The schedule for when property taxes are due in Santa Clara County is not intuitive and confuses most people, at least initially. The tax calendar is as follows:
- Beginning of fiscal year: July 1st
- First installment of taxes due covers July 1 – December 31st
- Second installment of taxes due covers Jan 1 – June 30
Although you might expect the two bills to be due & payable 6 months apart, that’s not how it works!
Installment # 1 is due November 1 and is delinquent December 10th
Installment # 2 is due February 1 and is delinquent April 10th
Please note that the April deadline is very, very close to that for personal income taxes (April 15) and many homeowners accidentally send in their property taxes on the latter day. This results in a costly penalty, so don’t be confused!! (Also, do not count on mailing your payments by 11:59pm on the deadlines either – the tax assessor’s office does not work like the IRS! Payments are due by 5pm that day!) Make sure you don’t cut it too close or you’ll find yourself paying 10% plus $20 more than necessary.
It is possible to pay your bill for your property taxes online, but the cost is significantly more than a postage stamp, so I don’t recommend it unless you are out of the area and cannot make your payment the normal way. (It’s 2.5% via credit or card – minimum $2.50 convenience charge.) You can also pay by eCheck for free, so that’s another good option if you are in a hurry.
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