PART THREE: Surviving CA Proposition 19 & Proposition 15 ~ Intended and Unintended Consequences, Losing Parent to Child Exemption

California Proposition 19 2020

California Proposition 19 2020


Well respected newspapers and noted organizations have weighed in on this issue, such as the California Assessors Association: Representing the state’s 58 county assessors, they are urging a “NO” vote on Proposition 15. The CAA insists it does not believe the hundreds of new, specially trained staff will be ready or able to fulfill expectations of all duties within the 3-year run-up to full statewide execution of Proposition 15.

The California Assessors Association also has very little confidence in the state government’s ability to manage huge changes to the tax system that Proposition 15 would bring; and very little faith in the state’s ability to organize and pay for the costs of implementation.  The CAA has also expressed great doubt in the state’s ability to yield anything near the billions of dollars anticipated by the California State Legislature, and their friends at C.A.R. who helped spearhead the tax measure to unravel Proposition 58, a highly destructive tax measure they’re calling Proposition 19.

Other parties in California have weighed in on these complicated issues, and we’d like to share some of those views with you here:

The Desert Sun Editorial Board: “…we see this [Proposition 15] as a dangerous move right now as COVID-19 continues to wreck state and local government finances and remains a deep threat to any economic revival. Already, many businesses have shuttered their commercial spaces due to health orders. Many of those have already announced the financial damage they’ve suffered means they’re closed for good. Raising taxes now is the last thing struggling businesses and our millions of currently unemployed or underemployed workers need, and likely will send many that still hope for a financial future to seek greener pastures in other states.

What seems clear is that the main backers of this measure — Realtors and the firefighters union — stand to gain greatly in the forms of expected increased home sales and related sales commissions and the measure’s dedication of some of the state’s ultimate new tax proceeds specifically to firefighting efforts.”

Tahoe Daily Tribune: “The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) estimates that the repeal of the inter-generational transfer protections will result in tens of thousands of California families getting hit with higher property taxes every year. The LAO acknowledges that Prop. 19 imposes an additional tax burden in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The other part of Prop. 19 is intended to make voters forget about the huge tax increase by expanding the ability for older homeowners to move to a replacement home and transfer their base-year property tax assessment from their previous home to the new property. While this “portability” expansion has some merit, voters just rejected a virtually identical provision in 2018, when it was Proposition 5.”

Reason.org: “Overall, Proposition 19 is a complex vehicle for squeezing a relatively small amount of incremental revenue from property taxpayers. California property taxes raise an enormous amount of revenue in an inequitable manner as the state pursues ways of increasing property tax revenue from those properties not protected by voter initiatives.”

Marinij.com: (Bay Area News Group editorial board) “California’s property tax system is a mess. Proposition 15, the “split roll” measure on the Nov. 3 ballot, attempts to fix it. Unfortunately, it only makes matters worse. There are serious inequities in California’s property tax system that should be addressed. But Prop. 15 misses the mark. Vote no.”

Laist.com: “Prop 15 would burden commercial property renters, consumers and business owners alike, opponents say. Even though developers who own millions in property would stand to directly lose the most from this proposition, they could very well pass on the tax burden by raising rents for tenants. And although agricultural land is exempt from new tax hikes, farm fixtures — such as barns, dairies, fruit trees and more — are not exempt, which agricultural advocates say leaves farmers vulnerable.”

Metnews.com: “The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) estimated that the repeal (from Proposition 19) of the intergenerational transfer protections guaranteed by Proposition 58 and Prop 193 would, if passed, cause somewhere between 40,000 to 60,000 families in California to be crippled economically by egregiously higher yearly property taxes. Obviously, most middle class families would be forced, sadly, to immediately sell an inherited home left to them by a surviving parent.”

NAACP: “Proposition 15 will push our prices up, and our businesses out! This property tax increase will end up on us…”

abc7.com: “The massive tax increase will prompt companies to flee California at a time when businesses are already struggling…”

These media outlets are expressing sensible, well thought out sentiments regarding the advent of proposed measures Proposition 15 and Proposition 19. Both seek to unravel  invaluable property tax relief benefits unique to California, contained in Proposition 13 and Proposition 58; not mirrored anywhere else in America. The question is — how will California survive the loss of the parent to child exemption protecting parent to child property transfer taxes; losing protections for heirs inheriting property taxes in general… plus a tax hike on business and commercial property owners… effectively raising the cost of all goods and services in the entire state of California, in all 58 counties.  

The timing of these proposed tax measures, increasing taxes on California residents in the midst of a national pandemic, no longer allowing tax breaks for heirs inheriting property taxes…  does seem rather irresponsible and poorly considered, as Prop 15’s tax hike on commercial property owners and landlords would in effect raise the cost of everything in this state, due to higher rents imposed on stores and businesses everywhere in the state, not to mention apartments for folks who rents as opposed to owning property in California. 

So everyone loses.  Everyone, that is, except for the realtor community…. and the firefighter’s union, who is important, no doubt about it.  However, not so important that everyone else in the state of California should be behind the eight ball financially when everything — all goods and services from A to Z, so we mean when everything shoots up in price, 20%, 25%, 30% or more, depending. However, we’ll see what the vote brings in November. 

Perhaps Maybe California will get lucky, Prop 15 and 19 will be defeated, and heirs inheriting property taxes will still be able to avoid property tax reassessment.  And all this noise will be blown away like leaves in the wind.

PART TWO: Surviving CA Proposition 19 – Losing The Parent to Child Exemption

Surviving California Prop 19

California Prop 19


Let’s be clear.  Critics of property tax relief in California are typically well educated, bright, and articulate… and write awfully convincing Op-Ed’s in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times. 

Yet, for whatever reason, these critics of property tax relief never produce  examples of how or why Proposition 13 is “so unfair” – with the exception of shifting sand anecdotal evidence, without genuine case study data or specific historical events to point to.  Other than the rather deceptive Lloyd and Jeff Bridges family tale of their one beach- front property used as a secondary property to rent out to wealthy tenants.

In fact it’s almost laughable that the Bridges family story is approved by supposedly responsible editors repeatedly, in numerous high-profile California newspapers. Always without backup evidence or case study data pointing to other examples of this type of usage of Proposition 13 and Proposition 58, by other wealthy or middle class Californians.  They can’t seem to come up with a credible follow up example, or any example, of this  sort of rental activity. 

Yet critics of property tax relief did manage to come up with Proposition 19, to take down the parent to child exclusion, associated with the parent to child transfer, that is the foundation of property tax relief for home owners in this state.  Those same home owners, and  beneficiaries inheriting property from parents are wondering how this Proposition 19 measure will affect Proposition 58, in terms of establishing a low property tax base, as well as getting a trust loan to buyout siblings inheriting the same property. 

There is a great deal of anxiety in California in terms of how Proposition 58 will stand if Proposition 19  is voted into law, with respect to locking down a long-term, even lifetime, low property tax base when receiving an intra-family trust loan associated with the transfer of property between siblings or  sibling to sibling property transfer.  If Proposition 19 does pass, most current beneficiaries want to know if getting a trust loan to buyout siblings will be the same, in terms of process; or will the process be different, more difficult, or perhaps even easier.  Buying out a siblings’ share of a house, getting a trust loan to buyout siblings post Proposition 19, is an important issue for most residents of  California.

Meanwhile, despite these nuts and bolts details, we’re still forced to listen to these relentless critics of Proposition 13 and Proposition 58, dispensing non fact-based anecdotal narratives to convince the public how “one-sided” and “massively abused” property tax relief is in California. How it’s only for rich, mainly elderly, home owners.  Or for the rich and famous… like the Bridges. 

Yet we still don’t hear any actual names attached to this supposed “long list of abusers of Proposition 13” to back up these claims behind the push to pass Proposition 19.     Obviously, this is a false representation of a proven property tax relief system that benefits more middle class home owners than anyone else in California.  Which makes perfect sense, if you think about it, as there are so many more middle class people in California, and elsewhere, than rich people! 

Although lately, to backup Proposition 15, to take away property tax breaks from business and commercial property owners, we are occasionally hearing about corporations, not people, always trotted out as, “…companies like Chevron and Disneyland…” (never mentioning any other company) “…that sit on valuable property, generating a huge profit every year – yet never paying taxes on their land in terms of present day reassessment”.  OK, we’re willing to listen.  But never with any actual figures or data to backup the claims. 

So even if a few corporations take advantage of Prop 13 tax relief measures that have  been in place in all 58 counties in  California since 1978, millions of middle class home owners will see their rents sky-rocket if Prop 15 passes… and commercial property owners, and apt. landlords just getting by, as well as family-run industrial businesses that own modest income bearing facilities – all use Proposition 13 fairly and properly, and benefit greatly from it.  Just as it should be.  So we’re going to punish these few perhaps greedy companies by crippling all business property owners in California? 

Without these tax breaks from Proposition 13 and Prop 58, without people like Howard Jarvis and Jon Coupal; Kerry Smith and Michael Wyatt who have fought for these tax breaks for California residential and business property owners…  very few middle class Californians, which is most of the state, would have been able to keep inherited property.  Landlords have been able to keep rents at moderately reasonable rates due to low commercial property taxes. So on and so forth. And this business about schools desperately needing funding – is yet again another half-truth.

Sure, some of the revenue from new, accelerated property taxes will go to schools… but nowhere near what is being promised, or rather vaguely indicated. The lion’s share we are told would go to pay for unfunded state-govt. pensions. And probably other state government purposes such as pay raises, generous benefits and vacations, and so on… plus special interest public works and building projects, no doubt.  And schools will pick up what’s left on the table after all that. 

Intended… and unintended… consequences.

>> Click Here to go to Part Three…

PART ONE: Surviving CA Proposition 19

California Proposition 19 2020 Election

California Proposition 19 2020 Election


Californians are anxiously waiting to see if voters pass or sink CA Proposition 15, affecting business and commercial property owners by specifically removing their ability to legally avoid property tax reassessment; as well as  Proposition 19, which is designed to unravel the “parent to child exemption” or “parent to child exclusion” (from current, reassessed property tax rates).

In fact Californians are wondering right now, if Proposition 19 passes, how much Proposition 58 will be affected; and how they will be able to get a trust loan to buyout siblings who wish to sell mutually inherited property.  Or exactly how they will be able to work with Proposition 58 to lock in a low property tax base rate, if Prop 19 passes. Companies like Michael Wyatt Consulting or Lucas Real Estate, or Commercial Loan Corp, are fielding questions like this as we speak. 

If Prop 19 passes, California can say goodby to any property tax transfer activity from one family member to another… there will be no way to transfer parents property taxes at a nice low base rate, in fact inheriting property taxes from parents to avoid property tax reassessment or the right to keep parents property taxes with a parent to child exemption will, sadly, be a thing of the past. 

If voted into law, as the LAO (Legislative Analyst’s Office) tells us, these  property tax measures will, in effect, repeal popular inter-generational transfer protections guaranteed by Proposition 58’s parent-to-child exclusion and Proposition 193 (grandparent to grandchild exemption) property transfer tax breaks – upending tax relief protections that Californians have depended on for decades.

Proposition 15 removes property tax breaks for landlords and other business  property owners – which, if voted into law, would not only directly affect business and commercial property owners, impacting stores, gas stations, supermarkets, etc., frequented every day by consumers – but will impact everyone in California.  Not only for countless people renting units in apartment buildings all across the state, but also for tenants renting commercial properties and offices in commercial buildings will be paying much higher property tax, and therefore will be forced to raise their prices.  Hence,  the cost of goods and services will go up in all 58 counties in the state. If Prop 15 passes, prepare to pay significantly higher prices, basically for everything – for rent, gas, food, air & ground travel, clothes, electronics, movies and computer entertainment, cel. phones…  you name it!

This leaves us at roughly 50,000 to 60,000 families in California that will be victimized economically by unreasonably high property taxes… in the midst of a Covid-19 pandemic no less.  Obviously, many middle class families will  be unable to keep inherited property due to property tax hikes… and, among other difficulties, will be generally unable to afford decent health coverage that includes preexisting conditions… unless they’re over 65 and have access to Medicare – unless the ACA (“Obamacare”) has been watered down, as Republicans have repeatedly promised to do… and this is on the record.  So people in California are nervous; as are folks nation-wide.   

On top of this crisis for California home owners – if Proposition 15 passes, tenants that don’t  own but pay rent will suffer from increased rents – as Prop 15 will unravel commercial and business property owners’ ability to avoid property tax reassessment at current rates. Business property owners and landlords will no longer be able to retain a low property tax base-rate, such as  home owners supposedly will continue to do – although most of us are not entirely convinced about that. Once the door has been opened, so to speak, do we really believe that the powers that be in California, the Legislature, and their realtor colleagues, are simply going to stop there? 

As far as Proposition 19 is concerned, most middle class beneficiaries and  families inheriting real property from their parents would be forced to sell that  property within the first year, as Prop 19 dictates, plus most beneficiaries or heirs will be unable to cover increased transfer costs and, in particular, yearly hiked up property taxes.  Hence, they are doubly motivated to sell inherited property many would much prefer to keep. 

Opponents of CA Proposition 13 repeatedly offer up the tired tale about the Bridges family using Prop 13 to transfer a pricey luxury beachfront property, paying little tax, and renting out for big bucks.  It’s interesting that this story  is literally the only narrative we hear about that condemns Proposition 13 and Proposition 58 by real-life example. So they raised $58 Million, in part, on this much repeated tale, and other anecdotal non fact-based evidence, to destroy property tax relief in California.

>> Click Here for Part Two…

The Trust Loan Proposition 58 Process – Interview with Account Rep Abe Ordaz, Rising Star at Commercial Loan Corp.

California Proposition 58 Parent to Child Property Tax Transfer Trust Loan Specialist

California Proposition 58 Parent to Child Property Tax Transfer Trust Loan Specialist

On Oct. 2nd, 2020, Property Tax Transfer Trusts sat down with Account Representative Abe Ordaz from Commercial Loan Corp, in Newport Beach, California; to discuss his routine with trust and estate attorneys, trust administrator and beneficiaries, explaining the trust loan / Proposition 58 funding process…

Property Tax Transfer:  Abe, thank you so much for sitting down with me today to chat about your work at Commercial Loan Corp and how you assist clients when it comes to using California Proposition 58 to transfer a parents low property tax base to a child who is inheriting a home.

Abraham Ordaz: Sure, my pleasure.

Property Tax Transfer:  Abe, who do you generally speak to when it comes to taking calls from prospects?

Abraham Ordaz: I speak to a variety of involved parties when it comes to helping a client transfer a parents low Prop 13 property tax base from a parent to a child. Often times the conversation begins with a Trust Administrator or a Trust Beneficiary who is interested in using Prop 58 to transfer a property tax base from a parent to a child on an inherited property. After that initial conversation it is common for me to also have a conversation with the Trust & Estate Attorney who is assisting them with the distribution of the trust or estate.

On occasion beneficiaries do not have an attorney who is currently working with them and I am able to refer them to one in their area who is familiar with the Proposition 58 Parent to Child Property Tax Transfer process and who can help them secure their property tax transfer benefit. At Commercial Loan Corporation we have helped hundreds of clients by providing them with a loan to an irrevocable trust so that an equal distribution can be made and they can meet the requirements set by the California Board of Equalization to qualify for the Proposition 58 property tax transfer benefit.

Property Tax Transfer: Are your clients and attorneys usually familiar with trust loans, and how they work with the California Proposition 58 process?

Abraham Ordaz: Many of the Attorneys that I work with are familiar with the Proposition 58 process, as well as Proposition 13 and the need for a trust loan to equalize a distribution when a trust or estate does not have sufficient liquid assets. In fact, many of my clients are referred to me by their trust and estate Attorney.

We are one of the only California Trust and Estate Lenders who will lend directly to an Irrevocable Trust with no personal guarantee from the acquiring beneficiary and we are the only California lender that I am aware of that specializes in these types of transactions, specifically to help our clients secure every single Proposition 58 property tax benefit.

That’s the reason I get so many Attorney referrals.  Attorneys want to make sure their clients are in good hands, when it comes to something this important – and that the process is done 100% correctly so that the client will qualify for the Proposition 58 parent to child exclusion, or the parent to child exemption, from property tax reassessment.  Attorneys are well aware that we typically help clients save more than $6,000 per year in property taxes on an inherited home.  Without exception, that’s the bottom line critical issue for them!

Property Tax Transfer: Abe, that is fantastic that you have developed such great relationships with Trust & Estate Attorneys.  Do you usually provide them with an estimate on how much you would be able to save their clients when it comes to property taxes?

Abraham Ordaz: Yes, we provide a free cost benefit analysis for each client. It tells them exactly how much we expect their client to save in property taxes each year as opposed to if their property were to be reassessed. At that time we also provide them with a free quote for the trust loan so that we can make sure it is in their best interest. In most cases it is of great benefit and we generally save our clients over $6,000 per year in property taxes by helping them keep a parents low Prop 13 property tax base.

Property Tax Transfer:  That’s significant. Do you get into the various particulars with Proposition 58, and  how that works in concert with loans to trusts?

Abraham Ordaz: Yes, we break everything down into very simple terms so that the Proposition 58 property tax transfer and trust loan process are all easy to understand. That is one of the reasons why so many Trust and Estate Attorneys who deal with California Proposition 58 love to work with us. 

Property Tax Transfer:  Got it. Abe, how do you help your clients who are interested in keeping a parents low property tax base on an inherited home understand how the trust loan and Proposition 58 parent to child transfer benefits work, keeping the initial inheritance property transfer taxes down, buying out siblings’ property ownership shares, and so on?  Yet keeping it very simple.

Abraham Ordaz: I start with the basics of Proposition 58 and the California Board of Equalization requirements for a Parent to Child Property Tax Transfer. I then help them determine how much their trust or estate will need in order to make an equal distribution. After that we review all the numbers together and I answer any questions they may have on the process. Next we get their Attorney involved so that they can handle all of the legal aspects of the Proposition 58 parent to child exclusion and provide us with all of the required information for the trust or estate.

Lastly, we provide them with the funds needed so that an equal distribution can be made in order for them to meet that qualification requirement for Prop 58. The Attorney or Property Tax Consultant then helps them submit their property tax transfer request to the County Assessors office so that they can secure their parents low property tax base.  

Property Tax Transfer:  At the end of the day it’s really just all about saving money on property taxes for clients, isn’t it. It’s a complex process, but the motivations remains very simple, doesn’t it?

Abraham Ordaz: Yes, bottom line, it’s a simple matter for these clients and lawyers.  It’s all about how we can help clients save money on property taxes to keep their family home. I help explain all this clearly to the heirs that want to keep their inherited property. 

Property Tax Transfer: Yes I see.  Abe, how do you explain why the trust is so crucial to this entire process?

Abraham Ordaz: Typically when attorneys ask about the trust loan process – I tell them our loan goes directly to the trust… and follows the property.  Conventional lenders want to take to take the property out of the trust – but once the property is taken out of the trust, this often triggers a reassessment…  So if you took a cash loan from a traditional bank for example – you’d end up putting the property in the beneficiary’s name and thus get reassessed at current property value. Which in most cases raises the property tax rate significantly. If  the property was purchased say 20 years ago, the property tax would be significantly higher today. 

Property Tax Transfer:  Got it.  Abe, do you get into the customer service aspect at all?  I understand that a very special kind of customer service is critical to this process, to be successful, so to speak, with each family.  

Abraham Ordaz: Yes… Customer service is the most important aspect to our business and we try to be our best version of ourselves for every client regardless of the size of the loan. Everyone is treated equally and respectfully.  Everyone that joins the Commercial Loan Corp family, as it were, is a V.I.P. client!

Property Tax Transfer: That’s very interesting and a rare thing to find these days in this business climate. Well, we want to thank you so much for sitting and chatting with us today.  We really appreciate it.

Abraham OrdazIt’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me.