As a new owner, you are responsible for any taxes that were not paid as of the time escrow closed. Even though taxes are prorated between the buyer and seller during escrow and proper credit is given to each, the actual taxes may not have been paid to the Tax Collector by that time. You should read your escrow papers and/or title report to determine if any portion of the annual taxes were paid by the previous owner before the close of escrow.
Annual tax bills, which can be paid in two installments, are mailed once a year by the first of November. Since the bill contains payment stubs for both installments, this is the only bill regularly mailed each year by the Tax Collector. Depending on when the ownership change is placed on the tax roll, the annual tax bill could be sent either to the previous owner or directly to you. If there are any remaining unpaid taxes, and if you did not receive an annual tax bill from either the previous owner or the Tax Collector, you should contact the Tax Collector immediately and request one. It is your responsibility to obtain the bill. State law stipulates that failure to receive a bill does not permit the Tax Collector to excuse penalties on late payments.
In addition to annual taxes, you will probably be responsible for paying Supplemental Property Taxes. Any time property is sold or improved, the value of the property is reassessed. If the property has been reassessed at a higher value, you will receive one or more supplemental tax bills in addition to the annual bill mentioned above. (For more information on supplemental tax bills, please read our section on Supplemental Property Taxes.) If the property has been reassessed at a lower value, you will receive a refund.