What Does the Assessor Do?

The Assessor has the following basic responsibilities:

  • Locate all taxable property in the County and identify the ownership.
  • Establish a value for all property subject to property taxation.
  • List the value of all property on the assessment roll.
  • Apply all legal exemptions.

The Assessor does not:

  • Compute property tax bills.
  • Collect property taxes.
  • Establish property tax laws.
  • Set rules by which property is appraised.

An Overview of the Property Tax and Assessment Process:

The Santa Cruz County Assessor establishes the assessed value of your property by appraising the value of that property under applicable State laws. The assessed value is then placed on a list with all other properties in Santa Cruz County and this list is called the "Assessment Roll." The Assessor also approves and applies all exemptions, which are added to the Assessment Roll. The Assessment Roll is then presented to the Santa Cruz County Auditor-Controller Home for further processing.

The Santa Cruz County Auditor adds direct assessments to the Assessment Roll then applies the tax rates, which consists of general (1%) levy and debt service (voter & bonded) to the value to create an Extended Assessment Roll. The Extended Roll is then sent to the Santa Cruz County Treasurer/Tax Collector for individual tax bill distribution and payment collection.

The Santa Cruz County Tax Collector receives the Extended Roll, prints and mails the property tax bills to the name and address on the Extended Roll. The Tax Collector collects secured and unsecured taxes. Secured taxes are taxes on real property, such as vacant land, structures on land, i.e. business/office building, home, apartments, etc. Unsecured taxes are taxes on assessments such as office furniture, equipment, airplanes and boats, as well as property taxes that are not liens against the real property.

Areas of the Assessor's Responsibility

Responsibilities of the Assessor
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Tax Due Dates:

Secured Property Annual tax bills are prepared and mailed by the Tax Collector in October of each year. The first installment of your property tax bill is due on November 1 and becomes delinquent after 5:00 p.m. on December 10. The second installment of your tax bill is due February 1 and becomes delinquent after 5:00 p.m. on April 10. Each installment is subject to penalties if not received by the Tax Collector by the aforementioned dates and the second installment is also subject to costs in addition to penalties if not paid timely.