This may surprise many taxpayers, but the California Department of Housing and Community Development considers a family of four with an income of $88,000 in San Francisco, San Mateo or Marin county to be a low-income family.
The State Board of Equalization on August 28 released to assessors a table of what the state considers "low-income" for administration of the property tax exemption for low-income rental housing property leased by specified organizations for 35 years.
The definition of a "low-income family" varies from county to county. The highest level is income up to $88,000 for a family of four in the three counties above, followed by $77,000 in Orange County, $75,000 in Santa Clara County, $67,000 in Los Angeles County, $60,000 in Sacramento County, down to a low of $46,000 in several San Joaquin Valley and rural counties.
According to the latest FTB data (from 2009), about 68.3 percent of all tax returns filed from San Francisco had adjusted gross income of $70,000 or below, and this does not include San Francisco residents below the filing threshold. Based on that data, one could assume that between 70 percent and 80 percent of San Francisco residents would be classified as "low-income."
Even in Marin County, 63 percent of income tax returns had adjusted income below $70,000, so roughly two-thirds of the county may be low-income.
In Siskiyou County, where the threshold is lower ($46,000 or less for a family of four), roughly 59 percent of returns are from taxpayers with gross income of $35,000 or less, so 60 percent to 65 percent of the county probably would be classified as "low-income" by the state.
Oddly enough, estimates based on the FTB returns indicate there is a larger percentage of state-defined low-income families in Marin County than in Siskiyou County. (Sources: BOE memo to county assessors, "2013-2014 Income Levels for Leased Property Used for Low-Income Housing and Tribal Housing Exemption," August 28; Franchise Tax Board Personal Income Statistics, Table B-7, Adjusted Gross Income by County, Tax Year 2009.)
August 31, 2012
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