13 AND ITS OFFICIAL EXPLANATION
example of the complexity engendered when the government interferes
with the basic system of property taxation:
13 is as follows:
OF THE CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION ARTICLE X III A PROPOSITION 13
The maximum amount of any ad valorem tax on real property shall not
exceed one percent (1%) of the full cash value of such property. The
one percent (1%) tax to be collected by the counties and apportioned
according to law to the districts within the counties.
The limitation provided for in subdivision (a) shall not apply to ad
valorem taxes or special assessments to pay the interest and
redemption charges on any indebtedness approved by the voters prior
to the time this section becomes effective.
The full cash value means the county assessor's valuation of real
property as shown on the 1975 76 tax bill under "full cash
value"; or, thereafter, the appraised value of real property
when purchased, newly constructed, or a change in ownership has
occurred after the 1975 assessment. All real property not already
assessed up to the 1975 76 full cash value may be reassessed to
reflect that valuation. For purposes of this section, the term "newly
constructed" shall not include real property which is
reconstructed after a disaster, as declared by the Governor, where
the fair market value of such real property, as reconstructed, is
comparable to its fair market value prior to the disaster.
The full cash value base may reflect from year to year the
inflationary rate not to exceed two percent (2%) for any given year
or reduction as shown in the consumer price index or comparable data
for the area under taxing jurisdictions; or may be reduced to reflect
substantial damage, destruction or other factors causing a decline in
following is part of the official explanation of Proposition 13. It
illustrates how a simple and easily understood property tax system
can be made into an administrative "jungle":
OF PROPOSITION 13
Q: I bought my
house before 1975. When does it get the next hike in
Never again, under Proposition 13, unless you change the ownership,
enlarge your home, make substantial alterations, or have other new
So if I don't have new construction and don't move, my value stays
Basically yes, except that up to 2% per year may be added for
My 1975 tax bill shows a much smaller tax value than my 1978 bill.
Proposition 13 said that all property not already valued up to the
1975 level had to be revalued to that level. Your home may not have
been revalued for several years before 1975.
I recently bought my first house. Now I find my neighbor's place is
bigger and has a pool, but his property tax is $ 1,000 less than
For a property bought after March 1, 1975, Proposition 13 requires
the assessment to be based on what it's worth at the time of sale.
Your neighbor probably owned his property before then and it's
assessed at its 1975 value.
Am I still entitled to a Homeowner's Exemption?
Exemptions were not affected by Proposition 13. All the same rules
still apply: A property owner may claim one Homeowner's Exemption in
California on the residence in which he or she is the owner and
occupant on March 1.