Property Tax Allocation
The Property Tax Allocation section calculates property tax rates, determines extensions, and distributes taxes to agencies.
Distribution of Proposition 13's 1% General Property Tax
Prior to Proposition 13, each local jurisdiction annually approved a general tax rate. The general tax rate was transmitted to the County Auditor-Controller to be levied against the assessed value of each property within that local jurisdiction's boundary. Once each tax bill was collected, the County Auditor-Controller distributed the applicable general tax revenue to the local jurisdiction. Proposition 13 (passed June 6, 1978) rescinded local jurisdictions' ability to levy a general tax rate and limited the general tax rate to 1%, thereby creating a "pie" of a set amount each year. Proposition 13 established that the State Legislature, rather than the local jurisdictions, would have the power to determine the manner in which the pie was distributed.
In 1979, Assembly Bill 8 (AB 8) was adopted to provide procedures for the County Auditor-Controller to allocate property taxes (distribution of the pie). The basic premise of AB 8 allocates to each local jurisdiction the amount it received in the prior year, plus the change that has occurred in the current year within its boundaries. The revenue allocation of the 1% general property tax levy is calculated pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code §96.5.
Under the AB 8 method, the 1979/80 base amount for each local jurisdiction within a county was calculated based on the property tax allocated pursuant to Government Code §26912 for 1978/79 and adjusted for the 1979/80 assessed value growth. The property tax allocation percentage for each jurisdiction within a Tax Rate Area (TRA) was then established. Thereafter, these percentages are recomputed only when certain activities occur such as a TRA consolidation, creation of the Unitary roll pursuant to R&T §100, and boundary changes affecting specific TRAs. Boundary changes such as annexations, detachments, dissolution of districts, formation of new districts, city incorporations, and negotiated agreements, etc. must be accounted for and incorporated into the calculations of the Percent of Annual Tax Increment for each TRA affected.
The County Auditor-Controller levies, receives and distributes (allocates/apportions) over $500 million in general property tax revenues annually on behalf of over 90 local jurisdictions. Property tax revenues are remitted only to local jurisdictions. Property tax revenues are not remitted to the State.
This is a report focusing on property values. Property values are maintained by County Assessor’s Office and are used in the calculation of taxes by the County Auditor’s Office, net of any exemptions. State assessed local Utility and Unitary values are determined, maintained and submitted to counties by the State Board of Equalization.
This is a report focusing on estimated property tax revenues. Property taxes are billed by the Tax Collector and, once they have been paid by the taxpayers, are distributed by the Auditor-Controller to the local taxing agencies in accordance with state law. At the beginning of each fiscal year, the Auditor-Controller provides estimates of the property tax revenues amounts expected to be received by each local agency.
The information provided in this publication is an overview of the Property Tax Process in the County suitable for the general public. It includes a broad description of the functions of various County departments from the generation of property taxes through the distribution to local government agencies.
This is a report focusing on property tax rates. The Assessor determines the net assessed value of each property in the County and delivers an assessment roll to the Auditor by July 1st of each year. The Auditor then calculates the property's tax liability by multiplying the appropriate ad valorem (based on value) property tax rate by the net assessed value. Since the passage of Proposition 13, individual local jurisdictions no longer establish their own ad valorem property tax rate. Instead, the State Constitution imposes a 1% general tax rate plus any voter-approved debt tax rates. voter-approved debts are commonly thought of as "school bonds"; however, not all voter-approved debt in San Luis Obispo County are for schools. Voter-approved debts are generally passed by a 2/3 vote of the registered voters within the local jurisdiction. Following the passage of Proposition 39 in November 2000, certain school voter-approved debt has been authorized by a 55% vote of the registered voters within the respective school's boundary.
City and district boundaries throughout the entire State are maintained by the State Board of Equalization via the Tax Rate Area (TRA) system. This includes districts whose boundaries cross county lines (inter-county districts). Every piece of property in the State is assigned to a TRA. A TRA identifies a specific geographic area comprising a unique combination of districts/cities for the current fiscal year (R&T §95 (g)). San Luis Obispo County has over 400 active TRAs. TRAs may be effective for certain tax years and not others. Each tax year is unique and individual.
Under Revenue and Taxation Code §93, a tax rate may be levied against the net assessed value of each parcel in the tax rate area to generate sufficient money to make annual payments for interest and principal on general obligation bonds or certain other indebtedness approved by the voters. The total tax rate for any TRA is a combination of the Proposition 13 basic 1% tax rate added to any other voter-approved bond tax rate affecting the parcels within that TRA.
This report focuses on redevelopment projects. The Community Redevelopment Act in 1945 provided a mechanism to create Redevelopment Agencies (RDAs) and established a form of “tax-increment financing” whereby cities and counties were given the authority to declare areas within their boundaries as in need of urban renewal. The growth in property tax revenue (known as “tax increment”) within the RDA project areas is diverted from the local taxing agencies (county, cities, schools and special districts) to pay back any bonds issued to fund the needed improvements made by the RDA. Effective February 1, 2012 the State of California passed legislation to gradually dissolve RDAs. Once all debt obligations of each RDA are paid in full, the tax increment that is currently being diverted to pay those obligations will be returned to the local taxing agencies.
State law allows some local districts the option to place numerous types of non-ad valorem (non-value related) per parcel assessments & charges on the property tax bills. These charges may be a variety of items such as voter-approved special taxes (including Mello-Roos Community Facilities Districts), qualified special taxes, benefit/special assessments (including 1915 Act Improvement Districts), Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing installments, charges for services/fees, and delinquent water/sewer bills.
The San Luis Obispo County Auditor-Controller places over 95,000 line items of direct charges on the secured tax roll each year. The direct charges are comprised of 130 different types of direct charges from 80 different districts/agencies. Direct charges are due to the Auditor each year by August 10 to be included on the year's secured tax roll. Direct charges may not be placed on supplemental bills pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code.
It is the district's responsibility determine the validity and accuracy of the direct charges levies for both the Assessment Number and the amount. The County is not responsible for the validity or computation fo the direct charge levies. It is the district's responsibility to administer its direct charges and determine the method by which billing/collection will occur. If the district needs to place a direct charge on property that doesn't have a valid and billable Assessment Number for the applicable year, it is the district's responsibility to directly bill and collect from the party liable for the levy. Any over/under/missing charges are the responsibility of the district directing the charge to be placed on the secured tax bills. Each annual tax roll is unique and separate from those of previous and subsequent years. Direct charges and their corresponding amounts may change with each roll year. The Auditor must obtain verification each year from these districts that State law authorizes the charges to be placed on the tax roll.
The information on this page is compiled and made available as a public service. The County of San Luis Obispo makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of the information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of the information. Distribution of the information does not constitute such a warranty. Use of the information is the sole responsibility of the user.
COVID-19 Related Penalty Waiver Information
If you were unable to pay your Property Tax Bill due to impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic, please see our news article for information on our COVID-19 Penalty Waiver claim process. Please complete the appropriate Waiver Request form and turn it in with your tax payment when you are able to pay no later than May 6, 2021.
Please Note: Online payments will include penalties. Please do not pay online if you intend to request a penalty waiver. You can place your waiver request by phone and, if approved, pay the amount without penalty by calling 805-781-5831. You can also send your payment and penalty waiver request by regular mail to County Tax Collector, 1055 Monterey St. Rm D-290, San Luis Obispo, CA 93408.
Please contact the Tax Collector at [email protected] or (805) 781-5831 if you have questions about your tax bill.