California taxes are notoriously high, but fortunately, that does not include the typical California property tax rate, one of the lowest in the country. However, that’s offset by high home prices. With the most expensive housing market in the U.S., you can be sure of a large San Francisco tax bill.
The good news is California’s Prop 13 protects San Francisco property owners from rising home prices, and the tax rate is not much higher than the national average.
Are you planning on buying a house in San Francisco? Here’s what you need to know about San Francisco property tax, one of the biggest expenses you will face as a homeowner after your mortgage payment!
Table of Contents
San Francisco Property Tax Overview
Property tax in California is a base rate of 1% of the assessed value plus voter-approved bonds and special assessments. Every year, property taxes are calculated and collected in a specific process:
- Property is assessed. A new assessment of the property is triggered by a change in ownership or new construction.
- Property assessments are calculated by the San Francisco Tax Assessor. Any exemptions are applied to reduce the assessed value. If a new assessment is not triggered, the assessed value increases by 2% per year.
- The Auditor/Controller applies the current tax rate to the assessed value to determine the property tax liability.
- Property tax bills are mailed by and payable to the San Francisco Tax Collector.
California Prop 13 protects property owners from rising home prices. The assessed value of a home in San Francisco is generally the purchase price which is increased no more than 2% per year unless a new assessment is triggered.
The San Francisco County Assessor is an elected official responsible for:
- Assessing all taxable property in the county every year
- Mailing out Notice of Assessment Value (NAV) statements to taxpayers
- Creating the local property tax roll
- Applying legal exemptions to properties to ensure assessed values are accurate
- Reviewing permits to determine if construction or improvements trigger a new assessment
- Reviewing preliminary change of ownership reports to determine if a new assessment is triggered
The assessment roll maintained by the SF Assessor lists property with its assessed value, market value, and tax liability.
If a reassessment of a home is triggered, the San Francisco County Auditor-Controller calculates the difference in value and generates a supplemental property tax bill. This bill is mailed by the SF Tax Collector.
In July, the San Francisco Assessor mails all property owners a Notice of Assessed Value (NAV). See a sample NAV here. This notice states the property’s assessed value as of January 1. It is not a bill but it informs you of the assessed value that will be used to calculate your property taxes for the upcoming year.
After receiving the NAR, property owners have the right to appeal their assessed value if they believe it is incorrect.
San Francisco Tax Assessor Office & Hours
- Address: The CCSF Office of Assessor-Recorder, 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl #190, San Francisco, CA 94102
- Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm
- Phone: (415) 554-5596
- Email: [email protected]
José Cisneros is the elected SF Treasurer and David Augustine is the San Francisco Tax Collector.
The San Francisco County Tax Collector and Treasurer is responsible for:
- Preparing and mailing out property tax bills once the office receives the tax roll from the County Auditor/Controller
- Collecting property tax payments
- Applying penalties to past-due taxes
- Issuing refunds
San Francisco Treasurer & Tax Collector Office & Hours
- Address: San Francisco Treasurer & Tax Collector, 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl #140, San Francisco, CA 94102
- Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm
- Phone: (415) 554-4400
What Is the San Francisco Property Tax Rate?
Property tax in San Francisco is calculated with this formula:
(1% of assessed value + voter-approved bonds + fixed-charge special assessments) – tax exemptions = San Francisco property tax bill
The base tax rate in California is 1% of the assessed value of the property. The assessed value is usually the purchase price of your home which is adjusted annually for inflation but no higher than 2% per year.
For fiscal year 2021/2022, the inflation factor was 1.036%. That means assessed values were increased just 1.036% over the previous year.
Your tax rate also includes voter-approved bonds for improvements and services and any fixed-charge assessments including Mello-Roos fees.
How much are property taxes in San Francisco?
The SF property tax rate for 2021/2022 is 1.18248499%. This includes:
- Countywide secured property tax: 1.00%
- City and County of SF Debt Service: 0.11463663%
- SF Community College District Debt Service: 0.01681493%
- SF Unified School District Debt Service: 0.04503343%
- SF Bay Area Rapid Transit District Debt Service: 0.006%
San Francisco home prices are higher than anywhere else in the U.S. The San Francisco median home price is $1.615 million in April 2022, up almost 12% year-over-year! For a single-family home, the median price is $2 million.
A home assessed at the current median price would result in $19,097 in San Francisco real estate taxes every year. A single-family home would have an even higher median SF property tax bill of $23,650.
You can see a sample San Francisco city tax bill below which includes the 2021/2022 tax rates.
To estimate the San Francisco County property tax you will pay when you buy a home, remember that you cannot rely on what the previous homeowner has paid or what your neighbors pay. Change in ownership will trigger a new assessment and likely result in dramatically higher property taxes than the current homeowner is paying. Long-time homeowners typically have much lower tax liability with assessed values that can’t increase more than 2% per year compared to recent homeowners.
Nationwide, effective property tax rates range from 0.28% in Hawaii to 1.69% in New York. Most homeowners pay about 0.7% to 1.3% in property taxes. The average American pays $2,471 in property taxes each year.
The average effective property tax rate in California is 0.76%. With a state median home price of $795,000, that’s an average California property tax bill of $6,042 – already well over twice the national average.
Remember: this effective property tax rate takes into consideration assessed property values, not market values. Thanks to Prop 13, many Californians enjoy lower property taxes based on what they paid for their home, not current market conditions.
San Francisco Parcel Taxes
In addition to the San Francisco property tax rate, you will pay parcel taxes in San Francisco. These parcel taxes were passed by voters to support the City College of San Francisco and San Francisco Unified School District.
|Parcel Taxes in San Francisco|
|Parcel Tax||2021/2022 Rate||2022/2023 Rate||Senior Exemption?|
|SFUSD Parcel Tax of 2020||$288||$297.24||Yes|
|SFUSD School Facilities Special Tax of 2010||$39.72 (single family)||$40.52 (single family)||Yes|
|$19.86 (per unit, multi-family)||$20.26 (per unit, multi-family)||Yes|
|Quality Teacher and Education Act of 2008||$275.02||$283.86||Yes|
|CCSF Parcel Tax of 2012||$99||n/a||No|
Seniors who meet eligibility criteria can qualify for the SFUSD Senior Citizen Exemption on the first three parcel taxes. There is no exemption for the CCSF tax.
What Is Mello-Roos? | Special Tax Districts in California
Along with the SF property tax rate, you may need to pay Mello-Roos fees. Mello-Roos are a special tax district in California that approved by voters to fund specific infrastructure. Also known as Community Facilities Districts (CFDs), these districts assess a tax lien on all taxable property in the district.
Mello-Roos taxes are paid in addition to annual San Francisco property taxes.
There are 9 Mello-Roos districts in San Francisco. Make sure you check if a property is in a Mello-Roos district before buying a home!
How Does California Prop 13 Work? | Protection Against Rising Home Prices
California Proposition13 is an important form of protection for homeowners. This law limits your annual base property tax to 1% of assessed value, although voter-approved bonds and special assessments can still be added. Your home’s assessed value cannot be increased more than 2% per year except in limited circumstances.
Your assessed value under Prop 13 is generally the purchase price of your home. That will remain your assessed value (increased up to 2% per year with inflation) unless one of several Prop 13 reassessment triggers happen:
- Improvements qualifying as new construction
- Change in ownership, including partial changes like creating joint tenancy
Under Prop 13, homes that are very similar and located next door to each other can have very different assessed values based on the date the homes were purchased.
San Francisco Property Tax Payments & Due Dates
SF property tax is paid to the San Francisco Tax Collector & Treasurer. There are many ways to pay property taxes, including making SF Treasurer property tax payments online.
Pay your taxes online. Click here to pay online through the San Francisco property tax records portal. Electronic check payments have no fee, but debit and credit card payments have a 2.25% fee.
Pay in person. Visit City Hall between 8 am and 5 pm. The Treasurer is Room 140.
Pay property taxes by mail. Send a check or money order made payable to “SF Tax Collector” to the address below. Make sure you include your block and lot number in the memo line!
Office of the Treasurer, & Tax Collector
PO Box 7426
San Francisco, CA 94120-7426
Pay by ACH or wire transfer. Follow the instructions on the San Francisco Treasurer website.
SF property taxes are due in two installments on December 10 and April 10.
Your San Francisco city tax becomes delinquent if it isn’t paid by 5 pm on the due date. There is a 10% penalty for delinquent property taxes plus a $45 administrative fee if the second installment is late.
City of San Francisco property taxes become tax-defaulted on June 30. You will be subject to an additional 1.5% penalty per month plus a redemption fee.
New construction or a change in ownership can result in additional property tax bills with separate due dates.
A supplemental SF tax bill is issued if the San Francisco Assessor reassesses the property at a higher value. This bill will be calculated as the difference between the prior and new value. It is usually prorated for a portion of the fiscal ear depending on when you purchased your home.
A secured escape tax bill is generated if this determination of the new value is delayed.
|San Francisco Property Tax Due Dates|
|Annual Secured Property Taxes||First Installment||December 10||Second Installment||April 10|
|Supplemental Tax Bill||Mailed July 1 – October 31||First Installment||December 10||Second installment||April 10|
|Mailed November 1 to June 30||First Installment||Last day of the month following mailed date||Second Installment||Last day of the 4th month after first installment is due|
|Secured Escape Bill||Mailed October 1 – October 31||First Installment||December 10||Second Installment||April 10|
|Mailed November 1 to February 29||First installment||Last day of the month following mailed date||Second Installment||April 10|
|Mailed March 1 to March 31||First installment||Last day of the month following mailed date||Second installment||Last day of the month following mailed date|
San Francisco Property Tax Lookup
The San Francisco Property Tax Lookup tool is offered by the SF Treasurer & Tax Collector. Use this portal to view your current property tax statement and past tax payment history. You can search for property information with your property address or, preferably, your bill number or block and lot number from your bill.
This tool will show you a breakdown of your direct charges and special assessments and your total ad valorem or secured property taxes as well as the due dates. You can print a copy of your property tax bill from the SF property tax lookup portal.
The San Francisco Tax Assessor parcel map is another tool to view San Francisco property records. You can perform a San Francisco property search with the address, parcel number, planning application number, or just by zooming and clicking on the map.
This tool shows parcel information including property owner information, nearby schools, planning district, permits and planning applications, historic preservation information, and census tract. It also provides the assessor summary, the status of any appeals, and the Assessor property tax roll.
Additional San Francisco Property Tax Information
Postpone San Francisco Property Tax Payments
Taxpayers who are blind, seniors, or disabled may qualify to have their current-year property tax amount postponed. You must meet specific criteria and apply for the Property Tax Postponement Program.
San Francisco Property Tax Appeals
If you disagree with your home’s assessed value and believe it is higher than its market value, you have the right to appeal your assessment.
- Pay your property tax bill even if you submit an appeal. You will receive a refund if the appeal is successful.
- Contact the San Francisco County Assessor if you find an error. It can be corrected without a formal appeal.
- To appeal your taxes, submit an Application for Changed Assessment from the Assessment Appeals Board of SF. This can also be done online by clicking here.
There is a deadline to file an appeal starting July 2 and ending mid-September. You can appeal a Supplemental or Escape assessment within 60 days of your notice.
San Francisco Property Tax Exemptions
You may qualify for property tax relief that reduces your assessed value or provides a credit to reduce your property tax liability.
- California Homeowner’s Exemption. This exemption reduces your assessed value by $7,000 for your primary residence.
- Senior/Disabled Reappraisal Exclusion Program. Prop 19, which went into effect in 2021, reduces property tax for seniors and disabled adults. If you are 55+ and sell your home to buy a new home of equal or lesser value, you can transfer the taxable/assessed value of your original home.
- Disabled Veterans’ Exemption. The value of this exemption, offered to qualifying veterans and surviving spouses, depends on household income, ownership share, and assessed value.
Now that you know what to expect with San Francisco property tax, are you ready to take the plunge and join the ranks of SF homeowners? Once your offer is accepted or you’re ready to plan your big move, give us a call at AMS Relocation to discuss the details and get a free moving estimate!