Legislature Approves Property Tax Relief for Victims of Natural Disasters

Friday, September 13, 2019

SACRAMENTO – A bill protecting victims of natural disasters from an unexpected property tax increase was approved by the California Legislature last week and is now awaiting signature by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Assembly Bill (AB) 885, authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D – Thousand Oaks), would provide much needed tax relief to property owners who have lost their home or business in a natural disaster and wish to rebuild on the same plot of land.

“For disaster victims whose property is destroyed and choose to rebuild on site, California’s property tax laws work against them,” Ventura County Assessor Dan Goodwin said in a recent op-ed for the Ventura County Star. “Under the new law, a property owner will be able to construct a replacement property on the site of the destroyed property and keep a low property tax assessment up to 120 percent of size or value of the destroyed property.”

The bill, sponsored by the California Assessors’ Association, has enjoyed strong bipartisan support as it moved through the legislative process and is supported by the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Apartment Association, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association.

“AB 885 will help communities rebuild their communities suffering from recent fires, earthquakes, and mudslides,” Assemblymember Irwin said. “By creating conformity with other areas of property tax law, AB 885 will help support those who may have lost everything and are struggling to rebuild their lives in the community they call home. I look forward to the Governor’s signature on this important piece of legislation.”