Property taxes looming in the Bay Area

As municipalities grapple with formulating public policies on property tax collections amid COVID-19, Governor Newsom issues relief.

Ordinarily, property taxes are paid in two installments, one being in December and the second the following April, but these are far from ordinary times. As a bit of trivia, San Francisco and San Mateo joined an exclusive club of Bay Area counties that extended the normal April 10 deadline for forking over the second installment of 2019-2020 property taxes without being penalized, but exactly when these payments were due was up in the air.

On the San Mateo Tax Collector’s website, there were no words minced as property owners were told emphatically May 4th was the drop-dead date to pay taxes without incurring a penalty, and then, only with cash. San Francisco’s deadline, initially in a state of flux, was extended to May 15th.

The Governor resolves quandaries on the local level

Since the outset of the pandemic, Governor Newsom time and time again played referee by reconciling a patchwork of local ordinances with the stroke of a pen. His latest executive order gives some breathing room to owners who are facing hefty fines for property taxes paid after April 10, so long as they demonstrate financial hardship due to the public health crisis.

The Governor acknowledges property tax penalties can be stiff, but owners won't suffer punitive fees and fines until next May if they enter into good-faith payment plans.



Owners get the respect they deserve

We are encouraged that the stressors on rental property owners and operators have been recognized and are beginning to be addressed. Understandably, the first reflex of public officials was to preserve affordable housing and ensure tenants were not displaced, but we are heartened to know it is becoming increasingly clearer that landlords must have a healthy income to provide housing and amenities that are so desperately needed in these times.