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The Known and Unknown of Property Tax and Real Property Transfers: a Discussion on Proposition 19

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By Joseph E. Gruber, Jr.

[Joseph E. Gruber, Jr. is an Associate Attorney for the law firm Aaron, Riechert, Carpol & Riffle, APC located in Redwood City, California and is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He serves as the Chair Pro Tem on the Executive Committee for the Probate Section of the San Mateo County Bar Association. The views presented in this article are his own and do not represent the views of his employer or any other entity]

On November 3, 2020, California voters passed Proposition 19: Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment. Proposition 19 amended the California State Constitution to create a dramatic shift in property tax laws. This article highlights the prior laws for property tax assessment and reassessment exclusions for transfers by individuals over the age of 55 and severely disabled, for individuals affected by natural disasters, and for the parent to child and grandparent to grandchild exclusion, and attempts to educate individuals on the changes enacted by Proposition 19. This article provides a brief summary of California real property taxation and a review of the limited authority available for individuals to understand the shift in availability of certain reassessment exclusions for certain pieces of real property.

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