CSAC Bulletin Article

Governor Signs Exeuctive Orders on Property Tax and Workers’ Compensation

May 7, 2020

Governor Newsom yesterday signed an Executive Order to allow county officials to waive penalties for property taxes delinquent due to financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order is effective through May 6, 2021, and applies to property taxes that become delinquent between March 4, 2020, and March 6, 2021. CSAC requested this Executive Order to ensure county officials had clarity on this authority for property owners who were not able to pay by the April 10 deadline. A Coalition of County leaders, including CSAC, California Association of County Treasurers and Tax Collectors, the Rural County Representatives of California and the Urban Counties of California issued a response in support of the action.

The order provides for the cancellation of penalties on homeowner and small business real property taxes for those that meet the following conditions:

  • The taxpayer files a claim for relief.
  • The claim demonstrates to the tax collector’s satisfaction that the taxpayer suffered economic hardship or was unable to pay due to the COVID-19 pandemic or the government response to it.
  • The taxes are not paid through an impound account.
  • The taxes owed on the property in question were not delinquent prior to March 4, 2020.

The order also extends the deadline for businesses to file Business Personal Property Statements to May 31, 2020.

This order clears up considerable uncertainty among county officials about whether they can legally cancel penalties for property taxes that are delinquent due to economic hardship caused by COVID-19 or the government response to it.

 

Also yesterday, Governor Newsom signed an Executive Order to provide workers’ compensation benefits to employees who contract COVID-19. The benefit is a rebuttable presumption that requires a positive test, or a diagnosis followed by a positive test. It applies to any worker who was directed to work outside the home between March 19 and July 5, and who began showing symptoms within 14 days of doing so.
 
If an employee has paid sick leave benefits specifically available in response to COVID-19, the Order requires those benefits to be used and exhausted before temporary disability benefits or so-called “4850” benefits would apply. The benefit includes full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits, but not payment for housing or other non-medical benefits recently amended into pending legislation.
 
The Order contains a number of other details that apply to specific situations, and county officials should refer to the full text of the Order for those details. The Department of Industrial Relations plans to begin releasing guidance documents and FAQs very soon, possibly as early as tomorrow.

 

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