This page is intended to give you a basic overview of property taxes and special assessments on homes. This information is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as tax advice or legal advice. Please consult with your tax advisor and legal counsel for details specific to your circumstances.
Palm Springs and surrounding areas throughout the Coachella Valley are located in the jurisdiction of Riverside County, California. Taxes in Riverside County are capped at 1.25% of assessed value, plus supplemental taxes, assessments and fees (described below). It’s important to remember that when you purchase a home, the property will be assessed at the time of sale to the current market value (ie, the price you paid).
The total amount you will owe in property taxes is based on a variety of factors, including the type of property, the size of the house, the purchase price and your personal circumstances (eg, age bracket, veteran status). Additional factors include things like whether it’s your primary or secondary residence and whether it will be an investment property (eg, rental property).
Supplemental Taxes, Special Assessments and Fees
Under California state law, real property is reappraised upon change of ownership or completion of new construction. A regular tax bill is based on the assessed value of real property as of January 1st. This bill may be sent to you by your mortgage company or the county treasurer/tax collector. A supplemental tax bill is the additional property tax based on the difference between the prior assessed value and the new assessed value. This supplemental tax bill is sent directly to you by the county treasurer/tax collector and is in addition to/separate from the regular tax bill. Riverside County provides a handy Supplemental Tax Estimator to give you an estimate of the amount of supplemental taxes you can expect to pay if you have recently purchased a property. Please note this estimator is only intended for changes in ownership and not for new construction (which is any improvement to property, apart from normal maintenance).
Property tax bills can also include special assessments and other fees. These are typically special taxes imposed by the state, county or municipal government to pay for vital public facilities and services, including schools, police and fire services, libraries, public parks and street maintenance, sewage and drainage system upkeep and other critical public works. One such special tax is allowed by Proposition 13, a statewide property tax to benefit primary public education.
Another special assessment is called the Community Facilities Districts (Mello-Roos district). Mello-Roos districts are established by municipal governments at the request of a developer to finance specific public facilities and services (eg, schools, parks and libraries) through local bonds. They can range from minimal to substantial depending on the public improvement project. Mello-Roos districts are located throughout the county and are typically found in large, new subdivisions.
Another special assessment is called the Special Assessments Districts (public works bonds). These assessment districts finance public improvements such as streets, water distribution and sewer systems, as well as utilities. These district bonds are different from Mello-Roos districts in that the improvements benefit specific properties.
The County Assessor has no control over the placement or amount of special assessments. For more information, start with the County Assessor’s website.
Property taxes in California are assessed annually and split into equal, bi-annual payments. Property tax bills are mailed out in late September/early October. To avoid late payment penalties, the first installment must be paid by December 10th and the second installment must be paid by April 10th. You can pay online through the Riverside County Tax Portal or via the county’s automated phone-pay system. Be aware that the county charges nominal service/convenience fees, depending on how you pay.