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March 27, 2020
Santa Cruz County Property Tax Payment Questions:
Clearly, we are in unprecedented times during the Covid-19 pandemic as we seek to balance the crisis at hand with the challenges faced by our taxpayers, while also fulfilling the duty we have to keep our county essential services funded and operational.
The Santa Cruz County Tax Collector’s Office has received numerous inquiries about whether the April 10, 2020, property tax payment deadline has been extended. It has not. The April 10, 2020, due date for the second installment of property taxes is set by State law and any extension of the date would need to be enacted by the State. Neither the County Board of Supervisors, nor the County Treasurer-Tax Collector has the legal authority to change or extend the deadline.
What can County Tax Collector’s do? Current State Law already allows the County Tax Collector to accept requests for the waiver of penalties and interest that result from taxes being paid late. The law allows for these requests to be considered for, “situations beyond the taxpayer’s control.” The County Tax Collector has made available a special COVID-19 penalty waiver form and instructions for its use are located on the main Treasurer-Tax Collector’s website at: http://www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/Departments/TaxCollector.aspx.
COVID-19 penalty waiver process: In response to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, the Treasurer-Tax Collector will be requesting at the upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting that the Board suspend the current requirement that taxpayers pre-pay penalties and interest at the time of their waiver application. Once the Board modifies these County policies and procedures, taxpayers would only be required to pay the original property tax amount when submitting a COVID-19 waiver of penalties and interest form.
What are the financial consequences if property taxes are not paid on time? Santa Cruz County appreciates those taxpayers who can pay by the April 10, 2020, deadline date as tax dollars received will be distributed in April. The distributions go to the local agencies that provide day-to-day services to taxpayers such as emergency response, public health, and schools.
In Santa Cruz County, due to Proposition 13, the County only keeps 13 cents of each property tax dollar it receives. The rest of the funds brought in from property taxes are distributed to entities such as our local cities and K-12 school districts that rely on property tax allocations for funding and for payment of their bonds.
We want to encourage all those who have the ability to pay, to do so using our online payment system located at the County Tax Collector’s website or by mailing their payments, with a timely postmark of April 10, 2020 to 701 Ocean St., room 100, Santa Cruz CA 95060. E-check payments have no cost to taxpayers. Credit card payments are charged a convenience fee by the offsite vendor.
The Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office is closed to the public during the shelter in place order. We continue to have staff available to answer calls, emails and, if necessary, to receive cash payments in person by appointment only. For questions, please contact the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office at 831-454-2510, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Santa Cruz County Auditor-Controller / Treasurer-Tax Collector