. We moved our elderly parents into a rest home (or extended care facility) on a permanent basis. Will the home they own remain eligible for the Homeowners’ Exemption?
  • 12. Would an extended stay in a convalescent hospital jeopardize eligibility for the exemption?
  • 13. Can I receive both a Disabled Veterans’ Exemption and a Homeowners’ Exemption at the same time?
  • 14. The Homeowners’ Exemption Claim Form asks what date I acquired the property. What date should I use?
  • 15. The Homeowners’ Exemption Claim Form asks what date I occupied the property. What date should I use?
  • 16. Will I receive something in writing notifying me that I have qualified for the exemption?
  • 17. Will the public have access to the information on my Homeowners’ Exemption claim form?
  • 18. Why do we have to put my social security numbers on the claim form? Isn’t it against the law to require that information?
  • 19. I filed a Homeowners’ Exemption months ago but recently received a tax bill that does not show the exemption. What should I do?
  • 20. Is there a fee for filing for the Homeowners’ Exemption?
  • 21. How do I contact the Homeowners’ Exemption section in the Assessor’s office?
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    1. What is the Homeowners’ Exemption?

    The California Constitution provides for the exemption of $7,000 (maximum) in assessed value from the property tax assessment of any property owned and occupied as the owner’s principal place of residence. The exemption reduces the annual property tax bill for a qualified homeowner by up to $70. (Article XIII Section 3 of the California Constitution, Rev & Tax 218).

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    2. How do I qualify for the Homeowners’ Exemption?

    To obtain the exemption for a property, you must be its owner or co-owner (or a purchaser named in a contract of sale), and you must live in the property as your principal place of residence. You must also file the appropriate exemption claim form with the Assessor.

    There are two, basic, alternative ways that persons qualify for this exemption:

    Alternative 1 – Ownership & Occupancy on the Lien Date:

    The exemption is available to the eligible owner of a dwelling, which is occupied as their principal place of residence at 12:01 a.m. on January 1 (the lien date) of each year.

    Alternative 2 – Ownership & Occupancy or Intent to Occupy within 90 days of a change in ownership or completion of new construction:

    The exemption is available to the eligible owner of a dwelling that is subject to a supplemental assessment resulting from a change in ownership or completion of new construction on or after January 1, provided that:

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    3. What types of properties can qualify for the Homeowner’s Exemption?

    A qualifying dwelling can be any place you own as your principal place of residence and that is subject to property tax. Examples include, but are not limited to:

    A dwelling will not qualify for the exemption if:

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    4. What is the normal filing period for a Homeowners’ Exemption claim, and are there any provisions for late filing?

    Alternative 1 - Annual Assessment Roll Filing (owned & occupied as of 12:01 a.m. January 1).

    Alternative 2 - Supplemental Assessment Filing (owned & occupied or intent to occupy within 90 days of a change in ownership or completion of new construction):

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    5. I also have a vacation home in the mountains. Can I get the exemption on it as well as my regular home?

    No. You are only entitled to one Homeowners’ Exemption.

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    6. Once I have been granted the exemption, do I need to re-file a claim every year?

    No. Once you have been granted the exemption, and as long as you continue to own and occupy the property on a continuing basis, there is no need to re-file a claim. However, if you vacate on a long-term basis (such that you are not residing there on January 1, the lien date), or rent or lease the property, you must notify the Assessor in writing that you are no longer eligible for the exemption. If at a later date you reoccupy the property, you must file a new claim in order to receive the exemption.

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    7. If I already have an exemption on file but recently changed title on the deed to my property (by addition/deletion of names to/from the deed, such as that of my children or spouse or some other person, for example), do I need to re-file for the exemption?

    Yes. A new Homeowners’ Exemption claim is required any time there has been any change in the manner in which title is held.

    Whenever the Assessor becomes aware of a change in the way title is held in a property, the existing exemption is cancelled and a new Homeowners’ Exemption claim form is sent to the owner of record. A new exemption claim must then be filed to renew the exemption even though occupancy may not have changed. If you receive a new claim form in the mail, do not ignore it; you might lose your existing exemption if you do not respond.

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    8. I just acquired my home and the prior owner already had a Homeowners’ Exemption on the property. Do I still need to file a new Homeowners’ Exemption claim?

    Yes. In order for your property to receive the exemption in the years following your acquisition, you, as the new owner, must file a claim even if the property was already receiving the Homeowner’s Exemption under the prior owner.

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    9. I just sold my home and it was receiving the Homeowners’ Exemption. Do I need to notify the Assessor that it may longer be eligible for the exemption?

    There are two circumstances where it is not necessary for you to notify the Assessor of the termination of your eligibility for the exemption:

    In any other circumstance, you must notify the Assessor that your former property is no longer eligible for the exemption.

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    10. I just moved away from a home where I was receiving the Homeowners’ Exemption but still own it. Do I need to notify the Assessor of that circumstance?

    Yes. You must notify the Assessor in writing whenever a property you own is no longer eligible for the Homeowners’ Exemption. Please notify us as soon as possible after vacating the property, but in no case later than the first December 10 following the lien date (January 1) immediately following your vacating the property. Failure to notify the Assessor will result in escape assessments and penalties if an unauthorized exemption is discovered.

    If however you are moving immediately to another residence in Imperial County for which you will be filing a new Homeowners’ Exemption claim, the new claim form will serve as written notification of the cancellation of your prior exemption (which we identify by matching social security numbers on the new and old claims).

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    11. We moved our elderly parents into a rest home (or extended care facility) on a permanent basis. Will the home they own remain eligible for the Homeowners’ Exemption?

    No. In order to be eligible, they must both own and occupy the property as specified in the law. Owners who permanently relocate to a rest home must also notify the Assessor that they are no longer eligible for the exemption. Failure to do so will result in escape assessments and penalties if an unauthorized exemption is discovered.

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    12. Would an extended stay in a convalescent hospital jeopardize eligibility for the exemption?

    A temporary move to a convalescent hospital will not disqualify the property from the exemption unless the stay becomes prolonged. In other words, the exemption is allowed if the owner is expected to return. However, an absence of more than one year raises considerable doubt that the owner is expected to return, and in that case, eligibility may be terminated.

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    13. Can I receive both a Disabled Veterans’ Exemption and a Homeowners’ Exemption at the same time?

    No. You are entitled to have only one of the exemptions, not both. The Disabled Veterans’ Exemption (which is increased annually) normally provides much more benefit than the Homeowners’ Exemption $7,000 maximum.

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    14. The Homeowners’ Exemption Claim Form asks what date I acquired the property. What date should I use?

    Use the original date you first became the owner of the property (approximate dates are acceptable).

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    15. The Homeowners’ Exemption Claim Form asks what date I occupied the property. What date should I use?

    Use the date you first moved into the property but only if your occupancy of the property has been continuous since that date. If you previously vacated the property and then moved back, use the most recent date you moved-in. (Approximate dates are acceptable)

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    16. Will I receive something in writing notifying me that I have qualified for the exemption?

    No. You will be contacted if more information is needed, or if your claim is denied. Also, we will not notify you of receipt of your claim, nor will you be notified when your claim is approved.

    Once your eligibility has been verified, the exemption will appear on the next qualifying tax bill. If your claim form is processed too late to affect your next qualifying bill, see question #19 for what happens and what you should do.)

    To avoid any confusion, we advise that you make a copy of the completed claim form for your records (and note the date it was mailed thereon) before mailing the original claim form to us.

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    17. Will the public have access to the information on my Homeowners’ Exemption claim form?

    No. The Homeowners’ Exemption claim form is NOT a public document and both it and the social security number information on the form must be held confidential by the Assessor as a matter of law (ref Property Tax Rule 135(e)(4)).

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    18. Why do I have to put my social security numbers on the claim form? Isn’t it against the law to require that information?

    Social security numbers appearing on the claim form are not subject to public inspection. The disclosure of social security numbers is mandatory as required by Revenue and Taxation Code section 218.5 and Title 18, California Code of Regulations, section 135. (See Title 42 United State Code, section 405(c)(2)(C)(i), which authorizes the use of social security numbers for identification purposes in the administration of any tax.)

    The numbers are used by the Assessor to verify the eligibility of persons claiming the exemption and by the state to prevent multiple claims in different counties and to verify the eligibility of persons claiming income tax renter’s credits. The numbers are also used by the State Department of Child Support Services for locating absent parents and locating property, which is owned by persons who are delinquent in their support payments; and by the State Department of Social Services to identify persons who own homes that have not been reported, if required, to the County Welfare Department. If you do not enter your social security number as directed, it may result in a delay in processing your claim or disallowance of the exemption.

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    19. I filed a Homeowners’ Exemption months ago but recently received a tax bill that does not show the exemption. What should I do?

    You should discuss the matter with the Homeowners’ Exemption staff at (442) 265-1300, Monday through Friday, between 8:00am – 5:00pm.

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    20. Is there a fee for filing for the Homeowners’ Exemption?

    No, there is no fee for filing for the Homeowners’ Exemption.

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    21. How do I contact the Homeowners’ Exemption section in the Assessor’ Office?

    The Assessor’s Office is located at 940 W Main Street, Suite 115, El Centro, CA 92243. You may call our office at (442) 265-1300, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:00am - 5:00pm.

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    If you need more information contact the Assessor's office at (442) 265-1300 (8am to 5pm), or visit us at 940 W. Main Street Suite 115 El Centro CA 92240 (8am to 5pm).

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