Code Section Group

Revenue and Taxation Code - RTC

DIVISION 2. OTHER TAXES [6001 - 61045]

  ( Heading of Division 2 amended by Stats. 1968, Ch. 279. )

PART 10.5. SENIOR CITIZENS PROPERTY TAX ASSISTANCE AND POSTPONEMENT LAW [20501 - 20646]

  ( Heading of Part 10.5 amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 43. )

CHAPTER 1. Senior Citizens Homeowners and Renters Property Tax Assistance Law [20501 - 20564]

  ( Heading of Chapter 1 amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 43. )

ARTICLE 1. General Provisions and Definitions [20501 - 20514]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1242. )

20501.
  

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Gonsalves-Deukmejian-Petris Senior Citizens Property Tax Assistance Law.”

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 43.)

20502.
  

Unless the context otherwise requires, the definitions given in this chapter shall govern construction of this part.

(Added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1242.)

20503.
  

(a) “Income” means adjusted gross income as defined in Section 17072 plus all of the following cash items:

(1) Public assistance and relief.

(2) Nontaxable amount of pensions and annuities.

(3) Social security benefits (except Medicare).

(4) Railroad retirement benefits.

(5) Unemployment insurance payments.

(6) Veterans’ benefits.

(7) Exempt interest received from any source.

(8) Gifts and inheritances in excess of three hundred dollars ($300), other than transfers between members of the household. Gifts and inheritances include noncash items.

(9) Amounts contributed on behalf of the contributor to a tax-sheltered retirement plan or deferred compensation plan.

(10) Temporary workers’ compensation payments.

(11) Sick leave payments.

(12) Nontaxable military compensation as defined in Section 112 of the Internal Revenue Code.

(13) Nontaxable scholarship and fellowship grants as defined in Section 117 of the Internal Revenue Code.

(14) Nontaxable gain from the sale of a residence as defined in Section 121 of the Internal Revenue Code.

(15) Life insurance proceeds to the extent that the proceeds exceed the expenses incurred for the last illness and funeral of the deceased spouse of the claimant. “Expenses incurred for the last illness” includes unreimbursed expenses paid or incurred during the income calendar year and any expenses paid or incurred thereafter up until the date the claim is filed. For purposes of this paragraph, funeral expenses shall not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).

(16) If an alternative minimum tax is required to be paid pursuant to Chapter 2.1 (commencing with Section 17062) of Part 10, the amount of alternative minimum taxable income (whether or not cash) in excess of the regular taxable income.

(17) Annual winnings from the California Lottery in excess of six hundred dollars ($600) for the current year.

(b) For purposes of this chapter, total income shall be determined for the calendar year (or approved fiscal year ending within that calendar year) which ends within the fiscal year for which assistance is claimed.

(c) For purposes of Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 20581), Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 20625), Chapter 3.3 (commencing with Section 20639), and Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 20640), all losses and nonexpenses shall be converted to zero for the purpose of determining whether the homeowner meets the Property Tax Postponement requirement.

(d) For purposes of Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 20581), Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 20625), Chapter 3.3 (commencing with Section 20639), and Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 20640), total income shall be determined for the calendar year ending immediately prior to the commencement of the fiscal year for which postponement is claimed.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 896, Sec. 10. (SB 1130) Effective January 1, 2019.)

20504.
  

“Household income” means all income received by all persons of a household while members of such household. In the case of a nonresident claimant, “household income” also includes all income of the claimant during the year without regard to source.

(Added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1242.)

20505.
  

“Claimant” means an individual who:

(a) For purposes of this chapter was either (1) 62 years of age or older on the last day of the calendar year or approved fiscal year designated in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 20503, whichever is applicable, or (2) blind or disabled, as defined in Section 12050 of the Welfare and Institutions Code on the last day of the calendar year or approved fiscal year designated in subdivision (b) of Section 20503, who was a member of the household, and who was either: (1) the owner and occupier of a residential dwelling on the last day of the year designated in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 20503, or (2) the renter of a rented residence on or before the last day of the year designated in subdivision (b) of Section 20503. An individual who qualifies as an owner-claimant may not qualify as a renter-claimant for the same year.

(b) For purposes of Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 20581), Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 20625), Chapter 3.3 (commencing with Section 20639), and Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 20640) was a member of the household and either an owner-occupant, or a tenant stockholder occupant, or a possessory interestholder occupant, or a manufactured home owner-occupant, as the case may be, of the residential dwelling as to which postponement is claimed on the last day of the year designated in subdivision (d) of Section 20503, and who was (1) 62 years of age or older by December 31 of the fiscal year for which postponement is claimed, or (2) blind or disabled, as defined in Section 12050 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, at the time of application or on February 10 of the fiscal year for which postponement is claimed.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 896, Sec. 11. (SB 1130) Effective January 1, 2019.)

20506.
  

In the case of an owner-claimant, “household” includes the claimant and all other persons, except bona fide renters, minors, or students (as defined by Section 151(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code), whose principal place of residence is the residential dwelling of the claimant. In the case of a renter-claimant, “household” includes the claimant, his or her spouse, and all other persons who reside on the premises, except renters, minors, or students (as defined by Section 151(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code), and owners of the same principal place of residence.

(Amended by Stats. 1991, Ch. 472, Sec. 20. Effective October 2, 1991.)

20507.
  

(a) A claimant shall not lose his or her eligibility for purposes of this part if he or she is temporarily confined to a hospital or medical institution for medical reasons where the residential dwelling was the principal place of residence of the claimant immediately prior to such confinement.

(b) For purposes of this section, “medical institution” means a facility operated by, or licensed by, the United States, one of the several states, a political subdivision of a state, the State Department of Health, or exempt from such licensure pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 1312 of the Health and Safety Code.

(Added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1242.)

20508.
  

“Residential dwelling” means a dwelling occupied by the claimant as the principal place of residence, and so much of the land surrounding it as is reasonably necessary for use of the dwelling as a home, owned by the claimant, the claimant and his spouse, or by the claimant and some other individual, and located in this state. It shall also include a residential unit in a cooperative housing corporation (as defined in Section 216(b) of the Internal Revenue Code) occupied by the owner of shares or a membership interest in such corporation as his or her principal residence, mobilehomes which are assessed as realty for local property tax purposes and the land on which situated, houseboats, and other similar living accommodations, as well as a part of a multidwelling or multipurpose building and a part of the land upon which it is built. It shall also include premises occupied by reason of the claimant’s ownership of a dwelling located on land owned by a nonprofit incorporated association, of which the claimant is a member, when such association requires the claimant to pay a pro rata share of the property taxes levied against the association’s land. It shall also include premises occupied by a claimant wherein he is required by law to pay a property tax by reason of his ownership (including a possessory interest) in the dwelling, the land, or both. It shall also include a dwelling unit which is a mobilehome owned by a claimant, subject to property taxation pursuant to Part 13 (commencing with Section 5800), and located on land which is owned or rented by such claimant. (Owned includes the interest of a vendee in possession under a land sale contract but not the interest of the vendor, the interest of the holder of a life estate interest, but not the interest of a remainderman, and of one or more joint tenants or tenants in common. Except in the case of an unrecorded land sale contract, ownership must be evidenced by a duly recorded document.)

(Amended by Stats. 1983, Ch. 488, Sec. 89. Effective July 28, 1983.)

20508.1.
  

For purposes of Section 20508, “residential dwelling” includes floating homes.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 928, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2000.)

20509.
  

“Rented residence” means premises rented and occupied by the claimant as his or her principal place of residence during the calendar year for which assistance is claimed. The term “rented residence” shall not include:

(a) Premises which are exempt from property taxation, except those premises on which the owner pays possessory interest taxes, or makes payments in lieu of property taxes which are substantially equivalent to property taxes paid on properties of comparable market value.

(b) Premises which are not located in this state.

For the purposes of this section, the term “premises” means a house or a dwelling unit used to provide living accommodations in a building or structure and the land incidental thereto, but does not include land only, except in the case where the dwelling unit is a mobilehome subject to the license fee imposed by Part 5 (commencing with Section 10701) of this division. “Rented residence” includes a dwelling unit which is a mobilehome subject to the license fee imposed by Part 5 (commencing with Section 10701) of this division owned by the claimant and located on land which is owned or rented by such claimant.

(Amended by Stats. 1980, Ch. 285, Sec. 11.6. Effective June 30, 1980. Operative July 1, 1980, by Sec. 23 of Ch. 285.)

20510.
  

“Rent” means amount paid at arms length solely for the right of occupancy of a residence and utility payments required to be paid by the rental agreement. At least fifty dollars ($50) per month must be paid by each renter claimant.

(Amended by Stats. 1980, Ch. 426, Sec. 20.)

20511.
  

“Property tax” shall mean only those property taxes for the fiscal year in which application for assistance is made pursuant to Section 20541.

When a residential dwelling is owned by two or more individuals as joint tenants or tenants in common and one or more of such persons is not a member of the claimant’s household, the term “property tax” shall include only that part of the taxes levied which reflects the ownership of the claimant and other members of the household.

The property tax proration required by the preceding sentence shall not apply to the extent of the ownership interest of the claimant and one or more of the following:

(a) The claimant’s spouse.

(b) The parents, children (natural or adopted), or grandchildren of either the claimant or the claimant’s spouse, or

(c) The spouse of any person enumerated in subdivision (b) of this section.

(Added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1242.)

20512.
  

(a) “Property taxes accrued” means current property taxes (exclusive of interest, penalties, principal payments on improvement bonds and charges for service) levied against a claimant’s residential dwelling by any taxing agency (as defined in Section 121) for any fiscal year ending on or after June 30, 1977. If the owner of a dwelling unit which is a mobilehome located on land owned or rented by such owner pursuant to Section 20541 elects to claim assistance under Section 20543, such assistance shall be based on the appropriate percentage of the motor vehicle license fee tax, not including the registration fee, paid with regard to such mobilehome.

(b) Whenever a residential dwelling is an integral part of a large unit such as a farm, or a multipurpose or multidwelling building, “property taxes accrued” shall be that percentage of the total property taxes accrued as the value of the residential dwelling is of the total value.

(c) Where a claimant is purchasing the residential dwelling under an unrecorded contract of sale, the Franchise Tax Board may require a copy of the contract or other evidence to establish such fact.

(d) Where the residential dwelling is a dwelling owned by the claimant on land owned by a nonprofit incorporated association, the Franchise Tax Board may require an affidavit under penalty of perjury containing sufficient evidence to establish such fact and that the nonprofit incorporated association requires that the claimant pay a pro rata share of the property tax levied against the association’s land.

(e) Where the residential dwelling consists of premises occupied by reason of the claimant’s possessory interest in such premises, the Franchise Tax Board may require an affidavit under penalty of perjury stating that the premises are occupied by reason of ownership of a possessory interest in a dwelling that is otherwise exempt from property taxation.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 1199.)

20513.
  

When a “rented residence,” as defined in Section 20509, is rented and occupied by the claimant as his principal place of residence for less than 12 months during the calendar year for which assistance is claimed, the amount of assistance as provided in Section 20544 shall be prorated pursuant to rules provided by the Franchise Tax Board.

(Added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1242.)

20514.
  

(a) Assistance shall not be allowed under this chapter if gross household income, after allowance for actual cash expenditures that are reasonable, ordinary, and necessary to realize income, exceeds thirty-five thousand two hundred fifty-one dollars ($35,251).

(b) With respect to assistance that is provided by the Franchise Tax Board pursuant to this chapter for the 2002 calendar year and each calendar year thereafter, the gross household income figure that applies to assistance provided by the Franchise Tax Board during that period shall be the gross household income figure that applied to assistance provided by the Franchise Tax Board in the same period in the immediately preceding year, multiplied by an inflation adjustment factor calculated as follows:

(1) On or before February 1 of each year, the Department of Industrial Relations shall transmit to the Franchise Tax Board the percentage change in the California Consumer Price Index for all items from June of the second preceding calendar year to June of the immediately preceding calendar year.

(2) The Franchise Tax Board shall add 100 percent to the percentage change figure that is furnished pursuant to paragraph (1) and divide the result by 100.

(3) The Franchise Tax Board shall multiply the gross household income figure that applies in the immediately preceding year by the inflation adjustment factor determined in paragraph (2), and round off the resulting product to the nearest one dollar ($1).

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 374, Sec. 10. Effective January 1, 2003.)

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