Institutional Exemptions

Real estate and personal property used exclusively by a church, college, cemetery, museum, school or library may qualify for an exemption from property taxation.

Property owned and used exclusively by a nonprofit religious, charitable, scientific or hospital corporation may also be eligible.

Available Institutional Exemptions

Church Exemption (Property Leased by Church)

Available for buildings, land on which they are situated, and equipment used exclusively for religious worship as of 12:01 AM on lien date each year (January 1).

The exemption is also available for property the church owns or leases for church parking.

California Constitution, Article XIII, Sections 3(f), 4(d) and 5 form

College Exemption

Available for buildings, land, equipment used exclusively for educational purposes by a nonprofit institution of higher education.

California Constitution, Article XIII, Sections 3(e) and 5 form

Free Public Libraries and Free Museums

Property used for free public libraries and free museums is exempt by the California Constitution. Libraries and museums that change admission may qualify for the welfare exemption, if their properties are owned and operated by organizations meeting all of the requirements of Revenue and Taxation Code, Section 214

California Constitution, Article XIII, Section 3(d); R&T Code, Section 202 form

Public Schools

Buildings, land, equipment that is being used exclusively for public schools, public community colleges, public state colleges, and public state universities may qualify for the public school exemption.

California Constitution, Article XIII, Sections 3(d); R&T Code, Sections 202, 202.2, 202.5, 202.6, 254, 259.10 form

Religious Exemption (Property Owned By A Church)

Available for real estate owned by a church. Also available for personal property owned or leased by the church when the church:

  • Conducts worship services on the property
  • Conducts worship services on the property and operates its own preschool, nursery school, kindergarten, elementary school, secondary school, or both schools of collegiate grade and schools of less than collegiate grade

The exemption is also available for property the church owns or leases for church parking.

The Religious Exemption remains in effect until terminated or until the property is no longer eligible for the exemption. Penalties of up to $250 apply if a church fails to notify the Assessor that an exemption would be terminated.

California Constitution, Article XIII, Sections 3(e) and 5 form

Welfare Exemption

The Legislature has the authority to exempt property (1) used exclusively for religious, hospital, scientific, or charitable purposes, and (2) owned or held in trust by nonprofit organizations operating for those purposes. Whether the organization's operations are for one of the above purposes is determined by its activities and subject to other requirements. A qualifying organization's property may be exempted fully or partially from property taxes, depending on how much of the property is used for qualifying purposes and activities.
California Constitution, Article XIII, Section 4(b)

California Constitution, Article XIII, Sections 3(e) and 5 form

State of California Publications

Assessors' Handbook Section 267
Welfare, Church, and Religious Exemptions