Unclaimed Property Tax Refunds

Each year the Tulare County Tax Collector receives thousands of dollars in property tax over payments. While the vast majority of tax over payments are returned promptly and successfully to taxpayers, some refunds remain unclaimed.

The Tax Collector’s Division processes all taxpayer refunds. As a service to taxpayers, the Tax Collector posts and regularly updates a list of refunds that have remained unclaimed for two or more years. We encourage all property owners to search the list to determine whether they may be entitled to a refund.

UNCLAIMED PROPERTY TAX REFUNDS

California Revenue and Taxation Code sections 5097 and 5102 provide that property tax refunds which remain unclaimed for four (4) years may be transferred (escheated) to the county general fund on order of the board of supervisors. At the end of the four-year period, those items in excess of $10 must be published as notification that the money will become the property of the county after a designated date if it is left unclaimed. Escheatment to the general fund occurs if a verified claim is not filed by the designated date forty-five days after the date of publication. After this date, money left unclaimed will become the property of the county and can no longer be claimed.

CLAIM PROCESS

The County of Tulare Tax Collector is currently in possession of Unclaimed Property Tax Refunds. Unclaimed property tax refunds consist of warrants (checks) that remain uncashed for a period of more than six months, usually resulting from warrants that are returned as undeliverable by the postal service. Often the payee has moved and does not leave a forwarding address or the forwarding order has expired. In addition, warrants may remain uncashed for any number of reasons including lost or destroyed.

There are three easy steps to claim your refund.

STEP 1

To locate the property you are interested in click on the list below:

Please note that the list only includes items for the past 4 years. Current year refunds are in process and generally do not become "unclaimed" until at least six months after the warrant remains uncashed.

STEP 2

Fill out the Payee Declaration Claim Form. Instructions are included with the form.

You must SIGN the claim form or your claim will be returned. Make sure you have read the instructions and made copies of all required documents.

STEP 3

After completing and signing the Payee Declaration Claim Form, send it to:

Tulare County Auditor-Controller 
Payee Declaration Claim Form
221 S Mooney Blvd. RM 101-E
Visalia CA 93291

Q: WHY DO TAXPAYERS OVERPAY THEIR PROPERTY TAXES?

A: Overpayments can result from a variety of reasons including:

  • Taxpayers send payments not realizing that they have an impound account with their lender and the lender has already paid the taxes
  • Taxpayers send payments not realizing that taxes may have been paid during the escrow process due to refinance or purchase of the property
  • The assessed value of the property is reduced after the taxes were paid at a higher value
  • Taxpayers pay an incorrect amount due to transposition of numbers
  • Calculation errors


Q: WHY DO REFUNDS GO UNCLAIMED?

A: The Treasurer-Tax Collector makes all reasonable and diligent efforts to refund overpayments. Nevertheless, refunds may remain unclaimed for some of the following reasons:

  • The taxpayer moves before the refund is mailed and leaves no forwarding address
  • Death of the recipient
  • The taxpayer does not cash the refund check


Q: HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO CLAIM A REFUND?

A: You have four years to claim a refund. After four years, unclaimed refunds may be turned over to the County’s General Fund through a process called “escheatment.” While escheatment is the legal alternative, the Tax Collector’s primary goal is to return tax overpayments to their rightful owners.