Since almost every home value has been affected from the sale of bank owned properties (REO) or short sales, and you feel that the property tax value is incorrect for your home, there is a way for you have your property taxes lowered.
- In California, some assessors will consider distressed sales when looking at comps, but it varies widely by county, neighborhood, and house. In general, assessors will always look at non-distressed sales first and if there are enough, disregard REO and short sales. However, if there are not enough standard sales, or the home is in an area dominated by distressed sales, the assessor likely will take these properties into account.
- Under Proposition 13, property is assessed upon a change in ownership at its fair market value. That is usually the same as the sale price. However, with distressed property, the sale price may not equal fair market value.
- Between changes of ownership, assessors can raise values only by an inflation rate, not to exceed 2 percent per year, plus the value of major improvements or additions.
- Under Prop. 8, owners who think the market value of their property has fallen below its assessed value can ask for a temporary reduction to the fair market value.
- Homeowners who think their homes are worth less than the assessed value can usually ask their assessor for an informal review. If they are still not satisfied, they can file a formal appeal with their county’s assessment appeals board by Sept. 15 or Nov. 30, depending on the county.
Reprinted from C. A. R. Market Matters
Living here in the Napa Valley, we have one of the best Tax Assessors that I know of. John Tuteur. John is always been available to his constituents and will answer the phone himself, or reply to all emails, from all who seek help with property tax issues or questions. John’s direct phone number is 707.253.4459, his email is email@example.com and click here for the web site for the County Assessor.
One other great thing John does is he provides all who visit the Assessor’s website above with a wealth of articles on real estate propert value assessment. Just click on the link “Buying Real Estate” under Department Links. Here is John’s article on appealing a property tax value assessment.
Appealing An Assessment When Property Owner And Assessor Cannot Agree
The first thing a property owner should do if they do not understand or do not agree with a change in value to their property made by the assessor’s office is to contact us directly to discuss the matter. As the elected assessor my job is to be fair, not to raise revenue. Our goal is to value each property correctly in relation to similar properties that have undergone a change in ownership, new construction or a decline in value at about the same time.
We often recommend that the owner file a protective Application for Changed Assessment (appeal) pending our ability to review the value. The deadline for filing an appeal is July 2 – November 30 for the regular assessment roll or 60 days from the date of notice if a supplemental or escape assessment is made. During these reviews we often find that the owner understands and agrees with our value and withdraws the protective appeal. In other cases we agree on an adjustment and, if a protective appeal has been filed, we prepare a stipulation to be approved by the Napa County Board of Equalization.
Occasionally, after a review, the property owner does not accept the rationale for our value change or we do not believe the additional information the property owner provided us justifies an adjustment to our initial value. In those cases we ask the local Board of Equalization, the members of which are the members of the Board of Supervisors, to set a hearing. At the time of the hearing before the Board of Equalization we present the “defense” of our appraisal that we usually have shared with the property owner who also presents her case. The Board then decides whether to uphold our value, adopt the owner’s requested value or set a value somewhere in between. The Board also may have the right to raise the value our office had initially enrolled.
The hearings are informal and in most cases the applicant presents her own case. In more complex appeals an agent may represent the owner. The agent can be an attorney, a financial professional, a private appraiser or anyone designated in writing by the owner. If the owner wants to reserve her right to go to Superior Court (the next step beyond our local Board of Equalization), the owner, prior to the commencement of the hearing, must request Findings of Fact which set forth the reasons for the Board’s decision. There is a fee for preparation of findings.
Thank you for reading this post. If I can ever be of help in finding you the perfect property here in the Napa Valley, please email me at Curtis@NapaValleyAddress.com.
Your Broker Extraordinaire, selling Napa Valley Real Estate from its heart, Yountville.
My website & blog: www.NapaValleyAddress.com