Real Property

This is a very common misconception. The sale price is presumed to be market value only if it was an “arms-length”, open market transaction, and you notified the Assessor’s office of the sale price by timely filing a “Preliminary Change of Ownership Report” or a “Change of Ownership Statement”. If these two conditions are not met and the market evidence supports a different indication of fair market value, your base year value will be set at market value, based on our appraisal. If both of these conditions are met, we would only set your base year value at something other than the sale price if a preponderance of evidence indicates the property would have sold for at least 5% more or 5% less than the actual sale price in an open market transaction.

When there is an active market for the type of property being appraised, we compare it to similar properties that were recently sold. The process can involve anything from a simple comparison of prices of similar properties adjusted for any significant physical and locational differences, to a complex analysis of the rate of return investors expect for properties with similar income-generating potential. If there are not enough recent sales from which to draw a conclusion, the appraisal would be based on an analysis of the current replacement cost, including typical overhead and profit, and any necessary adjustments for depreciation.

Under Prop 13, the law dictates that the taxable value each year can increase no more than 2%. If however, there is a change of ownership or new construction after 1975, this may require a re-appraisal, which would establish a new prop-13 base year value.

Proposition 13 limits the general property tax rate to 1 percent of the assessed value, plus an amount for the debt service on any bonds approved by popular vote. The tax rate will vary depending on where the property is located. You can obtain the exact tax rate for a particular parcel by contacting the San Bernardino County Auditor-Controller’s Office at 909-387-8322.

In addition to the general tax levy of 1%, Prop 13 allows the tax bill to include bonded indebtedness (sewers, streetlights, etc.) previously approved by the voters to be added to the 1% general tax levy. This amount will vary across the county.

The most likely reason is that under California’s unique “Proposition 13” property tax system, the maximum assessment on real property is limited based on the value at the time it was acquired. This “base year value” cannot be increased by more than 2% each year, so it is normal for people who have owned their properties for many years to have lower assessments than neighbors who acquired the property more recently. The only other time a property’s assessment would reflect its current market value is if market value were to fall below the Prop 13 value limitation at some point in the future, known as a Prop-8 temporary value reduction.

Tax law requires the separation the value between the land and the improvements. The improvement value is for the structure that is built on the land.

The Assessor has no legal obligation or business need to record every permit issued on every property in the county, so the fact that our records don’t include a permit number for a specific improvement does not mean a permit was never issued. We will be glad to provide any permit information we have, but we can’t guarantee it will include the one you are looking for.

Under guidelines issued by the State Board of Equalization, we round building measurements to the nearest foot. The square footage shown in our records is therefore rarely the same as the figure calculated by the architect. All building data we maintain is for assessment purposes only and a minor difference such as this would have no impact on value.

Mailing addresses are obtained first from the Preliminary Change in Ownership Report signed by the new owner and filed with the legal document at the time of recording or from the recorded document evidencing a transfer of an interest in real property or manufactured home. This address is used until you sign a request for a change of address.

If you own property in San Bernardino County, it is important to keep your current mailing address on file with the Assessor’s Office to assure delivery of important assessment notices. Assessor mailing address information is also passed to the Treasurer-Tax Collector for the purpose of mailing property tax bills.

Mailing address changes may only be made by the owner of record or their pre-designated agent and must be in writing. Change of Address cards are available in any Assessor’s Office location or requests may be made via correspondence to the Assessor’s Office. Please include the following:

  • Assessor’s Parcel Number or physical address of the property
  • New mailing address
  • Signature of the property owner or agent
  • Printed name of the owner or agent
  • Date

Please mail your request to:

Office of the Assessor
Attention: Address Changes
222 W. Hospitality Lane
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0311


Fax to: (909) 382-3297

Supplemental assessments are generated due to qualifying changes of ownership or new construction. Well known types of change of ownership are those changes involving a buyer and a seller. However, change of ownership situations also include removing or adding someone’s name from title even when monetary consideration is not exchanged. Typical new construction events may include building a new home, adding on to an existing home, or adding a swimming pool. However, new construction can be considered adding any real property improvements that did not previously exist.

Under Proposition 13, a new base year value is established for the portion of a property that undergoes a “change of ownership”, and a separate base year value is established for any “new construction” completed after a change of ownership. As of July 1, 1983, taxes are based on these new values starting on the first day of the following month. These taxes come in the form of a supplemental assessment, which is determined by taking the new value and subtracting the total value already assessed to previous owners for that time period. If the new value is higher than the total value already assessed, additional taxes will be due. However, if the new value is less than the total value already assessed, taxes will be refunded. This is referred to as a negative supplemental.

Only the new addition (bedroom) will be assessed, and will then be added to the current value on the roll. The same will apply for a pool, second garage, or other major improvements. The Assessor will not re-appraise your existing home, as Prop-13 protects that value.

A number of transactions are legally excluded from the meaning of the term “change of ownership”, but we can’t apply those exclusions without first verifying that all requirements have been met and the proper application (if required) has been filed. For example, if you simply added your spouse on title, but you have different last names, we will need a copy of your marriage certificate. If you had to add or remove someone from title so you could refinance or get a new loan on the property, we will need verification from the lender or a signed affidavit from you. If you transfer title into your trust, partnership, corporation or LLC, we may need copies of the relevant documents showing no one else has an ownership interest. Call your local district office immediately if you believe your property should not have been reappraised.

The law requires the Assessor to appraise new construction at fair market value. Fair market value is the price that the property would bring if it were exposed for sale on the open market. We determine fair market value for single family residences by analyzing sales of homes similar to the one being appraised.

No. These items are considered normal maintenance.

State law requires the Assessor to reappraise property upon a change of ownership or new construction. The supplemental assessment reflects the difference between the new assessed value and the old or prior assessed value. If the property is reassessed at a higher value than the old assessed value, a supplemental bill will be issued by the Tax Collector. If the property is reassessed at a lower value than the old assessed value, a refund will be issued. Changes in ownership or new construction occurring from July 1 to Dec 31 will generate one bill covering a single fiscal year. The taxes are based on the number of months left in the fiscal year from the date of ownership change or the new construction completion date. If the change of ownership or new construction occurs between January 1 and June 30, two supplemental tax bills would be issued to cover changes for two fiscal years. The first bill would be from the date of the transaction for the remainder of the fiscal year; the second bill would be for the next fiscal year. Supplemental tax bills are mailed directly to the property owner and are the owner’s responsibility. In general, they are not paid out of your impound account. Please check with your lender.

The Assessor’s Office determines the assessed value of property. In order to determine your estimated supplemental bill, contact the Tax Collectors office at (909) 387-8308 or their website at

The Assessor’s Office does not send out tax bills. The bill will come from the Tax Collector for one of two reasons. Either we failed to update our records after a deed transferring real property was recorded, or the property was transferred by means other than a recorded deed and no notification was sent to the Assessor’s office. Personal property (including boats, aircraft, manufactured homes, and business property) is typically not transferred by a deed, so it is imperative that you notify the Assessor as soon as possible after selling it. The same is true for real property transactions in which a deed is not recorded until the buyer has paid the seller in full and/or satisfied any other conditions of the sale.