Property Tax Exemptions
Contact us and speak to a specialist in the Exemptions division if you have questions or for more information. Read the instructions carefully when completing forms. Your situation may keep you from meeting the requirements. Filing deadlines apply to receive the full exemption.
If you own a home and occupy it as your principal place of residence on January 1, you can apply for a Homeowners' Exemption. New property owners will automatically be mailed an exemption application to the address on the Preliminary Change of Ownership Report. Contact our office for form BOE 266 Claim for Homeowners' Property Tax Exemption.
Rentals, vacation, or second homes do not qualify for the exemption. You must immediately notify the Assessor's Office if a property becomes ineligible for a Homeowner's Exemption after it has been granted an exemption. A home can become ineligible if the owner moves out, including to an extended care facility or rest home on a permanent basis. Homeowners' Exemptions are not automatically transferred between properties. If you move, you must file an application for an exemption on the new home.
The Assessor's Office does not process Homestead Declarations. Homestead Declarations are legal forms filed with the Recorder that gives the property owner some protection against creditors. It is not the same as the Homeowners' Exemption. Seek qualified legal advice for information on Homestead Declarations.
Disabled Veterans Exemption
The home of a veteran or unmarried surviving spouse of a veteran who, because of injury or disease incurred in military service, is blind in both eyes, has lost the use of two or more limbs, or is totally disabled may qualify for this exemption. File form BOE 261-G Claim for Disabled Veterans' Property Tax Exemption.
Totally disabled means that the federal Department of Veterans Affairs or the military service from which discharged has rated the disability at 100 percent or has rated the disability compensation at 100 percent by reason of being unable to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation. Fresno County's Veterans Service Office can assist in obtaining information from other agencies.
This exemption is not automatically transferred between properties. If you move, you must file an application for a new exemption.
The church exemption is designed for property that is owned, leased, or rented by a religious organization and used exclusively for religious worship services. For purposes of this exemptions, the term “used exclusively” means that the property is used exclusively for the stated exempt purpose and excluding any other use. However, uses that are incidental to or reasonably necessary to accomplish the organizations exempt purpose are also allowed. Incidental uses must be directly connected with the exempt purpose and advance that purpose. Form BOE 262-AH Church Exemption Claim can be found on the forms page.
In general the church exemption is available for buildings, the land they sit on, and personal property used exclusively for religious worship. It is also available for property the church uses for parking. If there is an elementary school and/or secondary school or childrens day care center being operated at the location, the property is not eligible for the Church Exemption but may qualify for the Religious or Welfare Exemption.
Use of the word “church” is a generic term because the exemption for property used exclusively for religious worship is called the “church exemption.” The word is not meant to refer to any particular religious faith.
Religious organizations that own property and only use it for worship services are allowed a tax exemption. Related activities such as parking, church operated schools, and weddings are allowed under this exemption. File Form BOE 267-S Religious Exemption.
The religious exemption is generally more popular for church-owned property because it only needs to be filed one-time. Once the exemption has been granted, it continues until the property use or owner changes. A penalty may be charged if a church does not notify the Assessor that the exemption should be removed.
The Welfare Exemption is available only to property owned by a religious, charitable, hospital, or scientific organization and used exclusively for religious, charitable, hospital, or scientific purposes.
An organization seeking this exemption will file a claim for an Organizational Clearance Certificate with the State Board of Equalization. The Board then reviews the claim and will issue a certificate if the filer meets the requirements. The Assessor will not approve a property tax exemption claim until a valid Organizational Clearance Certificate has been issued. The Board will determine whether an organization is eligible for the exemption and the Assessor will determine whether the use of the property is eligible.
To receive the full exemption, a claim must be filed each year on or before February 15. A separate claim must be completed and filed for each property for which exemption is sought.
Low-Income Housing Exemption
Property owned by organizations that provide housing for lower income households can qualify for a tax exemption.
At least one of the following must be true to qualify:
- The property is financed with tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds, general obligation bonds, grants, or loans backed by the government. This can be from federal, state, or local agencies. This does not include federal rental assistance through tenant rent-subsidy vouchers under section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937
- The owner eligible for and receives state low-income housing tax credits or federal low-income housing tax credits.
- 90 percent or more of the occupants of the property are lower income households.