You don’t have to be a homeowner to know that the cost of living in San Diego can get steep. If you are looking to become a homeowner, you will have to consider HOA fees, costs of maintaining your house, and property taxes. Use this guide to calculate property tax in San Diego and work this number into your overall budget.

What are property taxes?

Local governments place property taxes on property owners to generate income for the city, county, or state. The property taxes that San Diego Country collects are allocated to schools, the local libraries, and other expenses. Property taxes are an unfortunate reality of being a homeowner, but they do benefit the greater community.

Property owners must make property tax payments twice a year and receive heavy fines if they are late. Before you calculate how much you owe (or could potentially owe) to the county, it is important to understand the difference between secured and unsecured taxes.

Secured vs. unsecured property taxes—what’s the difference?

Secured property taxes are placed on property with an unmovable structure. If taxes are not paid within five years, the tax collection agency put the property on their tax roll and auction it off in order to collect the required taxes. Personal property that belongs to the property may also be taxed with secured taxes.

Unsecured taxes are placed on items that are movable and may not be sold in a tax auction if the owner defaults. Property owners with boats, airplanes, or other structures may have to pay unsecured property taxes.

How To Calculate Property Taxes in San Diego County

San Diego residents can use an online property tax calculator to figure out how much they will need to pay throughout the year. They can also call or email the tax collector’s office to obtain a copy of your tax bill. We also offer a general guide for homeowners who want to calculate property taxes.

How does San Diego County calculate property taxes?

San Diego calculates property taxes by charging a 1% tax rate of the property’s net assessment value added to any percentage as dictated by voter-approved bonds. The county also adds fixed charge assessments and special district taxes to the overall bill.

In order to calculate your property taxes, you will need the following information:

  • Accessor Parcel Number, Supplemental Bill Number, or Escape Bill Number
  • Mailing Address
  • Unsecured Bill Number

Everything You Need to Know About Paying Property Taxes in San Diego

When do homeowners have to pay property taxes?

Property tax bills run on a fiscal year starting July 1 and ending June 30. Property owners pay taxes in two installments. The first installment is due November 1 (but is considered late after December 10.) The second installment is due February 1 (but is considered late after April 10.)

It is crucial that homeowners pay taxes on time. If homeowners are late, they will have to pay a 10% penalty.

How can I pay property taxes?

Most homeowners make property tax payments as a part of their monthly mortgage payments. San Diego County sends property tax bills to mortgage lenders, who calculate that into how much the borrower must pay for the month. (Borrowers who want to receive their property tax bill can make a request with the tax collector’s office.) In order to avoid penalties, you can call or check online to make sure you are squared away for the tax season.

San Diego homeowners can make additional tax payments by:

  • Logging onto to submit an online payment through e-check
  • Calling 855-829-3773 to pay over the phone (have your credit card handy)
  • Mailing property taxes to the San Diego Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office

If you are mailing property taxes to the tax collector, keep track of your parcel number and document when you mail in your bills.

Why am I receiving additional tax bills?

Leave some room in your budget for supplemental bills or escape bills.

New homeowners (and San Diego County) use the net assessed value of the property to calculate property taxes. Once the buyer purchases the house, the county will reassess the property and come up with a new value. This process can take years. If the new value is higher (and requires higher taxes) than what the homeowner was paying, they will be hit with a supplemental or escape tax bill.

Are you ready to pay your 2018-2019 secured/unsecured property taxes? Talk to your lender or a financial advisor for more information.