Executive Order offers property tax penalty relief for Fresno County taxpayers impacted by COVID-19

Property-Tax1Fresno County Auditor-Controller/Treasurer-Tax Collector, Oscar J. Garcia, CPA is grateful to California Governor, Gavin Newsom for signing Executive Order N-61-20 on May 6, 2020. The Executive Order grants County Tax Collectors the ability to cancel penalties, costs, and interest for taxes not timely paid on certain properties that were not delinquent prior to March 4, 2020. Garcia, along with other County Tax Collectors, had been lobbying the Governor to grant them this authority to offer some relief to taxpayers in their counties affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Relief from penalties, costs, and interest for property taxes not timely paid will be available for residential real property occupied by the taxpayer and for real property owned and operated by a taxpayer that qualifies as a small business under the Small Business Administration’s Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 13, section 121.201. Property owners seeking the relief will be required to submit information demonstrating that they have suffered economic hardship or were otherwise unable to tender payment of taxes in a timely fashion due to the COVID-19 pandemic or any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19.

The Tax Collector’s authority to provide relief under the Executive Order does not include properties for which taxes are paid through an impound account, for example by a mortgage lender. Relief under the Executive Order also does not apply to payments on installment plans if, on or before March 4, 2020, all payments required by the plan were made.

The Tax Collector’s office is currently reviewing the specifics of the order and will have instructions and a Request for Penalty Cancellation form specifically for requests related to the COVID-19 pandemic available on its website by 5:00 PM on Friday, May 8, 2020. The form and instructions can be found at https://www.co.fresno.ca.us/departments/auditor-controller-treasurer-tax-collector/property-tax by clicking on the Request for Penalty Cancellation-COVID-19 hyperlink.

Tax information and payments may be obtained by accessing the Fresno County website at www.fresnocountyca.gov or by calling our automated phone system at (559) 600-3482.

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