San Diego County CA Property Tax Rates in 2021

When you’re a property owner in San Diego County, it is worthwhile for you to understand how your property taxes are calculated.

After all, each year you probably see an increase on your taxes.

It isn’t fun to pay them, but if you can see how it all works, it may lessen some of the sting.

It is also imperative to know when they are due, so you can pay them at the right time. 

Here's a quick rundown of our list:

Calculating Property Tax

The San Diego County Assessor is responsible for determining the value for all homes, which is crucial, as far as property taxes go.

This is because in San Diego the taxes are calculated through the assessed value of a home.

Here’s how it works. 

Generally, your tax amount is 1% of the net value of your property, but that’s not all. 

Any bonds that were voted on and approved are added, as well as special assessments. 

There are general numbers located on this page, or you can check out online property tax calculators to get a general idea of what your taxes would be in a certain neighborhood. 

Read More: San Diego County CA Property Tax FAQ's

Calculating Net Value

The property tax amounts and increases are calculated using Proposition 13.

This is a piece of legislation that was passed in the late 1970's and calls for a 1 percent limit on base tax.

It also sets limits on subsequent increase amounts over time.

For instance, your property value cannot be increased more than 2 percent a year.

This not only protects you from large increases, but also gives you a good idea what to expect for each subsequent year. 

The good news is that there are certain exemptions you may be eligible for, in order to get a possible reduction on your taxes. 

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Disabled Veterans

If a serviceman is totally disabled, which is a term that is defined specifically by the U.S. Veterans Administration, or has been affected by certain life-changing ailments while serving their country, there is a special tax exemption.

It is also able to be collected by some military spouses, if they have not remarried after their disabled partner has lost their life after being honorably discharged or while still on active duty.

This only applies as long as certain stipulations are met. 

This exemption has two levels: basic and low-income.

Basic lowers your property assessment by $130,841 and Low Income lowers it by $196,262.  

To find out if you are eligible for either of these exemptions, you can contact the San Diego County’s Assessor’s Office for all of the details. 

Read More: San Diego County CA Homeowner Tax Deductions and Credits


If you’re paying property taxes on your primary home, you are likely eligible for the Homeowner’s Exemption, which is $7,000.

This means that amount is taken off of your assessment amount, for the purposes of calculating taxes. 

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Since you are paying taxes on voter-approved bonds each year, you may want to know what they are.

They should be listed individually on your bills when you receive them as well.

These bonds are usually for things like schools and public works projects.

They raise your property tax rate slightly, but only by a fraction of a percent. 

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Fixed Charge Assessments

These charges are not based on your property value and are generally for services in your neighborhood or your actual home.

You may be charged sewer fees or for the spraying of mosquitoes. 

This also includes Mello-Roos fees, which are applicable in some areas around San Diego and are for community facilities. 

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Lower Property Taxes

Each year, you have the ability to appeal the value that was imposed on your home by contacting the San Diego County Assessment Appeals Board.

This may lead to you getting a new assessment on your property, for a lower amount. 

It is important to note that this will only be valid for that fiscal year, and the assessment is likely to increase again the following year. 

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When Taxes are Due

In San Diego County, you pay your property tax bill in 2 equal installments.

The first payment is due November 1, and is late after December 10.

The second installment is due February 20, or is late after April 10.  

Read More: San Diego Property Tax Due Dates

When Purchasing Property

As a homeowner, you’ll likely have the due dates for your property taxes memorized or have a good idea of when they need to be paid.

This is why it is important to keep those dates in mind, even if you’re purchasing a new house. 

You will have to pay property taxes on your new home even if you haven’t owned it a whole year, although it will be pro-rated. This is called a supplemental tax bill. 

It usually takes around 1 year for the value of the house to be reassessed after it has been purchased. 

If you are unsure of the tax due dates, you can talk to your real estate agent for details on what you should do about paying these taxes or if there are special instructions in the escrow regarding it. 

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When Selling Property

When you sell your home, you will need to be concerned about the property taxes as well.

If you have paid for the whole year, you can ask for a reimbursement from the new homeowner in the contract for the amount of time that you did not live in the house.

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Although Proposition 13 limits the overall amounts of your property taxes each year, this still allows for increases each year.

The first year it is calculated at 1 percent of assessed value plus any applicable fees that are added on.

Each subsequent year, the assessed value may be increased, up to 2 percent.

This means there can always be an increase in taxes. 

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However, the original assessed value is the amount you purchased your home for, and this is usually the number that is added to each year, instead of it being based on market values only.

This could be a good thing or a bad thing for you, depending on where you live in San Diego County. 

There are also some exemptions you may be eligible for, and you can contact the Assessor’s office if you think that your home has been assessed unfairly for any fiscal year.

You may also contact them for more information on any of their programs. 

Another thing to remember is that you have to pay your tax bill in equal payments, 2 times a year, so pay attention to the bills that come into your house any make sure you don’t pay them late.

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You don’t want to subject yourself to extra fees or penalties. 

Depending on where you live in San Diego County will determine what your property tax rates are. 

Here's all 18 cities with different tax rates listed out alphabetically:

(Please Note: TRA stands for tax rate area) 

  • City of San Diego - TRA (08001) - Tax Rate (1.17459%)

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