Many times people will ask me, “What’s the property tax going to be on that house?” or something along those lines, so in this article I will discuss Santa Cruz Property Tax Rates – which is not the same for every property.
In California, thanks to Proposition 13, the property tax rate always starts out at 1% of the assessed value. When a property is purchased, it is automatically re-assessed to “fair market value” at the time of the purchase, which is usually the purchase price. So, for example, if you purchase a $500,000 property, the assessed value will be $500,000 and the property tax will be 1% of that, or $5,000 per year.
Were it only that simple! The base Santa Cruz property tax rate is only 1%, however local governments can add on to that a bit. I usually use a figure of about 1.15%. But can you know the property tax rate exactly? In Santa Cruz County, the answer is, happily, yes.
First, you will need to know the Assessor’s Parcel Number for the property you are buying. Thankfully, there is now an easy way for anyone to find out the Assessor’s Parcel Number for any property in the county. Simply point your web browser to:http://sccounty01.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/ASR/
Type in the Property Address, and hit the Search button. You don’t need to enter city, state, or zip – you just need to enter the address and street, e.g. “123 Main”. If a match is found, you will see at least one parcel listed. Sometimes you may see more than one, because there may be a 123 Main Street and a 123 Main Court, for example.
The parcel number is always in this format – 123-456-78. Sometimes you may see the third set of numbers with a leading “0” – for example, the MLS always lists Santa Cruz parcels with this leading 0 in the third set of numbers. You must strip this leading 0 off.
Once you know the parcel number, head over to the Tax Collector’s Secured Property Tax Bill page:http://ttc.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/taxbills/and enter in the parcel number you have, and hit the Submit button. You should now be shown a page that shows how much property tax is due on this parcel. However, it does not show the Santa Cruz property tax rate. There is a link, though, that will break down the rate for you. I have circled the link in red on the picture below:
When you click on the “See Details” link, a window pops up that looks something like this:
You can see that the “General Tax Rate” is that 1% I was talking about, and then there is a long list of additional taxes, mostly school bonds. You can see that the entire tax rate for this parcel is 1.097005% – plus a few other charges, such as for the sewer.
Using this web site, it is very easy to know how much property tax you will be charged each year for a property that you purchase here in Santa Cruz county. Of course, your property tax will rise by a maximum of 2% per year, and there may be other assessments to come down the pike which increase your property tax even further.