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How Much Are Property Taxes In Hercules?
The average property tax rate in Hercules is 1.11%. This means that, for every $1,000 of property value, residents must pay $11.10 in property tax. The base rate for California is 1%, and the actual rate of property tax is not allowed to exceed that. But it gets higher when there are direct and/or special assessments in place. This is the case for many areas in Hercules, hence the higher tax rates. They are additional funding mechanisms used to help finance public improvements and they are approved by majority vote in the locale.
Property tax rates are carefully calculated by incorporating a number of variables.
In addition to the California base rate and any bonds present, these include:
- Average property values in the area
- The amount of funds needed for local projects, public improvements, etc.
This leads to a percentage that all residents must pay relative to the assessed market value of their homes. However, Hercules property tax values are often different to actual sales values of properties because the law stipulates that a property’s value for tax purposes cannot go up by more than 2% in a single year. The only exceptions are if there is construction done on the property or it changes hands.
The average tax rate in Hercules is among the highest in the US. Property tax rates in Hercules have remained consistent in recent years. It is a desirable area and quality of life here is very high. Local fluctuations in tax rates can happen due to:
- Sizeable shifts in average real estate values
- New local projects
But, generally speaking, the Hercules tax rates have remained steady for a while now. This makes it easier to predict how much property tax you would pay, but it’s always important to bear in mind that things can change.
How To Calculate Property Taxes In Hercules?
To calculate the amount you would pay in Hercules property tax, you need to know two key piece of information:
- The fair market value of the home
- The exact rate of property tax for the address
With these two pieces of information to hand, it is a simple calculation. You must divide the home’s value by 100 to arrive at 1% – the ad valorem tax rate. Then multiply that answer by the actual property tax rate. The answer is the amount of property tax you would have to pay per year for the property. Naturally, this is subject to change over time, but it gives you a pretty good idea of where you stand.
As you can see, a property’s assessed value is a crucial consideration in this process. It is important to get the most accurate, up-to-date market value for a property when calculating the tax. Many people have regular appraisals to keep this up-to-date, and it is common for people to challenge appraisals to try and have their tax liability reduced – more on this later.
Property appraisals usually depend upon two primary considerations:
- The property type and its unique features
- The selling price of comparable properties in the neighborhood
So the appraisal process will seek out similar properties in the area and analyze their sale value. Then the unique features of the property in question will be evaluated in comparison. The person conducting the appraisal will use their expertise to come to a number for the fair market value.
So let’s say you live in a 2-bedroom apartment with a balcony overlooking the neighborhood. Similar homes in the area have been valued at $350,000, so that’s what your property is valued at. Now, the property tax rate for the street is right on the average – 1.11%. To calculate the annual property tax you would owe, the process is as follows:
- Divide the property value by 100 (350,000 ÷ 100 = 3,500)
- Multiply the answer by the actual property tax rate (3,500 x 1.11 = 3,885)
- The amount due in annual property tax is $3,885
How To Pay Your Hercules Property Taxes?
Property owners in Hercules are responsible for making the timely payment of their property tax bills. They are also responsible for ensuring they receive their bills – not receiving a bill is not an excuse for non-payment. Thus, you must chase it up if you don’t receive it in the mail.
Hercules property tax is handled by the Contra Costa County Treasurer-Tax Collector. You can visit the Finance Building in Martinez, CA to pay your tax bill in person – walk-in hours are 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday.
Other payment options for property tax include:
- Pay online – this is done by e-check, credit card or debit card. The first of those options doesn’t involve a service fee, but there is a service fee for credit/debit card payments.
- Pay by phone – you must call 925-608-9500 and listen to the interactive voice response system. This is available 24/7 and you can pay by e-check or credit/debit card. The same service fees apply.
- Pay by mail – there should be a return envelope sent out with your bill. You can use this to send a check to pay your bill. You must follow the instructions included with your bill to do this successfully – more information here.
You should choose the payment method that works for you. The most important thing is to ensure you make your payments in full by the deadlines or you will suffer penalties.
The service fee for making payments by credit/debit card is set at 2.5%. There is usually a minimum amount attached to this of $3.50. Be advised that if there is a problem with an e-check and it is rejected, there will be a returned check fee of $85.
Hercules Property Tax Due Dates
Property tax bills in Hercules are typically mailed out in October each year. You may receive your bill in September but, if it doesn’t arrive by November 10th, you should contact the Tax Collector’s office at (925) 608-9500. You could also find the bill online if you have your Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN).
Annual property tax in Hercules is paid in two installments:
- The first becomes due from November 1st and the deadline is December 10th. Miss this date and the payment becomes delinquent.
- The second comes due from February 1st. You have until April 10th to pay it.
- You can pay both installments on or before December 10th if you choose to.
Paying your bills on time means you avoid penalties. If you believe you will be unable to pay your property tax, you may be able to apply for a property tax postponement. This defers your payments to avoid penalties but the amount must still be paid in full eventually. Funding for this is on a first-come, first-served basis so it is best to apply early if you qualify.
What Happens If Your Payment Is Late?
If you don’t pay one or both of your installments by the relevant deadline, you will face penalties.
- If you miss the deadline for the first installment, the unpaid balance will have a delinquent penalty of 10% added to it.
- If you miss the deadline for the second installment, this will also result in a 10% penalty. There will also be an administrative charge of $20 added.
If either or both of your installments remain unpaid on June 30th, your property becomes tax-defaulted and there will be additional penalties and costs added. This comes at a rate of 1.5% per month. Your taxes can remain unpaid for up to 5 years, at which point the property can be repossessed and sold at auction to recoup the amount owed.
The best way to resolve a late payment issue is to pay off the balance as quickly as possible. It is possible to set up a redemption installment plan to pay it off in installments and make it easier to clear the debt. The most important thing is that, the longer you go without paying what you owe, the more your debt will increase. Timely payment is always the best course of action.
How To Lower Your Tax Liability?
There are some things you can do to reduce your Hercules property tax liability. Generally speaking, these come in two forms:
- Apply for a special exemption/exclusion
- Challenge the assessed property value
- Homeowners property tax exemption (More on this in the next section)
Exemption programs are applied for through the Assessor’s Office. They exist to reduce the tax burden for certain individuals or groups. The exemptions available include:
- Veteran’s exemption
- Church exemption
- Seniors exemption
- Proposition 19
There are very specific criteria to qualify for these exemptions. If you want to learn more, there is a full list of exemptions. Alternatively, you can contact the Assessor’s Office for Contra Costa County and make some enquiries. If you believe you will qualify, you can request an application and fill it out. The decision on whether or not you are granted the exemption is at the discretion of the assessor.
If you believe your assessed property value is too high, and thus causing you to pay too much property tax, you can discuss a reassessment of value with the assessor. They can review your current assessed value in comparison to current market value – this is called a Proposition 8 review. If you are still unhappy, you can make a formal appeal within 60 days of the mailing date shown on the assessment notice. This must be done between Jule 2nd and November 30th. You should be confident that you have a case if you take this route – it could end up costing you more money otherwise.
What Is Homeowners Property Tax Exemption?
The Hercules homeowners property tax exemption is another option for lowering your tax liability. If you own and occupy your property, and it is your primary residence, you probably qualify for this exemption. Its purpose is to reduce the assessed value of your property for tax purposes. The maximum it can reduce the recorded value of your home by is $7,000, thus reducing your tax liability by up to $70 as well. This is because Hercules property tax is calculated based on property value.
Because this exemption is about owner-occupiers, it is not available to landlords. The paperwork for this exemption is usually sent out to a new homeowner when they purchase a property. It can also be applied for later on.
Frequently Asked Questions
Property taxes in Hercules vary from one area to the next, but the current average is 1.11%. This is based on the California base rate of 1%.
Property tax is paid to the Treasurer-Tax Collector. You can do this in cash, check or credit/debit card payment. Do it in person, over the phone, by mail or online.
Late payment will incur penalties that get bigger over time. The longer you remain in arrears, the greater the risk that you face legal action.