Currently, there is a property tax deferral program (program) for the state to make a secured loan to a qualified taxpayer to pay property taxes owed for the taxpayer's homestead. The act shifts the administrative responsibilities for the program from county treasurers to the state treasurer. This includes requiring:
- A taxpayer to file a claim for deferral with the state treasurer;
- The state treasurer to supply the deferral forms;
- The state treasurer to issue the certificate of tax deferral and record the certificate with the appropriate county clerk and recorder free of charge;
- The county treasurer to refund any overpayment on an account that has been deferred to the person who paid the taxes;
- A taxpayer to tender repayment of the loan to the state treasurer; and
- The state treasurer to send a deferral notice to taxpayers who have previously deferred property taxes, which notice has been updated to reflect the state treasurer's administrative role. The state treasurer cannot be held personally liable for failure to provide notices relating to property in the program.
In addition, the state treasurer is permitted to:
- Conduct a public education campaign about the program;
- Contract with a third party to administer the program on behalf of the state treasurer; and
- Promulgate rules for the administration of the program.
The act also creates an exception to the requirement that a loan becomes payable for a taxpayer when a property is no longer the taxpayer's homestead or when the taxpayer's equity in the property is less than the amount of the deferral and accrued interest on the deferral if the property becomes uninhabitable and loses its value as a result of natural causes, and it permits the state treasurer to foreclose a deferred tax lien once taxes and accrued interest become delinquent, instead of requiring the foreclosure.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)