Table of content
How Much Are Property Taxes In Martinez?
Currently, the average property tax rate in Martinez is 1.11%. It can be lower or higher than this, depending on the area of the city you live in. This means that, on average, households pay $11 in tax for every $1000 of the value of their home. Naturally, a lower rate of tax is always more appealing for residents, so let’s take a look at these figures in more detail.
The average rate of 1.11% is close to the California base rate of 1%, which is commonly affected by various local factors. Special assessments can push it higher, but property tax rates throughout Contra Costa County usually depend on things like:
- Average real estate values
- Household incomes
- The amount of finance needed for local projects
Where property values are higher, you often find lower property tax rates, though this is not always the case. Martinez is known for being a very affluent part of the county, so it is not surprising that tax rates are quite high.
Though the rate of property tax is closely connected to the value of your home, it’s important to remember state laws about property taxes. They are based on an assessed value of the home, but this is not always the same as its actual market value. This is because the assessed market value cannot increase by more than 2% per year. So even if a home’s market value increases by 10%, its assessed market value can only go up by 2%. The only exceptions are when construction takes place or the home changes hands.
The average tax rate in Martinez is in line with the rest of Contra Costa, but high for California and the US. In fact, the median cost of living is high in Martinez, but so is the median household income. As stated, it is an affluent part of the country. It has been trending in this direction for some time and the nation knows Martinez, CA as a very desirable place to live.
How To Calculate Property Taxes In Martinez?
To be able to calculate how much property tax would cost you in Martinez, CA, there are 2 pieces of information you need to know:
- The assessed market value of the property
- The specific property tax rate for its address
The calculation is relatively simple once you have these two pieces of information. The first step is to divide the value of the home by 100 to see what 1% is – this is the ad valorem tax rate. You then need to multiply that number by the actual property tax rate that applies. This will give you the amount you will actually pay when your property tax bill comes. Of course, this amount will change over time, but it is a good starting point for when you first arrive.
As this process demonstrates, the assessed market value of the property is fundamental to the process. It is beneficial to always have the most accurate and current market value for that property to calculate the tax. Generally speaking, the market value is determined by the most recent sale price. It can only go up or down by 2% per year unless construction takes place or the property changes hands. It is not uncommon for appraisals to be challenged in order to reduce tax liabilities. We will discuss this in more detail later.
There are two main factors that go into valuing real estate:
- The amount that similar properties in the neighborhood sell for
- The type of property and specific features it has
So, when conducting an appraisal, similar properties in the area will be analyzed for sale values. Then, the unique features of the property being appraised will be evaluated. The person or people carrying out the appraisal will use their experience and expertise to calculate the fair market value.
By way of example, let’s say you live in a 4-bedroom house with a garage and a large back yard. Similar homes in your neighborhood have been valued at $1.1 million, so your property is given the same value. Now let’s say that the property tax for the address is right on the average – 1.11%. The calculations for the property tax would look like this:
- Divide the total property value by 100 (1,100,000 ÷ 100 = 11,000)
- Multiply that answer by the specific property tax rate (11,000 x 1.11 = 12,210)
- The annual amount due in property tax in this instance would be $12,210
How To Pay Your Martinez Property Taxes?
Timely payment of your property tax bills is mandatory and it is your responsibility to ensure it happens. This means you must also ensure you get your tax bill – if it doesn’t arrive in the mail, that is not an excuse for non-payment. Martinez property tax is handled by the office of the Contra Costa County Treasurer-Tax Collector. Payment of your bill can be made in person – to do this, you must attend the Finance Building in Martinez. Walk-ins are accepted from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday.
There are other ways to make your payment:
- Pay by phone – This involves an interactive voice response system. Simply call 925-608-9500 and follow the voice prompts to pay by e-check or credit/debit card. Be aware that a service fee applies for card payments.
- Pay online – the options for this are e-check, credit card and debit card. Again, a service fee applies for card payments.
- Pay by mail – when property tax bills are mailed out, a return envelope is included in the pack. This is for sending a check to pay your bill by mail. Full instructions for doing this are included with your bill so read those.
The right payment method for you will vary from one person to the next. What really matters is that you make the payments in full before the deadlines arrive or you will have to pay penalty charges.
Be advised that the service fee for card payments is 2.5%. The minimum amount payable is usually $3.50, so factor this in. Also, if your e-check is rejected for any reason, the standard returned check fee is $85.
Martinez Property Tax Due Dates
Martinez property tax bills are mailed out through September – October every year, so you should receive yours around this time. If it doesn’t arrive by November 10, this is when you should contact the tax collector’s office to chase it up. The bill will be available online – you will need your Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) to look it up.
There are two installments to property tax payments in Martinez:
- The due date for the first installment is November 1. The deadline is December 10, so make the payment before then to avoid penalties.
- The due date for the second payment is February 1, with a deadline of April 10.
- Both installments can be paid on or before December 10 if you choose.
Late payments will incur penalty charges. If you have doubts about whether you can make your payment on time, you can apply for a property tax postponement. If approved, this will defer your payment, but it must still be paid in full eventually. Postponements are only available on a first-come, first-served basis to get in touch early if you need to apply.
What Happens If Your Payment Is Late?
Failure to pay either or both of your installments by the deadline will incur penalty charges as follows:
- Missing the first installment deadline results in a 10% penalty added to the amount owed.
- Missing the second deadline also results in a 10% penalty. This will be accompanied by an administrative charge of $20.
If you get to June 30 without paying one or both of your installments in full, your property will be considered tax-defaulted. This results in further penalties. Essentially, an interest rate of 1.5% will be added to the outstanding balance on the first of each month. If you fail to pay what you owe for 5 years, your property can be repossessed and sold at auction to pay off your debt.
If you have a late payment issue, the best solution is to find a way to make the payment as quickly as possible. Contact the tax collector’s office and ask to set up a redemption installment plan if you would find it easier to pay your debt in installments. It is best to avoid this altogether if you possibly can.
How To Lower Your Tax Liability?
There are a few options to explore when it comes to reducing your Martinex property tax liability. The basic options are as follows:
- Challenge the assessed property value
- Apply for an exemption
- Homeowners property tax exemption
If you feel your assessed property value is excessively high, the first move is to discuss it with the assessor. This may prompt them to review the assessed value alongside current market value – we call this a Proposition 8 review. Beyond this, your move is to lodge a formal appeal within 60 days of the date printed on the assessment notice. This has to happen between July 2 and November 30. Only do this if you are confident that you have a case – otherwise, it could end up costing you more money.
With regards to exemptions, applications are made through the Assessor’s Office. The purpose of exemptions is to reduce the property tax burden for certain people. Exemptions include:
- Church exemption
- Veteran’s exemption
- Seniors exemption (for disabled persons or low income households)
- Proposition 19
The criteria for approval for these exemptions is very specific. You can learn more by contacting the Assessor’s Office and making enquiries. If you believe you meet the criteria for an exemption, request an application and send it back to the Assessor’s Office once completed. Approval for exemptions is at the discretion of the Assessor, but there may be recourse to appeal if necessary.
What Is Homeowners Property Tax Exemption?
The Martinez homeowners property tax exemption is another way you might be able to bring down your tax liability. It is available to people who own and occupy their property as their primary residence. It takes some money – up to $7,000 – off the assessed value of your home for tax purposes, thus reducing your tax liability by up to $70.
This exemption is all about owner-occupiers, so landlords do not qualify. The application form for this exemption is usually mailed to new homeowners when they move into a property. You can also request an application form later on.
Frequently Asked Questions
Property tax in Martinez varies between different areas but the average currently stands at 1.11%. This is close to the California base rate of 1%.
The Treasurer-Tax Collector collects property taxes in Martinez. Payments can be made in person, by mail, over the phone or online. Accepted payment methods include cash, credit/debit card and check.
If your payment is late, you will have to pay a penalty charge. These penalties get bigger over time, and you could face legal action if you don’t pay off your debt.