Frequently Asked Questions
Does the postponement have to be repaid?
A postponement of property taxes is a deferment of current-year property taxes that must eventually be repaid. Taxes postponed are secured by a lien against the property.
When can I submit an application for the Property Tax Postponement (PTP) Program?
Applications may be submitted between October 1 and February 10 each year and are available beginning in September. An extension to June 1, 2021 may be granted for homeowners in counties where the Governor has declared a state of emergency due to wildfires and other natural disasters.
Contact the PTP team at (800) 952-5661 to have an application mailed to you, or to verify if your county qualifies for extension after the February 10 deadline.
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 $45,000 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
- Not have a reverse mortgage on the property
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 there are not enough PTP funds to cover all eligible applicants, the State Controller will notify the applicants.
What is the definition of disabled under the PTP 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?
During the filing period of October 1 to February 10, applications will be reviewed in the order received, based on the postmark date. Typical processing time is 6 to 8 weeks depending on the volume of applications.
What happens if my property taxes are set up to be paid by my lender through an escrow account?
If you are approved for PTP, the State Controller will make a payment on your behalf directly to the county tax collector. The State Controller’s Office does not contact lenders and PTP does not affect your escrow account. Property owners are responsible for contacting their lenders and paying all amounts due.
What happens if I pay my property taxes before my PTP application is approved? What if my lender makes a duplicate payment?
State law requires all duplicate PTP payments be refunded by the county to the taxpayer. The property owner is responsible for paying their property taxes to the county by the due date. The State Controller 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.
Are mobilehomes, modular homes, or manufactured homes eligible for this program? If the manufactured, mobile, or modular home is on a permanent foundation and is not separately taxed, can it qualify for this program?
Manufactured homes, whether affixed or un-affixed, that were constructed on or after June 15, 1976 are eligible for postponement under the PTP Program.
Are floating homes and houseboats eligible for this program?
No. California law does not allow PTP for floating homes or houseboats.
I was previously in the program and met all the requirements. Do I automatically retain my qualification for the program each year?
No. To be eligible for the PTP program, a homeowner must apply and meet the PTP eligibility requirements each year. California law does not allow the State Controller’s Office to make exceptions for previously eligible applicants.
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 with the county or a security agreement with the Department of Housing and Community Development for manufactured homes 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?
State law does not allow for the subordination of the PTP lien to any junior lienholders.
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 granted in error.
What is the interest rate under PTP?
The interest rate for all taxes postponed under PTP is 5 percent per year.
For example: on a PTP postponement of $1,000 in taxes, the interest would be $50 per year, or $4.17 each month.
If I do not pay my property taxes because I apply to the PTP Program, and I am not approved, could I be subject to penalties and interest for the current-year taxes?
Yes. Consulting a county tax collector can help an applicant determine potential liability and the best course of action.
Are defaulted property taxes eligible for postponement?
No. California law does not allow the PTP Program to pay for prior years of delinquent taxes. However, an applicant who has defaulted taxes from previous years may still qualify for PTP, depending on the number of years, amount, and other obligations against the property.
Manufactured home owners with delinquent and/or defaulted property taxes do not qualify for postponement.
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.