Frequently Asked Questions

Select one of the links below to view the frequently asked questions for some of the Tax Collection division's common functions.

Secured Property Taxes

Who collects my property taxes?

Property taxes are collected by the County, although they are governed by California State law. The Tax Collector of Sonoma County collects taxes on behalf of the following entities: the County, the County's 9 incorporated cities, over 40 school districts, and all other taxing agencies located in the County, including over 70 special districts (e.g., flood control districts, sanitation districts). Upon collection of these taxes by the County, appropriate distribution is made to the various taxing agencies.

How is the amount of my property taxes determined?

See Computation of Taxes.

Do I have any recourse if I disagree with the valuation placed on my property by the Assessor?

See Taxpayer Rights.

I have recently purchased property. What are my responsibilities as far as taxes are concerned?

See New Owner Information.

When are annual tax bills mailed?

See Obtaining Your Tax Bill.

When are supplemental bills mailed?

Supplemental bills are mailed throughout the year. For information on delinquency dates of supplemental tax bills, be sure to read our section on Supplemental Taxes.

Will I receive a tax bill if I pay my taxes through an impound account?

If your taxes are paid through an impound account (i.e., included with your mortgage payment), your lender will receive your annual tax bill, and you will receive an informational copy. Supplemental tax bills, however, are not sent to your lender, but are mailed directly to you. It is your responsibility to contact your lender to determine who will pay the supplemental tax bill.

What does my annual tax bill tell me?

The annual tax bill identifies the following:

  • The owner of record as of January 1.
  • The property location and description.
  • The assessed value of the property.
  • The amount and type of exemption, if applicable.
  • The amount of taxes due on the first and second installments, as well as the total taxes due.
  • A breakdown of the types of taxes being collected, including the general tax levy (the constitutional "1%" levy), locally voted special taxes, and city or district direct assessments.

If your bill carries the legend "Defaulted Taxes" or "Power to Sell", this is an indication that there are prior-year delinquent taxes, which are not included in your bill. See our section on delinquent property taxes for more information.

What is the best way to pay my taxes?

See Paying Your Taxes.

When are my annual taxes due?

You may pay your annual tax bill in two installments. The first installment is due November 1 and becomes delinquent at 5 p.m. on December 10, and the second installment is due February 1 and becomes delinquent at 5 p.m. on April 10. You may, however, elect to pay the entire bill when you pay the first installment. If you itemize your income taxes, this may be an advantage to you when calculating the deduction on your Federal and State income taxes.

Supplemental tax bills are mailed throughout the year and, therefore, may not be due or delinquent at the same time as your annual tax bill. Read our section on Supplemental Property Taxes for information on delinquency dates of supplemental tax bills. See our section Important Tax Dates for more information.

What do you mean by new construction or change of ownership?

Typically, new construction is any substantial addition to real property (e.g., adding a new room, pool, or garage) or any substantial alteration which restores a building, room, or other improvement to the equivalent of new (e.g., completely renovating an outdated kitchen).

Most changes in ownership caused by the sale of property result in reassessment. However, interspousal transfers, the transfer, sale, or inheritance of property between parents and their children, and the addition of joint tenants do not result in the reappraisal of property values.

Furthermore, homeowners over the age of 55 years who sell their principal residence and purchase a replacement dwelling within two years that is of equal or lesser market value and is located in the same county are eligible to transfer the pre-sale assessed value of their original property to the replacement dwelling.

For further information or claim forms, please contact the Assessor's Office at (707) 565-1888.

What happens when the Assessor reassesses my property?

The Assessor first determines the new value of the property based on current market values. The Assessor then calculates the difference between the new value (set at the time of purchase or completion of new construction) and the old value (set on January 1 of the previous fiscal year). The result is the supplemental assessment value. Once the new assessed value of your property has been determined, the Assessor will send you a notification of the amount to be assessed.

Example:

  • New value at date of purchase or completion of new construction: $120,000
  • Assessed value for current fiscal year: $100,000
  • Supplemental assessment value will be: $20,000

This reassessment usually results in an increase in property value, in which case your supplemental taxes will be calculated by the Auditor-Controller based on the change in value, and one or more supplemental tax bills will be created and mailed to you by the Tax Collector. However, in some instances the reassessment results in a reduction in value, in which case a refund will be prepared by the Auditor-Controller and mailed to you. A reduction in value will not reduce the amount due on the annual tax bill. The annual tax bill must be paid in the amount originally billed.

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Supplemental Taxes

On July 1, 1983, California State law was changed to require the reassessment of property as of the first day of the month following an ownership change of the completion of new construction. In most cases, this reassessment results in one or more supplemental tax bills being sent to the property owner in addition to the annual property tax bill.

How were changes in property value due to sale of property or new construction taxed in the past?

Before July 1983, the Assessor reassessed property just once each year on January 1 for taxes due the following fiscal year (July 1 thru June 30). Any change in property value resulting from a change in ownership or the completion of new construction that took place after January 1 was not reevaluated and taxed until the following year.

What do you mean by new construction or change of ownership?

Typically, new construction is any substantial addition to real property (e.g., adding a new room, pool, or garage) or any substantial alteration which restores a building, room, or other improvement to the equivalent of new (e.g., completely renovating an outdated kitchen).

Most changes in ownership caused by the sale of property result in reassessment. However, interspousal transfers, the transfer, sale, or inheritance of property between parents and their children, and the addition of joint tenants do not result in the reappraisal of property values.

Furthermore, homeowners over the age of 55 years who sell their principal residence and purchase a replacement dwelling within two years that is of equal or lesser market value and is located in the same county are eligible to transfer the pre-sale assessed value of their original property to the replacement dwelling.

For further information or claim forms, please contact the Assessor's Office at (707) 565-1888.

What happens when the Assessor reassesses my property?

Assessor first determines the new value of the property based on current market values. The Assessor then calculates the difference between the new value (set at the time of purchase or completion of new construction) and the old value (set on January 1 of the previous fiscal year). The result is the supplemental assessment value. Once the new assessed value of your property has been determined, the Assessor will send you a notification of the amount.

Example:

New value at date of purchase or
Completion of new construction
$120,000

Assessed value for current fiscal year-100,000

Supplemental assessment value will be$ 20,000

This reassessment usually results in an increase in property value, in which case your supplemental taxes will be calculated by the Auditor-Controller based on the change in value, and one or more supplemental tax bills will be created and mailed to you by the Tax Collector. However, in some instances the reassessment results in a reduction in value, in which case a refund will be prepared by the Auditor-Controller and mailed to you. A reduction in value will not reduce the amount due on the annual tax bill. The annual tax bill must be paid in the amount originally billed.

Do I have the same right to appeal the Assessor's supplemental assessed value as I do the annual assessed value?

Yes. You may take the matter up with the Assessor to see if that office will change the valuation. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors has established several Assessment Appeals Boards for the purpose of resolving valuation problems in connection with supplemental tax bills. Applications for appeal must be filed within sixty days of the mailing date shown on the assessment notice. If you choose to appeal your assessment, you should still pay your tax installments in full by the appropriate deadlines; otherwise, you may incur penalties while the case is in appeals. If your appeal is granted, a refund will be issued to you.

Further information about the appeals process can be obtained from the Assessor's Office by calling (707) 565-2241 or writing to: Assessment Appeals Board, 575 Administration Dr., Room 100A, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.

If I receive a supplemental tax bill, will I also receive an annual tax bill in November of each year?

Yes. The supplemental tax bill is sent in addition to the annual tax bill and both must be paid as specified on the bill.

If I pay my property taxes through an impound account (i.e., with my mortgage payment), will my lender get my supplemental tax bill?

No. Unlike the annual tax bill, lending agencies do not receive a copy of the supplemental tax bill. When you receive a supplemental tax bill, you must contact your lender to determine who will pay the bill.

What does the supplemental tax bill tell me?

The supplemental tax bill provides the following information:

  • The owner (or new owners as of the date of ownership change).
  • The fiscal year for which the taxes are assessed.
  • The location or address of the property.
  • The new assessed value upon which the property tax is computed, based upon the tax prorated from the event date.
  • The type and amount of any exemptions (e.g. homeowner's).
  • The total amount of taxes due based upon the net increase in value.
  • The first day of the month following ownership change or completion of new construction. The date is used to prorate the tax for the period remaining in the current fiscal year for which the bill was issued.

The bill may be paid in two installments and provides payment stubs for each installment, which show the amount due and the date that the amount must be paid to avoid penalties for late payment.

What if I purchase a piece of property and then sell it again after a few months?

If you purchase and then sell property within a short period of time, the supplemental tax bill you receive should cover only those months during which you owned the property, and the new owner should receive a separate supplemental tax bill. Because of the large number of parcels and frequency of property changing hands in Sonoma County, there are often delays in placing new assessments on the roll. Be sure to check the dates used to prorate the bill to ensure that the period covered is the period during which you actually owned the property. If you receive an incorrect tax bill, contact the Assessor's Office at (707) 565-1888.

When I purchase property or complete construction at some point during the fiscal year, will I be taxed on the supplemental value for the entire fiscal year?

No. You are only taxed on the supplemental value for the portion of the current fiscal year remaining after you purchased the property or completed new construction.

So, it's possible to get more than one supplemental tax bill?

Yes. It is possible to receive several supplemental tax bills, depending on when the ownership change or completion or new construction occurred and when the Assessor recorded the new value on the tax roll. Because property is assessed each January 1 for the upcoming fiscal year (July 1 - June 30), you will receive one supplemental bill if the change in property value due to ownership change or new construction is recorded on the tax roll between June 1 and December 31; you will receive two supplemental bills if the change in property value is recorded on the tax roll between January 1 and May 31.

The property tax supplemental bill flow chart (figure 1) illustrates the homeowner's obligation to pay both supplemental and annual tax bills after purchasing property or completing new construction. (NOTE: The diagram assumes an increase in property value.)

When do supplemental tax bills have to be paid?

The date on which supplemental bills become delinquent varies depending upon when they are mailed by the Tax Collector. As outlined in Figure 2 below, if the bill is mailed between July 1 and October 30, the taxes become delinquent at 5 p.m. on December 10 for the first installment and 5 p.m. on April 10 for the second installment (the same delinquency schedule as for annual tax bills mailed in November).

Figure 2

Bill mailed between

1st installment delinquent

2nd installment delinquent

July 1 and October 30

December 10

April 10

If the bill is mailed between November 1 and June 30, the delinquency dates -- which are printed on the bill -- are determined as follows: The first installment is delinquent at 5 p.m. on the last day of the month following the month the bill was mailed; the second installment is delinquent at 5 p.m. on the last day of the fourth month after the first installment delinquency date (see Figure 3).

Figure 3

Bill mailed between

1st installment delinquent

2nd installment delinquent

November 1 and June 30

Last day of the month following the month bill was mailed

Last day of the 4th month after the 1st installment became delinquent

Penalties of 10% are added to any installment that is not paid on time, and an additional $20 charge is added to a late second installment.

If payment of the supplemental tax bill is not made before the delinquency date because of a misunderstanding between my lender and myself, may I have the penalties excused?

No. State law stipulates that this is not an acceptable reason for excusing penalties.

What happens if I fail to pay my supplemental tax bill?

The same rules apply as for unpaid annual tax bills. If your supplemental tax bill is not paid by June 30, after the second installment becomes delinquent, the property becomes tax defaulted (even if you have paid your annual tax bill). At the end of the fifth year of delinquency the property becomes subject to the power of sale. See our information on delinquent property taxes.

Can delinquent supplemental taxes be paid on an installment plan?

Yes. Delinquent supplemental taxes can be paid on an installment plan in the same manner as your annual property taxes. See our information on delinquent property taxes.

Am I entitled to a homeowner's exemption on my supplemental tax bill?

You may very well be eligible for a homeowner's exemption on your supplemental tax bill. Exemptions, however, are not granted automatically. You must apply to the Assessor before the 30th day following the date of the notice from the Assessor of your supplemental assessment. As long as the home you purchased did not receive the homeowner's exemption on the current year's assessment, and as long as you occupy the home as your principal residence within 90 days of the purchase date, you would be allowed the full amount ($7,000) on the supplemental assessment. If your newly purchased home did receive the full homeowner's exemption, however, you would not be able to receive the exemption on your supplemental assessment.

Example: On May 29, 2006 you purchase a home on which no homeowner's exemption had been allowed. Because you are reassessed on the first day of the month following an ownership change, in the current fiscal year you will pay supplemental taxes for the one remaining month. Your 2005-06 supplemental assessment amounts to $20,000. If you file for and qualify for a homeowner's exemption, the entire $7,000 exemption amount would be deducted from the supplemental assessment BEFORE the taxes are calculated as follows:

Supplemental Assessment Value

subtract

Homeowner's Exemption

multiplied by

Tax Rate

multiplied by

Proration Factor for June

equals

Tax Due

With Exemption

$20,000

-

$7,000

X

.011

X

.08

=

$11.44

Without Exemption

$20,000

-

$0

X

.011

X

.08

=

$17.60

Are other exemptions and assistance programs available that will help defray the amount of supplemental taxes due?

Yes. Supplemental taxes are eligible for the same property tax exemptions and assistance programs as your annual taxes. In addition to the homeowner's exemption, you can apply through the Assessor's Office for a number of other assessment exemptions (e.g., veteran's, church, and welfare) that result in savings. You must, however, file for all exemptions before the 30th day following the date of the notice from the Assessor of your supplemental assessment. For further information, contact the Assessor's Office at (707) 565-1888.

In addition, the State of California administers programs that provide property tax assistance and postponement of property taxes to qualified homeowners and renters who are 62 and older, blind, or disabled. For information on the State's Homeowner or Renter Assistance Program, call the California Franchise Tax Board at (800) 868-4171. For information on the Property Tax Postponement Program, call the California State Controller's Office at (800) 952-5661. If you would like to receive additional information on understanding property taxes, delinquent property taxes, or mobilehome property taxes, please write to the Sonoma County Tax Collector, P.O. Box 3879, Santa Rosa, CA 95402, ATTN: Secured Property. You may also email your request to taxcollector@sonoma-county.org.

What happens if I fail to pay my taxes on time?

If you do not pay the first installment of your annual tax bill at the Tax Collector's Office by 5 p.m. on December 10, (If December 10 falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are not delinquent until 5 p.m. the next business day.), or payment is not postmarked by that time and date, then the taxes become delinquent and a 10% delinquent penalty is added to any unpaid balance.

If you fail to pay the second installment at the Tax Collector's Office by 5 p.m. on April 10, (If April 10 falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are not delinquent until 5 p.m. the next business day.), or payment is not postmarked by that time and date, it becomes delinquent and a 10% penalty plus an administrative charge of $20.00 is added to the unpaid balance.

If you pay your second installment without having paid the first, your payment will be applied to the unpaid taxes and penalties on the first installment and will leave your second installment unpaid and possibly delinquent. If you fail to pay either or both installments at the Tax Collector's Office by 5 p.m. on June 30, (If June 30 falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes must be paid by 5 p.m. on the preceding business day.), or payment is not postmarked by that time and date, then the property becomes tax defaulted and additional penalties and costs accrue. See our section on delinquent property taxes for full information.

If you fail to pay the installments of your supplemental tax bill by the applicable delinquency dates, the same penalties accrue as for delinquent annual taxes.

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Delinquent Taxes

What happens if I fail to pay my property taxes on time?

If you do not pay the first installment of your annual tax bill at the Tax Collector's Office by 5 p.m. on December 10 (if it falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are not delinquent until 5 p.m. the next business day.), or payment is not postmarked by that time and date, then that installment becomes delinquent, and a 10% delinquent penalty is incurred. If you fail to pay the second installment at the Tax Collector's Office by 5 p.m. on April 10 (if it falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are not delinquent until 5 p.m. the next business day.), or payment is not postmarked by that time and date, it becomes delinquent, and a 10% penalty on the unpaid taxes as well as an administrative charge of $20 are added. Likewise, if you fail to pay any supplemental tax bill installment by the applicable delinquency date, the same penalties and charges accrue as for delinquent annual taxes.

If there are ANY unpaid taxes as of 5 p.m. on June 30, then the property becomes tax defaulted. (If June 30 falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes must be paid by 5 p.m. of the preceding business day.) Once the property has become tax defaulted, a redemption fee of $15 and additional penalties begin to accrue at the rate of 1 1/2% per month of the unpaid taxes. This monthly penalty is added at 5 p.m. on the last day of each month (or the following business day if the last day of the month falls on a weekend or holiday).

What happens if I fail to pay my delinquent taxes?

Your taxes can remain unpaid for a maximum of five years following their tax default, at which time your property becomes subject to the power of sale. This means that your property will be sold at a public auction or acquired by a public agency if you do not pay the taxes before the date on which the property is offered for sale or acquisition.

What is the amount required to redeem tax-defaulted property?

The amount needed to redeem tax-defaulted property in full is the sum of the following:

  • The total amount of unpaid taxes for all delinquent years.
  • A 10% penalty on every unpaid installment.
  • A $20 administrative charge for each delinquent year.
  • Monthly penalties of 1 1/2% of the unpaid taxes accrued date.
  • A redemption fee of $15.

How do I obtain an estimate of the amount required to redeem my property?

To obtain an estimate of the amount required to redeem your property, you should contact the office of the Tax Collector by calling (707) 565-2281.

When making your request, you will need to provide the Fee Parcel Number (consisting of the map book, page, and parcel number), which you can find on a previous tax bill, or the address of the property. Also, be sure to specify the date on which you wish to redeem so that the penalty can be calculated properly.

Can I redeem on delinquent year separately from other years?

No, one year's delinquent taxes may not be redeemed separately from other years' delinquent taxes. When the redemption amount is calculated, the total taxes owed for all delinquent years are combined together.

What happens if I cannot pay the full redemption amount?

If you are unable to pay the full redemption amount (i.e., unpaid taxes for all delinquent years plus penalties and charges), you may open an installment plan of redemption. This plan allows you to make payments on your delinquent taxes over a five-year period beginning the date you open the installment account.

How do I open an installment plan of redemption?

To open an installment plan, you must:

  • Make an initial payment of at least 20% of the redemption amount plus a one-time $25 payment plan fee; and
  • Pay your current year's taxes.

If you open an installment account between July 1 and the following April 10, the current year's taxes and any supplemental taxes must be paid by April 10 or the account will default. To open an account between April 11 and June 30, the current year's taxes (plus any penalties and charges) must first be paid in full.

When may I open an installment account?

You can open an installment account after the date on which the property has become tax defaulted (June 30) and within five years of that date (at which time your property becomes subject to the power of sale).

If you wish detailed information about an installment plan of redemption, contact the Tax Collector's Office at (707) 565-2281.

How often will I be required to make installment payments?

Under the installment plan you are required to make one payment each year for five years, in addition to paying each year's annual taxes. By each April 10 you must make one payment of 20% or more of the redemption amount, plus interest (which accrues at the rate of 1 1/2% per month on the unpaid balance once the account has been opened). If you fail to make any installment payment or fail to pay your current year's taxes or any supplemental taxes on or before April 10 of each year, then your account will default.

You can, however, pay the total unpaid balance plus accrued interest any time before the fifth and final payment is due.

Do my installment payments cover my current annual taxes?

No. Your installment payments NEVER include your current year's taxes, which must be paid separately.

If my first installment account defaults, may I open a second account?

If your first account defaults either because of your failure to make at least one installment payment between July 1 and April 10, or because of your failure to pay your current year's taxes in full by April 10, you may open another account. However, the second account may not be opened until July 1 of the following fiscal year. You may NEVER reopen an installment account in the same calendar year that the property becomes subject to the power of sale.

Each time you open an account, you have five years to pay the full redemption amount. However, it is to your advantage not to default on an installment account, since there is an additional penalty. When a second or third installment account is opened, the redemption amount is computed as though no previous payments had been made. This means you will be charged the 1 1/2% monthly penalty on the unpaid taxes as though none of those taxes had been paid. However, as soon as the first payment on the second or third account has been made, you will be given credit for any previous payments.

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Exemptions and Assistance Programs

Are exemptions and assistance programs available to property owners that help defray the amount of taxes due? 

Yes. Through the Assessor's Office you can apply for the homeowner's property tax exemption, veteran's exemption, or church and welfare exemption. These programs allow for assessment exemptions that result in tax savings. For further information, contact the  Assessor's Office at (707) 565-1888, or visit their website.

In addition, the State of California administers programs that provide property tax assistance and postponement of property taxes to qualified homeowners and renters who are 62 or older, blind, or disabled. For information on the State's Homeowner or Renter Assistance Program, call the  California Franchise Tax Board at (800) 868-4171. For information on the Property Tax Postponement Program, call the  California State Controller's Office at (800) 952-5661.

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Mobile Homes

What is a mobilehome?

In broad terms a mobilehome is a structure, transportable in one or more sections, designed and equipped to contain one or more dwelling units, and to be used with or without a foundation system. Specifically, any trailer coach that is more that eight feet wide or forty feet long, or one that requires a permit to move on the highway is considered a mobilehome.

I have a recreational vehicle (RV); is it considered a mobile home?

No. Recreational vehicles, as well as buses and prefabricated housing units are not considered mobilehomes.

My mobilehome is sitting on a permanent foundation on my property; how will it be taxed?

For purposes of taxation, mobilehomes affixed to the land on a permanent foundation are not considered "mobile" homes, but are viewed instead as modular housing, and as such have always been taxed in the same way as conventional homes. Mobilehomes on permanent foundations are subject to supplemental taxes when appropriate and are also entitled to all the benefits and exemptions due any homeowner. Please read our section on secured property taxes, supplemental property taxes, and delinquent property taxes for further information on the taxation of real estate.

If your mobilehome is not attached to a permanent foundation - for example, if your mobilehome is in a mobilehome park - please read on. Throughout the remainder of this section, the term "mobilehome" refers only to those that are not on permanent foundations.

Under which circumstances would my mobilehome automatically become subject to local property taxes as opposed to in-lieu license fees?

If your mobilehome was originally purchased new on or after July 1, 1980, it was automatically subject to local property taxes. Also, if the license fees on your mobilehome, regardless of when it was originally purchased, became delinquent on or before May 31, 1984, your mobilehome was automatically converted to the local property tax system. (Delinquent license fees no longer cause automatic transfer to local property taxation.)

Are there advantages to changing from in-lieu license fees to local property taxation?

There may be advantages, but each case really has to be evaluated individually.

One possible advantage is that property taxes are payable in two annual installments. You also may be entitled to the $7,000 homeowner's exemption or other exemptions administered by the County Assessor. It should be noted, however, that if you receive the homeowner's exemption, you cannot apply for the renter's credit on your State Income Tax return. In addition to County exemptions, you may be eligible for tax assistance and postponement programs offered by the State of California.

Finally, it is important to note that mobilehomes subject to local property taxation are exempt from any sales or use tax. Therefore, you may enhance the marketability of your mobilehome by voluntarily converting it to local property taxation prior to selling it.

Once you convert to local property taxation, however, you cannot revert back to vehicle license fees.

How do I find out if I am entitled to the homeowner's exemption?

Information regarding homeowner's and other exemptions can be obtained by calling the office of the County Assessor at (707) 565-1888 or writing to Sonoma County Assessor, 585 Fiscal Dr., Room 104F, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.

What additional tax assistance programs are offered by the State?

The State of California administers programs that provide property tax assistance and postponement of property taxes to qualified homeowners and renters who are 62 or older, blind, or disabled. For information on the State's Homeowner or Renter Assistance Program, call the Franchise Tax Board at (800) 868-4171. For information on the Property Tax Postponement Program, call the State Controller at (800) 952-5661.

How can I change taxation of my mobilehome from license fees to the local property tax system?

You can request a voluntary conversion to local property taxes by calling (800) 952-8356 or writing to: State of California, Department of Housing and Community Development, P.O. Box 2111, 1800 Third Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

If my mobilehome currently is subject to local property taxation, can I request reinstatement of vehicle license fees?

No. Once mobilehomes have been changed to local property taxation, it is not possible to reinstate vehicle in-lieu license fees.

If I am currently paying in-lieu license fees, will I be able to continue paying license fees?

Yes. Unless you request voluntary conversion to local property taxation, you will be able to continue paying license fees. If you sell your mobilehome, the new owner likewise will pay license fees, unless he or she requests conversion.

NOTE: Remember, mobilehomes subject to in-lieu license fees are also subject to sales or use tax when sold.

If I buy a used mobilehome subject to local property taxes, how do I get the title transferred to my name?

Mobilehome title insurance is administered by the State's Department of Housing and Community Development. That department cannot transfer title of a used mobilehome subject to local property taxes without a tax clearance from the county tax collector of the county in which the mobilehome is situated. In Sonoma County you can obtain a Mobilehome Tax Clearance Certificate by calling the Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office at (707) 565-2281. If there are any taxes owing, they must be paid before a Tax Clearance Certificate can be issued. A security deposit may be required.

NOTE: Remember that this type of title transfer applies only to mobilehomes not on permanent foundations. If your mobilehome is attached to a permanent foundation, title transfers are handled by the County Recorder in the same manner as for conventional homes.

If I purchase a used mobilehome or modify my mobilehome by construction, will I have to pay supplemental taxes?

It depends on what type of taxes you currently are paying. Mobilehomes that are subject to local property taxation are subject to supplemental taxes. (Please see our section on supplemental property taxes). Mobilehomes that are subject to vehicle license fees are not subject to supplemental taxes.

How is the amount of my mobilehome property taxes determined?

The amount of property taxes on your mobilehome is determined in accordance with State law and is limited to $1 per $100 of assessed value of your mobilehome, except for certain direct assessments applied by cities and districts and special taxes approved by local voters.

The County Assessor determines the assessed value of your mobilehome, which is generally the cash or market value at the time of purchase. This value increase is not more than 2% per year until the mobilehome is sold, at which time it must be reassessed. If your mobilehome is parked on land that you own, the land will be assessed and taxes separately.

Neither the County Board of Supervisors nor the Tax Collector determines the amount of taxes.

Do I have any recourse if I disagree with the valuation placed on my mobilehome by the Assessor?

Yes. You may take the matter up with the Assessor to see if that office will change the valuation. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors has established several Assessment Appeals Boards for the purpose of resolving valuation problems. Appeals on regular assessments must be filed each year between July 2 and November 30 (valuation information is available July 1 at the Assessor's regional offices). Appeals on corrected assessments, escaped assessments (assessments that did not take place when they should have), or supplemental assessments must be filed no later than 60 days from the mailing date of the corrected, escaped, or supplemental tax bill.

Appeals applications and further information about the appeals process can be obtained by calling (707) 565-2241 or writing to: Assessment Appeals Board, 575 Administration Dr., Room 100A, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.

What happens if I fail to pay my mobilehome property taxes on time?

If you do not pay the first installment of your annual tax bill at the Tax Collector's Office by 5 p.m. on December 10, (If December 10 falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are not delinquent until 5 p.m. the next business day.), or payment is not postmarked by that time and date, then that installment becomes delinquent and a 10% delinquent penalty is added to any unpaid balance. If you fail to pay the second installment at the Tax Collector's Office by 5 p.m. on April 10, (If April 10 falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are not delinquent until 5 p.m. the next business day.), or payment is not postmarked by that time and date, it becomes delinquent and a 10% penalty plus a $20.00 administrative charge. Likewise, if you fail to pay any supplemental tax bill installment by the applicable delinquency date, the same penalties accrue as for delinquent annual taxes. To obtain the total amount required to redeem delinquent mobilehome property taxes call the Tax Collector at (707) 565-2281.

As soon as an installment becomes delinquent, the County has the right to take any of the following steps to collect the unpaid taxes and penalties on a mobilehome:

  • File a Certificate of Tax Lien for record with the County Recorder. This is a 10-year lien against all personal and real property owned by the assessee, which may be renewed every 10 years until the tax is paid.
  • Initiate seizure and sale of the mobilehome at a public auction.
  • File a lawsuit.
  • Obtain a summary judgment.

If the taxes remain unpaid on July 1, an additional penalty of 1 1/2% of the unpaid taxes is added on the first day of each month, beginning in July.

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Contact Information

Jennifer Calderon, CPA

Accounting Manager

Public Lobby Hours

Our lobby is currently available by appointment only. Contact us by email at taxcollector@sonoma-county.org or by phone to schedule an appointment.

Phone hours are Monday - Friday, 8:300 AM - 4:30 PM.

Contact us by Phone
Address
Auditor–Controller Treasurer–Tax Collector Main Office
585 Fiscal Drive
Suite 100
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.465764, -122.725126