Tax Saving Programs


Builder’s Exclusion (for single-family residential properties only)

Law for Builders of Five or More Single-Family Residences in a Subdivision: (effective Jan. 1, 2006, Revenue & Taxation Code 75.12 (1)(B))

Builders will be automatically excluded from a supplemental assessment on new constructions if the property they are building will be offered for sale, and:


Calamity Relief Filing

If a calamity such as fire, earthquake or flood damages or destroys your property, you may be eligible for property tax relief, provided the loss exceeds $10,000. In such cases, the San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder’s Office, Assessor Division will reappraise the property to reflect its damaged condition. If the property is rebuilt in a like or similar manner to the original, the property will retain its previous value for tax purposes.


To qualify for property tax relief, you must file a calamity claim form with the San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder’s Office, Assessor Division within one year from the date the property was damaged or destroyed.


Disabled Veterans’ Exemption

Disabled veterans of military service may be eligible for up to a $209,156* property tax exemption. Qualifying veterans must have been disabled due to a service-related injury or disease while in the armed forces, and must be a resident of California as of January 1 of the year in which they are applying for an exemption.


Homeowners’ Exemption

If you own a home and occupy it as your principal place of residence on January 1, you may apply for an exemption of $7,000 from the home’s assessed value, which reduces your property tax bill. There is no charge for filing for the Homeowner Exemption. New property owners will automatically receive an exemption application in the mail. Homeowner Exemption may also apply to a supplemental assessment if the property was not previously receiving a Homeowner Exemption on the annual Assessment Roll.


Institutional Exemptions

Property used exclusively for a church, college, cemetery, museum, school or library may qualify for an exemption that will reduce the owner’s property tax liability. Properties owned and used exclusively by a non-profit religious, charitable, scientific, or hospital corporation may also be eligible.

For more information, click Property Tax Exemptions for Religious Organizations.


Property Tax Assistance for Senior Citizens, Blind or Disabled Persons

Important Notice

The 2009/2010 state budget suspended funding for the Gonsalves-Deukmejian-Petris Senior Citizens Property Tax Assistance Law, which provided direct cash assistance.
The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) will not be issuing Homeowner and Renter Assistance (HRA) Program instruction booklets and will no longer accept HRA claims. 

Property Tax Postponement for Senior Citizens, Blind or Disabled Persons

The State Controller’s Property Tax Postponement Program (PTP) returned in 2016 after being suspended by the Legislature in 2009.

The program allows homeowners who are seniors, are blind or have a disability to defer current-year property taxes on their principal residence if they meet certain criteria including 40 percent equity in the home and an annual household income of $35,500 or less. 

A postponement of property taxes is a deferment of current year property taxes that must eventually be repaid. Repayment is secured by a lien against the property. 


Property Tax Relief
Decline in Market Value (Proposition 8)

The last day to request for an informal Decline in Value review was October 31, 2020. The Assessor Division is no longer accepting new applications for the 2020-21 tax year.
We will resume accepting requests for 2021-22 tax year in March 2021.

Generally, property is assessed at the lesser of two values: 


Proposition 19

In November 2020, California voters passed Proposition 19, which makes changes to property tax benefits for families, seniors, severely disabled persons, and victims of natural disaster in our state. This page provides an overview of the changes that Proposition 19 makes to some of the Property Tax benefits.


Reappraisal Exclusion for Seniors or Disabled
Propositions 60, 90, 110

Disabled property owners or persons over age 55 can sell their home and buy a replacement residence of equal or lesser value and transfer the tax value of the home sold to the new home one time only. The effect of this is to avoid a reappraisal of the value of the new home up to the purchase price. Time limits do apply.

To learn how to qualify, read the following basic questions and answers.


Senior Exemptions for Special School Parcel Taxes

Senior Homeowners (65+) must contact the School District directly to request an application and sign up for the exemption.

Some school districts require that exemption requests be made every year. Please check with your school district to verify whether you need to reapply on an annual basis.


Williamson Act Land Conservation Program

Agricultural Preserve/Williamson Act Questionnaire (January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020)

In accordance with the Williamson Act, the Assessor is required by law to appraise land restricted by a land conservation contract on the basis of current economic rent. In order to appraise land by this method, it is necessary for the Assessor to request current data on income, rentals, expenses and production for the particular type of operation involved.


Other Exemption

Please contact the Assessor Division for information regarding the following exemptions:

  • Aircraft for Display
  • Exhibition
  • Historical Aircraft
  • Vessel
  • Work of Art