How Does the Prop 58’s Parent to Child Exclusion Work?

California Parent to Child Property Tax Exclusion

California Parent to Child Property Tax Exclusion

Importance of Retaining Proposition 58 & Property Tax Relief

Regardless of what critics of Proposition 58 and Prop 13 have to say in Op-Eds and Editorials in California newspapers… No matter how many times opponents of California property tax relief attempt to completely unravel and decimate invaluable property tax breaks protected by Prop 13 and Prop 58, during a Coronavirus pandemic no less – popular support for property tax relief in California holds… For commercial property owners and homeowners alike.

Despite a win here and there by opponents to property tax relief in California… supporters of watering down critical tax breaks such as the “Parent to Child Exclusion” win a battle here or there chiefly as a result of tricky, deceptive marketing; with slippery snake oil tax measures like Proposition 19 in 2020.

We just narrowly missed a statewide disaster, with the proposed property tax measure Proposition 15 almost passing, which would have resulted in egregious property tax hikes, raising taxes on apt building and office building landlords, commercial shopping center owners and store properties being rented out to hundreds of thousands of commercial tenants all across the state.  

This would have forced commercial and business property owners in all 58 counties in California to raise prices on all goods and services – simply to survive.  Moreover, this would have been the beginning of the final unraveling of the 1978 Proposition 13 tax relief package. The door to worse things to come, so to speak, would have been opened.  Fortunately, the door was closed.  At least for now.

The fact is, if Proposition 15 had passed in Nov. of 2020 everything you buy or rent in the state of California, even online, would have gone sky high.  So, clearly, this was a near miss of a total statewide economic melt-down. As it happens, the other deceptive property tax promoted in 2020, sponsored by the CA Legislature and the California Association of Realtors among others, Proposition 19, did in fact pass.  The lesser of two evils, so to speak.

Although not perfect, there is still enough room within the property tax system in California so beneficiaries inheriting property from parents, and homeowners, can still make good use of Prop 13, of Proposition 58 and the “Parent to Child Exclusion”…  Beneficiaries can still take advantage of trust loans and the ability to buyout co-beneficiaries if they wish to sell off their inherited ownership in inherited property… plus lock down a low Proposition 13 property tax base.  So Proposition 13 remains, for the moment, troubled… but intact.

The right to avoid property tax reassessment is crucial for California’s economic well being. It means beneficiaries can still make use of Prop 58 and irrevocable trust loans to buyout co-beneficiaries wanting to sell off inherited property.  It means residents can inherit and keep parents property taxes, and can transfer parents property taxes. Inheriting property taxes from parents at a low base rate is critical for middle class homeowners. Otherwise, selling off inherited property becomes unavoidable and inevitable.

Middle class heirs, new home owners, frequently are not able to pay current market-value property tax rates – in a hyper expensive state… in the midst of an out-of-control pandemic, where nearly 7 million people in this state are out of work or under-employed, or are still working from home at a 50% salary level.  Not to mention the astronomical costs associated with illness and the loss of life, for family members.  Items that healthcare insurance refuses to pay for.

The folks supporting the realtor community, CA Association of Realtors, politicians running the State Legislature, and organizations such as the California NAACP State Conference, California Senior Advocates League, California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, Californians for Disability Rights, and the Congress of California Seniors simply must begin to look at middle class families and working family life more realistically.  You’d think they would be,  however they apparently did not read the fine print, and were hoodwinked into voting for Prop 19 in Nov of 2020.

By simple good luck homeowners and beneficiaries can still make use of Prop 58 and a trust loan process to buyout inherited property from siblings while locking down a low Proposition 13 protected property tax base.  Had those organizations read the fine print, they would have noticed that certain tax relief protections they took for granted were under direct attack – such as the ability for eligible homeowners to transfer their tax assessments within counties and to homes of equal or lesser market value;  To retain the right for folks age 55 and older, or people with disabilities, to keep the same number of times they are able to transfer their tax assessments;  To be able to transfer tax assessments on inherited homes, including inherited properties not used as primary residences, to be transferred from parent-to-child or grandparent-to-grandchild – without any issues or problems.

California still retains Proposition 13 property tax breaks, and  beneficiaries can still make use of Prop 58 and trust loan funding.  However, had Proposition 15 been successful, and had the Proposition 19 people gotten everything they had wanted – loading all these new proposed property taxes on top of regular working people would have had an extremely negative affect on the majority of the population of California.

Based on their recent efforts, how do the folks running the state of California, in the Legislature, think that adding the property taxes they had wanted to add would affect all these working families? Do they even consider how further unraveling property tax relief would affect the California economy as a whole?

Does it ever occur to the politicos in the Legislature that going further in the direction of eliminating property tax breaks, as they would like to do, would literally be a social and financial disaster for the state as a whole?

The Governor and his friends need to give this some serious thought.

 

Does Prop 58 Actually Exclude Transfers of Property from Reassessment?

Crucial Property Tax Breaks: “The Parent to Child Exclusion”

It would be worthwhile for a professional polling organization in California to conduct a objective poll or survey to see whether homeowners in particular are now more appreciative of the gift they were given in 1978 with Proposition 13 as well as Proposition 58 and how that excludes from reassessment transfers of real property between parents and children, used in conjunction with trust lenders such as the Commercial Loan Corp… referred to as a “Parent to Child Exclusion” or “Parent to Child Transfer” as attorneys like to call it. h

We believe it would be clear from such a poll that Californians now  see more clearly that such precious property tax breaks, more or less taken for granted for decades, are now under direct threat… from numerous organizations, such as the CA Association of Realtors (C.A.R.), the Governor of California and the California Legislature itself, supposedly sworn to protect the rights and financial well being of the general public and not of special interest groups such as C.A.R., California Conference Board of the Amalgamated Transit Unions; California Nurses Association; California Professional Firefighters of California; State Federation of Labor; California NAACP State Conference; California Senior Advocates League; California Statewide Law Enforcement Association; Californians for Disability Rights; and the Congress of California Seniors; just to name a few.

Clearly, seniors, to name one of the larger demographic groups, initially bought into the rather deceptive and confusing messaging concocted by promoters of Proposition 19. And never stepped back to open the hood and examine the hidden data-points and details inside the actual tax measure itself… In other words, examining the steak – not the sizzle. The question is, are voters – seniors specifically – now struggling with buyers’ remorse?  A quick survey would answer that question. 

Only in California do you have property tax breaks for middle class property owners such as Proposition 58 and Proposition 13.  Only in California do you have tax benefits like the Prop 58 Exclusion that enables funding to irrevocable trusts; allowing beneficiaries to buyout co-beneficiaries’ shared inherited  property.  Plus, the ability to lock in a low property tax base, in line with Proposition 13, long-term. Ironically, in most other states,  domestic trusts are mainly used for the purpose of allowing affluent families to defer taxes, or to completely avoid paying certain taxes… frequently moving funds held in trust to overseas accounts. 

At any rate, basic California property tax relief still appears to be holding up, despite a few inconveniences imposed by Proposition 19… such as forcing beneficiaries inheriting a  home from a parent to move into that inherited property strictly as a primary residence, within 12-months – or lose the right to avoid property tax reassessment.

The only other option would be to sell the old home… Frequently at a loss. However, the property tax break is basically  the same as when Proposition 58 was passed by a large margin in 1986. A home and up to $1 million in assessed value of additional real property can be excluded from reassessment when transferred between parents and children. 

This keeps the property tax bill the same, with a few inconvenient additions thrown in to keep taxpayers from getting too happy, and we imagine to make realtors happier, if they are selling more properties, as a result of having more properties to sell.  Along with the CA Legislature, who undoubtedly will rake in more cash from property taxes, despite beneficiaries’ ability to take advantage of the Parent Child Exclusion or Parent to Child Exemption – despite some of the tricky new rules & regulations.  Some will not be able to partake of the Prop 58 Exclusion, and that will undoubtedly drive more cash into the state coffers…. which will make the tax assessors happier as well!

If certain beneficiaries inheriting their parents’ home and other property want to sell their shares, they would have to pay much higher property taxes over that average year and a half time-frame, from the date of death to the close of escrow – yet they can avoid owing on average $8,500 in extra property taxes if they are careful to utilize a trust fund loan in conjunction with the Prop 58 “Parent to Child Exclusion”.

These are invaluable options left to California homeowners and commercial property owners; which should be appreciated by residents of this state, as these property tax breaks are basically  unavailable anywhere else in this country. 

We suggest that Californians try to make the most of these gifts… and at the same time, as this is no longer business as usual due to continued efforts to take these property tax relief measures away from middle class property owners — do as much as possible to actively protect these tax breaks. 

As we have now seen, like democracy itself, there is a very thin line between maintaining property tax relief, and losing it forever.

 

Lowering Property Tax Rates for All Homeowners During the Pandemic

Lowering Property Tax Rates

Lowering Property Tax Rates

In California, Governor Gavin Christopher Newsom signed an executive order on May 6th, 2020, to extend the deadline for homeowners who were scheduled to pay their property taxes on April 10th – and to extend business property owners’ deadline of May 7 to complete and file their business property statement. This was supposed to “provide relief for taxpayers suffering financial hardship due to COVID-19”.  Moreover, Governor Newsom referred to his offer to taxpayers as “property tax relief…”

To be clear, we neither support nor oppose the governor of California here at Property Tax Transfer.  But when we hear something this blatantly disingenuous coming from any politician, we simply must question it.  Property tax relief is property tax relief.  Property tax relief is Proposition 13 or Proposition 58… Genuine property tax relief in California is the lessening, or  lowering, or complete elimination of – property taxes.  What Governor Newsom is referring to is not property tax relief… It’s  property tax deferment.  Putting off payment for a few months.  We would appreciate it very much if political leaders in California would not use such an important term as “tax relief” falsely.

Now, it is entirely possible that the Governor actually wanted to forgive payment completely for certain taxpayers. And under the severe conditions imposed on all of us due to the Coronavirus health crisis and resulting job losses, and lower income suffered by millions of workers in the state – the governor could very possibly have been besieged by political colleagues, and talked out of tax relief – into  tax deferment…  However, why not hold out and insist on giving taxpayers a real break through enhanced Proposition 58 and Proposition 13  – or actually forgive most of these property taxes completely for one  year, or at least discount them considerably?  According to state economists, it would not even have amounted to one quarter of the tax cuts the federal government gave to the wealthiest Americans two years ago!

Many economists have asked, why is it that  a few hundred billionaires and multi-millionaires recently received hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax cuts as “tax-welfare” and “corporate-welfare”, so to speak.  Yet, in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, resulting in the worst job loss disaster since the Great Depression – 160 million middle class and working class property owners received nothing even close to the trillion dollar tax cuts afforded to just a handful of mega-wealthy families only a couple of years ago.

Many financial analysts in California have pointed out that the folks in power in this state did not mind shelling out trillions then – yet now on a state level, when middle class taxpayers desperately need an obvious financial boost such as a property tax cut, or property tax break, the best our state government can do is come up with an essentially useless  tax deferment proposal, and no actual tax cut… or tax relief.  These analysts do have a point.

Local government apologists claim that the $140 billion in property taxes that California typically receives every year is urgently needed right now to pay for essential pandemic services – to cover the cost of public health departments in 58 counties; to cover public hospitals; and – to pay for the school system, which is always sort of tacked on, as if they can’t find that money anywhere else. Local California government agencies insist that they stay open only due to funding that is largely based on… property taxes.

State agencies wrote a letter to the Governor, stating, “Delaying such a large infusion of general funds for two to three months would have a serious impact on their ability to provide these services.” They did not even want to go along with the proposal for deferment that the governor suggested! 

Some folks in the press wisely asked – is not keeping millions of Californians (many whom are elderly, and living on a fixed income) from being evicted and completely losing their home not anessential pandemic service”?

Gov. Newson has forced businesses to shut down, and most certainly will again, understandably and with good intentions – sending workers home to try to slow the spread of Covid 19. Admittedly, the pandemic is out of control in California, as it is in many red states. Folks in all these states want their “freedom”… and so it looks like they are therefore free to avoid wearing masks, free to contract Coronavirus, and free to infect others.

The Governor, ignoring this mass appeal for freedom, closed down businesses back in May anyway.  As a result,  many homeowners were not able to pay their property taxes. Companies all across California have closed to comply with Governor Newsom’s shutdown order to slow the spread of the Coronavirus that causes COVID-19 respiratory complications.   Yet if you’re going to close down those companies, hopefully temporarily, and send workers home at half or no pay – wouldn’t it make sense to then give those workers a significant financial break, as in increased property tax breaks… somewhere along the line, somehow? Such as Coronavirus Prop 58 and Proposition 13 property tax relief!

Certainly homeowners and beneficiaries inheriting property from parents can still get a trust loan to buyout co-beneficiaries, and lock down a low property tax base… but reinstating Proposition 58, in terms of the changes Prop 19 has brought about, and adding more teeth to existing property tax breaks that can save Californians significant amounts of cash every month… Would be so relevant during a pandemic, that it’s almost absurd to have to bring it up — when it’s not even in discussion in the Congress or  the Senate.  Not to mention the California Legislature.

So… when the governor calls a two or three month property tax deferment “property tax relief”… it’s no wonder that taxpayers reacted negatively.  Property tax relief refers to lowering the amount to be paid.  Not deferring the payment date!

Governor Newsom told us recently that more than 1.6 million Californians have filed unemployment insurance claims, which the state is struggling to organize and process, to get those checks out. It’s fine to send folks that are out of work unemployment checks – they have paid into that every working week.  But wouldn’t it make even more sense to give them all a property tax break, eliminating Proposition 19 restrictions in light of the Covid outcomes? Preferably forever… But at least as long as the Covid virus rages?

Prop 58 Loans

Prop 58 Loans

Prop 58 Loans and Loans to Equalize Trusts

It has been an interesting piece of California history, concerning people who have been  involved in the struggle for, or against, Proposition 19 in 2009–2010 which was not voted into law… as well as the next version of Proposition 19 in 2020, which was voted into law, just barely.

Moreover, Proposition 19, 2020 was promoted in a rather deceptive and  confusing manner, along with a measure called Proposition 15, which did not pass or, as you know – commercial property owners in California would no longer be able to avoid property tax reassessment.

As you also probably know, Proposition 19, 2020 managed to revise certain property tax breaks within Proposition 58, such as the “Parent to Child Exclusion, or, as tax attorneys like to call it, the “Parent to Child Exemption”.

At any rate, there was far too much focus on the recreational use of marijuana surfacing during the 2009–2010 version of CA Proposition 19. This battle descended into a petty conflict involving decade-old personal bias and social prejudice characterizing marijuana as a “socially destructive, addictive drug” (which it apparently is not, according to pharmacological experts) and placed in the same class as crack cocaine or meth-amphetamine, which are indeed socially and personally destructive drugs.

It does seem that the real purpose of Proposition 19 in the 2010 version, away from the grey area of “recreational use of marijuana” which the debate became mired in – was to try to generate $1.5 billion or more for state violent crime fighting needs.  Due to a great deal of personal bias, this never happened. Which is unfortunate, as the state could have used the extra money for legitimately battling violent crime associated with genuinely harmful drugs; as opposed to rather benign couch-potato pot smoking. 

Everyone who owns property in California regarded Proposition 58, voted into law Nov 4 of 1986, as untouchable, sacrosanct, a political third rail not to be touched. It has served to protect homeowners whose debt is at or exceeds $8,500 in additional property taxes, while settling financial affairs after a parent, who has left property to heirs, has passed away.  Proposition 58 also protects a property tax benefit called a “Parent to Child Exclusion” or Exemption, as we have mentioned… allowing beneficiaries inheriting property to avoid property tax reassessment at current market rates.

Moreover, Proposition 58 allows beneficiaries who wish to keep inherited property in their family to buyout co-beneficiaries’ property shares, through a trust loan, and helps those looking to keep their inherited home also retain a Proposition 13 protected low property tax base that their parents paid.

With the advent of Proposition 19, after a long rather disingenuous marketing campaign, middle class families woke up to realize that some of the benefits they thought were fully protected have been watered down; that you will need to move into the house you inherit from parents within a year, as a primary residence, or lose your Parent-to-Child Exclusion.  So it’s still there… but you have to keep an eye on the calendar to avoid losing the tax break altogether. 

So all of a sudden, after both Prop 15 and Prop 19 were proposed… California property owners began to worry, for the first time in decades, about possibly losing the right to keep parents property taxes for themselves, at a nice low rate…It is unthinkable, as expensive as California is, with income tax and other taxes as high as they are – to even consider that we might ever lose our right to a property tax transfer from parents, at low Prop 13 rates; or transfer of property between siblings.  Fortunately for California, this did not occur.

After Proposition 19 was passed, Californians were extremely relieved to see that they would be still have the right to get a loan to an irrevocable trust, in conjunction with Proposition 58; to be able to buyout property shares from co-beneficiaries, as the same simple transfer of property between siblings – known as “buying out siblings’ property shares” or a “sibling to sibling property transfer”, when co-beneficiaries decide to sell their inherited property to an outside buyer.

It was most likely due to notable professionals who supported property tax relief and Prop 58, that Proposition 19 was prevented from going too far. This can be verified at fact-based property tax  blogs like this one, Property Tax Transfer,  and the new Op-Ed oriented micro-site, Loan To A Trust, specifically addressing issues, opinions and fact-based information on Proposition 13 and Prop 58 at Websites belonging to real estate attorneys supporting CA property tax relief, such as property tax specialists like Michael Wyatt and his team of specialists. And certainly thanks to Prop 58 experts and trust lenders with applications for a trust loan, for transfer of property between siblings… that look something like this: https://cloanc.com/apply-online
 
It goes to show us that with some stiff opposition to unreasonable tax measures looking to squash property tax relief in California – even with millions of dollars from the California Legislature and organizations supporting special interests like realtors, such as the CA Association of Realtors (C.A.R.), conspiring tax measure that  attempt to unravel Proposition 58 and/or Proposition 13 can be stopped.  Perhaps not completely; yet at least to a good degree.

California Proposition 58 & Proposition 19 Lenders

California Proposition 58 and Proposition 19 Lenders

California Proposition 58 and Proposition 19 Lenders

We all know it’s a period of time right now in America of great uncertainty, insecurity and stress… affecting many families, creating enormous tensions, frequently financial…  Even affecting family estates, when a parent passes away; and where ‘will contests’ can be a real problem for families – for example, sibling-A believing she/he should be getting more than sibling-B;  so on and so forth.  We see a lot more of this sort of family conflict lately, over the past few  years, than ever before.

Although we do, thankfully, have solutions in California to prevent such conflicts from descending into disaster. Some of these solutions are tied into getting approved for CA Proposition 58 so heirs can avoid property tax reassessment; as well as classic CA Proposition 13 property tax breaks, for California property owners looking to work around new Proposition 19 property tax obstacles that force homeowners to move into inherited property within one year or lose their “Parent to Child Exclusion”. This can be a stunning loss of property tax relief; unless we meet it head on, and are able to  successfully work around it. 

It seems it’s still possible to take advantage of the property tax transfer benefit from parents, with the ability to keep parents property taxes while avoiding property tax reassessment of course. Despite newly passed obstacles, we can still transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property – bottom line, inheriting parents property taxes at a low base rate the way Proposition 13 was intended!  

Firms like Commercial Loan Corp can help solve estate conflicts between beneficiaries; making it possible for us to buyout siblings with a “sibling to sibling property transfer”, siblings who want to sell their inherited property shares, while allowing us to keep the same mutually inherited property from parents – with a trust loan, at that low base rate.  As long as we get approved for Proposition  58, heirs can avoid property tax reassessment, as the California State Board of Equalization explains.  Or possibly at a niche property tax info blog like this one, Property Tax Transfer

As long as everyone gets the cash they were expecting with a trust loan, and/or end up with a nice low property tax base… everyone ends up in a win-win happy sibling scenario. As long as the ‘will contest’ can be resolved to some degree, and direct communications between siblings doesn’t completely fall part.

These conflicts have often dominated family structures, so much so that some family groups actually splinter apart… with some family members literally leaving California for ever.  Additionally, Southern California home prices are currently at record levels, which doesn’t help. 

Because of hyper expensive home pricing many people are moving from California to nearby states where cheaper real estate can be found, in decent middle class or lower middle class neighborhoods; including Texas, Nevada, Arizona, and in some cases Oregon and Washington, according to Jordan Levine, an economist at the CA Association of Realtors (C.A.R.), who says California residents leave to get out from under general California inflation and an increasingly expensive overall lifestyle that many middle class families simply cannot afford to sustain – in terms of buying a home, feeding a family, maintaining numerous cars and insurance plans, health coverage expenses; schools; you name it. 

It is ironic that C.A.R. (California Association of Realtors) produces a report describing elevated living expenses in the state of California, while they are in fact the chief sponsor supporting the recent Proposition 19 property tax measure, watering down  property tax relief for California home owners… contributing to the higher cost of living in the state… Obstructing the way heirs can avoid property tax reassessment by unraveling the “Parent to Child Exclusion” or Parent-to-Child Exemption, as realtors like to call it.

As a matter of fact, this past August, the median home price in California was up more than 12% from a year earlier, according to CoreLogic/DQNews. Experts say the median home price is being impacted by an increase in luxury homes along with the flexibility of remote working options, which also allows people to move away from places like Los Angeles or San Francisco, to nearby states, in rural areas where families can get more space and amenities for far less cost than in many populated areas in California.

California real estate is often significantly more expensive than other, nearby, states. But then again, so is property in states like New York, or Chicago, in Oregon,  Maryland or Massachusetts. However. At least in California, homeowners and beneficiaries inheriting property have been fortunate enough to have property tax breaks at their disposal since 1978 such as Proposition 13, maintaining a low property tax cap of 1% to 2 % max.

Moreover, since 1986 Proposition 58 has positively impacted property transfers and naturally property tax transfer, avoiding property tax reassessment on inherited property while inheriting property taxes from parents.  This  has actually saved homeowners in California tens of thousands of dollars over the years.  Hundreds of thousands, literally, over decades.

In fact, thanks to Proposition 58, trust loan based estate funding transactions save beneficiaries $6,000 to $8,000 or more on average, per family, every year.  No, it’s not millions… But for a regular middle class family it is definitely significant.   And if homeowners can’t access this type of benefit, it will hurt them financially year after year.

So even if we can buy a house more cheaply in a relatively inexpensive state like Ohio, or Idaho, South Dakota, North Carolina, or Wisconsin, for example… All comparatively less pricey than average property in many areas in California — we end up spending more anyway every year in property taxes in those other states. So we end up spending more every year anyway.

Property tax transfer, known as a parent to child transfer or parent to child exemption, will always be low, at 2% or less – if we continue to be able to avoid property tax reassessment.  With new property tax laws in place, if we miss that 12-month deadline to move into inherited property – then we’re right back in the financial vice known as “current market value”…

And, bless the California politicos who negotiated for us against the Legislature to at least retain enough of Proposition 58 so as long as we do get in under the wire, within that first 12-months after our decedent passes away… with 6-figure trust loan approval, we can, as beneficiaries, buy out co-beneficiaries’ shares of inherited property, which realtors call “sibling to sibling property transfer”, or ”transfer of property between siblings” and end up owning our own property anyway, without the problem of sharing real estate with siblings we’d rather not own property with.

Thankfully, although the timeline has now become more challenging, we can, as California inheritors and homeowners, still take advantage of tax breaks made possible by Proposition 58 and Proposition 13, in concert with an irrevocable trust — and buyout siblings,  so we can take over our own home at a nice low property tax base, more or less equivalent to the tax base enjoyed by our parents. Property tax relief in California may be a bit rocky right now… but it’s still there, if we use it carefully and judiciously.  And keep both eyes on that calendar!

Loans for Irrevocable Trusts

Loans for homes in an irrevocable trust

Loans for homes in an irrevocable trust

According to financial leaders who own firms that provide loans for irrevocable trusts and property tax relief programs, in concert with Proposition 58, Prop 193, and Proposition 13 – typically saving  homeowners over $8,500 in extra taxes every year – the news is that property owners in California should consider accomplishing any property transfers to heirs, that may be planned either as a sale, a gift or an inheritance, or a hybrid – prior to or by Feb. 15, 2021…

Feb. 15th being the final day one can access original Proposition 58 or Prop 193 property tax break benefits – to save money on the initial transfer, plus thousands of dollars on yearly property taxes, as the tax assessor comes around to collect, so to speak.  

To reiterate, as you probably already know, Proposition 58 allows parents in California to transfer property to their children without triggering a property tax reassessment. And as you most likely are aware, you must be the son or daughter of a parent that resides, and owns property, in California – in order to qualify for a “parent to child exclusion” (also referred to as a parent to child exemption) – from reassessment, in terms of the current market value of family owned real property.

Conversely, Proposition 193 allows grandparents to transfer property to their grandchildren, with a “grandparent to grandchild exemption” – without having to worry about current market property tax reassessment.  It’s worth noting that the Proposition 193 exclusion is workable only if the Proposition 58 exemption cannot be used.  In other words, to put it bluntly, parents of the grandchildren in question must be deceased.  That may sound harsh, however it is important to know the facts.

To be safe and secure, experts are telling us right now to be aware of certain changes to the Proposition 58 “parent to child exclusion” tax break – and to remain aware of time as a serious factor. We are told that we should view Feb. 15, 2021 as a formal deadline for completing a family property transfer or intra-family trust for a trust loan – not for paperwork signatures, or a postmark date. With potential county closures mounting up, the completion of this sort of transaction in person could very well continue to be a challenge, and backlogs affecting paperwork sent through the mail could be an issue at some point.  

As of February 16, 2021, family property transfers must be used as a primary residence, to avoid property tax reassessment at current market value; maintaining the invaluable right to avoid property tax reassessment.  Fortunately, Californians will still be able to take advantage of a property tax break as long as they are using inherited property as a primary residence, within a year of the passing of the decedent who is leaving the property to his or her children; typically as an inheritance.    

However, we do need to be aware that it is the next generation of property owners, in the future, that may incur higher property taxes due to new tax laws, or shall we say a revised version of the same   property tax break protected by CA Proposition 58.  The point being, with new changes to property tax law in California, with the right to avoid property tax reassessment being challenged and even partially unraveled, it has  become more important than ever to consult or work with Prop 58 and property tax relief experts that are knowledgeable in all trust loan, Proposition 58 and Proposition 13 matters… who maintain a grasp of property tax law changes, and how those shifts impact beneficiaries and property owners in the state of California.    

Home ownership for middle class Americans has mushroomed and developed at a breakneck pace, as the gold centerpiece that represents The American Dream…. Yet it is property tax breaks, and property tax relief for the middle class in the state of California – that has kept that dream alive.

PART TWO: Parent to Child Exclusion From Reassessment

California Parent to Child Exclusion From Property Tax Reassessment

California Parent to Child Exclusion
From Property Tax Reassessment

And yet, until these changes to property tax relief are repealed, let’s be thankful at least that, going forward, beneficiaries inheriting property directly from parents will still be able to retain Proposition 58’s parent to child exclusion from property tax reassessment (at full or current market value), as long as those direct beneficiaries move into an inherited property as a primary residence, within 12-moinths after the passing of the parent leaving  that property as a gift, a sale, or an inheritance.  

This is a difficult matter to overcome without some careful planning… and this is certainly one component of Prop 19 that was, shall we say, “under-played”, or actually hidden from voters, prior to Nov. 2020.  The prevailing thought is that this will perhaps be repealed in the near future once voters actually experience the reality of these changes to Proposition 58, whether they voted for change or not.

Yet, whether we like it or not, all of these revisions do unravel long-standing tax benefits protected by Proposition 58 concerning the parent to child exclusion as well as trust loan enabled sibling to sibling property transfer, buying out property inherited by siblings; or Proposition 193, with regards to the grandparent to grandchild exemption; passed overwhelmingly by voters in California in Nov. of 1986 and March 1996, respectively, allowing parents to transfer their property tax basis of a primary residence ) to their children; plus up to $1 million of assessed value of other property – namely $1million of the Proposition 13 values on rental properties or other investment properties passed to heirs, not based on fair market value; and effectively allowing far more than $1million of property value to transfer while retaining the lower tax bill.

Even though the California Legislature and California Association of Realtors may be more interested in funding unfunded local government pensions, footing the bill for a few school programs, and getting some more homes into the market for sale – it’s not in question to any reasonable person, without a financial or political axe to grind, that Proposition 13, Proposition 58 and Prop 193 have saved heirs thousands upon thousands of dollars every year, that they would have otherwise been spending needlessly on vastly over-priced property taxes.

Not to mention the truly  excellent sibling to sibling property transfer benefit, buying out inherited sibling property – which is always Proposition 58 & trust loan enabled, to buyout property inherited by co-beneficiaries.  Noted attorney Devin Lucas, one of the most knowledgeable proponents of Prop 13, Prop 58 and 193, and California property tax relief in general, which he summed up brilliantly in Oct. of 2020.  Mr. Lucas offered some real-world examples to illustrate the practical importance of these tax breaks for families, as follows:

“Due to the tremendous benefits of Proposition 13, many long term owners continue to pay property taxes based upon their original purchase price (or price as determined when the proposition was enacted), with annual increases not to exceed two percent, regardless of current value. This can be especially beneficial in areas such as Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Orange County and other coastal communities that have seen incredible growth in property values.

For example, assume a parent’s home in Newport Beach is currently worth $2,500,000. They purchased the home long ago for low a low six-figure amount and due to the enormous benefits of Proposition 13 are paying about $3,500 a year in property taxes. If the child were to purchase a home for $2,500,000 today, that would equate to a $25,000 annual property tax bill (assuming one percent, not including various municipal bonds and other taxes commonly found on property tax bills). Transferring the property tax basis of the parent’s home, and therefore that $3,500 a year bill, just saved this hypothetical child $21,500 a year in property taxes. $21,500 a year, for as long as they own the home.

Principal residences have no cap in value, all other property, such as investment properties or second homes, have a benefit cap of $1 million, in which case a mother / grandmother and father / grandfather can combine their exclusions for a limit of $2 million. If the property is worth more than said caps, then a new blended property tax basis will be configured by the county…”  

Other property tax breaks, Propositions 60 and Prop 90 (allowing homeowners over the age of 55 to sell their home and purchase a replacement home of equal or lesser value and maintain the property tax basis of their original home) cannot be combined with a gift or sale of the original home to a child under Proposition 58, which thankfully still works well in concert with a trust loan, buying out inherited sibling property.

Fortunately, Proposition 193 is also intact, allowing grandparents to transfer their current tax-basis to grandchildren. The wonderful thing, still, is that these property tax benefits can always apply to a gift, sale or hybrid of the two and can amount to enormous property tax savings.  And that is truly  what this is all about.

Parent to Child Transfer

Parent to child real estate transfer

Parent to child real estate transfer

It’s time we ask ourselves – exactly what kind of affect will CA Proposition 19 most likely have on California?

There is a lot more to this than meets the eye. As of June 6, 1978 California has been the one state in America with direct access to a low tax base model, becoming accustomed to the classic Prop 13 property tax cap… working in tandem with the 1986 Proposition 58 protected property tax transfer & parent to child exclusion, making it possible thanks to Proposition 58 for homeowners & commercial property owners  to avoid property tax reassessment at current market  rates.   Basically forever, as long as they retained the property they inherited. 

Proposition 19 has now cut deeply into critical Proposition 58 property tax benefits, closing the door on the parent to child exclusion (i.e., parent to child exemption), if a property owner is not able, for whatever reason, to move into their inherited home within a year after the passing of the parent that has left the house and/or land to his or her heirs. 

Proposition 58, and of course Prop 13 tax relief, as well as trust loans to buyout co-beneficiaries while locking in a low tax base, has been a life saver for so many estate heirs and trust beneficiaries in California. Life everywhere is hard these days for middle class residents, and California is an especially expensive state to live in.  Moreover, inheriting a home from a parent is a major asset, and being able to save thousands of dollars on property taxes during the initial property transfer, and yearly, certainly adds value to the good fortune provided by these property tax breaks. 

A quote from the Los Angeles Times summed it up succinctly on Oct. 19, 2020:

…a qualifying homeowner who owns a home with a taxable value of $200,000 that is worth $600,000 on the market would pay roughly $2,200 in property taxes now. If the homeowner moves to a $700,000 house, the homeowner would pay $3,300 a year in property taxes under Proposition 19. Without the initiative, the same homeowner would pay $7,700 annually…”

Of course they forgot to mention that this property tax “initiative” must be implemented strictly within a year after the decedent passes away.  Or the door to the tax break slams shut. 

Yet, adding absurdity yet again to redundancy, the Los Angeles  Times once again repeats the one, almost comical, example of “families taking advantage” of this sort of property tax relief, using your right to a parent to child transfer exemption…  indicating repeatedly that there are numerous examples of inherited homes and Prop 13 as well as Prop 58 tax breaks being used by all these rich folks as money making outrages , renting our inherited properties on the beach for $16,000+ per month, and never using it as a primary residence. 

Yet it truly is comical that after 40 years we still have not heard  about one other specific family in California engaged in this sort of money-making practice, but “Jeff Bridges and his siblings”.  Now, we’re certainly open to hearing about other families involved in property tax transfer activities like this, inheriting property taxes from parents at a super low base rate every year, just to be a beachfront landlord raking it in every year from other rich people who are addicted to sun and surf. Yet no other family name ever surfaces. 

And again and again we hear about this one family, the  Bridges, taking advantage of Proposition 13 by renting out luxury homes to wealthy residents… once again in the LA Times in Oct. of 2020, 

“The provision has since been dubbed “the Lebowski loophole” after The Times found that “The Big Lebowski” actor Jeff Bridges and his siblings had advertised a beachfront home in Malibu inherited from their parents for nearly $16,000 a month in rent despite an annual property tax bill that’s a fraction of that amount.”

So is the LA Times telling us that they simply cannot come up with one other family that inherits a luxury property like this and then makes a killing every year renting it out?

These property tax benefits are indeed genuine, and actionable for mostly middle class families.  Not rich movie stars like Jeff Bridges.  The parent to child transfer exemption has always been there for middle class home owners and beneficiaries… since 1986, and actually since 1978 with the advent of Howard Jarvis’  Proposition 13.

The ability to avoid property tax reassessment, to exercise your right to a parent to child transfer exemption, even for a modest secondary property from parents, really can be a life saver for middle class residents who are not rich, and need every break they can lay their hands on.  This conspiracy theory that gives Californians the impression that these tax breaks are mainly for wealthy property owners is completely  false.  If anything, you could call it a middle class tax break, period… and you’d be 100% truthful. 

Now all of a sudden that tax break is gone unless you move into your inherited property within one year of having inherited it.  Is this simply to upset the Bridges family?  And if you don’t move into your inherited home as a primary residence within one year you will lose your property tax transfer benefits… you will lose your parent to child transfer exemption.  You won’t be able to transfer parents property taxes, there will be no inheriting property taxes fro parents.  If you miss that 12-month deadline your ability to keep parents property taxes will evaporate completely.  And if you don’t think this is real, guess again. 

Critics of property tax relief in California, proponents of Proposition 19, repeatedly tell us, “Fine! What’s the big deal anyway? You can move into inherited property within a year and then enjoy your right to avoid property tax reassessment forever!  So what’s the problem:”  Well… the problem is that perhaps some beneficiaries  can’t make that move so easily within year one. Perhaps this is not the most realistic tax revision ever voted into law.

Over 650,000 new homeowners, beneficiaries, took advantage of a Proposition 58/Prop 13 tax break over the past ten years;  that gave them the right to maintain their parents’ low property tax base upon inheriting a home from a parent.  How many heirs or beneficiaries inheriting a home this way over the next ten years will lose inherited property because they will not be able to move into their inherited home smoothly, without problems, as a primary residence within 12 months?

No one knows exactly.  However, we can safely say – a lot!  More revenue for the Legislature.  More homes on the market for realtors.  More cash to pay off unfunded state government pensions.  That, we know.

There are a myriad of reasons why Proposition 19 will turn out to be inconvenient and awkward at best – to be, at worst, an unnecessary tax measure that will effectively fray the fabric of the estate and property inheritance system in California. For example:

     Ones’ job may be an extra 60, 90, whatever, hours away on the freeway getting to work from this new inherited home from mom or dad – and then back again after work.

•     Perhaps a spouse also may have significant travel issues, to and from work, regarding distance to and from a new home.

•     School for children can easily be an issue, if an inherited home is in a new school zone.  All familiarity, neighborhood friends,  teacher relationships, social relationships – all gone, if they’re near where you lived previously. This can cause all sorts of issues for children.

•     A beneficiary could be disabled; and prior to moving abruptly within a year, may need to start fixing up an inherited home to accommodate disabilities – generally costing a good deal of money to implement physical changes of this kind, ramps, safety measures in various rooms, etc.

     Many beneficiaries are senior, which would make such an abrupt move very difficult at best – and for many, downright impossible.

     There is also the matter of selling your inherited house, most likely for a good deal less than it’s probably worth due to Covid issues affecting many California properties; over the next decade.

     Lastly, and ironically, all this hub-bub regarding additional presumed mountains of revenue from new Proposition 19 driven property taxes will, if Jon Coupal and the Taxpayers Association are correct, serve mainly to pay for unfunded state government pensions.  Perhaps a small fraction for the schools system… But that’s about it.

So, as we originally indicated – there is a lot more to this issue than meets the eye.

Inherit A Home And Keep The Property Tax Base

Inherit Property and The Property Tax base

Inherit Property and The Property Tax base

The Los Angeles Times, in their inimitable fashion, put it like this on Oct. 19, 2020:   

About 650,000 California homeowners over the last decade received a tax break that allows them to maintain their parents’ low property tax payments when they inherit their homes…

The provision has since been dubbed “the Lebowski loophole” after The Times found that “The Big Lebowski” actor Jeff Bridges and his siblings had advertised a beachfront home in Malibu inherited from their parents for nearly $16,000 a month in rent despite an annual property tax bill that’s a fraction of that amount.

Proposition 19 would eliminate this property tax break for investment homes and commercial properties, meaning that heirs who inherit their parents’ properties would pay taxes based on market value. With some limitations, children who move into homes inherited from their parents would be able to retain the tax break.

Interesting how the Times gives credence to deceptive wording, while confusing the so-called benefits of Proposition 19.  They parse the actual Prop 19 rules and regs, and purpose in fact…twisting the facts to read, “Proposition 19 would eliminate this property tax break for investment homes and commercial properties…”  Prop 19 does not now exist to eliminate investment homes and commercial properties.  It exists to eliminate the parent to child exclusion, or parent to child exemption… unless you change your life  and move into a new inherited home within a year. 

Interesting that The Times chooses to leave out the fact that inherited property  will be sold off at a loss by inheritors who may not be able to move into inherited property within a year… because middle class homeowners, 95% of the folks affected by this new tax law, won’t be able to afford the new property taxes without the parent to child exemption being utilized within that year one after mom or dad dies.

Instead of telling it like it is The Times tells us, “With some limitations, children who move into homes inherited from their parents would be able to retain the tax break.”  Sure, “some limitations” meaning those folks inheriting property must uproot themselves and set up a  new life within 12 months, plus sell the home they are living in, or give up their inherited home at a financial loss. And maybe they can’t just up and leave their current residence, sell it, and move to a new home that was owned by their parents, that perhaps does not suit them and their family. For a number of reasons. 

Proposition 19 doesn’t exist to eliminate greedy real estate investors… It exists to push middle class home owners out of the way, to force them to sell inherited property if they can’t uproot themselves and move into their inherited home within a year while figuring out a way to sell their own home. In a market hampered by Covid, where maybe it’s not so easy to sell that home they’ve been living in.  These are not investment sharks and real estate hustlers, as the Los Angeles Times is falsely hinting at.  These are regular middle class home owners.

This new tax law affecting property tax relief in California was put in place to generate more money for realtors and the CA Legislature.  Directly impacting consumers.  Regular folks, like you and I.  Not to eliminate “property tax breaks for investment homes and commercial properties”.   That is, we’re sorry to say,  a false characterization.

Abruptly, the entire state found out at the last moment, prior to the November vote, that C.A.R. had launched Proposition 19, along with the California Legislature, which passed by a few votes; due mainly to an extremely clever, albeit a bit deceptive, marketing campaign – confusing voters while hiding the fact that Prop 19 exists to kill parent to child exclusion benefits, bit by deceptive bit.  Don’t be fooled, completely unraveling the parent-to-child exemption is their eventual goal.  Not giving residential and commercial property owners the ability to avoid property tax reassessment every year.

This type of tax break frees property owners from chronic stress based on unpredictable property taxation that is typically high for middle class incomes. This form of property tax relief makes life in general more secure and more affordable for middle class and even upper middle class residents. Rich folks we don’t really need to worry about. They’ll be fine either way. This type of tax relief allows beneficiaries to keep parents property taxes, and of course gives them the ability to transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property; avoiding property tax reassessment, keeping their tax base low through CA Proposition 13.

What is truly incredible to many of us is the ability for a beneficiary in California to use Proposition 58 to get a special loan providing cash to co-beneficiaries through an irrevocable trust, for middle class beneficiaries who want to smooth out cash obstacles (often referred to as “equalizing liquidation”) when it comes to conflicts between siblings who want to sell property versus family members who prefer to keep inherited real property… an invaluable property tax benefit.  Which is exactly why it’s so important to understand how and why Prop 19 exists to kill parent to child exclusion benefits at some point in the future… This is the C.A.R. and CA Legislature’s first baby step in that direction.

All states, forever grappling with this Covid crisis, should be heading towards tax breaks for regular middle class people, and not wasting the country’s time with absurd tax law benefiting a few wealthy corporations, a couple of hundred billionaires and multi-millionaires, with huge tax cuts they do not really need; and corporate welfare for immense companies that would be just fine without it. While a couple of hundred million Americans struggle by generally without tax breaks or tax loopholes of any kind to help them put away some extra cash in the bank every year.

In fact, all states need a Proposition 13 and Proposition 58, to help middle class families get by every year. That’s why beneficiaries or heirs in every state who are expecting real property, or are leaving real property to their own heirs, should conduct some careful research on blogs and Websites that focus on inheritance matters, to get more familiar with Proposition 58 and trust loans, on beneficiary issues and CA Proposition 13.  They should study informative niche blogs like this one…  as well as other niche  Websites that cover property taxes in depth… that delve into California Proposition 13, 58 and 193, as well as how trust loans can help beneficiaries.

All resident should learn more about why Prop 19 exists to kill parent to child exclusion benefits, bit by bit; how to keep parents property taxes and how to transfer parents property taxes, inheriting property taxes, or property tax transfer, parent to child transfer and parent to child exclusion – for residential properties of course; however, also for business oriented sites and commercial properties… that take full advantage of Proposition 58 — making use of trust loans to buyout inherited property from siblings, such as simply to get the facts straight on the transfer of property between siblings, how to buy out siblings share of a house; what makes sibling to sibling property transfer work; and how loans to irrevocable trusts help co-beneficiaries get cash while avoiding the necessity to sell their share of the inherited property.

Then, once they get your pitch together, folks in all states can tell their congressional representatives to get moving on passing property tax law for middle class home owners, not just rich folks that live in lovely upscale neighborhoods!

Many of us wonder when it got to this point in this country, when virtually the only way you can have a genuinely comfortable, safe, secure life is if you are fabulously wealthy – and nothing below that or in between.