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Property Tax Appeals in San Diego County

Updated: Mar 28

San Diego, located in Southern California, is a popular destination known for its beautiful beaches, mild climate, and stunning sunsets. However, one of the less desirable things about San Diego is its property tax rates, which are among the highest in California. As a homeowner in San Diego, it is essential to understand how property taxes work and how they can impact your finances.


Property tax is a tax assessed on the value of real estate, including residential and commercial properties. In San Diego, the county assessor determines the value of properties and assesses taxes based on that value. Property taxes are used to fund essential public services like schools, roads, and emergency services.

A property tax bill typically includes multiple taxes and charges, such as the 1% rate, voter-approved debt rates, parcel taxes, Mello-Roos taxes, and assessments. The total property tax bill can vary depending on where you live, ranging from 1% to 2% of the assessed value of your home. The 1% rate applies to owner-occupied residential properties, which accounts for approximately 39% of the state's property tax revenue, followed by investment and vacation residential properties (34%) and commercial properties (28%).

Calculating property taxes in San Diego involves multiplying the assessed value of the property by the tax rate. The assessed value of the property is determined by the county assessor and depends on several factors, such as the age and condition of the property, its location, and its size. The tax rate is set by the local government and used to generate the necessary revenue to fund public services.

The property tax base can vary as the state's laws regarding the allocation of property tax revenue from the 1% rate have changed over time through legislation and voter initiatives. Property tax revenue is collected by the county in which the properties are located and used exclusively by the local government. Even though property tax is a local revenue source, it impacts the state budget due to the state's education finance system, which includes additional property tax revenue of 1% rate for K-14 districts.

Special assessment taxes, also known as Mello-Roos taxes, are imposed to generate funding for public works and facilities, particularly for new developments. The Community Facilities Act, passed in 1982, allows communities to impose Mello-Roos taxes, and property tax can be assessed as a percentage of the home's value.

The average property tax in San Diego is around 1.2% of the assessed value of the property. For instance, if your property is assessed at $1,000,000, you can expect to pay approximately $12,000 in property taxes each year. However, it is crucial to note that the actual property tax rate can vary significantly based on the specific location of the property.

If you think your property has been overvalued by the county assessor, you may be able to appeal the assessment and have your property taxes reduced. The process involves submitting a formal complaint to the county assessor and presenting evidence that supports your case. If your appeal is successful, you could see a significant reduction in your property taxes, which could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year.

Alternatively, you can seek assistance from a professional property tax consultant to appeal your property tax assessment. Property tax consultants are experts in the field and handle the entire process for you. They work on a contingency basis, which means their services are free until you receive a refund.

Property taxes are an important aspect of homeownership in San Diego. Understanding how they are calculated, the average property tax rate, and the process for appealing property tax assessments can help you make informed decisions about your property and finances. If you have questions or concerns about your property taxes in San Diego, consider seeking the help of a professional

If you disagree with your property assessment, you can contest it by first contacting the appropriate county to request an explanation of how the assessment was determined. You can also share any material facts that may affect the assessment of the property. However, if you still disagree with the assessment, there are specialized companies such as AOPTA The Property Tax Experts that can help you file and win a property tax appeal in the San Diego area. They will represent you throughout the filing and appeals process.

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