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General & Ownership Information
(510) 272-3787

Business Personal Property:
(510) 272-3836

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Glossary

Assessment Appeal - A taxpayer may file an appeal for reduction of the annual assessed value with the Clerk, Board of Supervisors during the regular filing period each year, July 2 until September 15. For supplemental or escape assessments, appeals must be filed within 60 days of the mailing of the tax bill or receipt of the notice, whichever is earlier.

Base Year - Under Proposition 13 the assessment year 1975-76 serves as the original base year. Thereafter, any assessment year in which real property, or a portion thereof, is purchased, is newly constructed or changes ownership shall become the base year used in determining the full value for such real property, or a portion thereof.

Change of Ownership - The conveyance of an interest in real property from one person or entity to another requiring reappraisal of real property under California law.

Change of Ownership Exclusions - Some changes in ownership may be excluded from reappraisal if a timely claim is filed with the Assessor's Office that meets specific qualifications. Examples include the transfer of real property between parents and children or the replacement of a principal residence by senior citizens over age 55.

Exemption - A deduction from the taxable assessed value of property as prescribed by law, generally based on the property's use.

Improvements - All buildings, structures and fences existing on land, whether new or old. Improvements may also include certain commercial and industrial fixtures and commercially planted fruit and nut bearing trees and vines.

Indexed Base Year Value - If you owned your property before March 1, 1975, the "full cash" value will be the value as it appeared on the 1975-76 assessment roll increased a maximum of 2% per year in accordance with Proposition 13. If you acquired or constructed the property since March 1, 1975, "assessed" value is the value at the time you took title or completed construction, plus a maximum of 2% each year thereafter.

Lien Date - The day when taxes for any fiscal year become a lien on property; and the date on which property is valued for tax purposes. The lien date in California property is 12:01 a.m. on January 1.

Market Value For Property Tax Purposes - The amount of cash or its equivalent that property would bring if exposed for sale in the open market under conditions in which neither buyer nor seller could take advantage of the exigencies of the other, and both the buyer and seller have knowledge of all of the uses and purposes to which the property is adapted and for which it is capable of being used, and of the enforceable restrictions upon those uses and purposes.

Newly Constructed - The construction of new buildings, or the addition to or the alteration of existing buildings if the alteration converts the property to another use or extends the economic life of the improvements.

Personal Property - Any property that you own other than real estate. Includes airplanes, boats, manufactured homes not affixed to permanent foundations and business property such as supplies, office furnishings, machinery or equipment.

Possessory Interest - The possession of, or exclusive right to possession of real property. A private party's possessory interest in real property owned by a tax-exempt public agency may be taxable if sufficiently independent, durable and exclusive of the rights held by others.

Proposition 8 - Passed by California voters in November 1978, Proposition 8 allows for a temporary reduction in the assessed value of real property when there is a decline in market value below the property's indexed base year value.

Real Property - Land, structural improvements and fixtures.

Secured Property - Property on which the property taxes are a lien against real estate.

Special Assessments - Direct charges against property which are included in the total amount of your tax bill but which are not property taxes in the sense of being based on the Assessor's valuation. A sewer service charge is an example of this type of assessment.

Supplemental Assessment - When property is assessed due to a change in ownership or completed new construction, a supplemental assessment is issued. It is the difference between the new assessed value and any prior assessments for an assessment year.

Tax Rate - The County levies an ad valorem property tax at a rate equal to 1% of the taxable value. In addition, the rate will include an amount equal to the amount needed to make payments for the interest and principal on general obligation bonds or other indebtedness approved by the voters.

TRA - The tax rate area (TRA) is a specific geographic area all of which is within the jurisdiction of the same combination of local agencies for the current fiscal year. There are over 1,100 TRAs in Alameda County, each one identified by a unique number.

Unsecured Property - Property on which the property taxes are not a lien against real estate (office furniture, machinery, equipment, boats, airplanes, etc.) Note: Business inventory is exempt from taxation.


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