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Brentwood Property Tax Explained

If you own property in Brentwood, you must pay property tax. This tax is a percentage of the overall value of your home, and bills are due annually. We have put together this guide to help you better understand and prepare for Brentwood property tax.

Renée White

July 19, 2023
Table of content

    How Much Will I Pay In Brentwood Property Taxes?

    On average, property tax in Brentwood is approximately 1.11%, which is similar to the rest of the county. However, there may be slight variations depending on the specific location within the city, so it is advisable to check the precise rate for your address.

    Property tax in Contra Costa is based on California’s 1% base rate. Property tax rates must remain below this base rate, except in cases where special or direct assessments are in place, which may require a slightly higher rate. Local authorities take into account several factors when calculating property tax rates, including:

    • Average real estate prices
    • Income levels of residents
    • The budget required for local funding

    Fairness is always a priority in determining property tax rates.

    It is possible to lower your property tax liability, and we will discuss ways to do so later in this guide. The average property tax rate in Brentwood is similar to that of Contra Costa as a whole, and these rates are relatively low compared to other parts of the United States. The high real estate values in Contra Costa negate the need for excessively high percentage rates of property tax to obtain the necessary funding for local projects. However, it is important to note that the specific details may vary across different areas within the county.

    Over time, there has been consistency in property tax rates in Brentwood. Real estate values have been increasing at a relatively rapid pace, as Brentwood is considered a desirable place to live in Contra Costa.

    Hand holding keys with model house in the background for Brentwood property tax

    How Are Property Taxes In Brentwood Calculated?

    It is not difficult to determine the amount you would owe in Brentwood property tax. You just need to know two things:

    • The actual property tax rate for your address.
    • The property’s assessed market value.

    Once you have this information, the calculation is simple. You start by dividing the value of your home by 100, which gives you the ad valorem tax rate of 1%. Then, you multiply this rate by the actual property tax rate for your property, giving you the amount owed for a year. It’s important to note that this amount may change in subsequent years, but it serves as a useful guide.

    The assessed value of a property is crucial. It is typically based on the property’s most recent sale price and cannot increase by more than 2% in a year unless the property changes hands. Therefore, having an accurate market value for tax purposes is important. Many people challenge their assessed market value to reduce their tax liability.

    Property appraisals take into account two primary considerations:

    1. Unique features of the property.
    2. The selling prices of similar properties in the local area.

    During an appraisal, the assessor examines similar properties in your neighborhood and evaluates specific features of your property that may impact its value, such as additions and swimming pools. The appraised value is determined based on their expert discretion.

    Let’s consider an example: Suppose your 4-bedroom house recently had a ground floor addition to extend the kitchen. Based on this information and comparisons with similar homes, the appraised value is $550,000. If the property tax rate for the address is 1.11%, you would calculate the amount owed as follows:

    1. Divide the appraised value by 100 (550,000 ÷ 100 = 5,500).
    2. Multiply that answer by the property tax rate (5,500 x 1.11 = 6,105).

    Therefore, the annual property tax to pay would be $6,105.

    How To Pay Your Brentwood Property Taxes?

    If you are a property owner in Brentwood, it is your responsibility to make timely payments for your property tax bill. It is also important for you to ensure that you receive the bill. You cannot use the excuse of not receiving it in the mail as a reason for non-payment.

    In Brentwood, property tax payments are made to the Contra Costa Treasurer-Tax Collector. There are different payment methods available for your Brentwood property tax:

    • Pay in person: You can visit the Finance Building in Martinez, CA to make your payment. Walk-ins are accepted from Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm.
    • Pay online: You can make payments online using the designated portal. The payment options include e-check, credit card, or debit card. Please note that card payments are subject to a service fee.
    • Pay by phone: To make a payment by phone, you can call 925-608-9500. An interactive voice response system will guide you through the process. This phone line is available 24/7, and you can pay using a credit/debit card (with a service fee) or an e-check.
    • Pay by mail: Your property tax bill package should include a return envelope. You can use this envelope to send your payment by check, following the instructions provided in the package.

    You are free to choose the payment option that is most convenient for you. The key is to ensure that you make the payment by the deadline to avoid penalties.

    Please note that credit/debit card payments incur a service fee of 2.5%, with a minimum charge of $3.50. If your e-check is declined, a returned check fee of $85 will be charged.

    What Are The Due Dates For Brentwood Property Tax?

    You should expect to receive your Brentwood property tax bill sometime between September and October, although occasionally they may arrive in November. If you haven’t received your bill by November 10, it is recommended to contact the Tax Collector’s Office to inquire about it. Starting from October, the bills will also be available in your online tax account, and you will need your Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) to access them.

    The annual property tax is paid in two installments:

    • The first installment is due on November 1, and the payment deadline is December 10.
    • The second installment can be paid starting from February 1 and must be paid no later than April 10.

    You have the option to pay both installments by December 10 if you prefer to do so.

    Making timely payments of these installments will help you avoid penalty charges. If you anticipate difficulties in paying by the deadline, you may be eligible to request a property tax postponement. However, it’s important to note that while the due dates will be deferred, you will still be required to pay the outstanding amount eventually. These postponements are granted on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is advisable to contact the Tax Office as early as possible.

    What Happens If You Miss The Payment Deadline?

    A late payment of one or both of your property tax installments will result in penalty charges.

    • If you miss the first deadline, the balance owed will be increased by 10%.
    • If you miss the second deadline, another 10% penalty will be added, and you will also be required to pay a $20 administrative charge.

    These penalty payments are just the initial consequences. If you still haven’t paid by June 30, your taxes will be declared as tax-defaulted, and interest will begin to accrue on the outstanding balance. The interest rate is set at 1.5% and is added on the first of each month. If a period of 5 years passes without payment, the tax authorities have the authority to initiate the process of repossessing your property.

    If late payment is a concern for you, the best course of action is to make the payment as soon as possible. In some cases, you may be able to set up a redemption installment plan to gradually repay the debt. It’s important to remember that the longer you delay payment of your Brentwood property tax, the larger the amount owed will become.

    Beautiful single-family home for Brentwood property tax

    How Can You Lower Your Tax Liability?

    There are several options available to lower your property tax in Brentwood. Consider the following:

    1. Apply for homeowners’ property tax exemption (refer to the next section for details).
    2. Determine if you qualify for a special exemption.
    3. Explore the possibility of challenging the appraised market value.

    To apply for an exemption, it is recommended to contact the Assessor’s Office. Exemptions are intended to reduce the tax burden for specific individuals or groups. Some options include:

    • Veterans exemption
    • Church exemption
    • Proposition 19
    • Seniors exemption

    You must qualify for an exemption, and the criteria are very specific. The Contra Costa County Assessor’s Office can provide more information. If you think you might qualify, request an application form. Decisions are made at the assessor’s discretion.

    Challenging the assessed property value is a common approach to reduce tax liability. To do this, you must submit a request for a review with the assessor. They will evaluate the current value for tax purposes through a Proposition 8 Review. If you are unsatisfied with the outcome, you have 60 days to appeal the decision. The appeal process takes place between July 2 and November 30. It is advisable to pursue this route only if you are confident in your ability to succeed, as it could potentially incur additional costs if unsuccessful.

    What Is Homeowners Property Tax Exemption?

    The Brentwood homeowners’ property tax exemption is a frequently pursued option for reducing property tax bills. If you are a homeowner and reside in the property as your primary residence, you likely qualify for this exemption. Its purpose is to decrease your appraised market value by up to $7,000, resulting in potential savings of up to $70 on your property tax liability.

    It’s important to note that this exemption is primarily intended for owner-occupiers in Brentwood, and landlords do not qualify. Typically, the necessary paperwork is provided to new property owners upon purchase. However, if you did not receive it initially, you can request the exemption at a later stage.

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