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What are the downsizing property tax propositions? (Propostions 60 & 90)

California’s Gift to 55+ Homeowners Who Wish to “Downsize”

In my neighborhood we have seniors who paid $40,000 for their houses years ago. Imagine if they sell to be closer to their kids and have to pay property taxes at current levels while living off of a fixed income budget.

Fortunately, Proposition 60, which was passed in 1986, allows homeowners to transfer the base year value of their home when they sell it and buy another in the same county, subject to the following:

  1. Both properties must be located in the same county and be eligible for the Homeowner’s Exemption;
  2. Homeowners must be at least 55 years of age;
  3. The replacement dwelling must be of equal or lesser value than the original property (value calculated by the sales price); and
  4. The replacement dwelling must have been acquired or newly constructed within two years of the sale of the original property.

I have a client who sold in the beach cities and downsized to the Palm Springs area. While they thought they would carry with them their low tax base, Riverside apparently provided reciprocity to the first $350,000 of purchase value for them. As they bought a $600,000+ home, they had a little surprise for which they had not planned.

Proposition 90, approved in 1988, extends the transfer of assessed valuation to those moving into other counties within the state. Participation by each county is voluntary and not many counties adopted Proposition 90. It is important to check with the county to which you plan to relocate before selling your present home and buy a new one.

Please note that Propositions 60 and 90 provide a one-time exemption only. The claimant and/or claimant’s spouse or any co-owner must not previously have been granted the property tax relief provided by Section 69.5 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

Download "Guide to Propositions 60 and 90" here from the Los Angeles Asssessor for more information.

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