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County of Madera


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Aircraft are taxable and are appraised annually at their current market values. Their values are determined by employing a number of approaches, including a review of their purchase prices, the sales of comparable aircraft, and other market data.

Aircraft Frequently Asked Questions

  • Question: Why are Aircraft assessed for property taxes?
    • The California Constitution (Section XIII, Article 1) provides that all tangible property is taxable unless it is otherwise exempted by the Constitution or by the legislature. Household personal property was exempted in the 1950's, but privately-owned vessels, aircraft, and automobiles are still subject to property tax.
  • Question: I sold my Aircraft, so do I still have to fill out the Aircraft Form the Assessor sent me?
    • Yes. That's because the Assessor needs to know: 1) the date it was sold, and 2) Who purchased the Aircraft and is now the Aircraft's new assessee.
  • Question: I haven't used my Aircraft for a long time (or it's in parts or it doesn't work), so do I still have to fill out the Aircraft Form the Assessor sent me?
    • Yes, because without all available information regarding the Aircraft's physical condition, an over assessment could result if you do not.
  • Question: I'm in the military. Doesn't that exempt me from filling out the Aircraft Form?
    • No, you must still fill out the form. Some, but not all, military personnel may be exempt from paying Aircraft property taxes under Federal Law (Soldiers' and Sailors' Relief Act of 1940), so the Assessor still needs to collect the information requested on the Aircraft Form.
  • Question: My Aircraft is a historical aircraft; must I still pay property taxes on it?
    • Each year the aircraft must qualify for the Historical Aircraft Exemption. You may request a list of the qualifying conditions from the Personal Property department of the Assessor's office. Click HERE to download the Historical Aircraft Exemption claim form.
  • Question: How did the Assessor determine the value of my Aircraft?
    • The Assessor uses various approaches to arrive at the value, including the purchase price of the Aircraft, improvements or upgrades that have been made to it, and the recent sales of comparable Aircraft in the open market. A recent, arm's length purchase of an Aircraft is considered to be a good indicator of its true market value.
  • Question: I keep my Aircraft hangared in another county. Why did Madera County assess it?
    • If the Aircraft is registered with the Federal Aviation Administration at your address in Madera County, then Madera County will assess it. You must notify Madera County on the Aircraft Form, if the Aircraft is hangared in another county/state.
  • Question: I sold my Aircraft months ago, so why am I getting a tax bill for it?
    • Liability for Aircraft property taxes attaches to its owner as of 12:01 a.m. on January 1 each year (the Lien Date). The bill for the coming tax year is then issued to the owner of record at that time, and that individual is liable for the taxes even if the Aircraft was sold soon after that date. Where the Aircraft was sold just before the lien date (December 30, for example), the new owner would be liable for the new bill. If you were not the owner on January 1, but the bill was issued in your name, then you need to contact the Personal Property Department.
  • Question: The Aircraft belonged to my relative when he or she died, so do we still have to pay the bill?
    • Liability for Aircraft property taxes attaches to its owner as of 12:01 a.m. on January 1 each year (the Lien Date). The bill for the coming tax year is then issued to the owner of record at that time, and that individual, or their estate (if they are now deceased), is liable for the taxes. If the owner of record on the lien date is now deceased, you should contact the person or entity that is administering your relative's estate and bring the outstanding bill to their attention.
  • Question: My spouse and I were divorced and he or she got the Aircraft as part of the settlement. Can the Assessor bill the Aircraft in my spouse's name only now?
    • If, in a divorce proceeding, a spouse was given sole title to the Aircraft prior to 12:01 a.m. January 1 (the lien date), then that spouse alone would be liable for the tax bill created for that lien date. If title passed to your spouse after January 1, the bill would be issued to the owner or owners of record as of that date and, if your were both owners then, the Assessor could not remove your name. If your spouse was awarded the Aircraft prior to January 1, but the bill was issued in both your names, you will need to provide us with copies of those court documents which ordered the transfer to your spouse. To discuss the problem, contact the Personal Property Division.
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Contact the Assessor

200 W. 4th Street
Madera, CA 93637
Fax: (559)675-7654
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Office Hours: 8:00am to 5:00pm

Assessor's Department Staff Spotlight

Jacquelyn Nieves - Assessor Staff Spotlight

J. SPOTLIGHT_20141009_140906 How long have you worked for the County? 7 1/2 years
What do you like most about your job? Serving the community and working with great people.
Why did you decide to work for the County? I saw an awesome opportunity for learning, growth and advancement.
What is your most memorable accomplishment during your County career? Becoming a valued employee and being entrusted with a wide variety of responsibilities.
When I'm not at work you can find me...Engrossed in some art project, cooking, sewing, and doing community work with my congregation.
What was your first job?  I was a waitress in a Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles.
What is your favorite food? Always chocolate!
What is your favorite kind of music? My husband and I DJ'd for a few years, so I love variety - especially good dance music in-the-mix!
What is your favorite sports team? I'm more into art than sports, but I enjoy watching a good game with great friends.
If you were to travel anywhere in the world for a dream vacation, where would it be? To Uruguay, South America with my husband to see where he grew up and meet his family.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Happily retired, close to my parents and family in Arizona.

General County Contact

General County Contact
200 W. 4th Street
Madera, CA 93637
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Use this number to get general information about the County or County departments.  

For non-emergency information or service, dial 311