For Immediate ReleaseApril 21, 2020
COVID-19 hardships accepted in approval process
San Rafael, CA – Marin County property owners needing relief from property tax penalties received welcome news April 21 regarding the tax collector’s COVID-19 penalty waiver process. The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to give the Marin County Director of Finance the ability to waive property tax penalties for reasons that are specific to COVID-19.
The Board’s action is intended to address taxes that first became delinquent during the shelter-in-place order and includes reasons related to individual economic hardship.
The Board resolution created a clear framework around the COVID-19 penalty waiver process and allows the Tax Collector’s Office to cancel penalties for reasons related to COVID-19 that are beyond the normal standard. It will also ensure accountability, equity, and uniformity in the process and will allow the County to quantify the financial impact of COVID-19 on property taxes should opportunities for reimbursement become available.
As of April 20, there were 4,940 unpaid secured property tax bills, representing nearly $30 million in delinquent taxes. Thus far, 502 applicants have sought relief from more than $600,000 in penalties. Taxpayers who were unable to pay their property taxes by the April 10 deadline because of COVID-19 should file an application for penalty waiver by May 15. The process allows the taxpayer until June 10 to pay their property taxes without penalty.
Instructions on how to file an Application for Penalty Waiver online or by mail will be mailed by April 30 to all property owners with unpaid property taxes. Applications are available now at marincounty.org/penaltywaiver.
More than 87,000 taxpayers in Marin paid their property taxes by the April 10 deadline. Local agencies rely on property taxes to provide services, such as public health, fire protection, public safety, water and sanitation. As of April 21, 95% of the secured property tax rolls were collected and distributed to local agencies.
While the Tax Collector’s Office remains open at the Marin County Civic Center, taxpayers are asked to submit penalty waivers online or by mail. Tax payments should also be made online, by phone, or by mail, rather than in-person to prevent potential spread of COVID-19.
There is no fee when paying property taxes with an electronic check (e-check). Just like a paper check, an e-check uses the customer’s bank routing number and account number to complete the transaction. Payments made by credit or debit card are subject to a service fee of 2.35% of the transaction, with a minimum fee of $1.49. Service fees for credit or debit card payments are not retained by County; they are paid to a service provider.
Taxpayers can contact the County Tax Collector’s Office at (415) 473-6133 or by sending an email for assistance with penalty waivers, payments or other property tax questions, or they can visit marincounty.org/taxes.
Roy GivenDIRECTORDEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Marin County Civic Center3501 Civic Center DriveSuite 225San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-7000
CRS Dial 711