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April 14, 2021

Property tax relief available for businesses impacted by Covid-19

County Assessor urges business owners to provide valuation information

The Santa Clara County Assessor’s Office is offering temporary property tax relief to businesses affected by Covid-19.

“This recession is very different than the 2008 Great Recession when we reduced the property assessments of 136,000 homes,” County Assessor Larry Stone said. “The 2008 Recession was caused by subprime mortgage credit fraud and excessive risk-taking by major financial institutions. This time it is businesses, such as hotels, restaurants and retail that have been most severely impacted. Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the government have severely impacted many businesses. For others, there has been no measurable impact. The Assessor’s Office intends to provide proactive reductions where warranted.”

There are two different types of relief the Assessor can provide to property owners: one for the owners of the buildings and land, and another for the owners of business equipment and machinery.

To assist business operators, the Assessor is inviting the owners of businesses, such as restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms and fitness facilities, to submit valuation information about their business equipment. The Assessor’s Office is legally required to assess business personal property, such as machinery equipment valued in excess of $10,000, as of Jan. 1.  

“Clearly, many businesses have suffered due to the Covid shelter-in-place order and other health restrictions,” Stone said. “We intend to review potential value reductions if the market value of equipment and machinery has declined.”

To provide relief, the Assessor’s Office is legally required to have qualitative evidence to support a reduction. The Assessor’s Office is requesting that businesses provide information, such as how long it has been closed or experienced reduced hours of operation in 2020, how business income may have been affected, and the extent to which the utilization of business equipment has been impaired.  

Businesses are asked to complete the request for information through the Assessor’s online filing system at efile.sccassessor.org.

Businesses must file property statement filings, due April 1, and no later than May 7, without penalty.

In January, the Assessor requested owners of commercial property to notify the office if the market value of their property dropped below the assessed value, as of Jan. 1. 

“Hundreds of owners requested reductions and our appraisers are evaluating each request,” Stone said. “We plan to review as many of the requests as possible by June, when property owners receive the annual assessed value notification.”

While the owners of commercial property (land and buildings) were requested to provide data by Feb. 26, the office will continue to accept data up to Aug. 1. For information, visit bit.ly/3eHvMQl.

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