When you die, the property tax on your estate may not be yours, according to an article published Wednesday by Newsweek.
The article explains how some of the property owners of California’s largest counties, Orange and San Diego, are being forced to pay property tax to the state on top of their individual estate taxes, or else lose their entire property.
In a press release, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors said the issue “is an issue that has existed for some time and is now becoming more and more significant to residents of the county.”
The issue stems from a law that allows property owners in certain counties to elect to be subject to property tax at a rate higher than the county’s average property tax rate.
The law allows property tax assessments to be paid out of county coffers and is intended to help pay for the upkeep of state roads and bridges, according the release.
“Many people in Orange and Southern California are unaware of the high property taxes they are being asked to pay on their deceased loved ones,” the release said.
“The county’s new tax assessment laws do not allow for the same option for property owners.”
While Orange and the San Diego counties did not have a statewide tax rate increase in 2017, property taxes in some areas have been increasing.
Property taxes in San Diego County have been rising by more than 300% since the start of 2017, according an analysis by the Tax Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
A similar situation occurred in San Bernardino County in 2017 when the county adopted a property tax increase to pay for highway improvements.
According to the release, property owners with estates exceeding $5.8 million are subject to an additional 8% property tax that is due when the estate passes the $5 million threshold, or if they have a current or former spouse who is not entitled to the tax.
The new law does not apply to those who have already died or are deceased but still live in the county.
The California Department of Finance did not immediately respond to Newsweek’s request for comment.