Vessels & Aircraft


Privately owned boats held for personal use are assessable each year for property tax purposes. The registration fee paid to the DMV each year does not contain a portion based on value. For this reason, the boat is assessed by the local Assessor. Boat values are placed on the Unsecured Roll. Bills are mailed mid-July each year and are payable by August 31st.

R & T Code Section 1141 provides that boats “…shall be assessed where they are habitually moored when not in use”. Domicile of the owner is the usual tax situs. However, proof that the boat is kept elsewhere when not in use overrides that presumption.

Boats should be registered with the DMV according to their place of habitual mooring. If that location changes, the DMV and the Assessor should both be notified. Proof of situs other than the DMV registration could include receipts of docking fees (at January 1 and current), proof of registration in another county or state, and/or a copy of an uncancelled current tax bill from another county.

Boats are valued using Blue Books. The value estimate is for current market value on the January 1st Lien Date.


A Vessel Property Statement (576-D) must be filed by April 1st each year for any vessel(s) that is(are) valued at $100,000 or more. Failure to file the Vessel Property Statement in a timely manner may result in a 10% late filing penalty.


For the following types of vessels, it may benefit the vessel owner to file the Affidavit for 4 Percent Assessment (576-E), for a reduced assessment of their vessel:

  • Commercial Fishing Vessels
  • Oceanographic Research Vessels
  • Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessels

In order to qualify for the reduced assessment, the vessel and its use must meet certain criteria. To earn the maximum reduction, the form must be received by our office by February 15th. As a courtesy, the Affidavit for 4 Percent Assessment (576-E) is mailed out in early January each year. Call our office if you have questions regarding their completion or your eligibility.


As with boats, privately owned aircraft are also subject to annual assessment. Aircraft are also valued by Blue Book at the current market value on the Lien Date. To assist the Assessor, an Aircraft Property Statement (577) is mailed each year. That statement must be completed and returned by February 15th. Failure to return the statement will result in a penalty of 10% (R & T Sec 5367).

Aircraft will be assessed in the county and at the location where the plane is habitually situated when not in flight.


An aircraft which is 35 years or older on the January 1st Lien Date (or one of less than 5 known to exist worldwide) may qualify for exemption if all the following conditions are met:

• Assessee is individual owner; plane is not held for sale • Aircraft is not used for commercial purposes or general transportation • Aircraft is displayed to public 12 days during 12 months just prior to Lien Date

An exemption form must be filed by February 15th each year. As a courtesy, the Historical Aircraft (260-B) is mailed out in early January each year. Call our office if you have questions regarding their completion or your eligibility. There is a $35 fee - one time per aircraft, per county.

These links to two letters written by the Board of Equalization (LTA's 88/36 and 89/84) define the terms “use” and “public display” for purposes of the exemption.