(SAN RAFAEL, CA) – Following questions from North Bay constituents concerned about the upcoming April 10 deadline for property tax payments, Assemblymember Marc Levine (D- Marin County) has sent letters to the administrators of Sonoma County and Marin County providing them with legal options available to each county to defer payment or waive penalties for taxpayers unable to make their property tax payment on time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To protect the health and safety of their residents, Marin County issued a “shelter at home” order on March 16, followed by a similar order from Sonoma County on March 17. While these orders have helped to save lives, it has also had a dramatic financial impact on individuals and business owners in the North Bay.
Levine outlined two available options that could be used to reduce impacts to taxpayers in the short term. First, pursuant to Section 4985.2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, a county tax collector is authorized to waive interest or penalties that would otherwise be imposed or collected with respect to a delinquent second installment of property taxes levied for the 2019-2020 fiscal year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, pursuant to Section 2619 of the Revenue and Tax Code, the Board of Supervisors is authorized to approve an ordinance or resolution temporarily closing the tax collector’s office, which would also delay property tax payments.
While either of these actions could provide temporary relief to taxpayers impacted by COVID-19, these actions would also have an impact on the operations of county services, schools and local financial obligations. When considering either of these options, Levine encouraged the counties to develop a plan to outline the impacts of delayed property tax payments and what local policy changes may be necessary in the short term to cover costs for essential local services.
“Taxpayers that are able to make their property tax payment on time should do so,” said Assemblymember Levine. “But for many families and businesses, this is a difficult and uncertain time. Consideration of waiving of fees and penalties for late property tax payments this April will help taxpayers throughout the North Bay. This action is consistent with a number of actions taken by the Legislature and Governor Newsom to address the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community. I encourage county leaders to consider all appropriate actions under the law to help residents and taxpayers during this emergency.”