Santa Clara County Launches Partial Payment Program for Property Taxes

Homeowners in Santa Clara County now have the option of making partial payments for their property taxes without being penalized. Until the launch of this program, homeowners had to pay their property tax installment in full or be fined and assessed 18% interest per year. If a partial payment were received, the County Tax Collector would return it to the homeowner, who would then be in default. The new Partial Payment Program changes this policy, allowing homeowners to submit incremental payments.

Santa Clara County has the highest average home values in all of California and for many homeowners, property taxes are the single largest expense after their mortgage. Although Californians benefit from Prop 13, which keeps annual property tax assessments to between 1% and 2% per year, thanks to high home values, the average property tax bill is over $9,900. In 2016, the county was unable to collect $29 million in property tax revenue. The hope is, the flexibility of the new Partial Payment Program will enable homeowners to pay their taxes incrementally and the County will benefit from a reduced payment delinquency.

In January, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to implement this program, which is now rolling out with the first property tax deadline of November 1st with a delinquency date of December 11th. Though these benefits may not fully kick in until the February installment, they will offer homeowners in Santa Clara County more payment flexibility going forward.

A few of the program highlights are below.

  • Anyone can take advantage of the partial payment program
  • There are no contracts or documents to sign to participate
  • There are no prescribed payment amounts or due dates, allowing homeowners the flexibility to pay what they can, when they can
  • Payments are applied to the first installment only. Any overpayment, unless it is the full amount of the second installment, will be refunded.
  • Payment can be submitted online via credit card (a reduced processing fee has been applied) or free echeck. Payment by mail is also accepted.
  • Homeowners can check their balance due at anytime online by logging into the payment website and looking under Amount Paid to Date.
  • The 10% fee and annual interest rate will ONLY be applied to the unpaid balance, NOT the full installment amount. This is a HUGE benefit to homeowners who previously attempted to make some payment and had it returned.
  • Property owners can also sign up for email notifications regarding tax installment due dates.

For more details on the new program, visit the Santa Clara County website or contact the property tax department at 408-808-7900 or via email at scctax@tax.sccgov.org.

The Partial Payment Program allows all homeowners in Santa Clara County the opportunity to make incremental payments against their property tax bills. With an estimated one in twenty five taxpayers struggling to pay their tax bill in full, this partial payment program would assist them in managing this significant expense.

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