The property tax deadline is still set for April 10, and while Contra Costa County Treasurer-Tax Collector Russell V. Watts says he is incapable of pushing back the deadline due to economic woes felt by the spread of the novel coronavirus, the county can offer some relief on late-payment penalties.
Starting on April 11, Watts will make available a penalty cancellation request form specifically for taxpayers negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be accessed online or by mailing the county office and requesting a paper form.
"I understand that this is a very stressful time, especially for those suffering direct effects from the coronavirus pandemic, and my office is committed to helping in any way we can," Watts said. "As you may have heard, I have no legal authority to extend the April 10 deadline as my office is governed by state law. However, I may cancel late-payment penalties for taxpayers."
In the meantime, residents who can pay their property taxes on time are encouraged to do so by the county.
According to Watts, property tax revenue is essential for keeping local government agencies operating essential services -- that become especially vital during trying times like the current COVID-19 crisis. He added tha unlike the California Franchise Tax Board, which receives income tax revenue from monthly payroll deductions, property taxes are only collected twice a year.
Since the Contra Costa County Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office is closed to the public for the duration of the county's shelter-in-place order, and expected to remain closed through at least April 7, there will be no in-person payments.
Instead, residents can pay online, via telephone at 957-5280, or by mail (postmarked by April 10). There is no cost for e-check payments online, however, a service fee will be charged for credit and debit card payments.
For additional information, residents can check the Contra Costa County Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office website, check the office's frequently asked questions sheet, or email a county official at firstname.lastname@example.org.