Homeowner's Exemption

"It's not much, but it's free."

This pamphlet, produced by the Santa Cruz County Assessor explains how homeowners may exclude $7,000 of assessed value from taxation.


The HOMEOWNER'S EXEMPTION is essentially a tax break for homeowners who own and occupy their primary residence (dwelling) on January 1. Homeowners are eligible to receive a reduction of up to $7,000 of the property s assessed value ($70 annual savings per year).

What is considered a dwelling?

A dwelling is defined as:

  • A single family residence.
  • A structure containing more than one living unit.
  • A condominium or unit in a cooperative housing project.
  • A houseboat.
  • A mobile home.
  • Land you own on which you live in a state-licensed trailer or mobile home.

What are the time filing requirements?

  1. If the claim is filed by 5:00 PM on February 15, the full $7,000 will be exempted for the upcoming (July 1 through June 30) fiscal year. If the claim is filed from February 16 through December 10 then 80% of the exemption (that is, a reduction of $5600) is available.
  2. The HOMEOWNER'S EXEMPTION will also be applied to any supplemental assessments provided the claim is filed within 30 days following the Notice of Supplemental Assessment.
    1. The claim was not granted previously, and
    2. The claim is filed within 30 days following the Notice of Supplemental Assessment.

Do I need to file this claim each year?

No, the law provides that once you qualify for the HOMEOWNER'S EXEMPTION it is not necessary to file each year. Your exemption will be applied for each successive tax year as long as you continue to own and occupy your primary residence.

Why do you need my Social Security number?

The Social Security numbers are used by the Assessor to verify the eligibility of persons claiming the HOMEOWNER'S EXEMPTION. These numbers are also used by the State to prevent multiple claims in different counties and to verify the eligibility of persons claiming income tax renter’s credit.

Do I still get my exemption when I move to another location? Yes, as long as you notify the Assessor of any change in your primary residence. The Assessor must first have you terminate your exemption on the current dwelling and send you an application for the new primary residence. The new exemption will be in effect only if the primary residence was occupied on January 1.

What happens when I receive the HOMEOWNER'S EXEMPTION application and I have already sold the property? If your name is printed on the form and you have sold the property, please forward the form to the new owner.

What if the legal owner is incompetent or deceased, who signs the form then?

State law provides a guardian, executor or other legal representative may sign on behalf of an incompetent or deceased owner by inserting his/her name and capacity on the signature line and the date of death if the owner is deceased.

If I am eligible but did not keep my original application, how may I apply?

You may pick up an application for the HOMEOWNER'S EXEMPTION at the Assessor's Office or we will mail another one out to you. The Homeowner’s Exemption application is also available online at https://www.santacruzcounty.us/Departments/AssessorsOffice/AllAssessorForms.aspx.


Please contact our office at 454-2002 for any further questions.