When can I submit an application for the Property Tax Postponement (PTP) Program?
Applications became available September 1, 2016. The State Controller’s team will begin processing submitted applications October 1, 2016, in the order they are received.
What are the eligibility requirements?
Acceptance into the program will depend on availability of funding.
An applicant must re-apply each year in which postponement is desired, and demonstrate they meet the following criteria:
- Is at least 62 years of age, or blind, or disabled;
- Has a total household income of $35,500 or less, as defined in California Revenue and Taxation Code 20503;
- Owns and occupies the property as the principal place of residence;
- Has at least 40 percent equity in the property; and
- Other requirements.
What is the definition of disabled under this program?
According to the Social Security Administration, a person is considered disabled if he or she is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months or longer. Proof of disability is required with each year’s PTP application.
What is the typical application processing time?
The timeframe for approving and denying applications will depend on the availability of funding, and the completeness, complexity, and volume of applications received. In general, the SCO team hopes to respond within six weeks and will refine this estimate as the program progresses.
How will county tax collectors know which property owners have submitted PTP applications and whether they are approved?
County tax collectors will be notified in advance of payment being issued by the State Controller on behalf of approved claimants.
What happens if I pay my property taxes before my PTP application is approved? What if my lender makes a duplicate payment?
If the county tax collector receives payment from a PTP applicant or PTP applicant’s lender before the PTP application is approved and SCO then makes a payment, the duplicate property tax payment will be refunded to the PTP Program and applied to the your PTP account balance. If a PTP applicant or PTP applicant’s lender makes a payment to the county tax collector after a PTP payment has been received from SCO, the duplicate payment will be refunded to whomever made the payment (applicant or applicant’s lender). The property owner is responsible for paying the county all amounts due. SCO is not responsible for any fees, interest, or penalties the county may assess as a result of late payments while a PTP application is pending with SCO.
Is there a limit to how many eligible applicants will be accepted into the program each year? What happens to pending applications once the maximum funding is reached?
Applications will be approved and taxes postponed on a first-come, first-served basis. If a time comes when there are not enough funds to cover all eligible applicants, the State Controller will notify the applicants.
Do mobilehomes or manufactured homes qualify for this program? If the home is on a permanent foundation and is not separately taxed, can it qualify for this program?
No. The revised California law does not allow PTP for any kind of mobile or manufactured home, whether or not it is affixed to land.
Do floating homes and houseboats qualify for this program?
No. The revised California law does not allow PTP for floating homes or houseboats.
I was previously in the program and met the 20 percent equity requirement. Will I qualify for the new program?
To be eligible for the program in October 2016 and going forward, you must have at least 40 percent equity in your home.
If I was eligible before, can I be “grandfathered” into the new program on a one-time basis?
No. California law does not allow the State Controller to make exceptions for previously eligible applicants. Each person must re-apply and meet the new eligibility requirements each year.
Will a refinance, reverse mortgage, or home equity loan affect eligibility?
An applicant who has refinanced or obtained an equity loan is not automatically disqualified from PTP. However, such loans may drop the amount of equity in the home below the required 40 percent threshold for PTP eligibility.
An applicant with an existing reverse mortgage is not eligible for PTP, because the amount of equity in the home is being drawn down. If a current PTP program claimant refinances or obtains a reverse mortgage, repayment of postponed taxes (plus accrued interest) becomes due and payable.
Does the state take title to the property once the application is approved?
No. The state places a lien against the property when the postponement is authorized, but title to the property does not change.
Once my PTP account is established, may I request a subordination of the PTP lien?
No. State law requires that the PTP lien retain its priority.
When do taxes postponed under PTP become due and payable?
All taxes postponed under PTP and interest become due and payable if the:
- Property is no longer the claimant’s principal place of residence;
- Claimant dies (and there is no approved surviving spouse);
- Claimant sells, conveys, or otherwise transfers the property;
- Claimant becomes delinquent on a senior lien;
- Claimant refinances or obtains reverse mortgage; or
- State Controller’s Office learns postponement was in error.
What is the interest rate under the PTP Program?
The interest rate for all taxes postponed under PTP after July 1, 2016, is 7 percent per year. For example, on a PTP postponement of $1,000 in taxes, the interest would be $70 per year or $5.83 each month.
If I apply to the PTP Program and am not approved, could I be subject to penalties and interest for the current year taxes?
Yes. Consult your county tax collector to determine your liability and best course of action.
Are defaulted property taxes eligible for postponement?
No. California law does not allow the PTP Program to be used to pay for prior years of defaulted taxes.
Note: Criteria and other details are subject to change as laws, regulations, policies, and procedures develop. Please check back regularly for updates or contact the State Controller's Office at email@example.com or (800) 952-5661.