A condominium, according to the BusinessDictionary.com is a "single, individually owned housing unit in a multi-unit building." The definition goes on to explain the owner holds sole title to the unit and owns common property such as land, halls, and community buildings jointly with other unit owners. In California, and every other state, a condominium is real property. Its owners must pay property taxes, just like any other real property owners. (References 1 and 2, pages 5 and 6)
Property tax in California
California taxes property are determined for each separate property by multiplying a tax rate by an assessed value. The base tax rate in California is one percent plus a percentage required to repay certain bond obligations. The rate is generally under 1.5 percent everywhere in California. In San Francisco it is 1.1164 percent. In parts of Los Angeles, it is 1.22 percent. The assessed value is the market value at sale, which is usually the sales price, plus up to two percent more each year thereafter. These rules apply to all property in California, including condominiums.
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Some types of properties and tax payers are entitled to partial or complete tax exemption under California law. These exemptions may apply to condominiums. Home owners who occupy their own homes, whether single-family homes, condos, or within multi-unit buildings that have not been divided into condos, are entitled to a $7,000 exemption, which entitles the owner to subtract $7,000 in value from the assessed value of his home before the property tax is calculated. Property owned and operated by nonprofit organizations such as hospitals, religious orders and scientific organizations are entirely exempt from taxation in California.
The Role of an HOA
California state law requires homeowners associations to manage condominiums in the state. Among many other duties, the HOA pays fees associated with the complex's commonly owned property. Because it is the unit under sole ownership that is taxed, the HOA is not responsible for property tax. However, decisions made by the HOA may very well affect property taxation. For instance, if the HOA decides to improve common areas substantially, these improvements translate to higher unit prices at sale, which will increase property taxes on the unit.
Tax Due Date
All California property taxes are due in two equal installments, on November 10th and February 1st. California has an approximately one-month grace period for tax payment. Delinquency dates, after which penalties and late fees apply if taxes remain unpaid, are December 10 and April 10 of each year.