Delinquent Taxes

Taxes not paid by their default date are delinquent and subject to penalties.

Delinquent Date Tax Type Penalties
December 10 Secured Property Tax (1st Installment) 10% penalty
April 10 Secured Property Tax (2nd Installment) 10% penalty plus $30.00
July 1 Secured Property added to Redemption Roll Additional 1½% per month on unpaid tax plus $25.00 

If you have further questions regarding Delinquent Taxes, you can view the Frequently Asked Delinquent Tax Questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: How do I get information on tax sales of property?

Sales of tax defaulted properties occur rarely in Santa Barbara County, due primarily to the high value of property within the County, and a diligent effort on the part of the Tax Collector's staff to locate any and all responsible parties prior to auctioning the property. The best way to be informed of these tax sales is to monitor this website for news concerning future tax auctions.

The County of Santa Barbara does not sell Tax Lien Certificates. There is currently no county within California that sells Tax Lien Certificates. Some other states, such as Texas and Arizona, may sell Tax Lien Certificates, but this is not yet a practice within the state of California.

Question 2: What happens if I fail to pay my property taxes on time?

If you do not pay the first installment of your annual tax bill at the Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office by 5 p.m. on December 10,* or payment is not postmarked by that date, that installment becomes delinquent and a 10% delinquent penalty is affixed. If you fail to pay the second installment at the Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office by 5 p.m. on April 10,* or payment is not postmarked by that date, it becomes delinquent and a 10% penalty on the unpaid tax as well as a charge of $30.00 is added. If you fail to pay any supplemental tax installment by the applicable delinquency date, the same penalties and charges accrue as for delinquent annual taxes.

If there are ANY unpaid taxes as of 5 p.m. on June 30, the property becomes tax defaulted. Once the property has become tax defaulted, a redemption fee of $25.00 and additional penalties begin to accrue at the rate of 1 1/2% per month of the unpaid taxes. This monthly penalty is affixed at 5 p.m. on the last day of each month (or the following business day if the last day of the month falls on a weekend or holiday).

*If either December 10 or April 10 falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are not delinquent until 5 P.M. the next business day.

 

Question 3: What happens if I fail to pay my delinquent taxes?

Your taxes can remain unpaid for a maximum of five years following tax default, at which time your property becomes subject to the Treasurer-Tax Collector's power of sale. This means that your property will be sold at a public auction or that it may be acquired by a public agency if you do not pay the taxes on the date before the day on which the property is offered for sale or acquisition.

Question 4: What is the amount required to redeem a tax-defaulted property?

The amount required to redeem a tax-defaulted property in full is the sum of the following:

  1. The total amount of unpaid taxes for all delinquent years
  2. A 10% penalty on every unpaid installment
  3. A $30.00 charge for each second installment delinquency
  4. Monthly penalties of 1 1/2% of the unpaid tax (APR 18%)
  5. A redemption fee of $25.00

Question 5: How do I obtain an estimate of the amount required to redeem my property?

To obtain an estimate of the amount required to redeem your property, you should contact the office of the Treasurer-Tax Collector. You will need to provide the Assessor's Parcel Number, the address of the property, or the  Assessee name. Also, you must indicate the exact date/month on which you will be making payment. This is necessary in order to calculate the amount due correctly.

Question 6: Can I redeem one supplemental year separately from other years?

No. One year's delinquent taxes may not be redeemed separately from other years' delinquent taxes. When the redemption amount is calculated, the total taxes owed for all delinquent years are combined together.

Question 7: What happens if I cannot pay the full redemption amount?

If you are unable to pay the full redemption amount, you may request an installment plan of redemption. This plan allows you to make payments on your delinquent taxes over a five-year period beginning the date you open the installment account. There is a fee of $175.00 to begin an installment plan of redemption.

Question 8: How do I open an installment plan of redemption?

To open an installment plan you must:

  1. Make an initial payment of at least 20% of the redemption amount.
  2. Pay your current year's taxes.
  3. Pay a processing fee of $175.00

If you open an installment payment plan between July 1 and the following April 10, then the current year's taxes and any supplemental taxes must be paid annually by April 10. To open an installment plan between April 11 and June 30, the current year's taxes, plus any applicable penalties and charges, must be paid in full at the beginning of the installment plan. While an installment plan of redemption is in good standing (all required payments are made), the property will not become subject to the Treasurer-Tax Collector's power to sell.

Question 9: When may I open an installment plan of redemption?

You can open an installment payment plan after the date on which the property has become tax defaulted (June 30) and within five years of that date. After the five-year period you may not start an installment payment plan as your property will be subject to the Treasurer-Tax Collector's power of sale.

If you wish to open an installment payment plan or you need additional information, please contact the Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office.

Question 10: How often will I be required to make installment payments?

Under the installment payment plan you are required to make principal reductions equal to or greater than 20% of the original redemption amount, plus interest, each year by April 10. Interest accrues at the rate of 1 1/2% per month on the unpaid balance once the account has been opened. If you fail to make any installment payment, or fail to pay your current year's taxes or any supplemental taxes on or before April 10 of each year, your installment payment plan will default. This means the penalty will be recalculated as if no previous payments had been made on an installment account.

You may, however, pay the total unpaid balance plus accrued penalties at any time before the final payment is due.

Question 11: Do my installment payments cover my current year's annual taxes?

No. Your installment payments NEVER include your current year's taxes which must be paid separately.

Question 12: If my first installment plan defaults, may I open a second plan?

If your first installment payment plan defaults either because of your failure to make the 20% required principal reduction and interest between July 1 and April 10, or because you fail to pay your current year's taxes in full by April 10, you may open another installment payment plan. The second installment payment plan, however, may not be opened until July 1 of the following fiscal year. You may never reopen an installment payment plan in the same calendar year that the property becomes subject to the Treasurer-Tax Collector's power of sale. A defaulted installment plan may not be reinstated in or after the 5th fiscal year.

Each time you open an installment payment plan, you have a maximum of five years to pay the full redemption amount. It is to your advantage, however, to not default on an installment account since there are additional penalties and a new application fee is required.

When a second or subsequent installment payment plan is opened, the redemption amount is computed as though no previous payments had been made. As soon as the first payment on the second or subsequent installment payment plan has been made you will be given credit for any previous payments.