Transferring Property Taxes in California

Transfer your property tax base to a child

Your Source for Timely, Accurate News on Transferring Property Taxes in California and Information on Trusts & Estates, for California Proposition 13 and Prop 58

Most CA property owners back Prop 13, and Proposition 58.  And it’s worth pointing out that California Proposition 13, also called The People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation, voted into law as an amendment of the Constitution of California – is, after 42 years, even more popular today as it was when Californians voted it into law on June 6, 1978. (Interestingly enough, the same date memorializing the Normandy landings, D-Day on June 6, back in 1944.)

As a matter of fact, CA Proposition 13 was championed early on, and driven successfully through numerous political  obstacles, by the famous Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association… whose  courageous and inspired CEO, Mr. Jon Coupal, took over the Chief Executive reigns in 1999, and is largely responsible for leading the charge for accelerated property tax relief in California,  right up to the present.

There are many reasons that most CA property owners back Prop 13 and Proposition 58.  Financial analysts tell us, in no uncertain terms, that Proposition 13 has saved California taxpayers over $528 billion – saving the average middle class California family more than $60,000 to-date… and counting. 

A clear-cut majority of home owners in California still support Proposition 13, and Proposition 58, for parent to child transfer of property, parent to child exclusion from property reassessment,  or Proposition 193 involving grandparent to grandchild property transfers, when inheriting property taxes – which has, after 1986, enabled families with home owners to transfer real property from parent to child, and keep parents property taxes, without being reassessed at present day tax rate increases.

In fact, as CEO Jon Coupal and his Taxpayers Association tells us – California Proposition 13 has made all residential, industrial  and commercial property owners’ taxes in California far  more reliable, predictable and reasonable than they ever have been…

As long as California property owners keep taking advantage of the ability to avoid property tax reassessment when inheriting property taxes… with the lawful right to transfer parents property taxes, for home-owning beneficiaries.  In other words, to keep parents property taxes, and property tax transfer, as low as it should be… regardless of overall value, size or location.

Property tax transfer is discussed here, in various posts, within this blog. Or, click here for more info and Q & A on Proposition 58 (and Proposition 193)…

Even though most CA property owners support Proposition 13, as well as Proposition 58 and 193 – opponents of Prop 13 and Prop 58 appear to be, when all is said and done, after more cash from tax payers in California.  A stubborn minority that simply opposes property tax relief, such as special interest politicians in the pocket of certain powerful people in select sectors of the real estate business.

Moreover, we shouldn’t forget financially and politically driven local and state government employee union bosses, plus some  poorly informed independent realtors and educational system administrators with tunnel vision… A few mainstream newspapers like the SF Chronicle and LA Times, with an interest in big-bucks real estate advertising – and of course your hard core local government tax collectors –  who are simply after more hard cold cash from tax payers in California… plain and simple. 

The critics of these property tax relief initiatives still seem to be laboring under the long-held misconception that there would be more cash coming into the real estate business, and into state coffers, were it not for the lack of present-day real property value reassessment associated with Proposition 13 and Prop 58… directly affecting California tax revenue. 

Frankly, after examining the facts driving these property tax issues, it is plain to see, for anyone that is really looking… that these long held misconceptions that critics of property tax relief cling to so tightly, and in fact exactly that – nothing but misconceptions.

 

Recent Blog Entries

 

CA Proposition 58 & the Trust Loan Process: An Interview With Trust Loan Specialist Ken McNabb

Loans to Irrevocable Trusts in California

Loans to Irrevocable Trusts in California

Kenneth McNabb is an Account Representative at the Commercial Loan Corporation in Newport Beach, California. We began the interview by asking Ken to address a central issue in this field, namely communicating a rather complex process in very simple terms:

Property Tax Transfer: Hello Ken, how do you disseminate the information you want to get across to prospects and new clients? In order to address financial issues that beneficiaries need to know, to resolve what are often complex financial concerns?

Kenneth McNabb:  I tend to give general information at first, to give potential clients a solid overview… And try to determine exactly how urgent the the financial issues are, that are driving the folks I’m talking to.

Property Tax Transfer: What do you do with a family that appears to be at an impasse, for example cannot agree on the value of an inherited home?

Kenneth McNabb:  When no one in a group of siblings can agree on what the value of a home should be I typically suggest we create a Cost Benefit Analysis and have an appraisal conducted. Plus I make sure I know who wants to sell an inherited property, and who wants to keep the property… and nail down their low Proposition 13 tax base. Everyone wants that low property tax base to be intact forever, of course. Most people do not realize that they can actually save a considerable amount of money by taking out a trust loan to keep a home as opposed to having to pay realtor fees, closing costs and repair costs involved with selling a home.  In fact we save our clients on average more than $40,000.00 when compared to selling a home. That does not include the annual tax savings of over $6,200 by taking advantage of California Proposition 58!


Property Tax Transfer: When in the estate or inheritance timeline do these siblings tend to contact you, contact the firm you work for?

Kenneth McNabb: Some are urgent to get the money right away to buyout siblings…. Some even call us before anyone even passes away! Sometimes it’s a week after the death of a parent… Sometimes it’s a year after someone passes away.

Property Tax Transfer: What is the most important thing in an estate situation like that, that comes to you all mixed up and in conflict?

Kenneth McNabb: The most important thing is the loss of a parent. That’s number one. But also, they all generally agree right at the beginning that they all want to lock down a loan to a trust, to buyout a sibling… to keep an inherited property, and most importantly to make sure they nail down that low Proposition 13 tax base their parents had. Those items are always in the picture as important, even critical, elements. 

Property Tax Transfer: And the next most important thing?

Kenneth McNabb: Well, I suppose that would be – what it means to inherit property from a parent. As maybe a once-in-a-lifetime, singular event.

Property Tax Transfer: Yes, it’s definitely a profound event. Tell me, who do you primarily deal with in your average family group? Typically.

Kenneth McNabb: Not counting the exceptions… Typically, I’m generally dealing with “the captain of the team”. The trust administrator, the person who wants to retain the parents home or oldest sibling. On occasion one of the siblings in an attorney and I will deal with them.

Property Tax Transfer: What does that person, that spokesperson, typically want, most of all?

Kenneth McNabb: I’d have to say that they want to keep the low CA Proposition 13 property tax base. Plus be able to buyout the sibling or siblings who want to sell their shares in that property.

Property Tax Transfer: What about Proposition 58, getting approved, and how it all works in conjunction with a trust loan, besides securing a low CA Proposition 13 property tax base… How do you explain all that? As I see it, this is the key to success in this business. If they don’t “get it” the first time around, they usually just walk away, don’t they? People often push away what they think they can’t understand.

Kenneth McNabb: My job is to make sure they understand this process within the first 30 seconds of the conversation! As usual, I keep everything as simple as possible. I explain Proposition 58 and securing a low CA Proposition 13 property tax base in very, very simple terms… Letting them know, in plain English, without a lot of confusing technical jargon, how an exclusion functions for the property – from parent to child… I always ask them, in simple language, “Would you rather pay property taxes based on the day their parents’ bought the property… Or get hit with a super high current tax base, and pay what would be reassessed now, today…” I suppose you can guess what their choice generally is!

Property Tax Transfer: Right. Doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out!  Everyone wants that low CA Proposition 13 property tax base. Now, although you’re dealing with more or less non-conventional lending issues… How do you deal with non-conventional loan requirements? Where approval is concerned – along the pathway towards final approval for these folks.

Kenneth McNabb: Since we are lending to the trust and not to an individual in most situations, the loan process is very fast and easy.  In fact, we can often close a loan in as little as a week; providing we have received all of the required paperwork. 

Property Tax Transfer: What is the Continuing Legal Education all about? Is that for Trust & Estate attorneys only?

Kenneth McNabb: Commercial Loan Corporation specializes in loans to trusts to help our clients utilize Proposition 58 to keep a parents low Prop 13 property tax base. After doing this for so long, we have become very knowledgeable on California Proposition 58 matters. We partnered with Michael Wyatt, a California Property Tax Consultant that worked in a California Assessors office for over 15 years. Together, we created an authorized Continuing Legal Education course that Attorney’s may take to meet their California continuing legal education requirements.

Property Tax Transfer: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us Ken. If one of our readers needs assistance with California Proposition 58 or has questions about a loan to an irrevocable trust, how may they reach you?

Kenneth McNabb: They can either call us at 877-464-1066 or inquire right on our website.  We are always happy to answer any questions that they are their Attorney may have on the trust or estate loan process.  We can also provide a Free benefit analysis which shows how much each beneficiary will save by using a trust loan to keep a home as opposed to selling it. 

 

PART SEVEN: Coronavirus Crisis in California Motivating Certain Politicians to Push Harder for New Proposition 15 “Split-Roll” Property Tax

Property Taxes During the Pandemic

Property Taxes During the Pandemic

So let’s wrap this discussion up with a brief recap… and summary.  It  is completely obvious to any reasonable person that even though the new, proposed Proposition 15 commercial & industrial property tax on landlords and business property owners is not aimed at consumers per se – at the end of the day, it is consumers who will pay for this new property tax; paying significantly higher prices for normal everyday goods and services. 

Consumers that have for some time already been struggling with the high cost of living in the state of California… as have residents in, for example, other states at the top of the list of “most expensive states” list…  most expensive American states – such as Hawaii, New York, Washington DC, and Oregon.  States that are this costly to live in do not, and we should repeat do not, need property tax hikes, especially at a time like this when state economies are literally crumbling under the weight of a Coronavirus Pandemic, a tsunami of unemployment, now surpassing 42 million jobless claims nationwide, plus a host of other issues. 

These costs, in California, encompass some of the steepest taxes in the country, including some of the highest gas, income, and sales taxes. In fact, the California Legislature just passed policies that have resulted in residents paying 48% more for electricity than the rest of the nation.  Fact, not opinion.

Adding a new property tax on top of these existing costs will only exacerbate the affordability issue for many Californians. The downside (ironically, there is no upside) of the Proposition 15 business property & industrial facility property tax that Secretary of State Padilla and other powerful political critics of property tax relief in California are not looking at.

We suggest they had better remember we are in the throes of a national Pandemic, with California running particularly high infection rates, and they would do well to start looking at a potentially massive downswing of middle class and working class personal income descent if landlords, business and commercial property owners   abruptly lose their ability to use Proposition 13 to avoid property tax reassessment. At the same time, if business properties have been passed down through family members, countless businesses will be impacted in this fashion, losing their ability to keep parents property taxes and parent to child exclusion in California, when  taking advantage of Proposition 13 and Proposition 58, working through a loan to an irrevocable trust… a Prop 58 transfer of property. 

The great fear is that the next step politicians who oppose Proposition 13 and Prop 58 will take, after opening the door to unraveling property tax relief for businesses, will be to go after property owners’  ability to take advantage of property tax transfer, or the transfer of parents property taxes upon inheriting property taxes in general.  The anxiety running through the state concerns fear that critics of 1978 Proposition 13 now pushing a property tax measure called Proposition 15 (formerly entitled Proposition 13 “Split-Roll” tax) will feel free to go after the right to avoid property tax reassessment, or parent to child transfer and parent to child exclusion in California, if Proposition 15 actually passes in November, 2020.         

Obviously, this will impact all Californians, raising rents, throwing prices of goods and services throughout the state completely off the map of normalcy.  If these folks do not begin looking at this issue more realistically, they are going to step into a deep statewide quagmire of economic quicksand, if this property tax passes in November.

Although politicians on the state level claim that a revised Proposition 15 property tax includes a “small business exemption” that will fix everything… don’t believe it.  We suggest you don’t drink the Cool-Aid!  This new property tax on commercial property owners in California will be crippling, to most  businesses and commercial entities, including landlords, in California.  The revised measure supposedly expands the “reassessment exemption” to small business owners with property valued at $3 million or less, up from the initial $2 million threshold.  Sounds like double-talk to most of us. 

One of “us” being the talented, courageous Rob Gutierrez, President of California Taxpayers Association. Mr. Gutierrez says that these supposed “protections” for small businesses aren’t even close to being strong enough to allow these folks to survive – with thousands of jobs for Californians not able to survive in the bargain! More people on the Unemployment Line.

“Because so many small businesses rent as opposed to own their commercial space… higher property taxes on the buildings they rent space in will of course result in more expensive rent for them”, says Mr. Gutierrez… “What that translates into is higher prices for consumers and brick-and-mortar stores. Dry cleaners, grocers, companies that cannot move, will have to find a way to pass these costs on.”

And as usual, who does this get passed on to? That’s right. Us. The consumers.

Faced with higher property taxes, commercial property owners with leases will assuredly be motivated to pass these increased costs on to their tenants.  They’ll have no choice.  For example, the owners of shopping centers or strip-malls, with numerous commercial tenants, if unable to avoid property tax reassessment or parent to child exclusion in California, will without question be compelled to increase rents on their commercial and industrial tenants. Next step, prices on goods and services go up literally overnight.  

So we can only further assume that adding a new property tax to the already heavy burden carried by residents of this great state will only serve to make current economic challenges only more challenging   for regular middle class Californians.  There’s no doubt about it.  Hence the need for California to keep the property tax system as is… Leaving the status quo alone. 

PART SIX: Coronavirus Crisis in California Motivating Certain Politicians to Push Harder for “Split-Roll” Property Tax

The Property Taxes In California

The Property Taxes In California

The infamous Split-Roll property tax is naturally unpopular with most Californians… Of course, when did popular preference ever convince politicians of a certain stripe to do anything!  They typically do what will benefit them

At any rate, most Californians realize this new property tax, initially titled “Proposition 13 / Split-Roll Property Tax” and now called “Proposition 15” will end up raising prices of goods and services all across California… Not to mention increasing industrial and commercial rents, not only causing their prices to go up, but worse case scenario forcing many middle class companies to simply close their doors! Or to move out of state… if they’re lucky.  And it’s definitely worth mentioning that minority owned businesses, and other concerns that are bravely holding on without tremendous cash reserves, will be particularly hard hit and negatively impacted.

The fact that (as Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, says) “tax-hungry public sector labor interests” are determine to strip away genuine Proposition 13 property tax relief protection from business properties and industrial facilities, to bank what they believe will be something in the neighborhood of six to twelve billion dollars per year from property taxes. 

Interestingly enough, even their gross property tax intake projection is tremendously inaccurate and uneven!  If their math is that volatile at merely the initial projection stage, at this point – what will it look like when taxation revenue wheels are turning for real?  Their Proposition 15 measure on the November ballot would apparently  need constant reassessment of business properties, revising the 2% cap in yearly increases; exactly to what degree no one really knows.

Fortunately, most of the public is either old enough to remember, or has older relatives that do remember, what life was like in California before the 1978 Proposition 13 property tax relief measure was passed… Ending up saving property owners and beneficiaries or heirs of estates thousands of dollars in property taxes every year, simply by being able to avoid property tax reassessment in CA. 

It’s fairly obvious to most of us that the new property tax entitled Proposition 15 is guaranteed to not accomplish what critics of property tax relief insist it will accomplish. The outcome is rather clear.  It will merely end up increasing consumer rents;  severely raising commercial and industrial rents; raising the cost of countless goods and services favored by consumers; and force who knows how many mid level companies to go out of business… all across the great Sunshine State.  A colossal disaster, with numerous tentacles, just waiting to happen.  

Californians can never lose sight of what Proposition 13 has accomplished for them, as well as property tax transfer benefits from Proposition 58 from parents; and Proposition 193, from grandparents.  Moreover, what that form of genuine property tax relief really looks like, and exactly what it provides Californians with!

Starting with the ability to avoid property tax reassessment in CA… and moving into the legal right, for the very first time, for beneficiaries and property owners in California to be able to transfer parents property taxes upon inheriting property taxes from inherited property; with the ability to keep parents property taxes, and to keep it at the usual Proposition 13 low 2% capped property tax base… For any property tax transfer from parent to offspring, or as they say “parent to child transfer” or “parent to child exclusion”. 

Exclusion, that is, from current property tax reassessment. The right to avoid property tax reassessment in CA is indeed unique, as no other state even comes close to providing this type of middle class property tax relief. And anyone who attempts to come up with  unrealistic reasons to destroy these tax breaks – claiming it’s only for wealthy Californians, or that it’s really all about seniors intentionally keeping their property off the market for this reason or for that reason – is, frankly, delving into fiction. These claims are either exaggerated, or just simply untrue.  

Faced with higher property taxes, commercial property owners with leases will most  likely be motivated to pass these increased costs on to their tenants.  For example, the owners of  shopping centers or strip-malls, with numerous commercial tenants, would be faced with  increased property taxes if the Proposition 15 / Split-Roll tax passes…   and will, without question, increase the rent of every concern you go into every week to purchase new  goods, as well as products you pretty much cannot do without.

As we’ve already indicated here, when faced with more expensive rents, business tenants will be forced to increase the pricing of their products or services, obviously to offset higher rents… The long and the short of it?  This supposedly “revised” Proposition 15 commercial & industrial property tax (cleverly devised reassessment exemption   or no reassessment exemption!)  will increase the cost of living across the board for all Californians, right down the line – as sure as we breathe oxygen and need clean air.  

>> Click Here: To Continue to Part Seven…

PART FIVE: Coronavirus Crisis in California Motivating State Politicians to Push Unpopular “Split-Roll” Property Tax

Property Taxes In California

Property Taxes In California

As we get close to wrapping up this six part report on the devastating affect the Coronavirus crisis has  had on the California economy, and the housing market throughout the state, let’s clarify one thing – not all the news is negative.  There are positives, or upsides, in view.

California, unlike most other states in America, still provides citizens with property tax relief benefits from Proposition 13 and Proposition  58 with loans to trusts (or loans to irrevocable trusts), the legal right to transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property and inheriting property taxes.

With Proposition 13 and Proposition 58, California gives beneficiaries and property owners the ability to keep parents property taxes no matter how low the base rate is — upon property tax transfer…. with parent to child transfer or, as estate lawyers refer to it, “parent to child exclusion”.  No other state gives citizens property tax breaks anywhere near this type of property tax relief.  So no matter how challenging things get as a result of the current health crisis, Californians can always turn to these property tax benefits for positive options when dealing with inheritance assets such as real property, trust loans, sibling property buyouts and related matters.

Aside from that, there are a series of objective, updated conclusions and assumptions that the California Association of Realtors has recently provided; that they want residential and commercial as well as industrial property owners, and beneficiaries, to be aware of:  

(a) Mortgage rates are expected to remain low, or even go lower, as Coronavirus outbreaks continue nationally, as well as in California.   Therefore, economists anticipate that this will most likely help lower the cost of borrowing money and this is expected to make housing more affordable over the short term, which, if this projection is accurate, will help mitigate some of the uncertainty and negative impact on housing demands in California.

(b) Potential home buyers might be discouraged by increasing uncertainty and fear of oncoming recession. However mortgage rates recently fell to an all-time low of 3.13%. Down from 3.80% at the beginning of the year, representing cost savings over the life of a 30-year loan. These anticipated short-term economic risks are genuine,  however they may be offset by the long-term benefits of lower rates for individual borrowers.

(c) Economic volatility in California may lower demand for luxury housing, as overall household wealth declines; however this volatility may also create unique opportunities for luxury home buyers. With less luxury buyers in the market, there could be opportunities for price discounts for buyers who remain in the high-end market.

(d) Demand from foreign home buyers could be vastly reduced. As domestic buyers generally finance homes in much larger proportions to their foreign counterparts, low rates could be stimulating more domestic demand in California – offsetting the negative impact that typically goes hand-in-hand with foreign buyer demand.

(e) Much of California’s Building Industry materials are purchased from Asian countries such as Japan and China or Malasia. As the Coronavirus crisis disrupts these supply chains, the cost of these materials may increase over the short-term and become limited, thereby increasing cost of construction and reducing the pace of already tightening residential development in 2020 – 2021.

(f) Improved affordability may emerge from lower rates plus fewer new homes being constructed – as the material supply chain is impacted. This may lead to an upward pressure on home prices in California. Unsold inventory is already at low levels, so reduced construction means that is likely to continue – especially if buyers respond to lower rates.

(g) The situation in California remains fluid, and conditions could deteriorate beyond the current severity of the virus outbreak. Yet if   current economic forecasts of modest declines in GDP growth are realized, the effects of lower rates should help offset the effects of a slow economy with increased economic uncertainty so  California could still experience improved home sales and prices this year.

It’s clear that the Coronavirus is having, and will continue to have, a material impact on the California economy, and in particular the housing market through 2020 on into 2021… However, it is also safe to say that this is not necessarily the right time to panic.

The effect of lower rates will help to offset some of these movements in the housing market, and forecasts of economic growth by the California Association of Realtors and other organizations have been revised in a  downward direction, but only by tens of basis points – not hundreds.

The situation in California remains fluid; therefore C.A.R. along with attentive and realistic economists at the Public Policy Institute of California or Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and other responsible organizations, will certainly be closely monitoring all of these property matters and financial issues… and will be providing all of us with accurate data, as updated information continues to develop and surface.   

>> Click Here: To Continue to Part Six…

PART FOUR: Coronavirus Crisis in California Motivating State Politicians to Increase Efforts to Pass “Split-Roll” Property Tax

California Property Taxes and Covid

California Property Taxes and Covid

We’d like to take a closer look here at how The California Association of Realtors (aka, C.A.R.) and others continue to monitor and forecast the affect that the Coronavirus crisis is having specifically on the fluid  2020 California housing market – on the overall demand for middle class housing, and on the adverse affect the crisis is having on the cost and process of new home construction, fixer-uppers, and so on.

Taking into account over 42.1 million people in America now out of work, having signed up for Unemployment benefits – and 3,018,000 working people in California now jobless, as of May 2020, as official government statistics tell us – this obviously has had, and continues to have, a significant affect on estates and inheritance distribution scheduling, as well as the housing market throughout the entire state.

As we all know, or should know, the Coronavirus health crisis, and economic disaster are intertwined, and cannot be separated in order to “fix” one or the other, contrary to what certain political figures currently believe. One cannot “open” the economy and “fix” that – without first resolving the health issues, as infectious disease experts such as Dr. Fauci and others have stated repeatedly over the past four months.

The health crisis has had an an adverse affect on live viewings concerning residential properties, as well as commercial and industrial facilities and buildings that, if the Split-Roll property tax were to pass in November 2020 and be imposed on these property owners, landlords, and even renters, we would see the effective unraveling of 1978 Proposition 13 property tax relief benefits for non residential properties and facilities.

Supposedly not affecting home owners and beneficiaries’ right to transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property taxes from parents; Supposedly not having any affect at all on Californians’ ability to keep parents California property taxes upon property tax transfer; and supposedly no obstruction of parent to child transfer or parent to child exclusion.  Supposedly.  And are we to believe all this, sight unseen? It’s questionable… to say the least.   

If passed, and ones ability keep parents California property taxes is taken away, Californians all know that this new ill advised property tax will cause a substantial increase in rents across the board concerning both business and residential rentals – an outcome that many Californians do not yet seem to be fully aware of.

If the proposed property tax is passed, it’s a given that there will be a massively unpopular increase in prices of goods and services throughout California, strictly due to more expensive rentals imposed on businesses that are renters. Businesses that own their own property will be paying higher property taxes and so will assuredly be charging more for their goods and services.

This is bound to affect retail stores, supermarkets, and properties that house these retailers as well as restaurants, multi-tenant and single-tenant stand-alone buildings; shopping centers, strip-malls, banks, pharmacies… affecting the price of goods at popular stores such as Target, Walmart, Best Buy, movie theatres, Casinos, Resorts and Hotels… Multi-tenant and single-tenant office buildings; Medical office buildings and facilities.

And lest we forget, so critical to the California economy, agricultural and manufacturing facilities.  Plus the numerous research and development facilities that are typically associated with those business categories.

>> Click Here: to continue to Part Five…

 

 

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