Avoiding Real Estate Tax Revaluations
by Steven Singer, CPA
As a result of the passage of Proposition 13 almost thirty years ago, real estate
owners currently enjoy paying property taxes based on the property’s purchase price,
value of improvements and an annual increase of 2% over the previous years’ assessed
value. As a result of its passage, owners pay significantly lower property taxes
than if their property was valued under current market conditions.
Property Value Guidelines Under Proposition 13
Most owners believe that unless they sell their property, the assessed value will
not increase over the proscribed limits of Proposition 13. However, a change in
ownership of real estate through gift, transfer, inheritance, or the addition or
removal of an owner, may cause a revaluation for real property tax purposes. There
are many types of exemptions available to the property tax owner that will not increase
their property tax values. For families, partnerships or corporations that own real
property and have changed the owner, through inheritance, transfer or stock ownership
change, ignorance of these exemption can result in thousands of lost dollars paid
for increased property value assessment.
Avoiding Property Tax Reassessment
Failure to take advantage of these exemptions may cause a substantial increase in
your real estate tax bills for the life that you hold the property. Proper planning
in partnership with a firm familiar with available exemption can help you avoid
paying an increased property tax bill. Each owner has different circumstances that
dictate which exemption may be used. The following are the most common kinds of
Types of Exemptions Available
- Transfers between husband and wife
- Transfers between parents and children
- Transfers in jointly held property
- Inherited Property
- Transfers to and from trusts
- Seniors over 55 may keep the same property tax bill as old residence for newly acquired
- Transfers of interests in Corporation and Partnerships owning real property
Greenstein, Rogoff and Olsen & Co, LLP -- Experienced Real Estate Planners
Our firm has substantial experience helping our clients in real property transfers.
We can navigate and explain rules regarding reporting, exemptions and planning for
you, which may result in substantial savings.
If you wish to learn more about these exemptions and how they apply in your situation,
please contact Steven Singer at 510-797-8661 or email him at
For a more detailed listing and explanation of the exemptions available, please
download our 13-page report, How to Avoid or Defer Property Tax Reassessments (PDF, 213k).