Property tax help available
According to the Web site for California’s Franchise Tax Board, the state “deleted funding” for the program, and “FTB cannot process or pay 2008 assistance checks.”
Under the program, the state would pay a portion of a qualifying homeowners property tax bill.
The good news is property owners may get some help paying their tax bill from the state controller’s office through the State Controller’s Property Tax Postponement Program.
Lassen County officials declined to comment on these programs and said interested property owners should contact the state agencies involved.
The phone number for the FTB is (800) 852-5711. Its Web site is ftb.ca.gov. The phone number for the State Controller’s Office is (800) 952-5661 or (916) 327-5587. Its Web site is sco.ca.gov.
In existence since 1977, the State Controller’s Property Tax Postponement Program provides low-interest loans that allow homeowners to defer paying their property tax bills.
The program allows eligible homeowners to postpone payment of part or all of the property taxes on their residence.
According to Jacob Roper, a public information officer in the state’s communications office, the program is available for homeowners who meet the following eligibility requirements:
•Have an income of less than $35,500 for calendar year 2007.
•Have 20 percent equity in their home.
•Are 62 years of age or older on Dec. 31, 2008 or who are blind or disabled.
To participate in this program, the homeowner must complete the claim form and submit it to the State Controller's Office. Claim forms are available at sco.ca.gov.
The deadline to file a claim is Wednesday, Dec. 10. Claims filed after the deadline may be denied.
Upon approval of the claim, the controller's office will mail Certificates of Eligibility to the homeowner. The homeowner must mail or take the certificates to the county tax collector’s office to postpone the property taxes due.
In order to secure the postponed amount, the controller's office records a lien against the property. Interest is charged on the postponed taxes on a simple interest basis.
Roper said the current interest rate is 5 percent. He said changes in the interest rate will not be applied retroactively.
The amount of the postponed taxes and interest are not due until:
•The homeowner moves from the qualified property.
•The homeowner sells or conveys the title to the home.
•The homeowner dies and does not have a spouse, or registered domestic partner, or other qualified individual who continues to reside in the home.
•Or, future property taxes or other senior liens are allowed to become delinquent. However, the homeowner may pay all or part of the obligation before it becomes due.
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