It’s not the most attractive subject, but it’s definitely one we all need to understand…taxes. Taxes can be confusing, especially property taxes. If you’re moving to California from a different state, buying your first property in the area, or wanting to understand more about property taxes in Monterey County, you’ve found the right place! In our complete guide to property taxes in Monterey County, we cover what exactly are property taxes, how to calculate them, how to pay them, and so much more. 

Monterey County Property Taxes

Before getting into the nitty gritty of property taxes, let’s first understand what exactly they are. Basically, a property tax is an ad valorem tax that is paid by an individual (or entity) on an owned property (that’s you!). An ad valorem tax is a tax whose amount is based on the value of the property. In other words, the higher the value, the higher the tax. 

Property taxes are important for the county to fund government initiatives and services. Think of things like fire and police protection, libraries, schools, and road work. This is why neighborhoods with higher property taxes usually have above-average school districts, a longer list of neighborhood amenities, and are in a safe area. No one wants to pay high property taxes, but sometimes higher property taxes mean you’re getting better amenities and services. Back in 1797, when property taxes first started, they were used to fund the wars.

Alright, now let’s break down property taxes in Monterey County. 

The process starts with the Monterey County assessor. The assessor determines the value of the property. Then, the auditor-controller calculates tax rates and taxes due. Once the value of the tax is figured out, the tax collector will send out the tax bill and collect them (this role is sometimes called the treasurer). Once the taxpayer receives and pays their taxes, the auditor-controller returns to distribute the collected taxes. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of the roles:Property Tax Agencies in Monterey County

As you just read, there are three main agencies in charge of property taxes: the assessor, the auditor-controller, and the tax collector. Let’s break down these roles. 

Monterey County Property Tax Assessor  

The Monterey county assessor has a lot of responsibilities, including the following:

  • Locate and map all taxable property in Monterey County. 
  • Determine the ownership of all taxable property in Monterey County
  • Determine the taxability of all property.
  • Determine the reappraisability of the property when it changes ownership.
  • Determine the reappraisability of property that undergoes new construction.
  • Annually assess all real estate in accordance with the California Constitution (Proposition 13).
  • Annually assess all taxable personal property at its fair market value.
  • Determine and apply all legal exemptions.
  • Audit all entities doing business in the County and value all taxable personal property.
  • Provide an accurate assessment roll to the Auditor’s Office by July 1st of each year. The assessment roll becomes the base upon which local property taxes are levied, collected, and distributed to the cities, counties, and special districts to fund government services.

That is a lot, but basically, the assessor determines the market value of the complete property (including the house, land, and anything else that sits on the property). To do this, the assessor will work with local authorities to look at local property values.

Monterey County Assessor Office Information:

Address:

  • Monterey County Government Center Administration Building
  • Assessor’s Office
  • 168 West Alisal Street, 1st Floor
  • Salinas, CA 93901

Office Hours:

  • 8 A.M. – 5 P.M.
  • Closed for lunch hour 12 P.M. to 1 P.M.
  • Monday – Friday, excluding Holidays & posted advance notice closure days/hours

Phone: (831) 755-5035

For General Inquiries: [email protected]

For Appointment Requests Only: [email protected]

Monterey County Auditor-Controller 

The auditor-controller office is the ones who actually calculate the tax rates and how much each person owes in taxes. On top of that, they distribute the taxes collected.

How property taxes are distributed in Monterey County

Address:

  • 168 West Alisal Street, 3rd floor
  • Salinas, CA 93901
  • (831)755-5040

 

Office Hours:

  • Monday & Wednesday: 8am – 12pm & 1pm to 5pm
  • Fridays: 8am-Noon

Phone: (831) 755-5040

E-mail: [email protected] 

Monterey County Tax Collector 

Just like it sounds, the tax collector is the one that sends out the bills and collects the taxes. Monterey county’s tax collector is Mary Zeebs. 

Address:

  • 168 W. Alisal Street – 1st Floor, Salinas, California 93901

Office Hours:

Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Phone: (831) 755-5057

E-mail: [email protected]

Monterey County Property Tax Rate

How are Monterey County property taxes calculated?

Monterey County is located in California, which means it has the federal law of Proposition 13. Proposition 13 was enacted in 1978 and forms the basis for California’s current property tax laws. It means that general property taxes are limited to 1% of a property’s market value and that increases in assessed value to 2% per year are restricted. Basically, California’s overall property tax rates are below the national average due to this proposition. Also, in California, property taxes are based on the property’s purchase price. 

To calculate your property tax in Monterey county, you take the assessed value of your property (minus any exemptions you may be qualified for) and multiply it by the tax rate. Although it changes year to year, Monterey county’s average effective tax rate is 0.69% of the assessed home value. This is lower than both California and the national average. On average, in Monterey county, you can expect to pay about $3,887 a year in property taxes. 

Here is an example of how a property tax is calculated in Monterey County:

Monterey County property tax calculation

Monterey County Property Tax Payments 

When to pay property taxes

It’s important to note that there are two kinds of property tax bills: secured and unsecured. Secured property tax is for things you don’t move, like a home or land. Unsecured is for things you can move, such as boats or office equipment. You will more than likely receive a secured property tax.

Secured Property: You will be sent an annual secured tax bill from the tax collector by November 1st of each year. These taxes are due in two equal installments. The first installment is due and payable on November 1st and becomes delinquent if not paid by December 10. The second installment for the tax is due and payable on February 1 and becomes delinquent if not paid by April 10. 

Secured taxes not paid by the delinquent date then become subject to a 10% penalty if not paid before 5 PM. If the second installment is not paid by the delinquent date an additional fee of $20 is added in addition to the 10% penalty. Note: if a delinquency date falls on a weekend or holiday, the date is moved to the next business day.

Unsecured property: Unsecured tax bills will be sent out by July 1st of each year. These taxes are due January 1st and are delinquent after August 31st. If unsecured taxes are not paid by the delinquent date before 5 PM, it is a 10% penalty and an additional 10% fee. 

Where to pay your property taxes

There are many ways to pay your property taxes in Monterey county. You can pay online, by phone, in person, by mail, or through aggregate tax payments of $50,000 or more EFT. Just know, if you choose to make a payment online, a small service fee of 2.25% will be charged when using a credit card. For more information about how to pay your property tax in Monterey county, please visit Paying Property Tax. 

Monterey County Property Search

If you want to search for property tax information on your home, you’re in luck. Monterey County has a Property Value Notice page. On this page, follow the instructions to find information on your property. You can also look a the Address & Map Page for Monterey County. This will give you the property address, assessed value, and exemptions.  

Monterey County Property Tax Exemptions

There are many different tax exemption options in Monterey county. Taxpayers in Monterey county may be eligible for full or partial exclusion and exemptions. An exemption basically allows the taxpayer’s property to be fully or partially exempt from the ad valorem property tax. It’s important to note that exemptions do not apply to direct charges or special taxes. 

The most common exemptions:

  • Homeowner’s exemption – If you own a home and it’s your principal place of residence as of January 1st, you can apply for this exemption. New property owners automatically receive an exemption application form in the mail.
  • Veteran’s exemption – If you are a veteran and are rated 100% disabled, blind, or paraplegic due to service (or are the spouse), you may be eligible for this exemption.
  • Welfare and religious organizations exemption – If your property is used exclusively for religious, hospital, scientific, or charitable (non-profit) purposes
  • Institutions – If your property is used exclusively for church, college, cemetery, museum, school, or library. 

Monterey County also offers exclusions. Exclusions limit reassessment of property due to a change in ownership or new construction. 

Exclusions: 

  • Transfer of property between spouses or former spouses
  • Transfer between parents and children
  • Transfer between grandparents and grandchildren
  • Builder’s exclusion
  • Rainwater capture system exclusion
  • Active solar energy system exclusion

For more information on Monterey county’s tax exemptions and exclusions, please visit  Monterey County Property Tax Exclusions and Exemptions. 

Monterey County Property Tax Appeals

There may be an instance when a taxpayer disagrees with the assessed value of their property and cannot resolve the difference with the assessor. In that case, the taxpayer can file an appeal with the Assessment Appeals Board. This board will consider the evidence provided by the taxpayer during a hearing. After the hearing, the board will establish a value for the property. 

Regular appeals must be filed between July 2nd and November 30th. Appeals of supplemental and escaped assessments must be filed within 60 days of the mailing date on the notice. 

Monterey County Clerk of the Board

  • PO. Box 1728
  • Salinas, CA 93902-1728
  • Phone (831) 755-5066

Monterey County Property Tax FAQ

When are property taxes due in Monterey County?

For secured property, the first installment is due and payable on November 1st and becomes delinquent if not paid by December 10. The second installment for the tax is due and payable on February 1 and becomes delinquent if not paid by April 10.

When are property taxes mailed out in Monterey County?

For secured property, you will be sent an annual secured tax bill from the tax collector by November 1st of each year.

How do I pay property taxes in Monterey County?

You can pay online, by phone, in person, by mail, or through aggregate tax payments of $50,000 or more EFT.

We covered a lot, so check out this PDF for a full review of the highlights regarding property taxes from Monterey county.

Taxes can be stressful, but moving doesn’t have to be. If you’re ready to buy a property and move to Monterey County, we want to help make things easier for you. Let Southbay Moving Systems help you get to your new home quickly and efficiently. Give us a call at 831-000-0000 for a free quote.