Calamity Provision

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Overview

If a calamity such as fire, flood, earthquake, or other misfortune damages or destroys your property, you can apply for reassessment on the land, business personal property, and improvement values.  County Assessors have the authority to reappraise property damaged or destroyed by a calamity to reflect its damaged condition. Qualifying property rebuilt in a like or similar manner will retain its prior base year value (Proposition 13) for tax purposes. 

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About the Calamity Provision

California's property tax laws allow the Assessor to adjust assessed values after destruction of real or personal property caused by a calamity or misfortune.

The property must have suffered more than $10,000 worth of damage and the owner must file an Application for Reassessment of Property Damaged by Misfortune or Calamity form with the Assessor within 12 months of the date of the calamity. For governor declared disasters, the assessor may initiate calamity damaged reassessments without requiring an Application for Reassessment of Property Damaged by a Misfortune or Calamity form.

Calamities do not include damage that occurs over time such as termite damage, gradual earth movements, or vineyard diseases such as phylloxera.

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. 
[Revenue & Taxation Code section 170]

Requirements

To be eligible for this tax relief:

  1. The application must be submitted by the person who was owner of the damaged property on the lien date (January 1) and who will be liable for the property taxes for the next fiscal year.
  2. The damage must have occurred due to misfortune or calamity without fault of the owner.
  3. You must apply within 12 months of the date on which the disaster occurred.
  4. The damage to your property must exceed $10,000 in market value loss.

State Board of Equalization Resources

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

Disaster Relief
Disaster Relief - Frequently Asked Questions
Transfer of Base Year Value – Frequently Asked Questions
Letter to Assessors No. 2006/010 (PDF)
Governor-Declared Disaster List (PDF)

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