Skip to Content

Disaster Relief

Firefighters puting out fire - 500

Calculation of Calamity Rebuilds for Assessment Purposes

As you rebuild , your property taxes will increase based on how and when you rebuild, pursuant to state law. Each situation and property is unique, and you should contact our office with specific questions regarding your property. Click here for more information about how calamity rebuild assessments are calculated.

Voters passed Proposition 19 in November 2020. This legislation affects Parent-Child and Grandparent-Grandchild exclusions and Base Year Value Transfers. This legislation is currently being reviewed by the State Board of Equalization (BOE) for guidance and regulations. The Assessor’s Office will not be able to answer detailed questions about the legislation at this point in time. Visit the BOE’s Proposition 19 page for the most up to date information. 

Overview

California Revenue and Taxation Code provides that if a calamity such as fire, earthquake, or flooding damages or destroys your property, you may be eligible for property tax relief.

The County Assessor has the authority to reassess property damaged or destroyed by a calamity to reflect its damaged condition.

Property rebuilt in a like or similar manner will retain its prior base year value (Proposition 13) for tax purposes. In some cases, you may choose to buy another comparable property and transfer your base year value (Proposition 13) to the new property. You will not be able to do both.

There are slightly different rules that depending on whether you choose to rebuild or purchase a new replacement residence and transfer your base year value. Contact the Assessor’s Office for information about eligibility.

To qualify, property owners must file an Application for Reassessment of Property Damaged by Misfortune or Calamity with the county assessor within 12 months from the date of damage or destruction, and the property loss estimate must be $10,000 or more in market value. The Assessor can then reassess the property to reflect its damaged state, and the Tax Collector will then adjust property taxes accordingly.

The property tax relief provision is available to owners of real property, business equipment and fixtures, orchards, vineyards or other agricultural groves, and to owners of aircraft, boats, and certain manufactured homes. Disaster Relief is not available to property that is not assessable, such as state licensed manufactured homes or household furnishings. Damage that occurs over time such as termite damage, gradual earth movements, or vineyard diseases such as phylloxera are not eligible. 

Properties Affected by the Fires

Has your property suffered or been destroyed by any of the Sonoma County Fires? Our hearts go out to you and the Assessor's Office is here to help.

Quick-links:

Calculation of Calamity Rebuilds for Assessment Purposes

As you rebuild , your property taxes will increase based on how and when you rebuild, pursuant to state law. The following information is generic, and designed to be a guide. Each situation and property is unique, and you should contact our office with specific questions regarding your property. 

After a fire, the Assessor’s Office removed the value of the structure that was burned from the property’s assessed value. As you rebuild, every January 1, the Assessor will partially restore the structure value based on construction completed thus far. If you are in construction, the partial value will be reflected on your annual tax bill.  When your rebuild has been completed, the Prop 13 value, plus the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase required by law, will be restored. To estimate your rebuild value without additional assessment increases, you can search for your tax bill prior to the fire to view your assessed value, and multiply it by the CPI for each subsequent year.

To look up your previous assessed value, go to the Sonoma County Tax Collector’s website to review historical property tax bills. Chose the ‘roll year’ PRIOR to the disaster. Properties can be searched by parcel number or address. Please read the search instructions on the website. When you property is located, select View Details and then View Tax Bill. The assessed values can be found in the County Values, Exemptions and Taxes section. If you choose the 2016 roll year, you would need to apply the CPI for 17/18 to start factoring up the yearly value to the current.

To search the CPI’s for each year, view the most recent Letter to Assessor. The below chart is the individual CPI’s for each year since the 2017 wildfire.

Year  CPI  Factor 
2016-17 2%  1.02 
2017-18  2%  1.02 
2018-19  2%  1.02 
2019-20  2%  1.02 
2020-21  2%  1.02 
2021-22  1.04%  1.01036 


As an example, if your assessed value was 500,000 prior to the 2017 fires, you would multiple your assessed value by the CPI or factor for each year to calculate an estimate of the new assessed value. ($500,000 x 1.02 (17/18 factor) = $510,000 for year 17/18, $510,000 x 1.02 = $520,200 for year 18/19, etc.)

The Assessor’s Office will send a supplemental notice each time when construction is complete, and the Tax Collector will send the tax bill. If you disagree with the valuations, you have 60 days from the notice date to file an appeal with the Assessment Appeals Board

Additional Considerations:
If you rebuild in a different manner (size, usage, function), additional market value assessments may apply.

The Assessor’s Office is currently experiencing a significant increase in workloads.  This may cause a delay in your assessment for completion of construction.  If your assessment is not worked timely, you may receive a notice of roll correction from the Assessor’s Office indicating your construction has been valued.   The Assessor’s office realizes untimely assessments can cause a burden to taxpayers and we apologize for any delays.  

Calamity

Calamity Provision

Claim for property tax relief due to damage or destruction caused by major calamity such as fire, earthquake, or flooding.

Please refer to this section for all requirements: 
Revenue & Taxation Code section 170

  • Applies to all Property Types
  • Assessment Reduction
  • Applies to Real or Personal Property
  • Any Disaster or Calamity

Read more about Calamities

Proposition 19

Effective April 1, 2021, base year value transfers for properties destroyed or damaged in a disaster will be governed by Proposition 19, which voters passed in the November 2020 Election. Proposition 19 restricts base year value transfers due to disaster to principal residences only, and the new property must be purchased or newly constructed within 2 years of the sale of the damaged property. The location of the replacement home can be anywhere in California. There is no value limit to the transfer – any amount above 100% is added to the transferred value. Proposition 19 is only available to those whose properties have been destroyed or damaged by a wildfire or natural disaster as declared by the governor. 

 

Proposition 171 vs. Proposition 19

Base Year Value Transfer - Intracounty Disaster Relief

  Proposition 171 Proposition 19
Type of Property
  • Any type of property
  • Principal residence
Timing
  • Purchase or newly construct property within 5 years of disaster
  • Purchase or newly construct residence within 2 years of sale
Location of Replacement Property
  • Within same county
  • Anywhere in California
Value Limit
  • Any value
  • Amount above 120% is added to transferred value
  • Any value
  • Amount above 100% is added to transferred value
Type of Disaster
  • Disaster for which the Governor proclaims a state of emergency
  • Wildfire, as defined, or natural disaster as declared by the Governor
Implementing Statute
  • Revenue & Taxation Code section 69 (implements Proposition 50)
  • To be determined
Important Dates
  • Effective April 1, 2021

 

Base Year Value Transfer - Intercounty Disaster Relief

  Current Law Proposition 19
Type of Property
  • Principal residence
  • Principal residence
Timing
  • Purchase or newly construct principal residence within 3 years of disaster
  • Purchase or newly construct principal residence within 2 years of sale
Location of Replacement Home
  • Anywhere in California
Value Limit
  • Equal or lesser value
    • Any value
    • Amount above 100% is added to transferred value
    Type of Disaster
    • Disaster for which the Governor proclaims a state of emergency
    • Wildfire, as defined, or natural disaster as declared by the Governor
    Implementing Statute
    • Revenue & Taxation Code section 69.3 (implements Proposition 171)
    • To be determined
    Important Dates
    • Through March 31, 2021
    • Effective April 1, 2021

     

     Note: The information presented is intended to provide general and summary information about Proposition 19. It is not intended to be a legal interpretation or official guidance or relied upon for any purpose, but is instead a presentation of summary information. If there is a conflict between the information presented and the text of the proposition or its implementation, the text of the proposition or legal interpretation will prevail. It is highly encouraged that you consult an attorney for advice specific to your situation.

     

    Governor-Declared Disaster

    Proposition 50

    Claim for the transfer of base year value to replacement property within Sonoma County for property damaged or destroyed in a Governor-declared disaster.

    Important: Use form BOE-65-P for Proposition 50 claims.

    Please refer to this section for all requirements:
    Revenue & Taxation Code section 69

    • Applies to all Property Types
    • Base Year Value Transfer
    • Either Land or Improvements
    • Governor-Declared Disasters

    Proposition 171

    Claim for the transfer of base year value to replacement residence for principal residence outside of Sonoma County that was damaged or destroyed in a Governor-declared disaster. The transfer must occur between participating Counties.

    Important: Use form BOE-65-PT for Proposition 171 claims.

    Please refer to this section for all requirements:
    Revenue & Taxation Code section 69.3

    • Applies to Principal Place of Residence
    • Base Year Value Transfer
    • Either Land or Improvements
    • Governor-Declared Disasters
    • Transfer between participating Counties 

    Read more about Governor-Declared Disasters

    Qualified Contaminated Property

    Proposition 1

    Claim for base year value transfers to from a qualified contaminated property to a replacement property within the same county.

    Please refer to this section for all requirements: 
    Revenue & Taxation Code section 69.4

    • Applies to Principal Place of Residence
    • Base Year Value Transfer
    • Either Land or Improvements
    • Qualified Contaminated Property

    Read more about the Qualified Contaminated Property Provision

    State Board of Equalization Resources

    More information on disaster provisions may be found on the Board of Equalization’s website: