Planning to buy a house but feeling intimidated by the prospect of your first Alameda County property tax bill? Confused by tax rates, Mello-Roos fees, and parcel taxes? The California property tax system is complicated, and taxes are high due to high home values despite legislation that shields homeowners from the effects of ever-rising prices. Bay Area property tax in particular is costly with median tax bills of more than $11,000 for new homeowners!
Here’s everything you need to know about the Alameda County property tax rate, special assessments, and supplemental taxes from estimating your tax liability to qualifying for exemptions and paying your bill.
Table of Contents
Alameda County Property Tax Overview
In California, property taxes are charged based on the fiscal year starting July 1 and billed in two installments. The base tax rate is 1% of your assessed value which is equal to the purchase price then adjusted up to 2% per year for inflation, temporarily reduced if the market value drops below the assessed value, or reassessed based on ownership changes or certain types of improvements.
Every year, there is a specific process to calculate Alameda County property tax rates and assessed values, reassess properties when needed, issue tax bills, and collect and disburse taxes.
There are three county agencies that play distinct roles in the Alameda County property tax system: the Alameda County Assessor, the Auditor-Controller, and the Alameda County Treasurer and Tax Collector.
There are several important dates involved in this process.
- January 1 – Property assessments are applied on January 1 at 12:01 am
- February 15 – The deadline to file a property tax exemption claim for homeowners, veterans & disabled veterans
- April 10 – The deadline to pay the second installment of property taxes (billed the previous year)
- July 1 – The date the property assessment roll is delivered to the Auditor-Controller by the Assessor
- July 2 – The first date assessment appeals can be submitted
- Mid-July – Alameda County reassessment notices are mailed
- September 15 – Deadline to file an assessment appeal
- December 10 – Deadline to file late exemption claims for homeowners and veterans
- December 10 – Second installment of property taxes is due
The Alameda County Assessor is Phong La. The Assessor’s office is responsible for assessing property, completing reassessments when Prop 13 and Prop 19 are triggered, adjusting assessments annually with inflation, and applying exemptions.
Alameda Assessor’s Office & Hours
- Address: Alameda County Assessor’s Office, 1221 Oak St STE 145, Oakland, CA 94612
- Phone: (510) 272-3787
- Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm
The Alameda County Tax Collector and Treasurer is Henry C. Levy. The Assistant Treasurer is Vishal B. Thacker. The Tax Collector and Treasurer is responsible for mailing property tax bills and collecting tax payments.
Alameda County Tax Collector’s Office & Hours
- Address: Alameda County Treasurer Tax Collector, 1221 Oak St #131, Oakland, CA 94612
- Phone: (510) 272-6800
- Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm
What Is the Alameda Property Tax Rate?
Your Alameda County property tax rate is highly dependent on where you live. There are hundreds of tax rates in the county – county and city tax rates, school district taxes, and special assessments and bonds!
The base 1% Alameda tax rate is the largest share of your Alameda County property tax bill, but special assessments and voter-approved bonds are also added.
Here is how property tax in Alameda County is calculated:
(1% of assessed value + special assessments + voter-approved bonds) – tax exemptions = your Alameda property tax bill
To give you an idea of what to expect, City of Alameda property taxes are 1.1626% compared to the Oakland property tax of 1.3741%. That small difference between rates adds up to thousands per year in taxes:
- Buy a $1 million home and you would have an Oakland property tax bill of $13,741 or $11,625 in Alameda.
- The median home price in Alameda is $1.275 million. That’s a tax bill of $14,823.
- The median home price in Oakland is $955,000. That would give you an average Oakland property tax bill of $13,122.
To estimate property taxes when you buy a house in Alameda County, you can use 1.25% of your purchase price as a good rule of thumb. If you’re buying a house in Oakland, you may want to estimate higher at 1.40%.
Because your tax rate includes taxes for the school district, city bonds, special assessments, sewer districts, and more, you will need to check Alameda County property records to find the tax rate area (TRA) for your property or a home you’re considering buying.
You can use the Alameda County property tax lookup tool here from the Alameda Auditor-Controller to find your Alameda tax rate by parcel number, address, or tax rate area (TRA). You can also see representative rates by city or unincorporated area.
Property Tax in Alameda County by City
Here’s a quick comparison of what you can expect to pay with the Alameda County property tax rate by city for 2021/2022. Note that these are only representative rates according to the Auditor-Controller – some areas within city may have much higher rates based on special assessments and bonds.
|Property Tax Rate – Alameda County Cities|
|Total Tax Rate|
|Fremont property tax rate||1.1322|
|Livermore property tax rate||1.1572|
|City of Alameda tax rate||1.1626|
|Castro Valley property tax rate||1.1848|
|Hayward property tax rate||1.2028|
|San Leandro property tax rate||1.2311|
|Berkeley property tax rate||1.2508|
|Dublin property tax rate||1.2850|
|Oakland property tax rate||1.3741|
Alameda County Parcel Taxes & Exemptions
Parcel taxes are added on top of your property tax rate. These taxes are approved by voters and usually support school districts. Unlike regular ad valorem property taxes, parcel taxes are not based on property values – they are usually a flat tax on each parcel.
For example, Oakland property tax bills may include three parcel taxes totaling $435 per year – on top of your secured property tax!
Property owners in the Alameda Unified School District pay 0.265 per square foot every year from June 2020 to June 2028 with a cap of $7,999 per parcel per year.
Parcel tax exemptions are usually available for seniors, low-income property owners, and SSDI recipients, depending on the parcel tax.
Mello-Roos Taxes | What Is Mello-Roos & How it Affects Your Property Taxes
If you’re buying your first home, or new to California, one thing that may take you by surprise when you receive your property tax bill is Mello-Roos fees. Mello-Roos are special tax districts in California that are approved by voters in the area to fund specific improvements or infrastructure. They are also known as Community Facility Districts. CFDs assess tax liens on all property in their district.
If you buy a home in a Mello-Roos district, you will pay the Mello-Roos assessment in addition to your regular property tax rate in Alameda County.
California Prop 13 Protects Against Skyrocketing Alameda County Property Taxes
Proposition 13 is a California law that protects homeowners from skyrocketing property tax bills as home prices rise. The Prop 13 property tax law limits your annual base property tax to just 1% of your assessed value. Special assessments and voter-approved bonds can be added to this base rate. Your assessed value can be raised no more than 2% per year with inflation unless one of two main Prop 13 reassessment triggers occurs:
- Ownership change, including a partial ownership change
- Improvements to the property that qualify as new construction
The only other exception to the 2% max increase in assessed value is after a temporary Prop 8 assessment due to declining home values.
California Proposition 13 means homes with very similar market values located right next to each other can have drastically different assessed values (and property tax liability) based on when they were purchased.
Alameda County Property Tax Payment & Due Dates
County of Alameda property taxes are paid to the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector.
When are property taxes due in Alameda County?
- First installment: due November 1, delinquent at 5 pm on December 10
- Second installment: due February 1 of the following year, delinquent at 5 pm on April 10
If you do not make your full Alameda County property tax payment before they become delinquent, you will be subject to a 10% penalty. There is an additional $10 fee if your second installment is late.
Ownership changes or new construction can trigger additional property tax bills that will have different due dates. When you buy a home, for example, you can expect a supplemental property tax bill. This is the difference between tax liability based on the assessed value for the seller and your tax liability based on the new assessed value (purchase price). This tax amount is typically prorated for the remaining portion of the fiscal year. Two supplemental tax bills will be issued if you buy a home or otherwise trigger reassessment between January 1 and June 30 because two fiscal years are affected.
If there is a delay in determining a new assessed value, you will also receive a secured escape tax bill.
Make sure you sign up for email reminders so you don’t forget a tax deadline!
Alameda Tax Payment Options
Here’s how to pay your property tax bill. Check, money order, cashier’s check, and certified check are accepted for in person and mailed payments. Note that check payments should include your name, phone number, assessor’s parcel number (APN), and property location. Use the memo line if necessary.
Pay property taxes online. You can pay Alameda taxes online through the ACgov property tax portal here. Make sure you choose whether you are paying secured or supplemental property tax. There is a 2.5% convenience fee for using a credit card and no fee for paying with a checking or savings account.
Pay in person. Visit the County Administrative Building office at 1221 Oak Street, Room 131 in Oakland or the Business License Office at 224 W. Winston Avenue, Room 169 to pay taxes in person. The main office has a drop box and the Hayward office has a mail slot that can be used for after-hours payments.
Pay by mail. Send a check made payable to Treasurer Tax Collector, Alameda County” to: Alameda County Treasurer Tax Collector, 1221 Oak Street, Room 131, Oakland, CA 94612
Pay by phone. Call (510) 272-6800 to pay by credit card using the interactive voice response system. There is a 2.5% fee.
Pay by wire transfer. You are required to pay Alameda County property taxes by wire transfer if the total for your two recent installments is at least $50,000.
Installment Plans & Monthly Payments
If you have trouble keeping up with your property taxes, you have options. Monthly payments can be more manageable if your taxes are not paid by your mortgage company. The ACgov property tax system can’t accept payments except for the two annual installments, but you may be able to make monthly payments with one of these options:
- Set up an impound account with your mortgage lender. Banks do not charge for this. A monthly amount will be added to your mortgage payment and set aside by your lender then paid directly to the Treasurer and Tax Collector.
- Open a savings account and transfer an estimated monthly payment. Divide your current tax bill by 12 and add about 3%. You can pay your property taxes online directly from this account when your installment payment is due.
- Use Easy Smart Pay to pay your taxes monthly with a credit card or ACH payment. There is a 2.25% fee. When your installment payment is due, the third party vendor sends it to the Alameda County tax collector.
If your prior year taxes are delinquent, you can set up a tax installment plan to avoid a delinquent property tax auction. The installment plan gives you a way to pay your taxes and redeem your property with payments made over 5 or fewer years.
Alameda County Property Tax Lookup
There are several tools to look up parcel information, tax history, and more.
The Alameda County property records tool from the Assessor lets you search by property address or parcel number to view:
- Assessed value
- Property taxes due
- Alameda County parcel map
Prefer an interactive property tax map? Use the Alameda County Assessor property search and parcel viewer to zoom and click on properties and see parcel information or search by APN or address.
There is even an AC Property app with an Alameda property tax lookup function and the ability to pay your taxes right through the app.
Only interested in tax information? Need a copy of your property tax bill? Use the Alameda County property tax lookup from the Treasurer and Tax Collector to see your current balance and more.
You can use this tool for Alameda County property tax records for prior years. See payment history, delinquency, and more for secured and supplemental tax bills.
Additional Alameda County Property Information
Alameda County Property Assessment Appeals
If you believe your home is assessed for more than its market value, or exemptions you are entitled to have not been applied, you have the right to appeal your assessment.
Start by contacting the Alameda County tax assessor. It may be possible to correct an error on your assessment without going through a formal appeal process.
If this does not resolve the problem, you must file an appeal with the Assessment Appeals Board through the Clerk of the Board. You will need to submit evidence to support your opinion. Keep in mind you must pay your property taxes by the due date, even if you disagree with your assessment.
You must file your appeal between July 2 and September 15 for a regular assessment or within 60 days of a Notice of Supplemental Assessment or Escape Assessment.
Click here to download rules of procedure, instruction booklets, and the application, or complete an online assessment appeal application for Alameda County.
Alameda Property Tax Exemptions
Exemptions offer property tax relief by reducing your assessed value and total tax liability.
- California Homeowner’s Exemption – reduces the assessed value of your primary residence (as of January 1) by $7,000. Click here for the Homeowner’s Property Tax Exemption form.
- Senior/Disabled Reappraisal Exclusion Program – Under Prop 19, effective starting in 2021, seniors and disabled adults can transfer their Prop 13 tax base (assessed value) when they sell their home and buy a new house of equal or lesser value.
- Veterans’ Exemption – Reduces the assessed value by up to $4,000 for qualifying active-duty military members and veterans who meet asset requirements.
- Disabled Veterans’ Exemption – Qualifying veterans with a 100% disability rating or service-connected disability and surviving spouses receive a basic exemption of $100,000 (compounded annually for inflation, $134,706 in 2018) or a low-income exemption of $150,000 (compounded annually for inflation, $202,060 in 2018).
Ready to take the leap into homeownership? If you’re planning to buy a home in Oakland or elsewhere in Alameda County, AMS Relocation is here to help. While we can’t help you with property taxes, we can make your move-in easy and stress-free so you can start enjoying all the perks that come with owning your own home.