Mobile homes in California are taxed either through the local property tax system administered in the county in which the mobile home is situated or by payment of vehicle "in-lieu" license fees to the State. Before July 1, 1980, mobile homes that were not on a permanent foundation were treated as vehicles and were taxed just like automobiles or trucks through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Mobile homes affixed to the land on a permanent foundation have always been taxed in the same manner as conventional homes. In 1980, California legislature adopted the "Mobile Home Property Tax Law," which provides for a system of taxing all new and most used mobile homes purchased on or after July 1, 1980 in a manner similar to conventional homes.
What is a mobile home?
A mobile home is a structure, transportable in one or more sections, designed and equipped to contain one or more dwelling units, and to be used with or without a foundation system. Specifically, any trailer coach that is more than 8 feet wide or 40 feet long, or one that requires a permit to move on the highway is considered a mobile home.
I have a recreational vehicle (RV), is it considered a mobile home?
No. Recreational vehicles, as well as buses and prefabricated housing units, are not considered mobile homes.
My mobile home is sitting on a permanent foundation on my property - how will it be taxed?
For purposes of taxation, mobile homes affixed to the land on a permanent foundation are not considered "mobile" homes, but are viewed as modular housing, and have always been taxed in the same way as conventional homes. If your mobile home is not attached to a permanent foundation, for example, if your mobile home is in a mobile home park, please continue reading. Throughout the remainder of this page, the term "mobile home" refers only to those that are not on permanent foundations.
Under which circumstances would my mobile home automatically become subject to local property taxes as opposed to in-lieu license fees?
If your mobile home was originally purchased new on or after July 1, 1980, it was automatically subject to local property taxes. Also, if the license fees on your mobile home, regardless of when it was originally purchased became delinquent on or before May 31, 1984, your mobile was automatically converted to the local property tax system. (Delinquent license fees no longer cause automatic transfer to local property taxation).
How do I find out if I am entitled to the homeowner's exemption?
Information regarding homeowner's and other exemptions can be obtained by calling the office of the Kings County Assessor at (559) 852-2486.
What additional tax assistance programs are offered by the State?
The State of California administers programs that provide property tax assistance and postponement of property taxes to qualified homeowners and renters who are 62 or older, blind, or disabled. For information on the State's Homeowner or Renter Assistance Program, call the Franchise Tax Board at (800) 852-5711. For information on the Property Tax Postponement Program, call the State Controller at (800) 952-5661.
If I buy a used mobile home subject to local property taxes, how do I get the title transferred to my name?
Mobile home title issuance is administered by the State's Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). That department cannot transfer title of a used mobile home subject to local property taxes without a tax clearance from the county tax collector of the county in which the mobile home is situated. If there are any taxes or other fees owing, they must be paid before a Tax Clearance Certificate can be issued.
NOTE: Remember that this type of title transfer only applies to mobile homes that are NOT on permanent foundations.
How is the amount of my mobile home property tax bill determined?
The amount of property taxes on your mobile home is determined in accordance with the State Law and is limited to $1 per $100 (1%) of assessed value of your mobile home, except for certain direct assessments applied by cities and districts and special taxes approved by local voters. The County Assessor determines the assessed value of your mobile home, which is generally the cash or market value at the time of purchase. This value increases not more than 2% per year until the mobile home is sold, at which time it will be reassessed. If your mobile home is parked on land that you own, the land will be assessed and taxed separately.
Do I have any recourse if I disagree with the valuation placed on my mobile home by the Assessor?
Yes. You may take the matter up with the Assessor to see if that office will change the valuation. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors has established an Assessment Appeals Board for the purpose of resolving valuation problems. Additional information regarding appeals can be obtained by calling the Kings County Assessor at (559) 852-2486.
What happens if I fail to pay my mobile home property taxes on time?
If you do not pay the first installment of your annual tax bill at the Tax Collector's office by 5:00 p.m. on December 10th, or payment is not postmarked by that time and date, then that installment becomes delinquent and a 10% delinquent penalty on the unpaid taxes is incurred. If you fail to pay the second installment at the Tax Collector's office by 5:00 p.m. on April 10, or payment is not postmarked by that time and date, it also becomes delinquent and incurs the 10% penalty plus a $20 cost.
As soon as the installment becomes delinquent, the County has the right to take any of the following steps to collect the unpaid taxes and penalties on a mobile home:
- File a Certificate of Tax Lien for record with the County Recorder. This is a 10-year lien against all personal and real property owned by the assessee, which may be renewed every 10 years until the tax bill is paid.
- Initiate seizure and sale of the mobile home at a public auction.
- File a lawsuit.
- Obtain a summary judgment.
Who should I call if I have questions?
If you have any further questions regarding mobile homes, tax clearance certificates or payments, please contact the Kings County Tax Collector at (559) 852-2478.
Questions regarding assessed value or exemptions should be addressed to the Kings County Assessor's office at (559) 852-2486.