The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is recruiting an army of volunteers for a new initiative to repeal the “death tax” that was a little-noticed provision in last November’s Proposition 19. HJTA filed the initiative, No. 21-0015, with the attorney general’s office in August and is aiming to qualify the measure for the November 2022 ballot.

Prop. 19 was heavily advertised as helping wildfire victims and seniors keep their low property tax base when moving to a new home, but it also enacted costly changes to the tax treatment of inter-generational transfers of property. Because property is most often transferred within families as an inheritance, the new tax rules are effectively a death tax on property.

Long-held properties in California typically have a taxable value that is far lower than the current market value. That’s because under Proposition 13, passed in 1978, the taxable value of property cannot increase more than 2% per year, regardless of the increase in market value, until the property changes ownership. Prop. 13 also cut the statewide property tax rate to 1% of the taxable value, down from a statewide average of 2.67%.

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