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 $224,991* 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.


Parent & Child and/or Grandparent-Grandchild Reassessment Exclusion

Proposition 19, which takes effect on February 16, 2021, changes the criteria for excluding from reassessment a transfer between a Parent and a Child, or from a Grandparent to a Grandchild. The Change in Ownership date determines if Proposition 19 applies, or the prior rules from Proposition 58/193 apply. In cases of inheritances, the Change of Ownership date is the date of death of the transferor; in cases of trusts, the Change in Ownership date is the date the trust became irrevocable; in cases of a sale of the property the Change in ownership date is the recording date. Where the transfer is evidenced by recordation of a deed or other document, the date of recordation shall be rebuttably presumed to be the date of ownership change. This presumption may be rebutted by evidence proving a different date to be the date all parties’ instructions have been met in escrow or the date the agreement of the parties became specifically enforceable.

If your Change in Ownership date is before February 16, 2021, this page provides the Proposition 58/Proposition193 criteria for an exclusion.

If your Change in Ownership date is on or after February 16, 2021, please visit Proposition 19 page for criteria of an exclusion.

The transfer of real property between parents and children or from grandparents to grandchildren may be excluded from reappraisal for property tax purposes. You must file a claim to determine eligibility.


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 the Assessor will be accepting applications for a “Decline in Value” for the 2021-22 tax year is November 1, 2021. If you wish to pursue a “Decline in Value” Reassessment for the 2021-22 tax year please file an Assessment Appeal.

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


Reappraisal Exclusion for Seniors or Severely Disabled Persons
Proposition 19 - Effective April 1, 2021

Proposition 19 changed the law for seniors over 55 years and severely disabled persons to transfer the “taxable value” of their primary residence (original) to a replacement primary residence anywhere in the state with either no or partial property taxable value change.  “Taxable value” means the base year value plus inflationary adjustments; commonly referred to as a factored base year value.

Who qualifies?


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