|Q.||Who collects my property taxes?|
|A.||Property taxes are collected by the county, although they are governed by California State Law. The Tax Collector of Riverside County collects taxes on behalf of the following entities: the county, most of the county's incorporated cities, school districts and all other taxing agencies located in the county, including special districts (e.g., flood control districts, sanitation districts). Upon collection of these taxes by the county, appropriate distribution is made to the various taxing agencies by the County Auditor-Controller|
|Q.||How is the amount of my property taxes determined?|
|A.||In order for the amount of your taxes to be determined, the County Assessor first determines the value of your property. Generally, the assessed value is the cash or market value at the time of purchase. This value increases not more than 2% per year until the property is sold or any new construction is completed, at which time it must be reassessed. For more information on how the assessed value is determined, contact the Assessor's Office at (951) 955-6200 or 1 (800) 746-1544 within the 951 and 760 area codes.
After the Assessor has determined the property value, the Auditor-Controller applies the appropriate tax rates, which include the general tax levy, locally voted special taxes, and any city or district direct assessments. The general tax levy is determined in accordance with State law and is limited to $1 per $100 of assessed value of your property. After applying the tax rates against the assessed value, the Auditor-Controller calculates the total tax amount. Finally, the Tax Collector prepares property tax bills based on the Auditor-Controller's calculations, distributes the bills, and then collects the taxes.
Neither County Board of Supervisors nor the Tax Collector determines the amount of taxes.
|Q.||Do I have any recourse if I disagree with the valuation placed on my property by the Assessor?|
|A.||Yes. You may take the matter up with the Assessor to see if that office will change the valuation. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors has established an Assessment Appeals Board for the purpose of resolving valuation problems. Appeals on regular assessments must be filed each year between July 2 and November 30 (valuation information is available July 1 at the Assessor's regional offices). Appeals on corrected assessments and escaped assessments (assessments that did not take place when they should have) must be filed no later than 60 days from the mailing date on the corrected or escaped tax bill. For supplemental assessments, appeals must be filed within 60 days of the mailing of the Assessor's "Notice of Supplemental Assessment".
If you choose to appeal your assessment, you should still pay your tax installments in full by the appropriate deadlines; otherwise, you may incur penalties while the case is in appeals. If your appeal is granted, a refund will be issued to you. Appeals applications and further information about the appeals process can be obtained by calling (951) 955-1060 or writing to Assessment Appeals Board, P.O. Box 1147, Riverside, CA 92502-1147 or on their web site at https://www.rivcoacr.org/.
|Q.||I have recently purchased property. What are my responsibilities as far as taxes are concerned?|
|A.||You are responsible for any taxes which were not paid as of the time escrow closed. Even though taxes are prorated between the buyer and seller during escrow and proper credit is given to each, the actual taxes may not have been paid to the Tax Collector at that time. You should read your escrow papers and/or title report to determine if any portion of the annual taxes were paid by the previous owner before the close of escrow. The Tax Collector will try, but may not be able, to send you a bill for the remainder of the year in which you acquired the property prior to the tax installment deadlines unless you request it. Annual tax bills, which can be paid in two installments, are mailed once a year by November 1. Since the bill contains payment stubs for both installments, this is the only bill regularly mailed each year by the Tax Collector. Depending on when the ownership change is placed on the tax roll, the annual tax bill could be sent either to the previous owner or directly to you. If there are any remaining unpaid taxes, and if you did not receive an annual tax bill from either the previous owner or the Tax Collector, you should contact the Tax Collector immediately and request one. It is your responsibility to obtain the bill. State law stipulates that failure to receive a bill does not permit the Tax Collector to excuse penalties on late payments.
In addition to annual taxes, you will probably be responsible for paying supplemental property taxes. Any time property is sold or new construction occurs, the property is reassessed. If the property has been reassessed at a higher value, you will receive one supplemental tax bill in addition to the annual bill mentioned above. (For more information on supplemental tax bills, please read our information on Supplemental Property Taxes). If the property has been reassessed at a lower value, you will receive a refund.
|Q.||When are annual tax bills mailed?|
|A.||Annual tax bills must be mailed each year on or before November 1. If you do not receive your annual tax bill by November 1, you should request one. You will need your PIN number, which you can find on a previous year's tax bill, or the address of the property.
You may request a bill via our online payment system or call (951) 955-3900. You may also obtain a bill in person at one of our office locations.
Again, it is your responsibility to obtain your annual tax bill. Failure to receive a bill does not provide a basis for excusing penalties for late payment.
|Q.||When are supplemental tax bills mailed?|
|A.||Supplemental tax bills are mailed throughout the year. For information on delinquency dates of supplemental tax bills, be sure to read our Information on Supplemental Property Taxes.|
|Q.||Will I receive a tax bill if I pay my taxes through an impound account?|
|A.||If your taxes are paid through an impound account (i.e., included with your mortgage payment), your lender will receive your annual tax bill, and you will receive an information copy. Supplemental tax bills, however, are not sent to your lender, but are mailed directly to you. It is your responsibility to contact your lender to determine who will pay the supplemental tax bill.|
|Q.||What does my annual tax bill tell me?|
|A.||The annual tax bill identifies the following:
|Q.||How may I pay my taxes?|
You can pay your secured, unsecured and supplemental property taxes online by echeck, Visa, Mastercard, Discover Card or American Express by visiting us at https://ca-riverside-ttc.publicaccessnow.com/Home.aspx. (Note that a "convenience fee" is added to each authorized transaction paid by credit card. There is no fee for electronic check payments.) Payments can also be made by credit card using our telephone payment system. Call our office at (951) 955-3900 or (877) 748-2689 for those taxpayers residing in the desert area and listen to the option, "Payment By Credit Card". You must use a "touch tone" (NOT "PULSE") telephone to access the payment options.
Another way to pay your taxes is by mail. The envelope containing your tax bill also contains payment stubs for each installment and two preaddressed envelopes which ensure prompt handling of your payment. PLEASE USE THE ENVELOPES PROVIDED. Checks and money orders should be payable to the Tax Collector and should have the PIN number written on them. Your cancelled check or money order stub serves as your best receipt. NEVER SEND CASH. Be sure to mail early so your envelope is postmarked before the delinquent date.
|Q.||When are my annual taxes due?|
|A.||You may pay your annual tax bill in two installments. The first installment is due November 1 and becomes delinquent at 5 p.m. on December 10, and the second installment is due February 1 and becomes delinquent at 5 p.m. on April 10. You may, however, select to pay the entire tax bill when you pay the first installment. If you itemize your income taxes, this may be an advantage to you when calculating the deduction on your Federal and State income taxes.
Supplemental tax bills are mailed throughout the year and, therefore, may not be due or delinquent at the same time as your annual tax bill. Read our information on Supplemental Property Taxes for information on delinquency dates of supplemental tax bills.
|Q.||What happens if I fail to pay my taxes on time?|
|A.||If you do not pay the first installment of your annual tax bill at the Tax Collector's office by 5 p.m. on December 10,* or payment is not postmarked by that time and date, then the taxes become delinquent and a 10% delinquent penalty is added to any unpaid balance. If you fail to pay the second installment at the Tax Collector's office by 5 p.m. on April 10,* or payment is not postmarked by that time and date, it becomes delinquent and a 10% penalty plus an administrative charge of $38.06 is added to the unpaid balance. Payment of the second installment cannot be accepted unless the first installment is paid or is accompanied by payment of the first installment. If you fail to pay either or both installments at the Tax Collector's office by 5 p.m. on June 30,** or payment is not postmarked by that time and date, then the property becomes tax defaulted and additional penalties and costs accrue. Click here for detailed information on Delinquent Property Taxes.
If you fail to pay the installments of your supplemental tax bill by the applicable delinquency dates, the same penalties accrue as for delinquent annual taxes. Read our information on Supplemental Property Taxes.
|Q.||Are exemptions available to property owners that help defray the amount of taxes due?|
|A.||Yes. Through the Assessor's Office you can apply for the homeowner's property tax exemption, veteran's exemption, or church and welfare exemption. The programs allow for assessment exemptions which result in tax savings. For further information, contact the Assessor's Office, Exemptions Division at (951) 955-6200,or 1 (800) 746-1544 within the 951 and 760 area codes.
*If either December 10 or April 10 falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are not delinquent until 5 p.m. the next business day.
**If June 30 falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes must be paid by 5p.m. of the preceding business day.