SB 303, property tax relief for wildfire victims, signed by governor

Senate Bill 303, authored by Senator Andreas Borgeas, was signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom. Senate Bill 303 was approved unanimously by both houses of the California Legislature in September. Senator Borgeas’ efforts mark a massive legislative win for qualifying California homeowners seeking to rebuild after a wildfire.

Senate Bill 303 extends the time period by two years for a taxpayer to transfer their base year value to a comparable property in the same county if their home was destroyed by a disaster. Senator Patricia Bates co-authored the bill.

“California has witnessed — and is currently experiencing — an unprecedented number of wildfires in recent years that have decimated countless homes throughout the state,” said Borgeas. “Once a home is destroyed, residents are faced with a maelstrom of barriers and costs as they race against the clock to rebuild or repair their home. The state of California should be doing everything in its power to help wildfire victims get back on their feet.”

“In Calaveras County, the Butte Fire damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes in September 2015,” said Leslie K. Davis, Calaveras County Assessor. “Almost immediately, displaced residents were renting or buying available property and what little supply that had existed was completely exhausted by the demand. With the five-year deadline to replace their home passed, those who have not been able to complete construction were also reeling from the effects of the COVID Shut Down. These property owners have been doubly hit by disaster; first a wildfire, then a pandemic. This proposal will help many regain a sense of normalcy.”