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Tax collectors granted authority to offer property tax relief

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday giving county tax collectors the latitude to offer relief to property taxpayers.

The new executive order gives county tax collectors the authority to cancel penalties, costs, and interest rates for taxes not timely paid on certain properties that were not delinquent prior to March 4. 

Fresno County Tax Collector Oscar Garcia, as well as several other tax collectors in the state, pushed Newsom to offer tax relief amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The elected officials sought to have Newsom either delay the statutorily-established delinquency deadline for the first half of 2020 property tax payments or give them the latitude to waive penalties.

Newsom took the latter approach.

County Assessor-Recorder Paul Dictos shared Garcia’s sentiments. 

“This is good news for many taxpayers who have suffered financial hardship and business interaction constraints that slowed compliance as a result of COVID-19,” Dictos said. “What we do today determines the strength with which we go forward.” 

The executive order waived penalties for taxpayers who did not file a personal property tax statement before May 7. No penalties will be imposed on taxpayers if they file their statements by May 31. 

Property owners who are looking for relief will be able to submit information showing that they have suffered economic hardship or were unable to submit their tax payment on time due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Tax collectors do not have the authority to provide any relief on taxes paid through an impound account or through an installment plan if those payments were required to be made by March 4. 

Garcia said that his office will have the Request for Penalty Cancellation form on its website by Friday evening.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.