No sign of property tax extension for most homeowners as April 10 deadline draws near

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The April 10 tax deadline for property tax is fast approaching, and so far there's been no indication from the state legislature that the deadline will be extended.

The coronavirus pandemic and all the furloughs and layoffs have made it difficult for many to pay their property tax. With the exception of two counties, the deadline is this Friday. Here's what you can expect to happen if you're unable to pay on time.

The deadlines for filing and paying both California state taxes and federal taxes has been moved to July 15.

That's only frustrated some property owners, wondering why they haven't gotten the same courtesy.

"It is difficult to understand that there's no extension for property tax," wrote one 7 On Your Side viewer.

The sentiment is a common one among many who've contacted us.

We contacted 11 counties in the Bay Area, including Menodcino, Lake and Santa Cruz counties. Only San Francisco and San Mateo Counties have agreed to extend the deadline until their offices are scheduled to reopen May 4.

Why are those counties making an exception? There's a quirk in the state law that the two counties are using as a loophole. It says that if a tax office is officially closed, then they don't have to take your taxes. They can if they want to, but they have decided to make that declaration -- and their offices are not expected to open until May 4. The other counties have not made such a decision.

Many homeowners elsewhere have already reached out expressing hardship, including Alex Espiritu of Oakland.

"I've been calling to see if I could delay it. Because if this goes on for two more months, my funds is basically going to dwindle," said Espiritu.

Those who miss the tax deadline will be assessed a 10% penalty and an additional 1.5% percent in interest per month, starting July 1.

Delinquent taxpayers can request a waiver of penalty if they can prove hardship.

We talked with Santa Clara County's tax collector, Margaret Olaiya. "Unfortunately, we are still holding onto the date for the simple reason that the state has not given us any information to the contrary," she said.

"There are those taxpayers who have lost their jobs at this time. There are people who are probably at hospital or at home in self-quarantine," said Olaiya.

The appeal process gives Espiritu some hope.

"I feel concerned that okay, will it go through? Will this late payment fee, will that be able to lift up or, I don't know, it's all hearsay," he said.

No appeals can be accepted until after April 10. Each county's appeal process is different; be sure to check with your county to see what they can do for you.

Property tax web pages by county:
San Francisco
San Mateo
Contra Costa
Santa Cruz

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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