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San Luis Obispo County, California


Unsecured Property Taxes

What are unsecured property taxes for?

Unsecured Property Taxes are for vessels, airplanes, farm equipment, business furniture and fixtures, and other unsecured property assessments.


When are unsecured tax bills mailed?

Unsecured tax bills are mailed in July.  If you have not received your unsecured tax bill by July 31 please call this office for a duplicate bill at (805) 781-5830. To avoid penalties, unsecured property tax payments that are made by mail must be deposited in the United States post office prior to midnight on August 31.  Payments can also be made by credit card or electronic check on the Tax Collector’s website at  A convenience fee is charged for that service.


What information is included with my unsecured tax bill?

The unsecured tax bill identifies the following:

  • The owner of record as of the legal lien date.
  • The property location, when available.
  • The property description.
  • The assessed value of the property.
  • The amount and type of exemption, if applicable.
  • The amount of taxes due.


What is the due and delinquent date?

Unsecured taxes become due on the legal lien date, January 1, but are not billed until July.  Unsecured tax bill become delinquent on August 31.  If the delinquent date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the payment must be in the Tax Collector’s Office by 5:00 p.m., or deposited in the United States mail prior to midnight on the next business day


What happens if I don’t pay my unsecured taxes on time?

If your bill is not paid and the installment becomes delinquent, an additional delinquency penalty of 10% is added to the assessment. A delinquency penalty of 1.5% of the original unpaid tax is added on the first day of each month thereafter. A lien will be recorded against your name, which will appear on your credit record. A release of lien fee will be charged, in addition to the original tax amount, 10% delinquency penalty, accrued 1.5% penalty, and any delinquent collection cost.


What is the best way to pay my property taxes?

The best way to pay your unsecured tax bill is by mail. Your tax bill will have a payment stub. To ensure prompt handling of your payment, please use the return envelope provided. Make your payment payable to: San Luis Obispo County Tax Collector or "SLOCTC." Please write the billed assessment number on your check. Your canceled check serves as your receipt.

PLEASE DO NOT SEND CASH. Mailed payments must be deposited in the United States mail prior to midnight on the delinquency date. Payments may also be made in person at the County Tax Collector 's Office, Room D-290, County Government Center, San Luis Obispo, CA. Payment by all major credit cards is available by phone or in person. Payment can also be made online at the Tax Collector's website at: All major credit cards and electronic checks are accepted. Please note that a convenience fee is charged for these services.


What can I do if I disagree with the assessed value on my unsecured property?

You should first discuss the matter with the Assessor's Office, Business Property Division at (805) 781-5643. If an informal agreement cannot be reached, the taxpayer has the right to file an Application for Changed Assessment with the County Assessment Appeals Board. Further information regarding the appeals process may be obtained by calling (805) 781-5080, or by writing to: County Clerk-Recorder , Room D-120, County Government Center , 1055 Monterey Street , San Luis Obispo , California 93408


Why do I have to pay taxes on my boat?

All personal business property and luxury property in the State of California is subject to an annual tax.  A boat or vessel, except for one used in commerce or fishing, is considered a luxury item. 


How do I get a DMV hold released?

Upon payment in full of all delinquent taxes, the Tax Collector's Office will automatically process an electronic release to DMV.  No other action on the part of the boat owner is necessary.


Why do I have to pay taxes on a boat, airplane, business assets or any other taxable asset for the year in which I sold that property?

Per the California Revenue & Taxation Code, any individual who owns a taxable asset on January 1st of any given year is responsible for any taxes that arise during the course of that year.  The sale, disposal or removal of the property from San Luis Obispo County after that date does not relieve the owner of record of the obligation to pay the tax.


What is an unsecured supplemental tax?

Supplemental taxes arise when the value of a property has increased.  Typically this occurs when properties are improved upon, or at the recordation of change of ownership.  The supplemental tax is the result of the difference in the value of the property prior to an event and the value of the property after the event.  The supplemental tax in essence is tax based on the value change which results from the event and for the period of time you were the owner.


How come I have to pay unsecured supplemental taxes on property I no longer own?

You were the owner of the property at the time when the taxable event occured, such as an improvement of the property or a purchase.  Typically it takes the Assessor's Office six to eight months after a taxable event occurs to revalue a property.  If, as the owner of record, you sold the property prior to the issuance of the supplemental tax bill, the bill remains your responsibility for the period of time you were the owner of record.


For more answers to frequently asked questions about taxes or other office services, click here.