Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cupertino vs. Santa Clara vs. Berryessa property tax comparison

For buyers who are numbers driven, I did a detailed comparison of the property tax charges between sample houses in the 3 neighborhoods below:
1. Cupertino address with Cupertino schools
2. Santa Clara address with Cupertino schools
3. San Jose address with Berryessa schools

The overall property tax rates are very similar for all properties in Santa Clara County because for all properties, you start with the same 1% maximum levy on the assessed value and that 1% is the bulk of every property tax bill. The variations are due to the minor elements added on to that.

Three of the add-ons are based on the school district:
1. Community College Bonds is .000326 for CUSD/FUHSD and just .000170 for Berryessa School District.

2. Elementary or Unif School Bonds is .000308 for Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) but higher at .000507 for Berryessa School District.

3. High School Bonds is .000365 for FUHSD but higher at .000712 for East Side Union High School District.

Special assessments are also different for each community:

Some assessments are based on address (not school district).

The house with Cupertino address (based on address not school district) is charged special assessments for the following:

1. Sewer Service - Cupertino $288
2. County Library $33.66
3. Cupertino/Environment/Storm $12

In comparison, the house with San Jose address pays a San Jose Library Assessment of $27.80 and the house with Santa Clara address pays a SCCOSA Assessment of $12.

Other special assessments are based on school district (not address).

For instance, regardless of address, homes in the Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) and Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD) pay CUSD Parcel Tax $125 and FUHSD Parcel Tax $98. In comparison, the Berryessa School District Parcel Tax is just $79.

In summary:
1. Cupertino address with Cupertino schools = Assessed Value*(Tax Rate = 0.011506 + 0.000072)+ $638.46
2. Santa Clara address with Cupertino schools = Assessed Value*(Tax Rate = 0.011482 + 0.000072)+ $316.80
3. San Jose address with Berryessa schools = Assessed Value*(Tax Rate = 0.012222 + 0.000072)+ $694.46

The final conclusion is that the property tax rates are only slightly different between different neighborhoods within Santa Clara County. If you are evaluating a potential purchase of investment property and need a rough property tax figure to enable you to compute cash flow then use a rough number of 0.0125 * Assessed Property Value (i.e. 1.25% * purchase price for year1)

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