The Office of the Assessor-Recorder reviews each construction, remodeling, or repair permit individually to determine its assessability. Below is a guide to what is and is not assessable by our office.

New Construction

Under California property tax law, “new construction” is defined in four general categories:

  • Any substantial addition to land or improvements, including fixtures.
  • Any physical alteration of any improvement, or a portion thereof, to a “like-new” condition, or to extend its economic life, or to change the way in which the improvement, or portion thereof, is used.
  • Any substantial physical alteration of land which constitutes a major rehabilitation of the land or changes the manner in which it is used.
  • Any substantial physical rehabilitation, renovation or modernization of any fixture that converts it to the substantial equivalent of a new fixture or any substitution of a new fixture.

New Additions

Any projects that consist of erecting a new building, increasing the square footage of a property, or adding improvements to a home that didn’t previously exist are all considered assessable.

Below are some examples of such projects.

  • Horizontal addition
  • Vertical addition
  • Converting an unfinished basement or attic into living space
  • Adding a new bathroom
  • Adding a garage
  • Adding an elevator

Remodeling and Repair

Often times what is and isn’t considered assessable for remodeling projects can be confusing to taxpayers. If the projects are part of normal maintenance and repair, such as dry rot repairs or roof replacements, then they are not considered assessable. This also extends to projects that are primarily cosmetic like replacing bathroom or kitchen fixtures of similar quality. Any projects that raise the quality class or extend the useable life of the property are considered assessable. These “like new” or substantially equivalent to new renovations involve more substantial structural changes. They include projects that change the layout of the kitchen or bathroom, alter the usage of current property, or upgrade the capacity of the plumbing or electrical systems. Here are some examples but it is important to keep in mind that the scope of each project varies, so our office reviews each permit individually.

Assessable
Bath/kitchen remodel - structural changes, changing floor plans, increasing its size
Completely renovating a property or portion thereof, i.e. down to studs
Change of use, i.e. converting from industrial to residential use
Upgrading eletrical capacity from 110v to 220v
Not Assessable
Bath/Kitchen remodel - replacing cabinets, flooring, countertops, or fixtures with similar quality material
Dry rot or termite repairs
Reroofing
Replacing or repairing doors, windows, fences or decks

Exclusions

Some construction and remodeling may be eligible for exclusion from reassessment such as fire damage or seismic retrofitting. See the Forms/Attachments tab for more information.

Only the portion that is being remodeled or added to the existing home is assessed. The final assessment resulting from the new construction is then added onto the factor base year value.
If construction is in progress over any January 1 lien date, an estimate of value of the portion completed is added to the property’s assessment.
One common method is the cost approach. The cost approach considers all costs incurred during the course of construction. These “full economic costs” include labor, materials, permit fees, contractor’s overhead and profit.