California has some of the highest-priced real estate in the country, with property tax bills to match. The state provides generous property tax relief programs to senior citizens and disabled veterans. Any taxpayer can request an immediate reappraisal if his home has been severely damaged, and most solar systems are exempt from property tax.
California has a variety of property tax relief programs for senior citizens. California's property tax assistance program provides cash reimbursements for low-income seniors and disabled and blind taxpayers. A postponement option allows the state to pay a low-income senior's property tax until he moves, sells the property or dies. Anyone over 55 in California can take advantage of the replacement housing program, which allows the taxpayer to transfer the assessed value of his old home when he upgrades to a new one. Senior citizens can apply for any of these programs by contacting their county tax assessor.
Disabled veterans in California can apply for a $100,000 exemption on property taxes for their home. This means that the taxpayer won't have to pay tax on the first $100,000 of the assessed value of the home. To qualify, the property must be the principle place of residence for the disabled veteran or for surviving spouses that haven't remarried. Taxpayers need file only once to get the $100,000 exemption for life. However, a disabled veteran can also apply on an annual basis for a $150,000 exemption if he earns less than $40,000 a year.
If your home is damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster, you can request an immediate reappraisal of your property to reflect its damaged condition. You must have an estimated loss in value of your property of at least $10,000 to qualify for the immediate reappraisal. To request the reappraisal, contact your county tax assessor. The amount of time you have to file the claim varies by county, and every county except Fresno County has a disaster relief ordinance.
Along with providing rebates for solar system installation, the state of California provides you property tax relief on your new construction. If adding a solar system increases the value of your home, California will exclude it from property tax considerations until the property changes ownership. Solar air conditioning, heating, PV systems and solar electricity systems all qualify for the exclusion. Solar pool and hot tub heaters are not eligible for the property tax break.