by Mary Gallagher
California property owners can calculate their property tax using the sales price of their home.
In California, the property tax rate is composed of three types of levies: general tax levy, voter approved bond indebtedness repayment, and special district assessments. The general tax levy was frozen by Proposition 13 at 1 percent of assessed property value. The bond indebtedness component refers to a repayment of state and local bonds that have been approved by the voters, usually with a favorable vote by two-thirds of the electorate. The third component refers to local districts, such as school districts and fire districts that are usually local as opposed to statewide, and for which voters must approve assessments in advance. The largest component of the tax rate is the general levy.
Because the largest component of the tax rate in the state is frozen by law at 1 percent, tax rates between counties, cities and towns
throughout the state do not vary markedly. The difference between communities in the state is due to voter-approved bonds and special districts, both of which tend to be local in nature and both of which tend to have little effect on the overall rate because they must be directly approved by the voters.
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